Essen (map) has nearly 600.000 inhabitants and is the 9th largest city of Germany. We have been living in this city for some time now and would love to share our secret spots with you.
Historically, Essen has always been connected to mining. During the 1950´s and the 1960´s the coal and steel mines of Essen provided a lot of jobs for the people of the surrounding areas. At the climax of this so called ´economical miracle´ a lot of foreign workers came to Essen, as there were so many vacant positions. They mostly came from Poland, Italy and the majority from Turkey. At this time the ´Zeche Zollverein´, in the north of Essen, was one of the largest mines of whole Europe. But the economical boom only lasted for a couple of years and soon more and more mines had to close. The foreign workers had often found a new home in Essen, brought their families and stayed. Now they are an important part of multicultural Essen. At some point the ´Zeche Zollverein´ also had to shut down their production and became a museum. Today the whole area offers different museums and cafés (e.g. Red Dot museum). Due to the closure of the mines, Essen had to change. The smoke and the dirt disappeared and Essen became a modern technology location with a green appearance.Companies like Evonik, RWE or ThyssenKrupp have their headquaters in Essen. But this city has not only changed its economy, it also became a cultural capital and in 2010 even the culural capital of Europe.
Even though Essen consists of 50 districts, it can generally be divided into the northern and the southern part of the city. There is a huge economical difference between the south (very wealthy) and the north (rather poor). The rents for houses or flats are an indicator for this. They are much cheaper in the north than in the south. You will furthermore find more restaurants, individual shops and cafés in the south than in the north. It is a development that the administration of the city tries to stop, but until today without any success. For us the southern part of the city is therefore more attractive. You will find a huge mall (Limbecker Platz), the university of Essen and stores like IKEA in the city centre, but we will focus on the districts Essen-Rüttenscheid and Essen-Werden.
Essen-Rüttenscheid is our home and our favourite neighbourhood of Essen. The inhabitants are often students, young families or just people looking for the hip part of the city. The lifeline of Rüttenscheid is the ´Rüttenscheider Straße´. Most shops and restaurants are on this street. It divides the neighbourhood into streets with female names (e.g. Emmastraße) and streets with male names (e.g Bertoldstraße). Some of our favourite restaurants and cafés are on the ´Rüttenscheider Straße´.
If you are looking for Asian food in a modern atmosphere, we can recommend the ´COA´ (Cuisine Of Asia). The ´Pelayo´ offers quality Spanish Tapas, the ´Eleon´ traditional Greek dishes, the ´Sushi Haus´ great Sushi, the ´Fritzpatrick´s Irish pub´ British tavern food and the ´Hans im Glück´ home-made burgers. The ´Oase due´, ´Trüffel da Diego´ and ´Müllers´ have rather exprensive menus. We can recommend all of these restaurants. And there are many more on this street – just walk up and down and try them out.
If you are just looking for a coffee, the ´Zweibar´, ´coffee pirates´ and the `Miamamia´ are our favourite ones. They are all very cozy and offer quality coffee. In addition, these cafés are absolutely unique and have an individual interior design.
If you are going out for a drink in Essen-Rüttenscheid, the mentioned Irish pub is worth a visit (Karaoke on the weekends) or you can relax in the ´Gin and Jagger´ for a glas of wine or a long-drink. The ´Plan B´ is also good for a beer – especially during the summer, as you can sit outside. Visit the `Brenner´ (Emmastraße) for an absolutely authentic atmosphere!
But Rüttenscheid has more to offer than the ´Rüttenscheider Straße´. This neighbourhood has cafés and restaurant nearly everywhere. The ´Cantina Italiana´on ´Paulinenstraße´ is a typical Italian Restaurant with great food, authentic atmosphere and moderate prices. It is one of our favourite places in Essen. The `Tofino´ is a modern, but small restaurant for burgers and fries. It is located on the `Witteringstraße´. It has quality burgers with a great taste. As their reputation is just great, it is sometimes hard to get a table. But it is definitely worth waiting. Another great restaurant is the ´Arabesque´ on the `Rellinghauser Straße´. You can get different, small portions of arabic food or main dishes. The `Emma 2´ is very close to the ´Rüttenscheider Straße´ and has great anipasti and wine. It is quite expensive, but the atmosphere is just awesome. The ´Bahnhof Süd´ is a traditional beer-garden with traditional German food and during the summer a great spot. The so called ´Wassergarten´ is another beer-garden with a great view.
Besides various cafés and restaurant, for which Rüttenscheid is famous, there is also a huge park – called the `Gruga´. You will find little lakes, flowers, a small zoo and green gras everywhere. And from 6 pm on, it is for free. In addition to that the famous ´Folkwang museum´ is also in Essen-Rüttenscheid. The standard exhibitions are for free – you only have to pay for the special ones.
Rüttenscheid is always changing, has great inhabitants and offers an unbelievable range of cafés and restaurants plus a world-famous museum and is therefore our favourite neighbourhood in Essen.
Essen-Werden is a bit further south than Rüttenscheid and is located directly at the lake `Baldeney´. It is an ancient neighbourhood with around 10.000 inhabitants. The inner city of Werden has a medieval appearance and has some smaller shops and boutiques. You will also find one of the best ice-cafés in Werden. It is called ´Kikas´ and is located at the ´Werdener Markt´. The main reason for us to go to Werden (by car, train or bike) is the lake ´Baldeney´. And right on the waterside you will find our personal getaway: The `Haus am See´. This place is just magical. It is an old building, probably a former farmhouse, that offers a huge garden with a view on the lake. It feels like your personal garden with lounges and sun beds. Very often a DJ plays electronic music. The overall atmosphere is relaxed and in a way has the hippie spirit, combined with electronic tunes.
Essen may not be a traditional beauty, but it has a lot of character. The inhabitants are friendly and direct and perfectly fit to this city. As a former mining city, Essen has changed to become a metropolitan and hip city that never forgot about its past.