Schalke pub in Gelsenkirchen, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

22 foot­ball ven­ues

Curry­wurst and sac­red art, stor­ies, and feel­ings

North Rhine-Westphalia loves and breathes football: Its solidarity is evident in countless places throughout the state. The four host cities of Euro 2024, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, and Cologne, may be predominant here, but they certainly are not alone among the many other cities where you can experience various forms of football enthusiasm, now cosily with a view of the stadium or training ground over a tankard of beer or a currywurst, now athletic and active with a (virtual) ball, and always full of emotion and dedication. Let us take you on a tour to discover 22 special football venues to be found in NRW.

The soccer stadium of the 1st FC Cologne, © KölnTourismus / Dieter Jacobi

In (and around) Co­logne

Her­ald­ic an­im­al and world cham­pi­on

Visiting “Hennes IX”; Cologne Zoo

The billy goat “Hennes IX”, at home in the “Kleines Geißbockheim” at Cologne Zoo, is the heraldic animal of the 1. FC Köln. He may be the most famous sports mascot anywhere in Europe. Named after former coach Hennes Weisweiler, Hennes even has a dedicated little Rheinenergie stadium in his enclosure in the form of a miniature replica of the Cologne stadium. Why don’t you drop by to say hello to Hennes - and listen to his bleating?

Feasting where the FC trains; Geißbockheim

Bar stools with the club logo and collages of famous players adorning the walls – the clubhouse of 1. FC Köln will let you eat and drink where FC players train, with a terrace that affords a view of the green belt and the professional footballers’ training grounds.

“Love goes beyond leagues”; Krein’s Sportklause

Player contracts have been known to be signed here before with a handshake and many a professional footballer has been a guest here, as is evidenced by the signatures and greetings on pennants, photos, and autograph cards. Krein’s Sportklause truly is one of a kind as venues go. This is the perfect place for watching a match of the 1. FC Köln in company.

Try your hand at foosball in the Kölner Kickerfabrik

Whether you’re a crack already or just a beginner – fun in playing is the only thing that counts in the Kölner Kickerliga (KKL)! Amateur teams and foosball cliques have organised to form a colourful league here, playing their matches in their own local pubs. Feel free to drop by the Kölner Kickerfabrik for a game or two if you don’t want to start your own foosball team just yet – the place is hosting open doubles, free foosball, and Nopro Party tournaments.

The World of Sport Deutsches Sport- und Olympiamuseum

A tennis racket smashed by Boris Becker in anger, boxing gloves signed by Muhammad Ali, and football shoes once worn by Lukas Podolski are some examples from the world of sport, from antiquity to the present day, that can be found at the German Sports and Olympic Museum in Cologne.

Visiting Poldi; football pitches & kebab stalls

World champion Lukas Podolski has had a total of six street football courts built in Cologne. Football fans can play on these pitches to their hearts’ content, while professional trainers offer regular training sessions for children and adolescents. Stomachs in need of filling afterwards can be soothed with the delicious kebab specialities from one of Lukas Podolski’s kebab shops – followed by ice cream for dessert at Ice Cream United, the football world champion’s ice cream parlours. |

Fortuna Büdchen Düsseldorf, © Düsseldorf Tourismus

In (and around) Düs­sel­dorf

Drink­ing hall and tra­di­tions

Iconic meeting place before the match; Fortuna-Büdchen 

This drinking hall has become a favourite meeting place for football fans to celebrate victories and mourn defeats. The kiosk, painted in the colours of Fortuna 1895 Düsseldorf, is located right on the banks of the river Rhine, which makes it the perfect starting point for setting out along the Rhine Walk, the path leading along the river Rhine right to the stadium.

Legends and iconic pubs; Paul Janes Stadium

Düsseldorf’s football soul is thriving here in Flingern, where some real pubs and pub culture can still be found in the former workers’ quarter in addition to the Paul Janes Stadium, named after a legendary defender, which unfortunately is not open to the public. Apart from the “1:0” and the “Zum Goldenen Fass”, the “Bar 95” enjoys a special status due to its location right on the stadium grounds. This is where the Fortuna fans’ hearts are beating.

Curry Heinz, © Tourismus NRW e.V. Foto Holger Hage

In (and around) Gelsen­kirchen

Curry­wurst and sac­red art

God and football; church & pilgrimage route

St Joseph’s church is a popular meeting point for the pilgrimage to the stadium thanks to its stained-glass window that shows St. Aloisius in football shoes and blue-and-white socks, with a football before him. This is just the place if you want to send up a quick prayer to the football god and light a blue and white candle before a match.

St Joseph’s also happens to be the starting point for the “God and Football” pilgrimage route. The “Extratour 04” is part of the approximately 250-kilometre-long network of pilgrimage routes in the diocese of Essen. Hikers can trace the football myth of Schalke here.

If you feel like setting out on a guided tour through the old district of Schalke and Gelsenkirchen to experience some of the “Schalke myth”, join the tour of Olivier Kruschinski, a Schalke fan who considers Schalke a single huge open-air museum and football pilgrimage site. ||

At the bar; the club’s Bosch 04 pub

Dark wood and a bulky counter, with the Schalke logo everywhere. The “Bosch” pub – the home pub of the FC Schalke 04 club – exudes quite a quaint feeling. Why not enjoy a Stauder in Ernst Kuzorra’s former usual spot? A plaque marks the bench where the Schalke legend used to sit. The pub is located right next to the former main entrance to the Glückauf-Kampfbahn, where Schalke used to play until 1973. It’s a good place for a walk, too.

Cordial takeaway; Curry Heinz

The takeaway of Carsten Heinz Richter aka Curry Heinz, who is widely known in the Ruhr region for his open and cordial manner and his excellent currywurst, can be found in the shadow of the Schalke Arena. He’s a true original and dropping by is all but mandatory when you are travelling in Gelsenkirchen.

The upper league of bratwurst; Lohrheide stadium

One of the most famous bratwursts in the country is sold at Wattenscheid 09 in the Lohrheide stadium, right next to Gelsenkirchen. Even the two legendary football presenters Arnd Zeigler and Ulli Potofski have tasted it. They have been die-hard Wattenscheid sausage fans ever since. Jürgen Klopp also reports that his mouth started watering a few kilometres before he even reached the car park every time he went to the Lohrheide to watch a match as a coach.

German Football Museum Dortmund: Treasure trove with showcases, © Johannes Höhn

In (and around) Dortmund

Great emo­tions and chilled drinks

Triumphs, tears, and trophies; Deutsches Fußballmuseum

Olli Bierhoff scoring the golden goal, Germany leading against Brazil 5-0 at half-time when a sudden demand comes up for Rahn to shoot from the back. The Deutsches Fußballmuseum brings history to life. Emotions are running high. The museum’s treasure vaults contain some of the highest football trophies – including the original World Cup winner’s cup standing close enough to touch.

Close to the club; stadium tours

Set out on a walk across the legendary “Gelbe Wand” south stand, check out your favourite player’s dressing room, or pass through the players’ tunnel onto the pitch - it’s not only at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund – Germany’s largest football stadium – that you can experience unique stadium tours and get close to your club in a different manner. By the way: other major clubs in NRW also offer some tours of their respective home venues

Iconic curry sausage; “Gourmet Stäbchen” takeaway

Fuelling up before a home game: Anyone walking to the stadium down Hohe Straße cannot avoid passing by this iconic takeaway. It’s impossible to miss with its black-and-yellow BVB graffiti. Try the homemade spicy currywurst sauce as a special highlight.

Beer with a stadium view; beer garden at the Rote Erde stadium
Do you fancy a cool beer in a football atmosphere? The beer garden in the historical Rote Erde stadium can be found at the foot of Signal Iduna Park. The beer garden season begins as soon as spring arrives here, affording an opportunity to drop by in good weather to enjoy a cool drink with a view of the old and new stadiums.

The cradle of BVB; Pommes Rot Weiß pub

This is the place where it all began: 19 December 1909 is the founding date of BVB 09. The legendary pub “Der Wildschütz”, just a stone’s throw from Borsigplatz, where BVB’s legendary title celebrations took place, is where it was conceived. It houses the “Pommes Rot Weiß” takeaway today.

Cycling through football history

The specially developed 27-kilometre cycle route "Football in the heart" leads past important stations in Dortmund's football history and provides an insight into the history of the founding and development of BVB. Tourist attractions such as the Dortmunder U or the Phoenix Lake are also located along the route.

Goal wall fun football Neuss, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

What else is there to do?

Sus­pen­sion, watch­ing, scor­ing goals

Stadion am Zoo; Wuppertal

“Next stop: Zoo/Stadium!” Taking the suspension railway to the stadium is an experience that is unique in the world. Wuppertal is where this is made possible. The elevated railway will take you right to the gates of the Wuppertal SV. The stadium with its historical façade is particularly attractive. Make sure to plan on visiting the zoo afterwards or enjoy a walk through the villa district to marvel at the magnificent old buildings from the Wilhelminian era.

Kiez tour; Bielefeld

Join a tour of the trendy west of the city. This is all about pub culture, street art, and, of course, football. It also covers Arminia, whose stadium is located in the centre of the city, affectionately known among fans as “die Alm” – maybe in reference to the mountains of the Teutoburg Forest that surround it.

The NRW Fußballroute by bike or car

North Rhine-Westphalia has a great football tradition, and relevant locations are accessible by bike or car along the NRW Fußballroute, which combines the country’s football history with some cultural highlights and special sights. You’ll be amazed at the things to discover here. | 

Dribbling at the monument; Bökelberg in Mönchengladbach

A housing estate was built on the former site of the Bökelberg stadium. The terraces of the former north and south curves as well as those of the main stand have been preserved and integrated into the surrounding residential area as a public green space. A large artificial turf surface, a floodlight mast, concrete steps as a standing grandstand, and a scoreboard with a fictitious final score of “1:0 for Borussia” continue to invite passers-by to play with the ball today. |

Lost place Matthias-Stinnes-Stadion; Essen

The women’s national football team once played their first (unofficial) international match against the Netherlands here. Once a showpiece, there is not much left today: The dressing rooms, clubhouse, and ticket office are in ruins, the stands are overgrown with weeds and the pitch is paved over – it’s truly a lost place with a special atmosphere.

Football golf; various places

Football? Golf? No: it’s football golf, a rather new sport that combines football and golf. The goal is kicking the football over obstacles and into holes in the ground or goals with as few shots as possible. Are you going to take up the challenge? You can try it in a number of places in your NRW. | | | |

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Hennes IX, mascot of 1. FC Köln, © Kölner Zoo

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Schalke pub in Gelsenkirchen, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

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Football on Phoenix West, Dortmund, © Ruhr Tourismus, Dennis Stratmann

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