This past weekend, we followed a friendly invitation by smart urban stage to discover the city of Cologne. Naturally we took them up on their kind offer to give us a ride in smart’s amazing new Electric Drive model. Better still, we were chauffeured by a super charming guide named Lia, a Cologne local and shopping pro who showed us where the best spots were.

Here are our recommendations for one day in Cologne:

Eating & Drinking:

This was not my first time in this town and even though I don’t know much of the city, I did know that I wanted to begin the day in the Belgian Quarter, with lunch at a great cafe called (attention, a tongue breaker) Hallmackenreuther located at Brüsseler Platz 9. Not only is there a nice and relaxed vintagy vibe here, they also serve fantastic food. I could have their warm goat cheese salad any day.

Mimi Kaminsky – Here they sell wonderful variations on sweet and salty crepes. Located just across the street from Hallmackenreuther, it’s a tough choice which of the 2 you should go to. If you have a few days, it’s worth popping in. Brüsseler Straße 66.

Metzgerei & Salon Schmitz is just a few steps away and a perfect afternoon hangout with lovely cakes and espresso in all variations served by good-looking baristas. The place used to be a butchershop and a lot of the interior are original features, mixed in with delicates like the chandelier. Very bohemian feel in here. Aachener Str. 30.

Just a few meters away from Schmitz’s are the very popular CafeCafe (Aachener Str 45) as well as Bauturm Cafe (Aachener Str. 24), where Cologne’s hipsters flock on Sunday mornings to have brunch and sip lattes. In the summer time, there is an irrisistable outside area on the sidewalk. Cafe Bauturm hosts changing exhibitions (click here for a program schedule) and is linked to a nice theatre.

Shopping:

Since you’re already in the neighborhood, check out Le Shop who specialize in dressing the sophisticated fashionista. Lots of lovely blouses and shorts with silky materials here. The shoe collection is worth a look as well! For updates, check out their blog. Ehrenstraße 79

A cute place for any travelette to look for summery dresses and bags is the flagshipstore of Blutsgeschwister, a label that has a 50s vibe to all their collections with lots of fun prints. I particularly love their swimsuits. Brüsseler Str. 82

Originally intended for men’s wear, Bob 10.05.10 draws a good female audience as well who love comfortable designer wear. Friendly owner Hon-Tai Shiau is happy to point out the best pieces in his shop that just might look good on you. Brüsseler Platz 6

A bit further away, but worth the trip, is a shop called Senso Unico, which first caught my attention after being featured on the smart-urban-stage blog. Owner Mika creates all the pieces sold here in the adjecant studio. Every item of clothing here is unisex, hence the name of Senso Unico. Senefelder Str. 3

Very recommended also are

Entlarvt – One of the few Vintage shops in Cologne, this place offers true gems if you really dig for them.  Zülpicherstraße 6

Toendel – some vintage, but mostly young designer fashion can be dound at this new store in the area of Ehrenfeld.   Siemensstraße 9

Atelier Köln – carries designers such as Acne, Velour and Moma. Apostelnstraße 24


nightlife


Cologne offers no shortage of good bars and clubs and while we certainly did not try them all, we loved the following:

Sixpack – Whenever I’m in Cologne, I come here. Cute bartenders, good drinks and a laid-back crowd make this place a local favorite. This place is also one of the most popular after-hours in town and quite likely the only one that still has a queue waiting in front of it at 5am Aachener Str. 33

Tausendbar – If Sixpack gets too crowded, just walk a few steps over to this place. Another good drinking hole with a big variety of cocktails and good music. Aachener Str. 57

King Georg – This former table-dance club is now one of Cologne’s best insider tips. You never know what to expect, but it’s usually pretty good. Sudermanstraße 2

Genau EV – The EV stands for a community of people who got together to organize events, in an effort to bring more variety into the Cologne scene. Check out their program for listings of their ever-changing events.

Art Theater This place come in highly recommended by people who should know. “there is always something interesting happening here”, we were told. From parties to performances, this place shifts quickly and should not fail to entertain you.

Bahnhof Ehrenfeld – Bahnhof Ehrenfeld is not a train station, as its name suggests, but a club dishing up anything from house parties to acid jazz concerts. Check out their program to know what’s happening when you’re in town.

Gebäude 9 – Finally, if none of the other places offer anything to your liking, check out Gebäude 9 for some of the best in Cologne’s live music scene.

We had a fantastic day in the city of Cologne. Thanks a lot to smart urban stage and Lia for such a good time!

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