Essen is known for being home to a large number of organizations, factories and mines. This city from North Rhine-Westphalia is not merely an industrial metropolis, it is also renowned for being a significant cultural and religious centre. It is also the hub of premium museums and churches, including art galleries and several avenues for entertainment.
One of the top-notch attractions of Essen is the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex (or Zeche Zollverein). It is part of a sprawling portion of an abandoned industrial site that was designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2001. While visiting, be sure to admire the stunning Bauhaus-influenced architecture, some of the notable examples being shaft 12, built in 1932. Take a guided tour which offers a fascinating insight into the mine's history that includes its production facilities and the process which showcases the journey from extraction to coal's transformation into coke. Some of the highlights from the complex are the Zollverein Ice Rink, an 1,800-sq-meter facility erected in the midst of the site's old coke ovens and a Sun Wheel - a 14-gondola that rises high above the old coke plant.
Do visit the Essen Minster for it is believed to be one of Germany's oldest cathedrals. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Essen. Explore the Essen Cathedral Treasury in the nearby Bishop's Palace, housing one of the most significant collections of religious art & artifacts in the nation. Head over to the 174-acre public park - Grugapark, which includes a Grugahalle sports complex, an observation tower, several old fountains, restaurants, aquarium, amusement park and a narrow-gauge rail-road. Be sure to visit the botanic garden - home to collections of plants from around the world.
Don't forget to visit the Old Synagogue that is not only an abode for worship but also a memorial site. Erected in 1913, this enormous building is one of the best-preserved and most remarkable Jewish cultural sites to have survived WWII. Be sure to explore the Old Town of Werden, a historic borough of Essen, is a nice place to spend a quiet afternoon. One will find the beautiful 13th-century Abbery Church, one of the best Late Romanesque churches in the Rhineland.
Be sure to explore Essen's biggest lake - the Baldeneysee - an artificial body of water developed after the construction of a dam in 1933. Measuring 8-kilometres long, it is one of the area's most attractive and bustling tourist attractions. Specifically famous for water-sports fans, there are several such as canoeing, kayaking, sail-boats as well as single pedal-powered boats. There are several museums to visit such as: Ruhr Museum (interesting collections linking the region's history, art and culture of Ruhr) and Museum Folkwang (renowned for paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, along with European sculpture).
When it comes to retail therapy, be sure to shop at Germany's biggest down-town shopping centre - that is home to around 700 shops. Is it a surprise that Essen is called the 'city of shopping'? There are several chic boutiques, departments outlets, furniture shops as well as jewellery stores. If you're looking for a souvenir, then do pick up merchandise relating to the city's mascot and hero - the golden cockerel Henry.
The stay options in Essen are abundant with the best luxury hotels, swanky apartments and cheap accommodations being available for the tourists to decide which kind they prefer based their budget and taste.
Essen experiences temperate-Oceanic climate with relatively mild winters and cool summers. The best time to visit would be between May and October as the temperatures are relatively pleasant during that time of the year.