With its iconic cathedral, eclectic architecture and vibrant night life, Cologne is a buzzing city full of surprises. Germany’s fourth largest city, Cologne is often overshadowed by the brilliance of Berlin, but it has history, art, culture and style in abundance. Discover the intricate and imposing churches, visit one of the city’s many museums, take a stroll along the banks of the Rhine or simply sip on a Kölsch (Cologne’s native light beer) or 3 and watch the world go by.
Cologne locals, affectionately known as Kölners, are some of the friendliest and most fun-loving people you’ll meet. They love to socialize and party, meaning the vibe in Cologne is always festive and fun – and that there’s always something going on. Step forward one of the city’s biggest music festivals…
Cologne Music Festival
Visiting Cologne in August? From the 16th to the 20th the city plays host to the Cologne Music Festival, c/o pop.. Taking place across various venues across the city, the festival is a celebration of popular music with performances from international stars, established local acts and up-and-coming artists.
For just €75 you can get a full-festival ticket, which is valid for all the events on offer. There are no tickets for individual shows, so as long as there is capacity at each venue, you can enjoy as much – or as little – live music as you want. Day tickets are also available.
Cologne’s most unique venues
One of the best things about c/o pop is that it takes place all over the city, so you get the chance to explore Cologne and discover a range of weird and wonderful locations. From the unexpected to the unbelievable, here’s our pick of Cologne’s best venues:
1. Gloria Theater
This former cinema is an homage to the 1950s with its stylized neon signage, old-fashioned ticket kiosk and red velvet décor. A complete renovation in 2000 saw The Gloria turned into a multi-purpose events venue, however, in the seventies it was known for showing adult films. This venue has shows running from Thursday night to Saturday night. Don’t miss the beautifully heartbreaking timbre of Irish singer James Vincent McMorrow..
Image: Sarah Doyle Photography
2. Odonien Biergarten
Odonien is an artistic hub: a creative center and events venue meets apocalyptic art gallery in the heart of Cologne. The biergarten (beer garden), set amongst a spectacular selection of artist Odo Rumpf’s steel sculptures, could be mistaken for a dystopian amusement park, but is in fact a unique and quirky venue with an unrivalled ambiance. Check out sets from Mall Grab, DJ Seinfeld and more at their festival event from 2pm-10pm on Sunday (20th).
Situated on the banks of the Rhine River, not far from the Radisson Blu Hotel, the Tanzbrunnen is a leisure park in Cologne covering approximately 30,000 square meters. With both an indoor theater and a large open-air stage as well as its distinctive star-shaped covered roof, it’s an exciting and atmospheric place to watch live music. The panoramic views of the Rhine River and Cologne’s magnificent cathedral only add to the magic. Syrian musician Omar Souleyman and German electronic group Moderat kick-off the festival at the Tanzbrunnen on Wednesday evening (16th).
Image: Birgit Kaulfuss
Exactly what you’d imagine when you think of a German nightclub, Gewölbe (meaning ‘vault’) is an intimate techno club situated at the city’s Westbanhof train station. At the weekends, the place is packed with likeminded music fans and the atmosphere is incredible. Gewölbe is hosting a range of events over the festival so make sure you stop by, but be warned, most club nights don’t finish until 6am!
5. Club Z im Zimmermanns
Zimmermanns is the rarest of beasts, a burger joint and nightclub hybrid! Choose from one of their tasty burgers and grab a drink before heading down to Club Z for one of the c/o pop shows at 8pm on either Thursday (17th) or Saturday (19th).