Gourmet Festival Köln
Fancy eating your way around the globe? At Gourmet Festival Köln, you can do just that - without all the travel. Photo: wellfairs GmbH/Miriam Rippers

Celebrations in the city: Cologne’s top street and community festivals

Love, music, art, fashion, street food and sport - these six things are great reasons to visit Cologne.

Edelweißpiratenfestival – Honouring young members of the Nazi resistance

On 19 June acts on five stages will again pay tribute to the courageous resisters. Photo: Jan Krauthäuser

The Edelweiß Pirates were non-conformist youth opposition groups in Nazi Germany. Seen as a centre of the movement from 1942, Cologne now holds an annual festival in the Friedenspark (“peace park”) in honour of these young members of the Nazi resistance.

Following a two-year break due to the pandemic, the next Edelweißpiratenfestival will be held on 19 June. Several Cologne bands will perform on the five stages, giving their renditions of the songs the young resisters sang. If you’d like to find out more about the Edelweiß pirates, there’s an exhibition in the old fort in the park. In fact, the festival came about as a direct result of research done for the exhibition in 2004/2005.

Straßenland – Exploring the city of the future

Straßenland-Festival Köln
Walking the talk – the Straßenland festival focuses on ways to shape the future. Photo: Straßenland-Festival Köln

This road is usually roaring with traffic but on 19 June the 1.5 kilometres will be populated by pedestrians, feeding their minds and their stomachs. Taking inspiration from its “Live your city” theme, the Straßenland-Festival will put the spotlight on food, urban development, the creative industry and society. In other words, all of the factors that enhance modern cities’ livability.

At the last Straßenland-Fest (2019), many of the exhibitors were there to talk about environmentally friendly alternatives to the car. And the organisers want to see lots of communication again at this year’s event, where there will also be a market selling delicious organic and regional produce. Straßenland is a platform that brings members of the public who have creative ideas together with innovative business and start-ups aimed at finding solutions for a sustainable, urban future for their city.

Gourmet Festival Köln – Fine foods from across the globe

Gourmet Festival Köln
So many stalls – and each one has something delicious to discover. Photo: Gourmet Festival Köln

Connoisseurs of good food, clear your diaries from 29 to 31 July and embark on a culinary around-the-world trip – in Cologne! At the Gourmet Festival Köln in the Rheinauhafen district and along Rheinuferpromenade, some 70 winegrowers, wine merchants, deli owners and food producers will be serving their delicious fare.

There’s more to fast food than speed as you can see for yourself when 30 trucks line up between Olympiamuseum and Harry-Blum-Platz to dish up a range of high-quality street food, from vegan burgers to exotic cocktails.

Le Tour Belgique – A creative community in party mode

The Belgian Quarter is synonymous with creativity and individualism. Art, cute boutiques, fashion ateliers, amazing bars and awesome clubs – you’ll find them all here. Following a two-year, Covid-induced hiatus, the neighbourhood is again holding its Tour Belgique on 25 June: for one evening, bars, clubs and shops will open their doors to host concerts, readings and lots more.

Fashion designers will have their latest collections ready, artists will be showing their work and DJs will be laying down the grooves. Take in the vibe, eat, drink and be merry – and watch the party come alive!

Cologne Pride – A two-week celebration of diversity

Which German city is the most colourful? That’s right: Cologne will sparkle in all the colours of the rainbow during the two weeks between 18 June and 3 July. Over 100 events, including dozens of parties, readings, info stalls and performances, will promote equality for all irrespective of sexual identity, gender, skin colour, ethnicity or religion.

Every year, hundreds of thousands come to the city for the world’s largest queer event. Cologne Pride culminates in Christopher Street Day (CSD) on the first weekend of July, with the CSD street party (1 to 3 July) and the CSD demo (3 July).

Dancing on the water – at the Eat Play Love lifestyle festival

At Eat Play Love, the name really does say it all! From 4 to 14 August, the ten-day lifestyle festival at the Fühlinger See lake will again feature yummy takeaway food galore – from Frittenwerk’s fries and more to Balinese street food to Mama Joe’s African specialities.

The festival also includes daily concerts (from 4pm) and the European wakeboard championships. According to the organisers, wakeboarding isn’t your average sport – it’s dancing on water. So, even if you don’t fancy cavorting on the waves yourself, you’re bound to enjoy watching the show!

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