Köln Silvester Pary
Cologne is a fantastic place to celebrate New Year's Eve. Photo: GettyImages

New Year’s Eve in Cologne: seven ideas for the big night and the day after

Cologne is a fantastic place to see in the new year. We've put together some ideas for the big night.

You might not be allowed to let off your own fireworks in the city centre, but Cologne is still a great place for a fantastic end to the year – be it bar-hopping, clubbing the night away or enjoying the view from further afield.

Then get the new year off to a good start with a hearty breakfast, a spot of outdoor exercise and a chance to put those New Year’s resolutions into practice. Here are our tips.

NYE in Cologne, tip 1: get into the spirit of things in the Belgian Quarter

With pubs, restaurants and snack bars wherever you look, the Belgian Quarter in the heart of the city is Cologne’s most urban district and an ideal place to get your NYE party started. The next pub or restaurant is never far away!

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Why not start off your NYE celebrations at one of Cologne’s many bars? Photo: Getty Images

It’s always a good idea to have a decent meal before you go out partying and Aachener Straße is a one long chain of hip eateries. We recommend Israeli street food at Nish Nush. Their crunchy “GreenBall” falafels, so called because they’re green inside, are packed full of fresh herbs and are some of the best the city has to offer. Go for a GreenBall pita with falafel, hummus, tomato, cucumber, sauerkraut, tahini, amba and zhug to line your stomach before moving on.


  • Our first stop is Zum goldenen Schuss, a stylish, football-themed bar with a vintage look. Rap, R&B, hip-hop and dancehall – the DJs play them all, long into the night.
  • Take a trip back in time to the 60s and 70s at Scheinbar. With its plush furnishings and dim light, this place is high on the flirt scale. From 10pm, guests can boogie on down to funk & soul, hip-hop, disco and Afrobeats.
  • At Little Link, a quirky, multiple award-winning cocktail bar, the proceedings get underway at 7pm but you have to buy a ticket in advance.
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Zum goldenen Schuss – a stylish, football-themed pub with a vintage look. Photo: Goergy

NYE in Cologne, tip 2: off to Ehrenfeld for the countdown

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The Ehrenfeld district is a great place to be at midnight. Photo: GettyImages

When the clock strikes 11pm, it’s a good idea to move on to the city’s Ehrenfeld district. The Odonien Records New Year’s Eve Party will feature 10 local DJs and Ukrainian Yan Cook, with electronic sounds from hard techno, trance, melodic house and more through to 9 in the morning. But that’s not all Odonien, which nestles between rail tracks and Europe’s largest “eros centre”, has to offer. The Cologne artist behind Odonien, Odo Rumpf, has declared the site a “free state” for creatives, making it an interesting place to visit during the day too.

Techno not your thing?

Then stay a little longer on Aachener Straße in the Belgian Quarter. Love Generation at Reineke Fuchs is the complete opposite, serving up trash pop and hits from the ’90s and ’00s, from Backstreet Boys to Britney plus chart hits, hip-hop and R&B. Some tunes are the original tracks, some remixes or mash-ups. This place is a fusion of retro and living-room charm, with cosy couches to rest when you take a break from the dancefloor.

Gebäude 9 Silvester Clash takes you back even further. In their “Don’t tell Dad!” set, ELA and HOFFDOGG from the Underdog Recordstore rummage through the record collections of decades gone by to present guitar and rock classics, 80s rock, hip-hop, disco and happy tunes. For 50s, 60s and 70s music, check out DJ Andi Aspossible.

NYE in Cologne, tip 3: get away from the hustle and bustle

If you’d prefer to get away from the crowds at midnight, take a walk, arm in arm, up Monte Klamotte – the nickname the locals give to their 25-metre tall artificial “mountain”. There’s a footbridge hidden away up there where you can get a spectacular view of the Cologne skyline. Far from the hustle and bustle, take your bottle of bubbly and two glasses out of your rucksack just before midnight and raise a toast to the new year.

Things start to quieten down from around 4am, with many of the clubs closing soon. If you’re still not tired, you can move on to Red Cat Lounge. Their Tutti Frutti 90s party is followed at 6am by Tinnitus Afterhour – Neujahrs RAVE! The first rave of the year serves up lounge music, electronic tunes, funk and soul to get you in a relaxed mood for 2023.

NYE in Cologne, tip 5: tuck into your first breakfast of the new year

Had a good sleep and ready for breakfast? Or not been to bed yet and feeling peckish? If you’re in luck, you won’t be too far from a Café Goldjunge. There are four branches in Cologne: in the city centre, at Mediapark and in the neighbourhoods of Nippes and Sülz. Their homemade bread and “golden rolls” are bound to get your new year off to a mouth-watering start. The cold meats, cheese and eggs are from regional suppliers and there’s plenty of choice for vegans too, including porridge with berries, roasted seeds and pea purée.

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Stylish Brauhaus Schäferer is a terrific option for pre-party drinks – and post-party breakfasts. Photo: Luisa Zeltner

If you’ve got a hangover and you want to cure it by having another beer, we can recommend the modern and stylish Brauhaus Schäfer. They have a special “hangover breakfast”, consisting of deep-fried homemade beer sausage, ribs and crispy bacon made of meat from Duress pigs, cheesy scrambled eggs and braised beans, all washed down with a glass of kölsch. The food is regional, seasonal and ethically produced.

NYE in Cologne, tip 6: grab some fresh air on a New Year’s stroll along the Rhine

A brisk breeze and water as far as the eye can see. A New Year’s walk along the Rhine is something of a tradition for the people of Cologne. If you’re at Brauhaus Schäfer anyway, you can head to the “riviera” in the city’s Rodenkirchen district. Or you might opt to walk towards the city centre – along the river, taking in Südbrücke bridge, the “crane houses”, the chocolate museum and the Bastei restaurant.

Another alternative – though not as busy – is a stroll through the Melatenfriedhof cemetery. With more than 55,000 graves in an area measuring 435,000 m², it’s the largest graveyard in Cologne. People from all walks of life – rich and poor – have been buried here over the decades. The park-like grounds include monumental tombs built for the loved ones of wealthy families, in which two centuries of art history can be seen. You might even come across the final resting places of several local celebrities such as Willi Ostermann, Dirk Bach and the Farina family, who invented 4711.

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Had a good night’s sleep? Then it’s time to get some fresh air on a nice walk along the Rhine. Photo: AdobeStock

If you’re more into modern art, wander through Ehrenfeld – a district with masses of murals to admire. It’s well-known for street art like “Matriarchy” at Vogelsanger Straße 197, the “Edelweiss Pirates” mural at Schönsteinstraße 1a or “Fallen Angel”, depicting two men with bags over their heads, at Hackländerstraße 2.

NYE in Cologne, tip 7: get to work on those New Year’s resolutions or take the more relaxed approach

If you want to put those resolutions into practice straight away, you might want to begin the year with a run along the 6-killometre greenbelt route that starts at Aachener Weiher lake.

Or you can go for a more chilled start at Neptunbad in Ehrenfeld, which is open until midnight on 1 January. It was Cologne’s first public baths, opening in 1912, and still oozes art nouveau charm today. There are lots of ways to unwind here. How about some meditative underwater music, a sweating session in the sauna or perhaps a nice massage?

Happy new year!

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