Street in Cologne, Germany (PhotoDisc)

Cathedral and Hohenzollern bridge in Cologne, Germany (Digital Vision)

Cathedral and Hohenzollern bridge in Cologne, Germany (Werner Dieterich/Getty)

Franken Platz Kolner Dom bridge crossing the Rhine river, Cologne, Germany (Martin Child/Digital Vision/Getty)

Franken Platz Kolner Dom Cathedral, Cologne, Germany (Digital Vision)

Cologne Cathedral at night in Cologne, Germany (GoodShoot)

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What to do in Cologne

Cologne boasts the most pubs per capita in Germany, which says a lot about how this 2,000-year-old city fits into the country’s beer-making heritage. Revelry is the word here, with copious local beer, a bacchanalian Oktoberfest, and a pub-going way of life. Residents have enormous pride for their hometown’s smooth, hoppy Kölsch, which is poured in a tall, thin, cylindrical glass called a “stange.” The waiters who deliver Kölsch, called Köbes, also serve up crude jokes, speak the local dialect (aptly named Kölsch), and deftly exchange empty glasses for full ones. Cologne’s vibrant nightlife is sustained by more than 70 clubs, offering up everything from funk and techno to Turkish pop and “Persian Nights.” Blame it on the alcohol, or Cologners’ laissez-faire lifestyle, but this city is primed to party.

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