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This area of Ruhr has a population of roughly 600,000 people.
The national capital of Berlin is located 280 miles east of Essen, while Gelsenkirchen lies 5 miles to the northeast.
Give the kids a break from sightseeing and enjoy some quality time at the Movie Park Germany and the Cranger Kirmes. For more fun with the family, head onwards to the Explorado Kindermuseum and AQUApark Oberhausen.
Sea Life Oberhausen is an underwater adventure for all members of the family.
From cute to callous, animals abound at the Duisburg Zoo and the Kaisergarten Park and Zoo, two popular zoological parks. The inhabitants at the Tierpark und Fossilium Bochum and the ZOOM Erlebniswelt will also afford lots of fabulous photo opportunities, so don't be without a camera.
From professional botanists to once-a-year gardeners, everyone is sure to enjoy the plant species on display at the Bochum Botanical Garden. Many tourists also like to wander around the Grugapark Botanical Garden and the Botanischer Garten.
On a fine day, pick up some lunch and find a shady nook at one of the area's scenic urban parks, such as Landscape Park or Tiger and Turtle - Magic Mountain. You'll also find plenty of room to lounge about in the grass at Berne Park and Nordsternpark.
Spot some of the local birdlife with a visit to one of the region's freshwater lakes, such as Sechs-Seen-Platte and Six Lakes Park.
On a nice day, Seaside Beach Baldeney is the ideal place to taste the fresh ocean air, enjoy walks along the coast and splash in the water.
See the world in a different light with some time at one of the area's wonderfully curated exhibition spaces. Enjoy the contemplative atmosphere as you check out the collections at the Red Dot Design Museum and the LVR Industrial Museum. Another two to look at are the German Mining Museum and the Industry Museum Henrichshuette.
Consider spending an afternoon at Zeiss Planetarium Bochum to learn about scientific breakthroughs and the natural environment.
The natural world offers more riches than we could hope to see in just one lifetime. Luckily, places such as the LWL Museum of Archaeology and the Ruhr Museum do the heavy lifting for us by putting them all in a single location. The fascinating objects and specimens of the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum are also worth having a look at.
Essen is a hive of artistic energy, with galleries and exhibition spaces all over the place. Start off your tour of this creative enclave with a stop at the Folkwang Museum and the Ikonen-Museum. The Museum Kuppersmuhle and the Kunsthaus Essen are also worth your time if you can fit them in.
Even if you're not a history nerd, you're sure to discover something that piques your curiosity at the Vestisches Museum. In addition to that, you might like to have a look at the hands-on materials at the Museum Schloss Lembeck or the Culture and Local History Museum.
Villa Hugel and the Old Synagogue are certainly worth visiting, even if history isn't your forte. When it comes to bygone times, the stories are countless. The Zollverein Coal Mine World Heritage Site and Duisburg Town Hall are also great places to check out.
After spending some time at Beck Castle or Wittringen Castle, you may just think you've traveled back to the days of knights and dames! For even more intersting views and historical insights, go and explore Broich Castle and Isenburg Castle.
The spiritual side of the area can be found at Duisburg Salvatorkirche and Essen Cathedral. You could also read up on the DITIB Merkez Mosque or Basilica St. Ludgerus.
Before you pack your suitcase and head back home, ensure you check out some of Essen's other attractions. Alpincenter Bottrop and the Tetrahedon Bottrop are some good options. Also, consider seeing the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen and the Light Castle if you have time.
Book one of the 44 Essen accommodation options available on Expedia's easy-to-use database before you start your trip.
Examples of upmarket lodgings in or near Essen are the Sheraton Essen Hotel, Huyssenallee 55, and the Hotel Rhein-Ruhr, Essener Str. 140. Cheaper accommodation options that previous visitors often recommend include the Motel One Essen, at Kennedyplatz 3, and the Hotel Palla Garni, at Eppinghoferstrasse 31.
This hotel is located in Essen (Stadtkern), close to Grillo-Theater, Philharmonie Essen and Essen Cathedral. Also nearby are Old Synagogue and Aalto-Musiktheater.
Located in Westviertel, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Colosseum Theater and Philharmonie Essen. Essen Cathedral and Grillo-Theater are also within 1 mile (2 km).
This hotel is located in Essen (Ostviertel), close to Old Synagogue, Essen Cathedral and Grillo-Theater. Also nearby are Philharmonie Essen and University of Duisburg-Essen.
Located in Stadtkern, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Essen Cathedral, Old Synagogue and Grillo-Theater. Philharmonie Essen and Colosseum Theater are also within 15 minutes.
Situated in Oberhausen, this luxury hotel is close to Kaisergarten Park and Zoo, CentrO and Theater Oberhausen. Also nearby are LVR Industrial Museum and Konig Pilsener Arena.
Conveniently near to skiing facilities, this hotel in Oberhausen is within 3 miles (5 km) of Oberhausen Congress Centre and CentrO, and is convenient for winter sports, such as skiing lessons. Theater Oberhausen and LVR Industrial Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km).
Located in Ruettenscheid, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Grugahalle and Folkwang Museum. Messe Essen and Stadtgarten are also within 1 mile (2 km).
This luxury hotel is located in Gelsenkirchen (Erle), close to Veltins-Arena, ZOOM Erlebniswelt and Golf Club Schloss Horst. Area attractions also include Wittringen Castle and Cranger Kirmes.