The Complete Guide
Hamburg; officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg; is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million. One of Germany’s 16 federal states, it is surrounded by Schleswig-Holstein to the north and Lower Saxony to the south. The city’s metropolitan region is home to more than five million people. Hamburg lies on the River Elbe and two of its tributaries, the River Alster and the River Bille.
The official name reflects Hamburg’s history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign city-state, and before 1919 formed a civic republic headed constitutionally by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten. Beset by disasters such as the Great Fire of Hamburg, North Sea flood of 1962 and military conflicts including World War II bombing raids, the city has managed to recover and emerge wealthier after each catastrophe.
Hamburg is Europe’s third-largest port. Major regional broadcasting firm NDR, the printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are based in the city. Hamburg is the seat of Germany’s oldest stock exchange and the world’s oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. Media, commercial, logistical, and industrial firms with significant locations in the city include multinationals Airbus, Blohm + Voss, Aurubis, Beiersdorf, and Unilever.
The city hosts specialists in world economics and international law, including consular and diplomatic missions as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the EU-LAC Foundation, and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, multipartite international political conferences, and summits such as Europe and China and the G20. Both former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Angela Merkel, German chancellor since 2005, come from Hamburg.
The city is a major international and domestic tourist destination. It ranked 18th in the world for livability in 2016. The Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2015.
Hamburg is a major European science, research, and education hub, with several universities and institutions. Among its most notable cultural venues are the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle concert halls. It gave birth to movements like Hamburger Schule and paved the way for bands including The Beatles. Hamburg is also known for several theatres and a variety of musical shows. St. Pauli’s Reeperbahn is among the best-known European entertainment districts.
There are many fun things to do in Hamburg that can keep you busy for a week. The weather in Hamburg can be unpredictable and it can rain anytime, so we have included a few Hamburg attractions that you can enjoy even when it rains. If you are visiting Hamburg with your family, you will find a lot of things to do in Hamburg on this list :
You can’t visit Hamburg and skip the Harbor because it’s hard to miss. Even if this is not on your list, you will end up doing this if you explore Hamburg by foot. Hamburg has the second largest seaport in Europe and more than NINE MILLION containers are handled here in a year. Even if you don’t care about the numbers, you will surely enjoy walking along the harbor and checking out the sights.
While Hamburg is gorgeous and has a lot more to offer than Amsterdam, the canals are not everywhere. You need to get to certain parts of the city to see the canals. If you are in Hamburg for one day and want to make the most of it, this is one of the canals that you should surely see. Nikolaifleet in Hamburg is one of the oldest spots in the city. We are damn sure that even if by chance you visit over there while exploring Hamburg by foot you would not want to leave. To give you the exact location, this is very close to Hamburg’s miniature wonderland.
St. Pauli is Hamburg’s coolest neighborhood and it is so for a reason. Literally, every single wall or door is covered with colorful artwork there. The streets are lined with little artsy stores and quirky cafes where you can spend an entire day. Yes, art is the first thing that will hit you when you enter St Pauli but this neighborhood has a lot of history. You can see it in the architecture, old houses, and churches. They have dorm beds and amazing private rooms. If you are visiting with friends, then you can book their Rockstar suite.
Do you know which city in Europe has the biggest red light district? No, it’s not Amsterdam, it’s Hamburg. Hamburg red light district is in and around Reeperbahn, which is the name of a street near St. Pauli. This street is also called “the sinful mile” and is full of brothels, sex shops, sex shows, and similar things. It’s not like Amsterdam where girls actually stand on the windows. In fact, you probably won’t see any sex workers but only massive posters. Strangely, there is a little side street that says, “women are not allowed”. Why should you visit this area? Well, it is an experience just walking on the streets and getting drunk on the road here.
If nightlife at Reeperbahn is too crooked for you, you should check out the scene at Sternschanze. This street is the most favorite part of Hamburg and is dotted with the most amazing pub, bars, cafes, and restaurants. You can book a pub crawl tour to experience nightlife in Hamburg that costs € 12. In this price, you will visit 5 pubs and get 1 shot in each pub.
Along with Hamburg Rathaus and Rickmer Rickmers, St. Michael’s Church is also one of the most famous landmarks of Hamburg. This church has a tower that is 132 meters high and is visible from many parts of Hamburg. There is an observation deck on this tower where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. While the tower actually is 132 meters high, the observation deck is at the height of 106 meters above river Elbe. You can either go up by steps or by a lift – the choice is yours.
Nightlife in a harbor town comes with certain expectations, and Hamburg has no doubts about fulfilling them. The St Pauli red light district and raucous Reeperbahn strip of fast food, cheap sex, and late night pharmacies may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is an integral part of Hamburg’s identity, after-hours or otherwise. Hit locales in this area include acclaimed kneipe (pub) establishments like Zum Silbersack as well as higher-concept newcomers like Bahnhof Pauli.
This corner joint in the Reeperbahn is as typical to Hamburg as a local boozer is to Britain. Having been placed in the same spot since 1949, Zum Silbersack is a popular spot, but it’s worth muscling your way through the crowds for the bargain drinks and late-night power ballads. Ignore the sticky floors, curt service, and archaic decor, and try to nab one of the few tables, as you’ll likely want to sample the beer selection and typical German grub.
All aboard. This self-styled “underground club station” is a comparative newcomer to the Hamburg nightlife scene but already a favorite with its kooky concept and top quality techno, electro and hip-hop sounds. Situated in the St.Pauli Klubhaus off the famed Reeperbahn, the Bahnhof stays true to its name, mimicking the U-Bahn aesthetic from its curved, tiled walls to the “compartment” seating and the bespoke bar built from original parts of an old subway. But it is not all urban grunge and artifacts; there are chandeliers, cozy sofas, and supremely friendly staff. Bahnhof Pauli also plays host to concerts, comedy nights, and open-mic sessions.
Hidden behind an unexceptional doorway on Paul-Roosen-Strafe you will find Clockers. It may look like nothing much from the outside, but once you buzz in you will definitely uncover a relative Narnia. Talk about bringing the outside in Clockers is a modest basement joint with artificial grass and logs on the walls, all overshadowed by a tree branching overhead. Beeline for the bar, pull up a stool and order something with gin – they distill their own after all. A little exploration will land you in the even smaller upstairs room that looks a little like a library, with leather chesterfields and an overflowing bookshelf.
While Sternschanze fast evolves, you can trust Le Fonque to stay true to its roots. Firstly, they are vinyl enthusiasts and will play nothing else. Secondly, the prices remain reasonable, so you can happily sip your Astra’s safe in the knowledge that your moneybox will still be intact come morning. The exterior is mysteriously plain, if bright red, hinting at the enigmatic innards, which are also awash in red lighting. A DJ, pitched at the bar, plays a mix of funk and soul nightly, luring you down the grungy stairs, into the welcoming womb of the drinking/dancing den.
Le Lion has quickly appealed a reputation as one of the best cocktail bars in Hamburg, if not Germany. Behind its door-belled entrance, the two-floor venue channels Mad Men-style glamour, with textured wallpaper, wooden shine and a palette of amber, gold and an appropriate whiskey brown. Though the clientele is mixed and informal, the place exudes an elegant poise; the music is sultry and smooth, the lighting golden soft, and the capacity carefully monitored to allow enough expert attention for each cocktail creation. Le Lion’s signature drink is the Basil Smash, which is essentially a liquid dose of Italian summer, no matter how cold or wet Hamburg is outdoors.
When you are out there fulfilling your cocktail needs in Hamburg, chances are pretty high that at some point you are going to crave for the food as well. With Hamburg’s culinary options continuing to cultivate and originate, it is no wonder that a restaurant bar programs are a good choice. From posh concept and classy to solid neighborhood institutions, Hamburg has some of the finest restaurants that serve deliciously exotic food along with freshly brewed boozes to become a perfect combination. The best thing one could do is to select a bar that also serves delicious food. Therefore, to satisfy your extreme craving for the wonderful food and awesome booze, we have got you covered with a list of Hamburg’s best bar restaurants, good enough to try on the go:
“Meat”, “Eat” and “Meet” merge into [m]eatery and give the pioneering steakhouse its name. Besides the best steaks in town, various tartar specialties, pleasing grilled fish and homemade burgers are also highlights that can be enjoyed. The wine card and cocktail menu are tailored to the special dishes of the [m]eatery. Their beef has several main origins. Besides the European cattle, they source the best meat from the USA, South America, and other countries, like New Zealand and Ireland. The dry-aging boxes are custom made for [m]eatery Restaurant. The European beef ages on the bone for at least six weeks. The special aging process results in extremely tender meat with a more concentrated and intense taste. During the summer the [m]eatery Hamburg hosts the [m]eat49 on the rooftop terrace – indeed, the best after work party in Hamburg!
The Haerlin Restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten (Four Seasons Hotel) is one of the leading gourmet restaurants in Germany and has picked up 1 Michel Star and 17 Gault Millau points. The Head Chef creates light dishes based on classic French cuisine, combined with Mediterranean influences. The interior is reminiscent of the classic era when the hotel was founded by the original owner Haerlin. The exquisite food is served in the palatial dining room with classical music playing in the background and a stunning view of the Inner Alster Lake. The restaurant is available for hire and can cater for up to 90 people. Friendly, courteous service round off the whole experience…
Thomas Martin and his team will continue to interpret original French haute cuisine in their own unique way. The menu will be based on superior, regionally sourced products, prepared with precision and contemporary techniques. The main product is the star, with appetizing sauces to accompany it. The result is a dish bursting with taste.
Welcome to ‚Das Dorf’: the restaurant has a decades-long tradition since it has been established in 1848. It has always been the gathering point for friends of enjoyment and entertainment. Quite a few call it to the secret canteen of crew members of Deutsches Schauspielhaus theatre. The management loves regional dishes and thinks that German kitchen has been completely unjustified disparaged for long. Their Motto: The most delicious dishes from Germany and Austria. Here they do exist, the classics and the forgotten: Mummy’s Roulades, Shnitzel of Veal, homemade Swabian noodles and so on…We hope you that, you will enjoy your time over there.
When in Germany…eat French. If you are at Cafe Paris. This fine French brasserie has been serving up top-notch bouillabaisse and steak tartare since 1882, with a sauerkraut dish to satisfy any hankerings for a bit of German sustenance. Unsurprisingly, given its Parisian inspiration, you won’t find many veggie options here, but flesh-eaters will be delighted there. That’s not to say a vegetarian could not enjoy a whole-hearted meal, especially as the cheese is so yummy. There are three elegantly decorated art deco dining areas to accommodate guests and space to prop yourself at the bar.
A visit to Hamburg would not be completed without at least one night out on the town, and where better to go than Reeperbahn, the legendary St. Pauli party and red-light district. A recent report from Hostelworld deemed Germany’s Hamburg the best place in the world for a night out, ranking it higher than cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, and Barcelona. Underground and above ground, in the skies and on water, Hamburg’s nightlife takes you to the best parts of the city and guarantees an evening you won’t easily forget. Here we have rounded up the best locations for an exceptional party experience on the city’s most renowned venues.
The popular Herzblut – (accurately translating as ‘heart’s blood’) – is a mix between a restaurant, cocktail bar, and club; the perfect combination for starting a night out on the Reeperbahn. Savor the special ambiance and eloquent interiors, created by American designer Jordan Mozer, and start your evening off with an excellent meal accompanied by an exotic specialty cocktail. Once you have finished your meal, make your way to the dance floor in preparation for an unforgettable party night.
A must-visit creation in the St. Pauli district is Docks, located on Spielbudenplatz. Once a famous movie theatre, the venue has been hosting crowds of up to 1,500 music lovers since 1988. The club’s DJs spin a mix of house, techno, and electronica, while international sensations such as David Bowie and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have held live concerts here. Every September the club becomes the heart of the Reeperbahn Festival, Germany’s biggest club festival. Check out the venue that, allegedly, Metallica called ‘the best damn club in the world’.
The Molotow is one of Hamburg’s best underground clubs, famous for it’s indie rock, punk and post-rock concerts, poetry slams and memorable parties. Famous bands such as The White Stripes, The Hives, Mando Diao, and The Killers played in the Molotow well before gaining worldwide popularity. After being forced to move several times, the Molotow has found a new home on the west end of the Reeperbahn and offers its guests a great party night on three floors – the club, the Karatekeller, and the SkyBar.
The Grosse Freiheit 36 is one of the biggest and most famous nightclubs of the Reeperbahn area. Opened in 1985, the club is actually three locations wrapped into one. The grand hall’s stage boasts a list of past star performances that include some of the biggest names in the business. The Kaiserkeller, where the Beatles performed back in the 1960s, regularly hosts smaller bands and young talent. Finally, the scenic Galerie 36 upstairs offers great cocktails accompanied by Latino music and often hosts artwork exhibitions.
If you want to party in style, the chic Moondoo is the place to be. The elegant establishment is meaningful of the New York nightclub era. Among purple velvet sofas and golden columns, you will be treated to an eclectic mix of soul, hip-hop, funk, disco, and electronica beats. Internationally renowned DJs spin plates on the upper floor while the lower floor is home to beats with a more underground vibe. In Moondoo, Thursdays are student nights and Fridays feature alternative music and guest DJs, but it’s the famous ‘Saturday Night Wildstyle’ that tops the week.
Party above the rooftops of Reeperbahn at the NOHO, one of Hamburg’s most sophisticated addresses. The top floors of the former Erotic Art Museum offer the club’s guests an unmatched atmosphere. Dance to electronica and disco beats on the fifth floor, where Hamburg’s largest disco ball and a mirror LED wall to illuminate a dancefloor. On the fourth floor, a tasteful red-light ambiance awaits fans of RnB, funk, and soul. NOHO’s two roof terraces offer picturesque views of Hamburg’s most sinful mile.
In order to conclude the whole article here, it can be said that Hamburg is an ultimate dynasty of pubs, bars, restaurants and loads of fun things one could ever think of. To overcome your boozing needs the city, no doubt, has some of the finest breweries. To give you a feel of what a nightclub really mean in Hamburg we also went through a comprehensive list of Nightclubs that further refines your experience of the Hamburg Trip.
All of the aforementioned experiences work together to make your trip really memorable. A perfect and balanced blend of the above-identified activities can really boost your experience and make your trip unbelievably extraordinary memorable.