Welcome to Hamburg!
The country’s second largest city and home to the third-largest port in the world, Hamburg, Germany, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Over the last decade, the city has become a real cultural mecca with hundreds of venues ranging from nightclubs to hipster bars and art galleries. From the infamous Reeperbahn Red Light District to a 300-year-old fish market, there are plenty of attractions here to keep you entertained for at least a couple of weeks.
Instead of wandering aimlessly around the city, explore Hamburg as a worldwide local to discover some of the less well-known activities. Our insider’s guide offers useful tips from locals and helps you experience Hamburg from a different perspective.
Start with a Neighborhood Tour
Located within the St. Pauli district, Reeperbahn is Hamburg’s Red Light District. Here, you will find an eclectic mix of local restaurants and bars, as well as a number of erotic theaters. Reeperbahn is also home to the recently built Beatles Square. If you are visiting Hamburg in September, make sure to check out the famous Reeperbahn Festival, which offers around 900 events.
For a local experience, and to escape from the busy tourist spots, visit the Gängevierte neighborhood. This area was scheduled to be demolished, but after many protests in 2019, the neighborhood was saved. Today, Gängevierte is home to various cultural organizations and boasts amazing street art, stages for dancers and musicians, and dozens of hip cafes.
Worldwide Local Tip: Many of Hamburg’s attractions are located within walking distance to one another, and the easiest way to explore the city is on foot. As for the city’s public transportation system, U-Bahn, S-Bahn, and the buses are well-organized, and the tickets are reasonably priced.
A peaceful stroll through the Old Elbe Tunnel is an ideal activity for travelers with a flair for photography. Stretching about 430 meters, under the Hamburg river (the Elbe), this art-deco tunnel is free to both pedestrians and cyclists.
To see the city’s harbor and waterside districts from a different perspective, go on a Harbour Boat Tour.
Worldwide Local Tip: The best time to visit is during the spring and autumn, when the Hamburg weather is mild, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Keep in mind, winters in Hamburg are known to be cold, with temperatures often dropping into the negative, making it difficult to walk around and enjoy the beauty of Hamburg.
Music and More
To mingle with the locals in St. Pauli, pay a visit to the lovely Wallringpark. This recreational area boasts dozens of open spaces including the picturesque Old Botanical Garden and the wonderful 116-acre Planten un Blomen park. Whether you wish to watch a musical performance, enjoy a picnic, or just go for a stroll, Wallringpark offers something for everyone.
The locals know all the best alternative venues in Hamburg and Birdland is one of them. Located in the Eimsbüttel district, this basement club organizes many live jazz concerts. Besides good music, you can also enjoy artfully made cocktails here. This is not the place to go if you’re looking for a stout beer and a lively debate about the merits of the popular Hamburg FC--for that, find a pub or sports bar.
Eat Like a Local in Hamburg
Foodies craving something sweet should go to Herr Max, a neighborhood café that offers the best cakes in Hamburg.
No visit to Hamburg is complete without checking out the famous Fischmarkt and admiring its impressive interior. Make sure to try the popular Fischbrötchen (fish roll).
Worldwide Local Tip: Hamburg is famous for its fish and seafood specialties. Try the Hummersuppe, a lobster soup served with whipped cream, cognac, and dill. There is also the Fischbrötchen, a fish roll snack typically made with herring, pickles, onions, and remoulade sauce.
Have an Incredible Time in Hamburg!
Hamburg is definitely unlike any other city in Germany. From its busy harbor to hip, graffiti-painted neighborhoods, the city boasts a rather unique charm. Exploring Hamburg as a worldwide local will give you easy access to some of the finest spots and best-kept local secrets.