Why you should go to Hamburg!

Hamburg - the Venice of the North - is the richest and second largest city in Germany and a major port since the glory days of the Hanseatic League. On the Elbe River about 100 kilometers (60 mi) from the North Sea, it boasts more canals than Venice and Amsterdam combined and more bridges than those two cities and London put together. On the same latitude as Ireland, it has a mild maritime climate - not too hot in summer, not too cold in winter.

The port is the second busiest in Europe with two cruise-line terminals and docks crowded with container ships. In the late 19th and early 20th century, it was where hundreds of thousands of Europeans sailed for the New World. The emigration museum at the old Ballinstad village where emigrants awaited departure has a research center if you want to track down ancestors.

Being a port city, Hamburg is also incredibly diverse. Its nightlife offers a little of everything, including a large red light district (prostitution is legal in Germany) that holds an annual Christmas market. Its music scene - where Bach was music director, the Beatles began their career and heavy metal was big - includes the Reeperbahn Festival, Germany's largest club festival.

Hamburg offers great shopping - whole streets and charming boutiques rather than giant malls - and Christmas markets that pop up all over the city. The pre-dawn Sunday flea market at the Fischmarkt is not to be missed. The tourist's dance card also includes outstanding museums, striking architecture, outdoor activities, good restaurants (particularly for fish) and local beer.

Hamburg has long been a particularly accepting environment for the LGBTQ community. It has not one but two gayborhoods - one in St. Georg, the other in Reeperbahn. It has summer and winter Pride celebrations, a legendary leather party in August and a major Queer movie festival in October. In addition to a wealth of bars and clubs, there's also an active party scene.

All
26
Things to do (26)
17
Nightlife (17)
12
Hotels (12)
14
Restaurants (14)

Hotel

Across the street from the Laeiszhalle concert hall and minutes from Planten un Blomen Park and the Hamburg Opera Hall, Frauenhotel Hanseatin is women-only. The historic...
View deals
  • 5
  • 1

Restaurant

Café Uhrlaub is deceptive, far bigger than it looks from the street and with a quiet garden in back. Since 1984, it has been a favorite gay cafe, featuring cakes and...
  • 5
  • 1

Restaurant

Coffee to Fly serves up coffee, cakes, small snacks, beer and the ultimate in plane-spotting from a viewing platform on "Photographers' Bridge" by the Hamburg airport...

Activity

Founded in 1850 as "Art Hall," the Hamburger Kunsthalle has three buildings housing an impressive permanent collection that spans seven centuries of art. Not to miss:...

Activity

The Fischmarkt is Hamburg's most traditional and raucous market, dating from the 18th century. Entertaining vendors hawk just about anything you can image from...

Activity

Lange Reihe, where the Gay Pride Parade starts, and the surrounding streets are the heart of the gay and artistic life in St. Georg. The gentrified neighborhood is full...

Activity

Sometimes called "the most sinful mile" in German, Reeperbahn is famous as the city's longtime red-light district and its impressive concentration of nightclubs, bars,...

Nightlife

Inside a little blue house, the Blaues Barhaus was a cocktail institution in the Ottensen neighborhood, open for 22 years before closing at the end of April of 2016.

Shopping

Hamburg's famous Christmas markets with holiday handicrafts and food stands start in late November and feature parades the last four Saturdays before Christmas down...

Nightlife

The largest gay sauna in town, the Dragon has Finnish sauna, Roman bath, steam room with labyrinth, massage and whirlpool as well as a restaurant and bar spread over...

Restaurant

Led by chef Fabian Ehrich, FuH serves up colorful, innovative and elegant modern European cuisine with a choice of set menus served in a welcoming space outfitted with...

Shopping

Jungfernstieg is a broad promenade along the Alster lakes and includes over a mile of upscale shopping in malls large and small. The site of Sillem's Bazar, a...

Restaurant

The Loving Hut, part of an international fast-food chain, serves vegetarian and vegan food that can be appreciated by non-vegans. It's popular with the lunchtime crowd.

Activity

Bigger than Buckingham Palace with nearly 647 rooms, Hamburg's Rathaus is an opulent town hall built in the neoclassical style in the late 19th century. The lobby, used...

Activity

The red-brick, Neo-Gothic Speicherstadt or warehouse quarter along the Zoll Canal was built between 1885 and 1927 as a free trade zone. The world's largest warehouse...
View deals

Activity

One of the most important Protestant baroque churches of northern Germany, St. Michaelis has five organs and a 132-meter (433 ft.) tower with an observation deck and the...

Restaurant

Alex im Alsterpavillion has picture-postcard lake views in the center of the city. It's touristy but a good place for a breakfast buffet or to pause while shopping or...

Restaurant

Anna Sgroi, a self-taught Sicilian-born chef, collects Michelin stars - one each for three different restaurants over almost 20 years. The most recent is for her latest...

Activity

BallinStadt was a village - complete with hospital, church, music hall, housing, hotels - created to handle the nearly 2 million immigrants who passed through the port...

Hotel

The Barceló Hamburg, built in 2012, has 193 contemporary Spanish-style rooms. A jogging route along Binnenalster Lake begins just 350 feet from this sleekly modern hotel.
View deals

Activity

A large plaza paved to look like a vinyl record, the Beatles-Platz at Reeperbahn and Große Freiheit has five life-size steel silhouettes, lit at night, commemorating the...

Activity

The Brahms Museum commemorates the first 30 years of the composer's life before he left his birthplace for Vienna. The original home was destroyed during WWII, but...

Activity

Founded in 2002, Bucerius Kunst Forum is a private gallery, which stages four internationally curated shows a year. The exhibitions, held in a historic building next to...

Restaurant

Café Gnosa is popular in the LGBTQ community and anyone else wanting a great coffeehouse atmosphere and a good cup of coffee paired with a delicious cake. It also serves...

Restaurant

Café Leonar is a kosher café, bar and bookstore in what was the old Jewish neighborhood called the Grindel near the University of Hamburg and Ausßenalster lake. It...

Beach

Nobody goes in the water at Central Park, a funky seasonal landlocked beach club where sun umbrellas are pitched on the sands of what used to be a parking lot. The beach...

Nightlife

The Cotton Club has been a jazz institution in Hamburg for over a half century, offering up live music every night - boogie boogie, Dixieland, swing and blues by...

Activity

The cobble-stoned Deichstraße, the oldest street in the city, is a small section of 17th and 18th century merchant houses that survived the great fire of 1842. Great...

Hotel

In a 19th century foundry, the 128-room east (with a small "e") is a designer hotel near St. Michaelis Church and three minutes from Reeperbahn nightlife. It offers king...
View deals

Restaurant

East the restaurant in the hotel of the same name is a dramatic venue in a former iron foundry. It has a made-for-an-entrance stairway, wave-like pillars and a...

Hotel

A landmark since 2007, the 21-story Empire Riverside Hotel is a striking bronze-and-glass tower between the Reeperbahn and the port. Its sleek 327 rooms and suites have...
View deals

Shopping

ES Collection, the popular Barcelona-based international brand, sells sexy underwear, beachwear and sportswear in its Lange Reihe boutique.

Shopping

Opened in 2006, Europa-Passage is the largest shopping mall in Hamburg with 120 outlets on five floors. It also has a variety of eateries, art exhibitions and special...

Nightlife

Extratour is an old-style basement bar with booths that encourage chatting. It draws a mixed crowd, including local regulars.

Nightlife

Fabrik is a cultural center housed in a former machine parts factory dating from the mid-1840s, founded in 1971 by painter Horst Dietrich and architect Friedhelm Zeuner....

Nightlife

The Gay Factory throws Saturday night dance parties about every other month for gays, lesbians, friends. Music is house, pop and rock 'n'roll with DJs. One of the...

Nightlife

Generation Bar, G-Bar when it opened around 2002, has outdoor seating on the popular Lange Reihe and DJs on the weekend. The daily cocktail happy hour is 5 pm - 9 pm....

Hotel

In a former music studio where the Beatles recorded, Generator is a design-led hostel run with German efficiency. It features a 24-hour lounge and cafe, single and...
View deals

Activity

HafenCity is a massive inner-city development project - currently the largest in Europe - which aims to define a new downtown in both urban planning and architecture. Begun in 2008, it is a neighborhood of of apartments, hotels, offices, official buildings, educational institutions and commercial activity on two islands...

Hotel

The centrally located Marriott with direct access to the exclusive Gänsemarkt shopping and close to the Alster Lake has 270 rooms and 8 suites with a king or two double...
View deals

Hotel

A short walk to the Messehallen convention center and to Reeperbahn nightlife, the HN Collection Hamburg City has 129 spacious rooms with Sky TV channels. The rooftop...
View deals

Activity

Holsten Brauerei, now owned by Carlsberg, offers two-hour tours of the brewery, ending with a snack and freshly tapped Holsten Pilsener. There's a more comprehensive...

Hotel

Hotel City House on the edge of the St. Georg gayborhood has 30 individually decorated rooms in a charming late 19th century townhouse. On a quiet side street, it's only...
View deals

Nightlife

A plaque in German marks the spot in Indra Musikclub where the Beatles launched their career. They played in the small dark club from Aug. 17 - Oct. 3, 1960 before it...

Hotel

Instant Sleep is a classic backpacker hostel with mixed dorms from four to 12 beds and private singles, doubles and 3-Beds, accommodating around 50 guests in all. In a nice neighborhood, it has two bars, a communal kitchen, a lounge - and no curfew. Linens are included with towels for hire.
View deals

Restaurant

Chef Thomas Martin at Jacob's has earned two Michelin stars for his light and fresh French cuisine, which is based on locally sourced produce. In the posh Louis C. Jacob...

Restaurant

Jim Block is a German fast-food chain in Hamburg, Berlin and Hanover. Its eight outlets in Hamburg include one in St. Georg and another along the Jungfernstieg. It...

Restaurant

No kitschy taverna, Kouros serves sophisticated Greek food in a tasteful setting by the Alster Lake, a two-minute walk from the bustle of Lange Reihe.

Nightlife

Kyti Voo is a popular mixed LGBTQ hangout on Lange Reihe that has one of the largest outdoor terraces on the street and is great for people-watching. Breakfast is served...

Nightlife

La Strada is a longtime cruise bar attracting young guys and older men. It has cabaret, karaoke, wild dancing and a Schicky Micky Party Sunday evenings.

Shopping

Built in the early 20th century, Mönckebergstraße is the city's traditional shopping area, stretching 800 meters (.5 mi) from the central train station to the town hall...

Hotel

The 460-room Motel One Hamburg-Alster is conveniently located at the entrance of Lohmühlenstrasse U-Bahn station, one stop from Central Station. Its rooms are basic...
View deals

Shopping

Mr. Chaps is Hamburg's premium leather and fetish shop with its own workshop for made-to-measure and a second-hand section. For more than 30 years, it has been selling clothing, toys and accessories. It also has a rental apartment in an art nouveau building, which could sleep four.

Shopping

Mutterland ("Motherland"), created by a designer and restauranteur in 2007, is a sleek deli that sells local produce and fancy food products made by small-to-medium-sized manufacturers in Germany. Its café is famous for its breakfasts and bakery items. Elle City Guide called it "the German answer to Dean & Deluca."

Activity

Neuengamme was a Nazi slave labor camp, which produce bricks and weapons from 1938 to 1945. The Neuengamme Memorial opened in 2005 to commemorate the gays, gypsies, Jews...

Nightlife

Olivia Jones, elected Miss Drag Queen of the World in 1997 and a local celebrity, offers something for everyone: a bar with a crazy music mix, male strippers for ladies...

Restaurant

Small and intimate, Philipps is a bit off the tourist track but is highly rated for its home-made bread, friendly service and good food at reasonable prices. Luncheon...

Nightlife

Not far from the central train station, Pick Up is a small basement bar with music and reasonably priced drinks. It has a diverse clientele that includes students, workers, businessmen, tourists. It welcomes women.

Nightlife

Born in 1973 to Director Heinz-Diego Leers, the Pulverfass Cabaret achieved cult status in its St. Georg location, putting on a new show each month with two and...

Hotel

The downtown location of the modern Renaissance makes for easy access to shopping, city hall and Alster Lake. Refurbished in 2015, the hotel is known for its friendly...
View deals

Restaurant

Christoph Rüffer at Restaurant Haelin in the Fairmont Hotel Vierjahreszeiten holds two Michelin stars and a fistful of gourmet awards for his Mediterranean-influenced...

Shopping

The concept store Sleeping Dogs curates outstanding international and local design in clothing, home decor and furniture in a striking space of over 500 square meters (5,000 sq.ft.) with ceilings up to nearly six meters (20 ft.)

Nightlife

A cash-only fetish and dress-code bar, Slut is popular for its regular parties, basement darkroom, glory holes, golden shower area and private cabines. It hosts the...

Beach

Set against the backdrop of harbor dry docks, Strand Pauli on the banks of the Elbe River draws a highly diverse crowd with its straw-thatched umbrellas, deck chairs and...

Hotel

The 135-room George Hotel Hamburg is typically British with a proper library and an English-style garden but an Italian restaurant. Many of the rooms have views of the...
View deals

Nightlife

Toms is Hamburg's oldest fetish and leather cruise bar but has diversified in recent years. The labryinth interior of the basement bar has - among other things - Tom of...

Nightlife

Among the longest running gay bars in Hamburg. Toom Peerstall attracts an older crowd, both men and women, with nightly events in a cosy, cigarette-friendly venue a bit...

Beach

A resort on the Baltic Sea, Weissenhauser Stand is is about 75 miles (120 km) from Hamburg and site of the annual L-Beach Festival. It can be reached by road, rail or...

Nightlife

Around since 1991, Wunderbar is a disco bar attracting a young and lively crowd especially on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays when there's a DJ.

18 community reviews / Hamburg

General impression
Good
LGBT-friendly
Good
Paulina has been to and reviewed Hamburg

Added 2 months ago

Hamburg is really the Venice of the North!

Juan Felipe Sánchez has been to and rated Hamburg

Added 2 months ago

Thomas Lucia has been to and rated Hamburg

Added 3 months ago

  • City explorer badge

    Earned the City explorer (Level 4) badge!

Ryan Smith has been to and rated Hamburg

Added 6 months ago

James Day has been to and rated Hamburg

Added 6 months ago

Nicole Panda Perry has been to and rated Hamburg

Added 6 months ago