Hamburg came to London this weekend, with a pop up event at the Boiler House in Brick Lane – Hamburg on Tour. The whole point was to show off some of the coolest things to do in Hamburg for visitors. According to the Hamburger team from that would be the Elbphilharmonie, the Beatles ukulele tour, the street art and to sample the beer and coffee scenes too. And they bought the best of the city over to tempt people to make the trip.
I’ve been to Hamburg twice now – once to go to the first A Summer’s Tale Festival back in 2014, and then again in 2017 to go to MS Dockville Festival. Yeah, those Hamburg festivals are a pretty big draw. So we’ve got that Hamburg is a great place for music lovers, but what else has the city got to offer?
I thought I’d have a look around to see what the top travel bloggers had to say about the coolest things to do in Hamburg.
The Coolest Things to Do in Hamburg,
From 11 Travel Bloggers
1. Stay somewhere sustainable
I love this post on A Green Getaway to Hamburg from Tabea over on the Travelettes – and the pictures too. She stayed at the incredible looking Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, a multi dimensional space used for anything sustainable.
“Their holistic approach towards sustainability goes far beyond the stuff that only looks good on the outside. They have an amazing restaurant, different conference halls and an ongoing interactive exhibition which allows people of all ages and kinds to explore the magic of our forests in an entertaining fashion.”
2. Check out the street art
Sabina from GirlvsGlobe.com travelled all of Germany in search of the coolest German street art, and Hamburg made the list. From my visit I can definitely confirm that is true. Visit the St Pauli area for the best in street art, and to chill with a Fritz Kola with the hipsters (the local coke, much better than Coca Cola).
Had a lovely weekend at @hamburgontour in London. So good to reminisce about my two trips there and learn more about what else you can do there. I need to go back! Loved watching this street artist work on a piece combining elements of Hamburg and London in one – amazing to do it live while everyone was watching. It’s a cool city guys! #hamburgontour #streetart
“Nicknamed Germany’s gateway to the world, Hamburg is a cosmopolitan city – and that’s particularly obvious in the street art scene. Artists from all over the world have left their mark on its streets which makes them very fun to explore.”
Street art is a big thing in Hamburg – at the Hamburg On Tour event in London, they had a live street art demos going on. I wanted to play with the spray cans!
3. Go to the Christmas Markets
Lloyd and Yaya from Hand Luggage Only recommend the Rathausmarkt Christmas Market for all your Christmassy needs. They reckon it’s the ‘Big Daddy of Christmas markets’. And their awesome photos totally make me want to go and explore.
“It’s enormous and even has a humongous sparkling Christmas tree to boot.” – Lloyd and Yaya
Hamburg is a great city for anyone looking for a relaxing weekend break where there aren’t too many main sights you have to tick off, but there’s real character and something a little different to discover.
4. See a gig at the Elbphilharmonie
The Elbphilharmonie is Hamburg’s newest icon and I’d definitely recommend you go and see it. Even if you don’t want to pay to go inside it’s totally worth a look from the exterior.
They have some pretty cool bands playing there, but you need to get your hands on the tickets quick as they sell out fast. Last week they had one of my absolute favourite bands, The National, and tens of thousands of people tried to get their hands on the tickets. I’m listening to it now as I write this – or you can watch it here.
Stuart from go-eat-do.com has all the facts and details on why the Elbphilharmonie should be on your ‘coolest things to do in Hamburg’ list.
“Hamburg’s multi-functional icon hosts a 2,100-seat concert hall, a recital hall with 550 seats, a 244-room luxury hotel plus 45 upscale residential apartments. It’s also houses a car park more than 500 spaces. To term the Elbphilharmonie merely a concert hall is misleading, telling only part of its story.” – Stuart Foster
5. Drinking on the Reeperbahn
I only had about an hour to see the Reeperbahn, on a Sunday morning. It wasn’t really the time to visit what was once the epicentre of the Hamburg Sound, but it was still cool all the same. It’s now known for it’s run of bars, restaurants and sex shops, and for the Beatles figures on Beatlesplatz.
Dave from Man vs Globe spent a lot more time there than I did, and has some great suggestions for what to do, where to eat and where to drink on the Reeperbahn. He says not to fear it, but enjoy it.
“Known locally as die sündigste Meile (the most sinful mile), the Reeperbahn cuts a wide path through the centre of St. Pauli. As with most seafaring towns, sailors would traditionally head into the city to while away their shore leave in the multitude of insalubrious bars and brothels. Shaking off their sea legs by getting their leg over, if you will.”
6. Go to a festival
Check out Montana Can’s blog on Spektrum Festival. And Stephie LeReine’s photo gallery from the Reeperbahn Festival totally makes me want to go. Here’s the vid…
And for any metal heads reading (any?) the Wacken Festival in Hamburg is apparently the biggest metal festival in the world, according to Kiara from travellingmetalhead.com. She’s got lots of advice and tips on how you can make the most of Wacken Festival, a festival which, to be honest, I can’t imagine I’d ever go to, but if you like that kind of music, go for it!
7. EAT all the things
Tamsin from A Certain Adventure has got some excellent suggestions for where to eat in Hamburg, beyond the usual wursts, which of course do feature too. If I go back I’m definitely going armed with this list to work my way around the city.
“Pfannkuchen in the Kleinhuis’ Cafe & Weinstube (Peterstraße 28)In my experience, Hamburg museums have fantastic cafes, so you won’t go hungry if you’re in search of culture! Wiped after visiting the Komponisten-Quartier Museum, we sat down for a bite to eat in the elegant adjoining bistro-cum-cafe, which is not cheap but offers some great lunch options such as these pfannkuchen: mini crêpes topped with pulled pork (for me) and a feta and tomato salad (for him).”– Tamsin
8. Go vintage shopping
“By sorting the clothes by their colour, the massive shop on 500 square meters appears surprisingly structured. Old pipes hung from the ceiling or attached to the walls serve as racks and different objects were used as shelves like old wine boxes, coffee sacks or an old wardrobe.”– Sarah
9. Drink coffee
So we’ve got the food, and the drink, and the shopping – what’s left for one of the most characteristic hipster cities around? What else could a hipster possibly want?
So many coffee shops in Hamburg. I’d recommend you take a look at Harriet’s blog posts and recommendations over at FrauleinAnker.de. She’s explored the city by coffee and with amazing photos and obviously a good taste for a brew, I trust her.
“Are you looking for nice cafes in Hamburg? Then you are exactly right here. My favorite café tips for St. Pauli, the ski jump, Eppendorf and other districts I gather at this point. They are usually owner-managed and always with the certain something. Have fun!”