Germany’s second largest city is one of Europe’s largest ports. With several canals, access to the North Sea via River Elbe, and maritime history, Hamburg offers a different side of Germany from other popular cities like Munich or Berlin. There are many Hamburg neighborhoods, so deciding where to stay in Hamburg can be a daunting task. Fortunately, the city has excellent public transportation for easy access to all of the various neighborhoods of Hamburg. Here are the best Hamburg districts for visitors:
Altstadt. Hamburg’s Old Town and the City Center are the most central places to stay in Hamburg. Staying in Hamburg town center gives you easy access to all of the attractions of Hamburg, plus it’s convenient to the train station for the best day trips from Hamburg. Next to City Hall, Rathausmarket is a hub of activity and a good location to start your exploration of Hamburg. The Old Town section has many historic buildings, monuments and squares, many of which were rebuilt or restored after WWII. The newer part of Hamburg City Center has several parks and open spaces, as well as some modern buildings. One of the best things to do in Altstadt is just to take a stroll along the Elbe River and enjoy the scenery.
St. Georg. Not far from the main train station, St. Georg has a true neighborhood feel and is a great place to stay in Hamburg. This district is one of the best for LGBTQ travelers, and is home of the Hamburg Pride parade each year. St. Georg also has an eclectic population mix of Asian and Middle-Easterners, which is most evident in the diverse food scene in the area. St. Georg has many bars, restaurants and shopping opportunities. St. Georg also borders Alster Lake, a major recreation destination in Hamburg.
St. Pauli. If you want to know where to stay in Hamburg for nightlife, St. Pauli district is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Hamburg. Hamburg’s Red Light District is also very tourist-friendly, so don’t let the red light moniker scare you off! The Reeperbahn is Hamburg’s most famous street, with over a mile of nightlife destinations. North of the Reeperbahn, travelers can find lots of cafes, restaurants and art galleries. Beatles fans will find themselves in St. Pauli to check out Große Freiheit 64, where the Beatles first played in 1960. St. Pauli is also where you can find Hamburg’s famous fish market, which has been selling fish in this spot since 1703. Today, it’s a foodie paradise with dozens of food stalls to browse and sample. Within the northern section of St. Pauli, the neighborhood of Karolinenviertel is a great place to shop for unique designer goods.
Schanzenviertel. A young and hip district of Hamburg, Schanzenviertel is sometimes referred to as Sternschanze or Schanze. This is one of the most Bohemian of Hamburg districts, although gentrification is quickly creeping in. The Schanze is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Hamburg for younger travelers and artistic types. Some compare the vibe of the Schanze to that of Berlin, with an engaging mix of bars, nightclubs, music shops, cafes and hip boutiques. Don’t miss the Flohschanze flea market on Saturdays.
Blankenese. A suburban escape from Hamburg is the district of Blankenese. What was once a fishing village along the Elbe River is now one of the most affluent of Hamburg districts. On a hill just west of Hamburg city centre, it’s 20 minutes to the main train station, but an excellent place to stay in Hamburg for families, or anyone who enjoys a bit of serenity on their urban vacations. One of Hamburg’s best hike is the Strandpromenade along the water, in the direction of the lighthouse. Don’t let the suburban vibe deter you, though, as there are many hotels and restaurants in this area. Jenisch Park and Jenisch Haus are two popular destinations in Blankenese.