17 COOLEST Things to Do in Hamburg [2018 Insider Guide]

A historic port city with a modern, fast-paced, and international outlook, Hamburg is often said to be Germany’s “Gateway to the World”. The stunning Hanseatic jewel boasts gorgeous architecture, with many buildings reflecting the city’s trading roots.

But Hamburg is a huge and sprawling city with a large population, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. Where should you go? What should you do?

This is exactly why we wrote this article about the best things to do in Hamburg!

Written by our expert travel panel, this insider guide to the best things to do in Hamburg is designed to show you Hamburg’s best. From the touristy-attractions to the local hidden gems, this epic list leaves no stone unturned, so you can have an awesome time in this awesome city!

Whether visiting with friends, family, or your significant other, here’s the lowdown on the best things to do in Hamburg.

Additional reading – 17 Amazing Hotels in Hamburg, and The Ultimate Hamburg Neighbourhood Guide

Things to do in Hamburg

Quick Answer – Best things to do in Hamburg

 

Fun Things to Do in Hamburg

Fun, fun, fun … holidays are meant to be fun! Even if you find yourself in Hamburg on business there’s no reason to not cut loose and enjoy the city in your downtime. You’ll certainly have a great time with these ideas.

Laugh Your Pants Off 

Laugh-Your-Pants-Off 

  • Comedy
  • Sightseeing
  • Bus Tour

Sightseeing and comedy together … could there be a more fun way to discover Hamburg?

Take your seat on the Funmobile and get ready to laugh till your sides hurt. Local comedians take to the rolling stage to crack jokes, tell amusing tales, and astound you with their wit. You’ll have some of the best seats around to a top-class comedy performance, and all while driving past some of Hamburg’s most iconic sites and famous neighbourhoods.

Get a belly laugh as you roll past landmarks like St. Michael’s Church, the port, and fish market, and pass through areas like the notorious Reeperbahn and the modern HafenCity.

Take to the Streets in a Go Kart

Take-to-the-Streets-in-a-Go-Kart

  • Exciting
  • Go-Karting
  • Sightseeing

Speed demons are in for a thrill with this awesome go-kart adventure. Hit up to 55 mph as you whizz through the streets and discover places that few others see. You’ll get a full safety briefing and time to practice before fully stepping on the gas, and a guide will lead you through the city and point out the sights.

Tours take place at different times of the day and there are a couple of routes to choose between. Jump behind the wheel on Fridays for perhaps one of the biggest thrills: a cool cruise through the old Elbtunnel.

Admire the Alster and Elbe Rivers, see the skyscrapers and modern gems of HafenCity, visit the historic port, and see highlights like St. Michael’s Church, the TV Tower, Chile House, and Landungsbrücken.

Discover Hamburg’s Diversity 

Discover-Hamburg’s-Diversity

  • Neighbourhoods
  • Exploring
  • Culture

See old and new on this tour of Hamburg. Taking you to completely different parts of the city, it’s incredible to experience the history and developments.

Marvel at the famous Elbphilharmonie, a glorious architectural masterpiece with plenty of artistic touches. It’s not only a pretty face though—it is one of the most advanced concert halls on the planet. You can only imagine the splendid acoustics! You’ll also get to bag bragging rights for having ridden the world’s longest escalator.

Next up is the old warehouse district of Speicherstadt, today a popular filming site. You might recognise parts from the TV or cinema screen.

The trendy, fresh, and futuristic HafenCity is sure to impress, with its eye-catching structures and celebrity appeal.

Romantic Things to Do in Hamburg

Hamburg has many faces. It might be difficult at first glance to see the romance, but there are plenty of places where Cupid’s waiting to fire his arrows!

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Chocoversum

Satisfy-Your-Sweet-Tooth-at-the-Chocoversum

  • Chocolate
  • Romantic
  • Hands-On

Close to the Speicherstadt, the Chocoversum is a fabulous place for anyone with a sweet tooth and in need of a sugar hit. You and your love may be cute enough, but it never hurts to add a little more sweetness!

Learn more about the chocolate-making process and see all stages from start to finish. Have a nibble at each stage—you’ll probably be surprised how something so tasty can come from something so bitter!

You’ll even have the chance to become a chocolate master for the day, creating your own bar of goodness to take away with you. Feed your own chocolatey creation to your love and perhaps even stock up on more sweet treats to enjoy later.

Descend into the Hamburg Dungeon

Descend-into-the-Hamburg-Dungeon

  • Spooky
  • Dark History
  • Spine Tingling

Going on a scary underground journey with ghosts, ghouls, monsters, and convicts might not sound very romantic, but there are tons of opportunities to grab your partner’s hand and bury your face in their shoulder! Alternatively, you may play the part of the brave protector, holding your honey close when they feel frightened.

In any case, the Hamburg Dungeon promises to be a thrilling and eye-opening experience!

You’ll have to struggle to break free from the Santa Fu prison, escape the ravaging flames of the Great Fire of 1842, and face the Inquisition. Experience life during the plague, attend a pirate execution and delve right into Hamburg’s darkest history. Live actors and hair-raising rides promise plenty of scary fun!

Glide through Hamburg on a Segway

Glide-through-Hamburg-on-a-Segway

  • Segway
  • Sightseeing
  • Fun

It’s time to rock and roll! Well, roll, at least. You and your partner can see Hamburg differently as you glide next to each other on Segways.

Discover diverse parts of the enormous city, travelling from the past to the present in places like HafenCity, St. Pauli, the Reeperbahn, the Inner Alster Lake, and more. You’ll see more than 50 city sights and learn more about Hamburg’s history and modern developments.

You’ll have a chance to practice your skills before being let loose on the roads and full instructions are given. An informative and friendly guide wheels along with you for a great couple of hours of sightseeing in Hamburg.

Things to Do in Hamburg with Kids

Travelling with children needn’t be difficult when you incorporate a range of engaging activities and kid-friendly attractions. Plus, adults are sure to enjoy Hamburg’s child-friendly spots too!

Explore by Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and Boat

Explore-by-Hop-On-Hop-Off-Bus-and-Boat

  • Bus Tour
  • Educational
  • Landmarks

The adults may be itching to see the sights, but the kids might be so keen. Moaning and tired children are never any fun! Compromise and save energy on a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city. There are kid-friendly channels to entertain little ones while parents get an overview with the commentary and you can get off at any stops that grab your attention.

You won’t have to wait long for the next bus to swing by, and stops are close to major attractions, including St. Michael’s Church, City Hall, the Outer Alster Lake, Jungfernstieg with its terrific shopping opportunities, the Maritime Museum, the warehouse district of Speicherstadt, the port, and St. Pauli Piers.

Mix it up and see Hamburg from the water too. Kids are sure to love riding along the river and watching the sights drift by.

Visit Miniatur Wunderland

Visit-Miniatur-Wunderland

  • Unusual
  • Model Railway
  • Technology

A marvellous attraction for people of all ages, nothing can quite prepare you for the charms of Miniatur Wunderland. Started in 2001, the attraction has been gradually growing ever since.

Not only can you watch the world’s biggest mini railway in operation but you can marvel as trains chug their way through intricate and detailed scenes.

Gaze upon Hamburg in perfect miniature, as well as places like the mountain and lake landscapes of Switzerland, the neon lights of Las Vegas, the landscapes, Roman ruins, and Renaissance gems of Italy, the snow-covered landscapes of Scandinavia, and the boats of the Baltic Sea.

You can also peek inside workshops to discover the magic that goes into creating this dazzling technological and visual marvel.

Go Animal Mad!

Go-Animal-Mad!

Photo credit: Hamburg – Citysam.de

  • Animals
  • Outdoors
  • Zoos & Farms

Most kids get excited when animals are involved in a day’s plans and, luckily, Hamburg has a good selection of places where you can see a range of creatures big and small from around the world.

The large Tierpark Hagenbeck houses more than 1,800 animals from all four corners of the globe. It was the first zoo in the world to operate on an open-zoo concept, allowing animals to roam through large enclosures as opposed to being cooped up in sad cages. The Tropical World Adventure Aquarium, located next door, takes you on an ocean adventure.

If you’d prefer to see creatures in their natural habitat, head to Wildpark Schwarze Berge. Learn more about the animals that roam the landscapes, including bears, lynx, and wolves, watch awesome birds of prey, and get up close and personal with friendly deer.

Your family can enjoy being outdoors in nature in the various city parks and urban farms, and the Zoological Museum has life-like models of animals for research and learning purposes.

Free Things to Do in Hamburg

Visiting all of Hamburg’s highlights and making the most of your days and nights can quickly see the costs racking up. Give your bank account a break with these free activities around the city.

Wander around the Unique St. Pauli 

Wander-around-the-Unique-St.-Pauli 

  • Nightlife
  • Adult Scene
  • Sports

St. Pauli is one of Hamburg’s most unique and distinctive neighbourhoods. Prepare to be awed!

A true area of contrasts, St. Pauli boasts luxury accommodations as well as the cheapest beds in the city. There are sites that have seen history in the making. The stadium has seen tears of both joy and sorrow, with dreams being fulfilled and crushed here.

St. Pauli is home to Europe’s tiniest police station and the hedonistic Reeperbahn, a place for notorious nightlife, sexy adult entertainment, and things to make your eyes pop. Indeed, it’s often said to be the most sinful mile on the planet!

An exploration of St. Pauli should definitely be on your list of things to do in Hamburg.

See Hamburg’s Famous Landmarks

See-Hamburg’s-Famous-Landmarks 

  • Iconic Sights
  • Architecture
  • Culture

A tour adds more meaning to your sightseeing, providing facts, information, and interesting tales that you may not otherwise have known. Nonetheless, if you’re on a budget you can certainly see many of Hamburg’s highlights on your own and for free.

Stroll through the historic Port of Hamburg, the area initially responsible for the city’s huge growth, wealth, and vibrancy. See the so-called island of Fleetinsel. Feast your eyes on the beautiful St. Michael’s Church. Experience the fast-paced business areas. Gaze upon the City Hall. Compare and contrast the Hamburg of old and new and snap plenty of terrific pictures for your Insta feed.

Experience the Sunday Fish Market

Experience-the-Sunday-Fish-Market

Photo credit: hamburg.de

  • Market
  • Browsing
  • Local Life

Taking place every Sunday morning, the Fish Market is an assault on the senses and a frenetic hive of activity.

Get there early (at around 5am) if you can to watch the fresh catches being brought here straight from the boats, ready to be auctioned and sold to local restaurants and members of the public. Try the local speciality of matjes (herring) for a local breakfast.

As well as fresh fish and seafood you’ll find dry goods, a huge selection of global teas, spices, colourful fruits, and more. The pre-made meals and restaurants are definitely tempting.

Stalls also sell a varied assortment of non-edible goods, including clothes, souvenirs, and electronics.

While we can’t guarantee that you won’t part with some cash in purchases, there’s absolutely no charge to enter the market, browse, watch local life, and absorb the energy.

Best Things to Do in Hamburg at Night

If you thought Hamburg was fun by day, just wait until darkness descends! The legendary “Sinful Mile” is an absolute must-visit and you’ll also find tamer pockets of nightlife to cater to all tastes. There are also activities that don’t revolve around partying and sex, so there’s no excuse for an early night in Hamburg!

Discover the Eye-Popping Adult Scene at the Reeperbahn

Discover-the-Eye-Popping-Adult-Scene-at-the-Reeperbahn

  • Sexy Fun
  • Nightlife
  • Bar Hopping

A place that has to be seen to be believed, the Reeperbahn is one of the planet’s most sinful places at night. Join the “Sex, Drugs & Currywurst” tour for a night to remember!

Dive headfirst into the local scene and live it large in the red light district, all with a bunch of other cool cats and your party-loving guide.

Start at Millerntor Stadium and pass the tiny police station before boosting your energy levels with a currywurst. Grab a drink in the Reeperbahn’s oldest bar before re-tracing the steps of the Beatles.

There are so many choices of where to enjoy, from funky bars, strip joints, and a theatre with live sex acts.

Knock Back Shots along the Sinful Mile

Knock-Back-Shots-along-the-Sinful-Mile

  • Bars
  • Clubs
  • Partying

Grab your mates and discover Hamburg’s legendary night scene with a bunch of other party-loving guys and gals for nocturnal fun by the bucket load.

You’ll visit a selection of the city’s best bars and clubs, with a free shot included every time you step through the door of a new joint. Plus, there’s no waiting around in tedious lines thanks to VIP entry. Party in style!

A huge plus point of joining a bar crawl through the city is that you’ll visit awesome places that you probably wouldn’t stumble across on your own. It really does help to have a local in the know in toe! Don’t forget to take your photo ID out with you.

Cruise the Harbour 

Cruise-the-Harbour 

  • Boat Ride
  • Views
  • Hamburg Port

Take a break from the party scene and spend an evening seeing Hamburg in a different light – quite literally!

A fantastic nighttime activity for couples and people who need to let their liver recharge, board a swanky boat at the historic Speicherstadt and admire Hamburg’s port in all its illuminated splendour. You can spot several major landmarks from the water, and the twinkling lights from cruise ships and cargo vessels add an enchanting sparkle to the night sky.

Drinks are available to buy on board and you can head out on the deck for the most magical of views.

Closing Thoughts on the Coolest Things to Do in Hamburg

Hamburg certainly has plenty to be proud of! Spend your days soaking up the city’s charms and being wowed by its modernity, having fun with the kids, and rekindling your love, and then party hard as night falls.

The best things to do in Hamburg provide many terrific experiences and memories!

About the Author Aaron Radcliffe

Leave a Comment: