What are the five best things to see and do in Hamburg?

Hamburg has a rich history, which you will see in its landmarks and museums. Here are five things not to miss in the German city:
 
1. Hamburg landmarks. Much of central Hamburg was destroyed in a great fire, a major flood and World War II. What stands today throughout much of the city are quality replicas that are at least 70 years old. Fortunately for visitors, renovators have retained original parts where possible and closely recreated the old designs. One wonder to look out for is the Hamburg Rathaus, the city’s town hall. The current building is Hamburg’s sixth and was completed after 11 years of construction in 1897. Tours of the building are done daily — you’ll want to see its beautiful statues, paintings and antiques.
 
2. Art museums. Some of our favorites include the Hamburg Art Gallery, Bucerius Art Forum, and the Museum for Art and Crafts, which showcases pieces like historic keyboard instruments and 16th-century carpets.
 
3. Ballinstadt Emigration Museum. This history-filled museum uses actual documents, film, interactive exhibits, artifacts and large-scale recreations to tell the stories of those who left Europe for the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
 
4. Enjoy the water. Live like the natives and leisurely drink coffee at a cafe at the Alster Lakes, or sip mojitos on by the sand along the Elbe River. Then, take to the water. The best way to see Hamburg is on one of the many cruises that go through the lakes, canals and rivers.
 
5. Neuengamme Concentration Camp. Neuengamme was in operation from 1938 to 1945 and claimed the lives of more than 100,000 prisoners. Today, it serves as a small and reverent museum. Small rock arrangements delineate where dormitories, mess halls and clinics were located, and there are interactive exhibits and video that tell the stories of the prisoners. 

  • On June 12, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where is the best shopping in Hamburg?

    When Germans think of Hamburg, they think of shopping. The German city has it all: consignment shops, vintage stores, unique boutiques, international and local chains, and branches of every major designer. The streets bounded by Neuer Wall, ABC-Strasse, Stadthausbrücke/Fuhlentwiete and Jungfernstieg/Gänsemarkt hold familiar names like Dior, Jil Sander, Stuart Weitzman, Tiffany and Cartier. Alsterhaus, a premier German department store, sits in the same neighborhood.
     
    Smart shoppers also head to Eppendorf, a chic neighborhood that boasts stores selling wares from Germany and every corner of the world. Simply meander down Eppendorfer Landstrasse to check out the high fashions and innovative design and housewares.
     
    The Sternschanze or Schanzen Quarter has a bounty of shops with edgier, one-of-a-kind clothes and cool ideas for the home. If you are in the mood for well-preserved mid-century, kitsch or retro furniture, you must visit the Saturday “Flohschanze” flea market in the St. Pauli district.
     
    In the center of town, Mönckebergestrasse draws hordes of shoppers. Two major department stores, a five-story electronics store, dozens of international clothing, shoe and jewelry stores sit on this broad half-mile street.
  • On June 12, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to learn about beer in Hamburg?

    Most locals walk into a bar in Hamburg and simply ask, “grosses bier, bitte” (large beer, please). Until recently, every village, town or city in Germany had its own brewery. In Hamburg, there have always been Holsten and Astra beers. Today, you can learn about the brewing process at Holsten Brewery (Astra was absorbed by Holsten). Five days a week, the company leads groups through the factory; just be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot for an English-language tour. You will walk through the factory and follow the beer through its brewing process. If you are lucky, you might get a close-up view of the bottling process as well. At the end of the two-hour tour, sample a few beers or non-alcoholic drink with an open-faced ham sandwich — a German staple.
  • On June 12, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best thing to bring home from Hamburg?

    Hamburg is famed for its rich history and modern-day culture. When we visit the German city, we love to bring back some of its distinct coffee. In the past, Hamburg companies used to import, sort, classify, roast and export coffee. Today, you can buy coffee roasted right in Hamburg. Also before you go you board the plane back home, grab a few bottles of Holsten or Astra beer. They are only brewed in Hamburg and are not sold outside Europe.
  • On June 12, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Hamburg in one day?

    Start your day in Hamburg with some retail therapy. Some of the best shopping is found near Hamburg Rathaus, like the Kaufmannshaus and Alte Post areas. Next, recharge with lunch at one of the cafes that sit on the canal at Alsterkaden, while watching the swans glide by. After you drop off your bags at your hotel, head to the Museum of Art and Crafts to catch an exhibition that shows the place of design in our everyday lives. Relax with a grosses bier (large beer) and a comforting Wiener schnitzel at the nearby Max & Consorten, a laidback pub that plays modern music — a rarity in Hamburg pubs. End the day with a tour of St. Michaelis Church. At night, you can head up to one of the rooftop bars (we like 20 Up) to overlook the city and enjoy a nightcap.
  • On June 12, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to see and do in Hamburg?

    Hamburg has a rich history, which you will see in its landmarks and museums. Here are five things not to miss in the German city:
     
    1. Hamburg landmarks. Much of central Hamburg was destroyed in a great fire, a major flood and World War II. What stands today throughout much of the city are quality replicas that are at least 70 years old. Fortunately for visitors, renovators have retained original parts where possible and closely recreated the old designs. One wonder to look out for is the Hamburg Rathaus, the city’s town hall. The current building is Hamburg’s sixth and was completed after 11 years of construction in 1897. Tours of the building are done daily — you’ll want to see its beautiful statues, paintings and antiques.
     
    2. Art museums. Some of our favorites include the Hamburg Art Gallery, Bucerius Art Forum, and the Museum for Art and Crafts, which showcases pieces like historic keyboard instruments and 16th-century carpets.
     
    3. Ballinstadt Emigration Museum. This history-filled museum uses actual documents, film, interactive exhibits, artifacts and large-scale recreations to tell the stories of those who left Europe for the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
     
    4. Enjoy the water. Live like the natives and leisurely drink coffee at a cafe at the Alster Lakes, or sip mojitos on by the sand along the Elbe River. Then, take to the water. The best way to see Hamburg is on one of the many cruises that go through the lakes, canals and rivers.
     
    5. Neuengamme Concentration Camp. Neuengamme was in operation from 1938 to 1945 and claimed the lives of more than 100,000 prisoners. Today, it serves as a small and reverent museum. Small rock arrangements delineate where dormitories, mess halls and clinics were located, and there are interactive exhibits and video that tell the stories of the prisoners.