Hamburg Things to Do
As a port city, Hamburg has acted as the gateway to Germany for centuries. As the second largest city in Germany, Hamburg has a lot to offer to travelers.
Speicherstadt – Old Warehouse District
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Warehouse District consists of 19th-century five-story red-brick structures lining the waterways. Their facades are decorated with balconies and towers containing some neo-Medieval elements. While the imposing buildings are alone worth a visit, the area contains several museums and exhibitions, including the Hamburg Dungeon, with live actors illustrating sinister characters from the city, the Speicherstadt Museum, that reveals how the area has changed over a century, and the Deutsches Zollmuseum, which explains the customs history of the port.
The Speicherstadt is also home to the world’s largest model railway exhibit. Created by two men who remembered the fun they had when playing with their toy railroads, these models are now open to the public. Book online to avoid the long lines. Once inside you can enjoy miniature trains in different scenarios, like the USA or Italy. The grade of detail is very precise. Everything is moving, including autonomous cars moving on miniature roads. Not just for tourists, locals love to come here as well, because on each visit they discover new details and features.
Port – Hafen
There’s no better way to view the goings-on in the harbor than on a boat tour, which can last anywhere from one to two hours. Most leave from the Landungsbrücken (landing stages). As soon as you step out of the subway, you’ll hear the tour agents shouting for their offerings. Prices are typically the same among all the companies. You’ll see plenty of container ships, historic buildings, and surprises since boats are always coming and going.
This famous ritual requires setting your alarm clock to a very early hour, since it begins at 5 AM every Sunday morning on the Altona quay. The venue sells not only fish but lots of other stuff like fruit, sausages, noodles, and potted flowers. Barkers compete for your business by shouting the loudest. You can get a bargain by buying one of their full bags for a fixed price but you have no choice as to what they put in.
Founded in 1907, this zoo was the first to create fenceless enclosures where animals are divided from visitors by natural or hidden obstacles in an almost natural environment. About 2,000 animals from every continent make their home here including penguins, a large herd of elephants, orangutans, and tigers. Plenty of cute animal babies are usually around. There are also pony rides, a petting zoo, and a fairyland miniature railway. The tropical aquarium, which is a separate ticket, is also worth a visit. It includes 14,300 creatures from the water, caves, and the shore.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Hamburg.