Back in August I took a weekend trip to Hamburg to visit an old friend. I had never been to the city, let alone Germany (save Frankfurt airport) and it was about time I got over there! Justine and I met as roomates in Florida while we worked for the big Mouse at Walt Disney World after our Uni days. We were best buds instantly and kept contact over the next six years despite being worlds apart. Naturally, when she came to the airport that day it was like no time had passed and we picked up right where we had left off. Other than my total exhaustion from jet lag and falling asleep on her couch after dinner on the night we were supposed to go out, "Hamburg style" (this involves partying until dawn when the fish market opens, at which point you go eat fresh fish right off the boat) I think we did pretty good. My favourite part of this trip was on our third day when after a full morning and afternoon of rain the sun came out and we had a great time having a German style beer bevie (Alster) by the Alster lake along with a must have German sausage. The sun on our faces, remembering old times, kindling new ones, drinking that awesome tasting beer, feet dangling in the water. The best. Here are a few of the places I recommend in Hamburg:
Downtown Hamburg is a great shopping destination and offers a great range of boutiques to suit whatever mood you're in. On top of that there is no shortage of outdoor cafes to quench your thirst and satisfy your belly once you need a break from the shops.
Alsterhaus Jungfernstieg 16-20, 20354 Hamburg +49 40 359010
Loved this department store. So many amazing brands at fair prices and fabulous staff, most of which seemed to speak good English (definitely the norm in Germany).
Oschätzchen Gourmetshop Hohe Bleichen 26, 20354 Hamburg +49 40 35004780
If you're remotely into good food and artisanal products this store is for you. Hand crafted olive oils, artisanal cheeses, chocolates, dinnerware, tea, you name it, this gourmet food shop had all the goodies and then some.
Visit Hafencity, Hamburg's redevelopment of the industrial shipping port. There are great cafes, restaurants, and shops, as well as art galleries, street performers and a brand new concert hall being built here. This is also a good spot to explore before getting on a harbour ferry to explore some other districts of Hamburg further down the Elbe river.
Vapiano Hohe Bleichen 10 20354 Hamburg +49 40 35019975
Good chain Italian restaurant serving fresh pastas, salads, and pizzas in a contemporary cool casual atmosphere. Kid-friendly. $$
Fisch Restaurant Mühlenkamp 16, 22303 Hamburg, +49 40 37085653
This was a super cute little family owned fish restaurant in the charming and chic neighbourhood of Winterhude. Great sitting out on the patio with a frosty glass of rosé in hand while watching the passer-byers. The home cooked style fish dinners were excellent and right off the boat. A delicious, no-frills feast with great service.
Pasta e Vino Poelchaukamp 25, 22301 Hamburg, +49 40 27880024
Another little gem in Winterhude, this Italian restaurant served excellent food in a quaint and cozy atmosphere.
Carl's Brasserie Am Kaiserkai 69, 20457 Hamburg +49 40 300322400
Stop in here for a bevy or two on the patio and enjoy an Alsatian tarte flambé from the French menu. Delicious & casual french food close to the water in Hafencity.
Alsterperle Eduard-Rhein-Ufer 1, 22087 Hamburg +49 40 22748273
Super spot for a beer and a bite on the lake after a day of shopping or site seeing.