After living abroad for the past few months, I have had the opportunity to explore and experience most of each and every corner of Hamburg. The city has truly so much to offer, and whether you are there for a day or a year, there is always something new to discover. Here are some of my personal favorite locations that truly stood out during my time abroad.
Der Hafen – The Harbor
If I am being completely honest, I had no idea how important Hamburg’s harbor was before coming abroad. In fact, I was a bit skeptical before moving here, as the idea of a harbor city was never quite appealing to me. Nevertheless, all of my worries and presumptions were swept away the minute I walked around der Hafen. The Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg’s concert hall with a maritime architectural design, stands tall in the sky behind brown, brick buildings and the water below. Orchestral concerts are played year-round, but anyone can ride to the top for free to get a bird’s eye view of the city. Hamburg’s harbor is also known for the residential area known as the Speicherstadt, a part of the city recognized for its several picturesque bridges, brick-style houses that sit right above the water, and warehouses. What’s more, is that the port also offers tons of vendors selling fish sandwiches and other goods as well as tickets for boat trips and tours around the harbor. The harbor is truly one of the city’s most beautiful sites and is a must-see for all visitors.
Der Flohschanze Flohmarkt – The Flea Market
Each Saturday from 10:00 until 4:00, the flea market in Hamburg’s Karolinenviertel, one of Hamburg’s neighborhoods, offers everything from kitsch to old furniture to record players to ornaments. Anything you could possibly imagine is most likely located at this flea market. What I love about this specific market is not only the chance to support small business owners while also saving some money, but also finding one-of-a-kind pieces. Whether it be clothing or posters, each time I go to the flea market I find something new that catches my eye. Though unfortunately I was swindled by a vendor here while purchasing a film camera (heartbreaking), the flea market is still one of my favorite places to go shopping when on the hunt for new gifts or pieces. Plus, what’s better than helping protect the environment than by purchasing pre-loved or used items?
Der Stadtpark – The City Park
Green meadows and a giant lake, what more could you ask for when living in a city? Though Hamburg is Germany’s second best metropole, it also boasts huge open and green spaces. Der Stadtpark is just one of them, but you could truly spend an afternoon simply trekking the entire area. Though I just visited the park in winter, people were still out walking and running around. I can only imagine how busy the area is in the warmer months when large patches of grass offer great spots for hangouts, reading and study sessions, and other events. Likewise, a friend of mine also told me that the lake which borders the park is often a common destination for eager swimmers when the days are humid. Though it is a bit too cold right now, as an avid runner, I could definitely see myself spending hours running around the fields and enjoying the nature that the city has to offer.
A central part of the city, Sternschanze is one of Hamburg’s most distinctive districts. Filled with independent restaurants, loads of thrift stores, and funky bars, Sternschanze has a little bit of something for everybody. During the beginning of my year abroad, I spent a lot of time hanging out with friends and meeting new people after class in the Sternschanze area. Memories from playing Foosball with my best friend in an uncrowded bar to eating falafel with friends at 11 at night from a Turkish restaurant to celebrating birthdays with new friends are ones that I will cherish forever.
Though I would hardly call myself a Hamburg resident, living in a new city has given me much more perspective on how it actually feels to live, eat, shop, and enjoy life as a regular Hamburger. Though traveling to new cities and towns is exciting, living in one place for an extended amount of time truly gives you the opportunity to take in the city for what it truly is instead of how it appears after a few days’ visit. I cannot wait to explore more of what Hamburg has to offer, especially in the warmer months ahead, and I hope you will stick around to read more!