ESL's Hamburg tips - Don't miss out on what the city has to offer!
From sushi to fish sandwiches (Fischbrötchen), you can enjoy superb fresh fish in a city that lives so intimately with the sea. Some of the best seafood restaurants are along the Grosse Elbstrasse: they look like warehouses and not all of them are open in the evenings, but you won’t find fresher seafood that isn’t still swimming.
On Sunday mornings, Hamburg’s famous fish market is the place to see the fish stalls in action and get fish straight off the boat. Open only until 9:30am this is something for early risers and night owls (in summer from 5:00am and in winter from 7:00am). The famous market criers are particularly entertaining as they loudly hawk wares such as eels, flowers, sausage or bananas.
Hire a StadtRad to get around
In a world increasingly afraid of commitment, what could be more appropriate than a bike that you can pick up at your convenience, ride for as long as you need and then just discard… only to pick up a new bike when it suits you? Register with your bank details or credit card number and pick up a bike at dozens of stands around the city. The first 30 minutes are free, then there is a per-minute charge up to a daily maximum.
Some hipsters will tell you that Berlin is now vorbei (over), too full of tourists, too full of Swabian yuppies, etc., etc. They are wrong – Berlin's nightclubs are world class – but it's worth noting the cities they think are now hipper. Leipzig is one, Hamburg is the other.
The Reeperbahn (see Hamburg Attractions) represents the sleazier end of the scale, but there are nightclubs and live music venues for all tastes in a city that proudly embraces its wild side. It's no coincidence that so many of Germany's top club DJ's have come from Hamburg's club scene.
Hamburg's first coffee house opened in 1677 – three and a half centuries later, it is still a superb place to enjoy a cup. It may not have the global reputation of Vienna or Milan, but Hamburg's cafés serve first class coffee in hip surroundings. After all, this is where a large amount of Europe’s coffee arrives in the continent.
HafenCity is a good place to look, as is neighbouring Speicherstadt. The Speicherstadt Rosterei roasts its own beans, while the Burg Coffee Museum celebrates the history of the magic bean on its journey through Hamburg.
Dialog im Dunklen
A thought-provoking complement to your German course in Hamburg, Dialog im Dunklen (Dialogue in the Dark) is an exhibition that takes you through a series of completely darkened rooms, led by a blind guide. Do the tour in German and you will gain a deeper understanding not only of the life of the visually impaired but of how much of everyday communication is based on vision.
To watch, read, listen
Watch Soul Kitchen (2009). Director: Fatih Akin A Most Wanted Man (2014). Director: Anton Corbijn Fraktus (2012). Director: Lars Jessen Nordsee ist Mordsee (1976). Director: Hark Bohm
Traditional cinemas live on in Hamburg. The Abaton (Allende-Platz 3), the Savoy (Steindamm 54), Studio-Cinema Hamburg (Bernstorffstraße 93) Passage Kino (Mönckebergstraße 17) and the Zeise (Friedensallee 7) are all great for atmosphere. Meanwhile the latest blockbusters are available (dubbed into German) at the Cinemaxx (Dammtordamm 1).
Read Kontamination, by Boris Meyn Collected Works, by Matthias Claudius A Most Wanted Man, by John le Carré
Listen DJ Kicks, by DJ Koze With the Beatles, by The Beatles Selected Remixes 2009-2015, by Solomun
Hamburg music venues
Music venues come, music venues go... ask staff at the language school for their latest tips. Or just follow the thump, thump, thump in the evening air.