Altstadt

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Altstadt - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Alster Lakes

    Altstadt

    The twin lakes of the Binnenalster (Inner Alster) and Aussenalster (Outer Alster) provide Hamburg with some of its most celebrated vistas. The two lakes meet at the Lombard and Kennedy bridges. The boat landing at Jungfernstieg, below the Alsterpavillon, is the starting point for lake and canal cruises. Small sailboats and rowboats, rented from yards on the shores of the Alster, are very much a part of the summer scene. Every Hamburger dreams of living within sight of the Alster, but only the wealthiest can afford it. Those that can't still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the waterfront, however, and the outer Alster is ringed by 7 km (4½ miles) of tree-lined public pathways. Popular among joggers, these paths are also a lovely place for a stroll.

  • 2. Chilehaus

    Altstadt

    Almost 5 million bricks went into the construction of this marvelous building at the heart of the Kontorhausviertel, a collection of handsome office buildings that were built in the 1920–40s and now, together with the nearby Speicherstadt, form a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in a brick expressionist style in 1924 for expat Brit Henry Brarens Sloman, who emigrated to Chile from Hamburg as a young man, made a considerable fortune trading saltpeter and returned to the city to make his mark, the Chilehaus stands 10 stories high and its impressive, jutting tip resembles the prow of a ship. Still housing business offices, it also counts a number of small cafés, shops, and a bar as residents, and is well worth a visit, particularly at night when illuminated.

    Fischertwiete 2
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  • 3. Deichstrasse

    Altstadt

    The oldest residential area in the Old Town of Hamburg now consists of lavishly restored houses from the 17th through the 19th century. Many of the original, 14th-century houses on Deichstrasse were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1842, which broke out in No. 38 and left approximately 20,000 people homeless; only a few of the early dwellings escaped its ravages. These days the narrow cobblestone street is flanked by a number of lovely little restaurants specializing in fish or German cuisine, which have taken residence inside its historic buildings.

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  • 4. Rathaus

    Altstadt

    To most Hamburgers, this impressive neo-Renaissance building is the symbolic heart of the city. The seat of the city's Senat (state government) and Bürgerschaft (parliament), it was constructed between 1886 and 1897, with 647 rooms and an imposing clock tower. Along with much of the city center, the Rathaus was heavily damaged during World War II but was faithfully restored to its original beauty in the postwar years, and it's now one of the most photographed sights in Hamburg. The 40-minute tours of the building (in English on demand) begin in the ground floor Rathausdiele, a vast pillared hall. Although visitors are shown only the state rooms, their tapestries, glittering chandeliers, coffered ceilings, and grand portraits give you a sense of the city's great wealth in the 19th century and the Town Hall's status as an object of civic pride. Outside, the Rathausmarkt (Town Hall Square) is the site of regular festivals and events, including the annual Stuttgarter Wine Festival and the city's biggest Christmas market.

    Rathausmarkt 1
    - 040 - 42831–2064

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; tours €5
  • 5. Deichtorhallen Hamburg

    Altstadt

    A pair of large market halls built in 1911–12, not far from the main train station, now house two of Germany's largest exhibitions of contemporary art and photography—one in each building. The modern, airy interiors of the Hall for Contemporary Art resemble an oversize loft space, and its changing exhibits have presented the works of such artists as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Joan Miró. You may buy tickets for a single hall or both for a surcharge.

    Deichtorstr. 1–2
    - 040 - 321–030

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €13, Closed Mon.
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  • 6. Hamburger Kunsthalle

    Altstadt

    One of the most important art museums in Germany, the Kunsthalle has 3,500 paintings, 650 sculptures, and a coin and medal collection that includes exhibits from the ancient Roman era. In the postmodern, cube-shaped building designed by Berlin architect O.M. Ungers, the Galerie der Gegenwart has housed a collection of international modern art since 1960, including works by Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Georg Baselitz, and David Hockney. With 1,200 drawings and other works, graphic art is well represented, including works by Pablo Picasso and Horst Janssen, a Hamburg artist famous for his satirical worldview. In the other areas of the museum, you can view works by local artists dating from the 16th century. The outstanding collection of German Romantic paintings includes pieces by Caspar David Friedrich. Paintings by Holbein, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Tiepolo, and Canaletto are also on view, while late-19th-century Impressionism is represented by works by Leibl, Liebermann, Manet, Monet, and Renoir. Reduced admission from 5 pm until 6 pm (Thursdays 9 pm).

    Glockengiesserwall, Hamburg, Hamburg, 20095, Germany
    040-4281–31200

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €14, Closed Mon.
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  • 7. Mahnmal St. Nikolai

    Altstadt

    Burned down during the air raids of World War II, the ruins of the neo-Gothic church serve as a memorial for the victims of war and persecution from 1933 to 1945. The museum features an exhibition on the air raids and the destruction of Hamburg and other European cities. A glass elevator on the outside of the building takes visitors 250 feet up to the steeple, which offers magnificent views of the surrounding historic streets.

    Willy-Brandt-Str. 60 at Hopfenmarkt
    - 040 - 371–125

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €5
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  • 8. Mönckebergstrasse

    Altstadt

    This broad street of shops, which cuts through the city's Altstadt, is one of Hamburg’s major thoroughfares. Built between 1908 and 1911 to connect the main train station to the town hall, but only open to taxis and buses, the street is perfect for a stroll. Home to the Karstadt department store, electronics megastore Saturn, mindblowing buildings such as the Levante Passage, as well as a host of global brand stores from Adidas to Zara, it swells with local and out-of-town shoppers on Saturday and public holidays. The best cafés and restaurants tend to be found on side streets off Mönckebergstrasse, where the rents for shop space are generally not as high.

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  • 9. Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

    Altstadt

    The museum houses a wide range of exhibits, from 15th- to 18th-century scientific instruments to an art nouveau interior complete with ornaments and furnishings. Its founder, Justus Brinckmann, amassed a wealth of unusual objects, including ceramics from around the world.

    Steintorpl.
    - 040 - 4281–34880

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12, Closed Mon.
  • 10. St. Jacobi Kirche

    Altstadt

    This 15th-century church was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Only the interiors survived, and reconstruction was completed in 1963. The interior is not to be missed—it houses such treasures as a massive baroque organ and three Gothic altars from the 15th and 16th centuries.

    Jacobikirchhof 22
    - 040 - 303–7370

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 11. St. Katharinen Kirche

    Altstadt

    Founded in 1250 and completed in 1660, this house of worship was severely damaged during World War II, but has since been carefully reconstructed. The interior was once dotted with plaques honoring different people, but only two of the epitaphs remain.

    Katharinenkirchhof 1
    - 040 - 3037–4730

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; guided tours €6
  • 12. St. Petri Kirche

    Altstadt

    This church was created in 1195 and has been in continuous use since then. St. Petri is the only one of the five main churches in Hamburg that came out of World War II relatively undamaged. The current building was built in 1849, after the previous building burned down in the Great Fire of 1842. Every Wednesday at 5:15 pm is the Stunde der Kirchenmusik, an hour of liturgical organ music.

    Bei der Petrikirche 2
    - 040 - 325–7400

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri. 10–6:30, Wed. 10–7, Sat. 10–5, Sun. 9–8. Tower Mon.–Sat. 11–4:30, Sun. 11:30–4:30. Tours 1st Thurs. of month at 12:30; 3rd Thurs. at 3; and 1st Sun. at 11:30, Free

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