Hamburg: An itinerary for the perfect cheapo night out
A long night out in Hamburg doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. Germany’s “Hafenstadt” (port city) offers a number of fun, free evening diversions that, accented with select stops for food and drinks, will leave you with plenty of travel funds left over for the next day’s adventures.
This tour takes you on an after-dark adventure that includes a fantastic happy hour deal, a picnic in a park with a free concert, a night cap with a handcrafted cocktail and even a sunrise over the harbor for the true night owls.
Start your evening with a beer or cocktail at the iconic Turmbar (Rothenbaumchausse 2) located a short distance from Dammtor train station. Choose between their unique indoor seating (up a winding staircase to the top of the tower) or enjoy the late afternoon sun on their outdoor terrace.
Happy hour runs daily from 6 to 8 PM, when select “bartender’s choice” cocktails are on offer for only €5.50-6.50.
Enjoy an early evening picnic in Planten un Blomen. Photo: Timo H.
From here, cross back through the train station into Hamburg’s gorgeous Planten un Blomen Park. Meander through the various gardens and ponds, ultimately making your way to the grassy areas north of the central lake. Spread out your sheet as close to the water as possible and enjoy your picnic dinner (see details at the end of the article for finding provisions).
This area will begin to fill up about 30 minutes before the free nightly lighted water organ concert. Between May 1 and August 31, the concerts begin at 10 PM; between September 1 and October 5, concerts start at 9 PM. Each concert lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.
Early birds will want to exit the park at its southernmost end, near U-St. Pauli. From here, continue southward on Millerntorplatz until you reach the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s famed red-light district.
Halfway down the Reeperbahn, you’ll come to Spielbudenplatz, a public plaza that hosts events throughout the year. Wednesday nights you will want to check out the St. Pauli Night Market that offers a great mix of food and drinks. Locals come to mingle, sip a drink and enjoy a night out under the open skies. It runs until 11 PM from April through September and until 10 PM from October through May.
Strolling along the boulevard, you will eventually come to Peparmölenbek. Head downhill toward the Fischmarkt, turning left on Lange Str., then right on Pinnasberg.
Christiansen’s is where to get a perfectly shaken cocktail fix. Photo: Courtesy of Christiansen’s.
Just beyond the large curve, you’ll find Christiansen’s (Pinnasberg 60), one of Hamburg’s top addresses for cocktails. Finish your evening with a nightcap here, where the drinks (ordered from a menu that goes on for days) are a worthy splurge.
You can make your way home either by catching a ferry from the Fischmarkt (below) back toward the center (S-/U-Landungsbrücken) or walking back to S-Reeperbahn. But do you really want to go home already? Keep reading…
Hamburg Fischmarkt at night. Photo: Martin Schmid
Once you’ve finished your drink at Christiansen’s (open until 5 AM on Saturday nights), it’s a short stumble down the hill to the must-see Fischmarkt (Große Elbstraße 137), which is open on Sundays only at 5 AM (April to October) and 7 AM (from November until March).
Here you can warm yourself with a fresh waffle and coffee (or another beer and fresh fish sandwich, if that’s more your speed). Then dive into the entertaining tumult of ware hawkers and buyers, or simply grab a seat at the adjacent ferry station and enjoy the sunrise over the harbor.
Looking for even more ideas? Then night owls will want to hit up two of Hamburg’s coolest neighborhoods packed with restaurants, cafes and bars. You can check out our Schanze and Karo guide or simply try your luck at any place that tickles your fancy.
Got the late-night munchies? As last call echoes through the Schanze, you can always find safe harbor at Erika’s Eck (Sternstraße 98). Famous for its generous portions of filling German food, Erika’s begins breakfast service each day at midnight. Here, the nighttime special is a large variety of sandwiches, priced at just €1 each.
Before you set out on your adventure, you might want to bring a long a few helpful items. Pack along a flat sheet from your hotel, and stock up on picnic supplies at your nearest grocery store. Convenient and central supermarkets are the Edeka at Hauptbahnhof (inside the station above the trains, open daily from 7 AM to 11 PM) and Lidl at Altona train station (on the middle level between the train and S-Bahn platforms, open Monday-Saturday 7 AM to 10 PM, Sundays 10 AM to 8 PM).
Cash will also come in handy, as many small bars and restaurants do not take credit cards.