There’s nothing like ringing in the New Year with friends who have no shame dancing the night away with old high school moves, bottles of bubbly endlessly flowing, that glittery dress you were holding onto for the perfect occasion, sneaking a midnight kiss as your honey holds you tight… and a shit load of fireworks going off as you walk down Jungfernstieg. Yes, it’s just as frightening as it sounds, but also super fun.
In this blog, I share my adventures on New Year’s in Hamburg, Germany. Hopefully they inspire you to take a trip to Hamburg too!
Adventures on New Year’s in Hamburg, Germany
After the German Christmas markets start to wind down one by one and the holiday shoppers fade away, a new kind of crazy ensues… I’m talkin’… New Years in Hamburg, Germany ya’ll. But, don’t worry, there are still some Christmas markets still open after Christmas, which I’ll share later.
Once upon a time, I met a German guy while living in Boston. We ended up dating and before you know it, Christmas was around the corner. Well, having said German boyfriend meant occasionally, a trip to his homeland was in order, which meant, I got to go with him.
In fact, it’s where my international travel adventures began. You better believe I was excited for my first time out of the country!
Experiencing Deutschland in all its twinkly, holiday hazed glory is a very special experience… It’s the only regret I don’t have during that period… Just kidding, he and I may have not worked out, but we’re still the best of friends.
Getting to Hamburg
If you’re traveling in Germany and anywhere in Europe really, you can pretty much always rely on the train to get you from Point A to B. Not only is it convenient, but really affordable compared to the US.
We flew into Dusseldorf airport, where we would stay with his family at their home in a nearby town. From there, we’d take a train from Essen to Hamburg for New Year’s.
Hamburg Hauptbahnhof is the city’s main railway station, which around half a million people pass through every single day. Imagine that!
The train station has a very grand feel to it with its epic hall and high glass ceilings. I later learned that it’s Germany’s largest unsupported station hall.
We explored further and found a lot of shops and places to grab snacks. I loved how festive the train station was for the holidays.
Looking from our hotel window later that night, we got a better look at just how big and imposing the train station really is. It had a good vibe to it at night.
Book your train to Germany here.
After stepping outside in Hamburg, I felt an immediate chill in the air. I’ll admit, at first, it wasn’t the prettiest site. It had been raining so the atmosphere looked very wet, grey and dreary.
Just a quick taxi ride and we were at our hotel. The drive was really pretty despite the foggy weather.
It was nice to check into our hotel and relax a bit after the train ride. But, we couldn’t rest for too long! We were only in Hamburg for a few nights and wanted to make the most of it!
What to Do in Hamburg, Germany
Stroll around the city and enjoy its historic architecture, stop into a local coffee shop or book store, grab a bite at a cozy cafe, catch a performance at Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg’s concert hall, hit a museum, go shopping on Mönckebergstrasse, get lost in one of the many art galleries around such as Hamburg Art Hall (“Hamburger Kunsthalle”).
Popular Tourist Spots in Hamburg to Check Out
Take a look into Hamburg’s past at Deichstrasse, the only area in the city that hasn’t been wrecked by war and fires.
Then, walk or take a canal boat ride to Speicherstadt, the warehouse district of Germany in the Port of Hamburg also known as Hamburger Hafen or “Hafen City”.
Here in Speicherstadt, you’ll find a lot of brick… the district has the most warehouses in the world. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With over 2,500, Hamburg has the most bridges of any city in the world!
The harbor is known as the gateway to Germany and is totally postcard worthy. This is where you’ll find The Water Castle nestled in the middle of Wandrahmsfleet Bridge. No doubt you won’t be able to step into a tourist shop without finding some sort of souvenir with this bridge on it. It’s one of the most famous in the world.
Christmas Markets Open in Hamburg After Christmas
If you missed Christmas in Germany, no worries. You’ll still find a few Christmas markets that are open after Christmas. When you’re finished exploring the Speicherstadt area, get a cup of something hot & yummy at one of the various Winter markets open like the nearby HafenCity at Überseequartier, a Wintery affair on the harbor.
Then, enjoy the holiday splendor of the streets by walking around Hamburg, which has no shortage of twinkly lights lighting up the city. Check out Neuer Wall.
Then, it’s time to get your party on. You’re here for New Years after all.
How to Spend New Year’s in Hamburg Germany
For an evening of fun, food and fireworks, we chose ALEX Restaurant in Hamburg, who threw a massive New Year’s Eve party complete with a buffet, music and balcony access overlooking Binnenalster with great views of Alster Fountain (Alsterfontäne) in the distance. It felt like we had a front row show to the fireworks!
I really liked the ambience of the place. There were colorful lights, a sleek interior and a really good vibe.
As you can see, I had such a blast with my friends! We were dancing and eating the night away. We also liked getting silly in their photo booth.
As it was approaching midnight, we took our places outside on the balcony and enjoyed fireworks, cheersing with each other, to an amazing night. I remember thinking that it would be hard to top this New Year’s in Hamburg. It was such a memorable experience.
I highly recommend ALEX’s for your New Years Eve in Hamburg. Book your tickets here.
Walking down the street was freaking crazy. You couldn’t turn a block without there being fireworks set up on the sidewalk and streets. Everyone in Hamburg was enjoying the vibes of the night.
If you still have the party bug left in you… don’t end the night there.
Keep the Party Going in the Red Light District
If you ask a baby boomer, they’ll probably tell you Hamburg is most known for its Red Light District, which is where The Beatles rolled onto the scene in the 60s.
Hamburg’s Red Light District (“Reeperbahn Tour”), possesses a particularly grungey vibe to it with British rock band posters lining the windows of dive bars and kinky nightclubs and stores. You’ll also find no shortage of erotic museums, burlesque theaters, among other things…
Check out Große Freiheit which, if you’ve been to New Orleans, is the French Quarter of Hamburg.
Hamburg’s Red Light District is the biggest in Europe. Women and minors are banned from entering the main street, Herbertstraße.
The best part about this district on New Year’s is that its the ultimate scene to keep the partying going after the clock strikes 12. For the adult crowd, there are stripclubs, live music venues, nightclubs, bars both upscale and divey… and more, explore at your own risk.. and don’t say I didn’t warn ya. 😉
Where to Eat in Hamburg, Germany
By now, you’ve probably worked up an appetite. There are lots of restaurants with traditional German fare serving bratwurst and beer in steins. Hamburg is also Germany’s largest port city so, you’ll also find a lot of seafood restaurants with fresh catches from the harbor.
- Schifferbörse Restaurant
If you only have time for 1 restaurant, let it be this one. Not only do they serve delicious traditional German cuisine, you can also enjoy the restaurant’s ship theme which is reminiscent of the port city it resides in. I felt like I was dining in a ship! The food is also delicious!
Other Traditional German Restaurants:
- BUDDELS Gasthaus und Weinbar
- Jellyfish (Michelin star)
Where to Stay in Hamburg, Germany
To be central, we decided to stay in the city’s center at Radisson Blu and then we switched to Curio by Hilton.
I thought they had a nice hotel. The room had a nice view of Hamburg and the room had an interesting design with the bathroom visible to the person in the room, which I thought was a bit kinky, haha. Not sure what the point of that was.
This was my favorite hotel we stayed at in Hamburg. Curio hotels by Hilton are typically more upscale and have a nice atmosphere. This hotel had a Patrician style and was elegant yet also had a bit of a vintage vibe in the lobby with historic newspapers on the walls. I really liked our room as well which had a bathtub, luxury amenities and comfortable beds. Not to mention breakfast which was a pretty epic spread. The Europeans always know how to put on a big hotel breakfast.
I would highly recommend this hotel for your Hamburg stay.
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That’s a Wrap!
I hope you enjoyed my adventures on New Year’s in Hamburg Germany and got some ideas. If you ever get to take a trip to Hamburg for yourself, don’t miss out on the opportunity to try as many things and explore as many places as you can. Each part of the city is unique in its own way.
Frohes neues Jahr or, Happy New Year as the Germans say!
Have you spent the holidays in Germany? Would you go? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you so much for being apart of this journey with me! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.
Until next time… keep it real.
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