After Berlin, Hamburg is my favorite city in Germany. I’ve now been there a handful of times and discovered something new on each visit. So when I was invited by Hamburg Marketing to spend a weekend in the city, I jumped at the opportunity to go back there again.
About Hamburg’s Schanzenviertel Area
Despite being in Hamburg before, I’d never had a chance to deeply explore what’s considered to be one of the city’s most hip and trendy districts – Hamburg Schanzenviertel or simply, the “Schanze”(as it’s fondly called by locals). On the first day of our weekend there, I set out with a small group of bloggers, as well as a tour guide, to learn about the coolest things to do in this exciting and alternative area.
Since that trip, I’ve spent even more time in the city and have continued to update this guide.
Reminding me a whole lot of Berlin Kreuzberg, the Schanze is filled with plenty of boutiques, restaurants, bars, and cafés where you can shop from independent labels, attend intimate concerts, go to poetry readings, and well … feel as if you’re the coolest cat in the entire world.
The area was once a working-class neighborhood that attracted a lot of students and artists. Then, as with pretty much everywhere else in the world, the Schanzenviertel was swept up in a wave of gentrification that forever changed the landscape. Housing units were upgraded, rents rose significantly, and many people left the area as a result. While most of the old spirit has left, some of it firmly remains in place – it’s a culturally diverse neighborhood, there are loads of cheap dive bars, almost every wall is decorated with street art, and it’s still a hub of the “anti-establishment”. These days, locals favor this area over the tourist-filled and (ever-scandalous) Reeperbahn.
Just what are the coolest things to do around the Hamburg Schanzeviertel?
Things To Do In Hamburg Schanzenviertel
1) STAY: Fritz im Pyjama Hotel
Tucked away in the heart of the Schanzenviertel is the Fritz im Pyjama Hotel. Close to public transit, this small 17-room boutique hotel is decked out with a modern and trendy design, with each room being decorated in a unique flair and style. All rooms come with free wifi, a flat-screen TV, and complimentary tea and coffee. You can even order a small breakfast of bread and jams to be delivered to your room each morning. Best of all, some of the rooms have a small balcony where you can view all the fun happenings on the Schanzenstraße.
Minor downsides to staying here include the lack of air conditioning, the wifi signal being very weak in some places, and if you’re staying in a room facing the street, it’s quite noisy and hard to get a good night’s rest (they kindly supply ear plugs free of charge).
Who should stay at this hotel? Those who are young (or are young at heart), love design, and like to party and be close to all of the action.
Book Fritz im Pyjama Hotel now.
Location: Schanzenstraße 101/103, 20357
2) EAT: Braugasthaus Altes Mädchen
Braugasthaus Altes Mädchen is Hamburg’s largest craft beer brewery and restaurant. Altes Mädchen translates to “Old Girl”, a Freddy Quinn song which the owners took inspiration from and where the artist sings about his love for Hamburg and refers to the city as an old girl. Set in the historic Schanzen-Höfe next to Tim Mälzer’s Bullerei, locals pack this place to the brim every night. In summer, crowds tend to sit outside on the enormous patio while in winter, they warm up inside around the large wooden tables next to the fireplace.
Serving up locally made brews and 60 other craft beers from around the world, there’s a lot on the menu to get beer lovers excited. Of course with good beer, comes good food and you’ll find burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, fish cakes, rib-eye steaks, and other regional sandwiches with smoked eel or herring fillet. Bread is made onsite in a stone oven directly in front of the visitor’s eyes. Perhaps the greatest thing about the restaurant is the option to stop by their onsite store and shop from a wide assortment of craft beer.
Location: Lagerstraße 28B, 20357
3) EAT: Erika’s Eck
This popular family-run kneipe Erika’s Eck may very well be located in one of the city’s most trendy areas, but this restaurant in Hamburg Schanzenviertel deliberately sets out to be the opposite of trendy or cool. Open for more than 40 years, this unpretentious and down-to-earth place still retains an old-school vibe that hasn’t changed like the surrounding neighborhood. After being featured on TV and in newspapers and magazines, the place gets busy, so it’s suggested that you make a reservation if you want to have lunch or dinner here. Expect big portions on the cheap, like schnitzel, steak, shrimp sandwiches, salads, and more. All of the food, especially the meat, is super fresh as they buy it from the butcher next door.
Location: Sternstraße 98, 20357
4) SHOP: Salzbrenner
Another long-standing business in Hamburg Schanzenviertel is Salzbrenner, a local butcher shop that is rumored to sell the best sausages in all of Hamburg. Here you can purchase fresh sausages at a decent price – think Weißwurst, Bratwurst, Currybockwurst, and more. If you don’t fancy buying something to take home and cook, you can also stop by the shop for breakfast or lunch.
Location: Lagerstrasse 17, 20357
5) DRINK: Zoë 2 Sofa Bar
This café by day and dive bar by night takes shabby chic to the extreme, as it’s filled with tons of pre-loved comfortable sofas. Vintage lamps offer soft lighting and add to the overall living room atmosphere. Online reviews say that Zoë 2 Sofa Bar is the place to bring your Tinder dates. The cocktails are said to be average, but not too expensive. It gets especially full on Friday and Saturday evenings, so come here to people-watch and enjoy the cozy vibe.
Location: Neuer Pferdemarkt 17, 20359
6) EAT: Herr Max
If you’re watching your weight, Herr Max is a place you should avoid if you don’t want your waistline to massively expand. Yet, sometimes (or perhaps very often), you need to treat yourself. Not only is this rather pretty pastel-hued café with white tiling and old-fashioned furniture very Instagram-worthy, but so are their cakes, pies, tarts, and other pastries. You’ll find cheesecake, banana bread, brownies, ice cream, and homemade jam on the menu. They also serve a delicious breakfast. Everything’s baked in front in front of you using only organic ingredients. If you are really into baking, book yourself into one of their pastry courses.
Location: Schulterblatt 12, 20357
7) DRINK: Törnqvist
Not everyone’s going to like Törnqvist, as it feels like they’re trying a bit too hard with their pristine white minimalist interior and their employees all dressed in a black “uniform”. Yet if you’re a person who’s serious about coffee, this is the place to come. With only three drinks available, you can opt to have a flat white, a hand brew, and a shot. They only serve filtered coffee (no espresso whatsoever), absolutely no sugar, and will not cater to special requests.
Location: Neuer Pferdemarkt 12, 20359
8) EAT: Gaststätte Fisch Imbiss
Gaststätte Fisch Imbiss might be a tiny and casual Imbiss, but it’s where many locals come to get fresh seafood in the Hamburg Schanzenviertel. A very popular lunch option, a line long lineup forms daily where people wait to see the fish cooling on ice, then thrown on a grill and cooked in front of them. Most dishes come with fried potatoes and a small salad. Seating is limited (especially in winter), so it may be a good idea to take your meal to go. In warmer weather, if you’re lucky, you may be able to score a seat outside on one of their few tables.
Location: Schulterblatt 60, 20357
9) SHOP: Bruno´s Käseladen
If there’s a place to be treasured in Hamburg, look no further than Bruno’s Käseladen. Closing in on 70 years, Bruno still happily works in the shop serving new and loyal customers. He’s one of the only retailers in the area who survived the wave of gentrification that took over the Schanzenviertel in recent years. Come here to not only buy cheese but to sit in the restaurant for a hearty meal. Classics are the goat cheese salad, Flammkuchen, and tarte flambé. Expect reasonable prices and friendly service.
Location: Schulterblatt 60, 20357
10) EAT: Bistro La Famille
This cheap and cheerful French restaurant is renowned in Hamburg for its vast selection of over 50+ croques and crepes. You can get the latter in both sweet and savory flavors. Bistro La Famille serves only fresh food and everything’s made to order, so expect it to take a while for your food to be served. The restaurant’s also vegan-friendly and has a nice garden terrace in the back.
Location: Schulterblatt 62, 20357
11) EAT: Schmitt Foxy Food
This fast food establishment is famous for its locally sourced organic sausage and its super tasty french fries. Unexpectedly vegan-friendly, Schmitt Foxy Food is the place to come for a quick bite before moving on elsewhere.
Location: Susannenstraße 1, 20357
12) VISIT: Rote Flora
Once a grand theater with a concert hall, ballroom, garden, and coffee parlor, the Rote Flora was turned into a department store after the Second World War. At the end of the 1980s, a developer planned to transform the building into a concert hall but was met with fierce opposition from locals. Multiple protests were held, with some even leading to violence. The resistance, coupled with a need to have police protection on-site caused the developer to cancel the project. The Rote Flora has been officially squatted since November 1, 1989, and functions as an independent cultural center that plays host to cultural and left-wing political events. It’s financed solely on donations and fundraisers and they do not accept any corporate or government funding of any kind. The heavily graffitied building has a skate park in the back, a bike repair shop, and the Antifa Café. It also remains a controversial site and was a “hotspot” during the 2017 G20 summit.
Location: Achidi-John-Platz 1, 20357
13) VISIT: Flora Park
Admittedly it’s not the nicest or greenest park in Hamburg, but Flora Park an interesting place to hang out all the same. A bit like Berlin’s Görlitzer Park, it’s saddled with a somewhat bad reputation because of the number of drug dealers who hang out there. Really, it’s safe and not so bad. Located directly behind the Rote Flora, the park contains a playground, a climbing wall, and loads of beautiful street art worth checking out.
Location: Juliusstraße 22, 22769
14) EAT: Frank Und Frei
Frank Und Frei is a basic, no-nonsense type of restaurant with a decent and cheap brunch on weekends that runs from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. It’s usually crowded and service is slow, yet worth it for the food and relaxed atmosphere.
Location: Schanzenstraße 93, 20357
15) EAT: La Sepia
Feast on Portuguese seafood at this highly popular restaurant, La Sepia. Try some of their classic dishes like the grilled octopus, Dorade Royale, or cod fish.
Location: Neuer Pferdemarkt 16, 20359
16) SHOP: Underpressure Hip Hop Store
This was probably one of my favorite stores in the Hamburg Schanzenviertel. I felt like I was cool, just because I’d visited the store! Underpressure is full of graphic t-shirts, sneakers, vinyl, literature, and even, supplies for street artists.
Location: Schanzenstraße 10, 20357
17) SHOP: Wein & Boules
In this socially distanced age, you may just want to purchase some really good wine and drink it in the comfort of your own home or hotel, or maybe take a picnic in a local park. Wein and Boules are there to help, so stop at this store, which has been around for more than 25 years, and trust their expert employees to help you select a perfect wine that suits your tastes.
Location: Schanzenstraße 14, 20357
18) DRINK: Kaffeekontor
Stop at Kaffeekontor for a coffee, naturally. Sit back and relax in one of their plush comfy chairs and plot out your Hamburg adventures. Online reviewers recommend trying out their super yummy apple pie or their tiramisu.
Location: Schanzenstraße 14, 20357
19) EAT: Taverna Plaka
Another great place to visit in the Hamburg Schanzenviertel? Get your Greek on at Taverna Plaka. Indulge in some tasty food at this welcoming place loved by locals, who come back time and time again. Guests highly praise the Greek wine, homemade Tzatziki, and baked sheep’s cheese.
Location: Schanzenstraße 25, 20357
20) SHOP: Paul & Piske Modedesign
Paul & Piske Modedesign is the place to shop if you’re looking for bold, colorful, contemporary clothing and accessories designed in Hamburg. During these times, it’s more important than ever to shop locally, so pay a visit to this lovely place.
Location: Schanzenstraße 31, 20357
21) SHOP: Kögel Pflanzenmarkt
I don’t know about you right now, but plants and flowers are giving me life. Ever since the lockdown was implemented in Germany and I’ve been spending more time at home, I’ve turned my flat into a heavenly oasis. For locals in the Hamburg Schanzenviertel, look no further than Kögel Pflanzenmarkt to pick through loads of plant and flower options.
Location: Schanzenstraße 47-49, 20357
22) EAT: Café Kostbar
Visit to Café Kostbar for a fun meal with friends, be it lunch, breakfast, or dinner. Chow down on a burger, drink fresh fruit juices, sip a sehr lecker coffee, or get healthy with a fruity porridge brunch.
Location: Susannenstrasse 36, 20357
23) EAT: Petisco
Petisco is another Portuguese food option in the Hamburg Schanzenviertal. Come here for a drink of wine or beer on a hot day, or a small bite of tapas with friends. Note, that it tends to be crowded, so La Sepia (noted above) may be a better option if you’d like to see more social distancing.
Location: Schulterblatt 78, 20357
24) EAT: Hatari Pfälzer Stube
Hatari Pfälzer Stube is the place that you want to have dinner at if you’re craving a burger or traditional German food like Spätzle. This casual restaurant with its friendly staff is usually pretty crowded, so get there early to be seated and have a leisurely meal.
Location: Schanzenstraße 2-4, 20357
25) SHOP: SU – STORE
For those of you who consider retail therapy their favorite “sport”, SU – STORE, this concept shop in the Hamburg Schanzenviertel is filled with tons of labels like Levis, Sisters Point, and Derbe to name a few.
Location: Susannenstraße 3, 20357
Not Far From the Hamburg Schanzenviertel: Things To Do In The Nearby Karolinenviertel
1) SHOP: Flohschanze
One of the most iconic flea markets in the city, the Flohschanze has been in business since 2000. Open every Saturday from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, people flock to this market for new and second-hand items like books, records, clothing, jewelry, bicycles, and even furniture. True bargain hunters arrive as early in the day as possible to nab the very best deals. As the market’s covered, it’s open year-round. If you’re hungry after all of that shopping, stroll to one of the nearby cafés for something to eat or drink.
Location: Neuer Kamp 30, 20357
2) CLUB: Knust
Knust is a popular live music venue in Hamburg that attracts well-known performers. Concerts here are held in an intimate setting, with top-notch lighting and sound systems, and the seating plan guarantees excellent lines of sight from all vantage points. The best is getting a space on the balcony with direct views of the stage. Knust also screens FC St Pauli and other major soccer games. Come summer, the outdoor patio spills over with locals drinking beer and enjoying the warm evenings.
Location: Neuer Kamp 30, 20357
3) EAT: Underdocks
Underdocks is a new addition to the Hamburg food scene. Following the street food trend, the owners of the restaurant set out to reinvent the city’s classic fish sandwiches. Their signature dish is a butter-soaked lobster roll. Other notable dishes include pulled salmon tacos, different types of ceviche, and other rolls with sardines, king prawns, and crayfish. Worth mentioning are their sweet potato fries. The decor is modern and cool, with a container wall and old piping being used for lighting. There’s also a small, flower-filled terrace in the back.
Location: Neuer Kamp 13, 20359
4) SHOP: HANSEPLATTE
HANSEPLATTE is fully stocked with loads of vinyl and books about local musicians, as well as other miscellaneous items like hats, postcards, and unique card games. While there, I picked up some postcards and a feminist pin.
Location: Neuer Kamp 32, 20357
5) SHOP: Smallville Records
Hit up Smallville Records to get your fill of techno, house, and electronic vinyl. Open since 2005, this well-known record shop is considered to be one of the best around.
Location: Neuer Kamp 32, 20357
6) EAT: In guter Gesellschaft
In keeping with their green ethos, “Because earth is beautiful” is etched on the walls of the café, In guter Gesellschaft. This is Germany’s first zero waste café! Soak up the minimalist vibe and come here to sample their coffee, vegan cakes, and more, while quietly reading a book or socializing with friends.
Location: Sternstraße 25, 20357
7) SHOP: cohen + dobernigg BUCHHANDEL
If you’re an avid reader like me, bookshops are a must-visit whenever you’re traveling or at home. Check out cohen + dobernigg BUCHHANDEL, which features rare books, with the main focus being narrative literature. If you don’t speak German, there’s no need to fret, as they have a small selection of English books as well.
Recommended reading: Read my review of other bookshops around the world, like this one in Detroit with more than 1,000,000 used books in stock, this one in Venice where books are loaded into gondalas, and this Instagram worthy shop in Bucharest.
Location: Sternstrasse 4, 20357
Also Not Far From the Hamburg Schanzenviertel: Things To Do In The Nearby Sankt Pauli
1) DRINK: Kaffee Stark
This incredibly chilled independent café and bar is a favored local spot for brunch or just a simple coffee or glass of wine. It’s easy to spend hours at Kaffee Stark working away on your laptop or having a deep conversation with friends.
Location: Wohlwillstrasse 18, 20359
2) DRINK: Möwe Sturzflug
Möwe Sturzflug is one of the best places in Sankt Pauli for drinks. This relaxed fun dive bar is known for playing good techno and electronic music, friendly staff, and creative cocktails.
Location: Clemens-Schultz-Straße 96, 20359
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How do you like our list of cool things to do around Hamburg Schanzenviertel? Have we missed any good spots? Share your tips with our readers and comment below!
Locations In The Hamburg Schanzenviertel
Experience the best of the Hamburg Schanzenviertel by downloading this custom Google Map to spend your time cherylhoward.com style, featuring all of the places mentioned above.
Good to Know About The Hamburg Schanzenviertel
1) Hamburg makes for the perfect weekend trip away from Berlin. Go there by train, bus, or car:
- Taking the train to Berlin is the easiest and most comfortable way. Most trains will get there in less than two hours. Roundtrip second-class tickets on an ICE train start at around €60.
- A bus ride will be cheaper with most roundtrip tickets costing you about €35. The journey will take longer though, around three hours or so.
- Driving from Hamburg to Berlin will take a little less than four hours, depending on traffic conditions and the chosen route. If you’re road-tripping through Germany, rent a car.
2) Hamburg is a fairly large city at 755 square kilometers. While it will be impossible to walk everywhere, why not rent a bike or take their very efficient public transit system? Do the planet and the environment a favor and skip driving or taking taxis. Another easy way to get around is by renting an electric scooter from Lime, or another company. See more information on Wikitravel.
3) As Germany is part of the European Union, they use the Euro:
- Check xe.com to find out how your local currency fares against the Euro.
- Germany is a country ruled by cash and many places won’t accept any form of card payments. Some may only accept Maestro and not credit cards. Do yourself a favor, and grab some cash at a local bank machine. This has somewhat improved because of the coronavirus, but it won’t hurt to have cash on you.
- If you do pay by card, you’ll be asked which currency you want to pay in – choose to pay in the local currency (Euros), as you’ll save money on the exchange rate.
4) Book a place to stay while you’re in Hamburg.Booking.com
5) Read some of my other reviews of high-end accommodation options in Hamburg:
- Germany Hotels: 25hours Hotel Altes Hafenamt Hamburg – 25hours Hotel Altes Hafenamt Hamburg, a design hotel set in a historic maritime building, is the perfect haven for style-loving travelers.
- Germany Hotels: Gastwerk Hotel Hamburg – Gastwerk Hotel Hamburg is the city’s first design hotel. Set in a historical building with luxurious & modern touches, it’s a perfect escape for travelers.
6) Get out of Hamburg Schanzenviertel and check out some of these other things to do in Hamburg.
7) Love Germany as much as I do? Browse through my archive or check out some of my favourite posts:
- An Afternoon Walk Through the City: Frankfurt Photos – Spending an afternoon exploring the German financial capital, these Frankfurt photos highlight the modern skyline, the museum embankment, Old Town, & more.
- Berlin Christmas Market Guide: WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt – If you’re looking to experience a Christmas market in Berlin, then visit the atmospheric WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt in the heart of the city.
- River Surfing in Munich Germany, A Landlocked City – Far from any coastline, a curious event can be found in Munich’s city center. Observe bold athletes river surfing in Munich, Germany.
9) Have you ever been to Düsseldorf? Find inspiration by reading this guide about how to best spend your time in Düsseldorf.
Disclosure – In order to offer personal insight about what to do when visiting Hamburg, I worked with Hamburg Marketing and Housing Anywhere. As always, any opinions expressed here are entirely my own. This post also contains some affiliate links. If you book a tour or hotel, I’ll earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!