Stretching west of Hamburg’s centre, with the Elbe river as its southern border, Altona is a richly varied neighbourhood. The area’s Altona-Altstadt part, in the east, has some of the city’s prettiest architecture, including the grand Altona City Hall and the reconstructed Fish Auction Hall. The western Ottensen is a prime nightlife spot where hip clubs such as Fabrik, inside a former factory, please the area’s artists and young professionals. The neighbourhood’s large ethnic population also guarantees an abundance of international dining.
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On the western banks of Alster Lake, Harvestehude is one of Hamburg’s most genteel neighbourhoods. Grand rows of turn-of-the-century villas dominate the quiet, residential streets of the area, located just north of Hamburg’s centre. Alstervorland, a green stretch along the Alster Lake, draws joggers, walkers and cyclists. To the south is Rotherbaum, where the streets are alive with pubs, bookshops and an art house cinema, courtesy of Hamburg’s student population – the main campus of Hamburg’s university is just next door.
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Smart lakeside villas dominate the suburban Uhlenhorst, located on the western banks of Alster Lake, north of Hamburg’s centre. Although largely residential, the area is big on culture, hosting the Ernst Deutsch Theatre, the English Theatre and the Literature House am Schwanenwik, where authors regularly do readings. Around the lake restaurants serve gourmet fare as chic yachts glide by. The less-posh Hohenfelde, south of here, mixes modern residential streets and commercial blocks. Being only a few minutes from the centre makes this area a convenient base for exploring Hamburg.
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Located in central Hamburg’s east, the once seedy Saint Georg has become a vibrant, friendly place to visit. The action resolves around Lange Reihe, a colourful street packed with small boutiques, gay bars and hip cafés. Opposite Hamburg’s main train station, which connects the area to the airport, is the renowned Deutsches Schauspielhaus theatre. The close-by Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe is a leading museum for the applied arts. Hamburg’s Alster Lake is just up the road from here and a two-stop underground journey takes you to the grand City Hall and the city’s exclusive Neuer Wall shopping street.
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Saint Pauli is Hamburg’s prime nightlife district. The streets between Altona and Neustadt are packed with late-night bars, pubs, clubs and cabaret stages. The area’s most famous stretch, the Reeperbahn, is home to the city’s red-light district, but has long added family-friendly entertainment to the mix. The Beatles, who played some of their earliest shows here, are paid homage to at the Beatlemania Museum, while dusty old shops sell quirky antiques next door. Check the glitzy Schmidt Tivoli for cabaret and the dimly-lit Docks for live bands, or get a taste of Hamburg clubbing at Grosse Freiheit 36.
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