Hamburg Nightlife Guide has been written our Germany and Netherlands content specialist – Alara Benlier. This post has been further expanded by the editor.
Young, hip, and fun – those are just some words that can describe the “Gateway to the World”, aka Hamburg. Located along the River Elbe, this radiant city has the second busiest harbor in Europe.
Over the years, Hamburg went through a lot of big historical moments. The city’s largest part was destroyed during World War II, but its historical value has been preserved. And today, the city is one of the main cultural hubs in the World. In my opinion, it is Germany’s most interesting city.
Hamburg has a lot to offer if you are someone who has a colorful mind and wild at heart. In Hamburg, you can unearth your creative soul by day and dance like there’s no tomorrow at night. Not only that, Hamburg’s green cityscape with its 2,500 bridges, expressionist architecture, and spectacular botanical gardens will make you never want to leave the city.
Does Hamburg Have a Good Nightlife?
Enough about what Hamburg is all about, let me come to the point. The nightlife in Hamburg is insane! If you don’t believe me, believe the statistics, because Hamburg is ranking higher than Amsterdam, Berlin, and Barcelona when it comes to nightlife!
As per a survey by Hostelworld, Hamburg’s nightlife is really the best in Europe.
Filled with amazing music venues, wild nightclubs, interesting exhibitions, techno concerts, and cultural events, you can find something for every taste. What’s better is that there’s a typical Hamburg-style thing to do right after the party in the early morning hours. I won’t spill all the beans here, but you can read about this in the “Party like a Local” section.
Whatever your idea of fun, Hamburg seems to have always the right alternatives, both day and night. This young and multicultural city is definitely suitable for all ages and all budgets, with many cheap (some even free!) alternatives.
Not just Europe, Hamburg is one of the best places in the world for an epic night out. With its outstanding bars and nightclubs for every budget, this lively port city offers a crazy night-out experience for every taste.
Whether with its famous red-light and party district of St Pauli (with wild Reeperbahn), or alternative Sternschanze, Hamburg offers one of the best experiences to everyone, no matter your gender or age.
Hamburg Nightlife Tips + Info
What Time Do the Clubs Close in Hamburg?
Germans love to party and their typical party starts and ends very late. It isn’t unusual for the bars to remain open till the wee hours of the morning. Nightclubs go a step further and in some places, the party really begins after 1 am.
Many bigger clubs (like Grosse Freiheit 36) aren’t open on all days of the week and are functional on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Most clubs remain open till 6:30 am on Friday and Saturday nights and till 4 am on
Which part of Hamburg has the best nightlife?
Everyone knows that the hub of nightlife in Hamburg is the St. Pauli district. It is my favorite part of Hamburg and is an important part of my Hamburg itinerary.
This district also contains Reeperbahn, which is Hamburg’s red-light district. Hamburg’s St. Pauli attracts tourists at any time of day or night, with a wide choice of entertainment for all tastes.
If you walk all the way through St.Pauli, you will reach the World-famous Reeperbahn, which is almost a kilometer-long road full of bars, nightclubs, theaters, and burlesque shows! If you are looking for alternative vibes, you have to check out the Sternschanze.
The best part is, it is just further from the Reeperbahn. With its entirely different atmosphere, you can enjoy many trendy cafés and cocktail bars. If you can’t choose where to party, here is the extensive Hamburg nightlife guide!
Most of Hamburg’s nightclubs can be found in bizarre but extremely cool locations. Even Hamburg’s famous river, the River Elbe, is a nightlife location with swimming bars and clubs in many fancy ships for party people! You can probably have fun anywhere in Hamburg, but there are some cult places that you shouldn’t be missing out on.
Where to Stay in Hamburg for Nightlife?
The best place to stay in Hamburg to experience the nightlife is Superbude St Pauli. You can get private rooms and dorm beds – whatever works for you. The place is hip, vibrant and completely matches the vibe of Hamburg. I can not think of a better place to stay in Hamburg than this.
The best part about Superbude is the location. It is directly in St. Pauli, you can walk for barely 2 minutes and you will reach the boho Sternschanze. If you walk in the other direction, you will reach the red light area – Reeperbahn. Want to know more? Read my blog post about my experience in Superbude.
Getting Around: Hamburg Public Transport
It’s very easy to travel within the city, that’s why the public transport in Hamburg is the most popular method of getting around. You can use the metro trains – S-Bahn and U-Bahn (underground) to reach literally anywhere. Buy a ticket at the Ticket Automat at the station and make sure you validate the ticket using the machines at the station before boarding.
There are also many frequent buses both during the day and night. So, you don’t have to worry about how to reach your accommodation, after a wild night out. A special night bus – “Nachtbus” connects the city centre with the far off districts.
Guess what – as of this year, you can also use Uber in Hamburg. If you didn’t know, Uber is an app that connects taxi drivers to passengers. Uber rides are much cheaper than normal cabs and you can easily call one using just the app on your phone.
Experience the Nightlife in Hamburg Like a Local
Before beginning this epic list of nightclubs, let’s talk about the inevitable truth about having a crazy night out, the next morning, aka hangovers. And trust me, even the locals have excruciating hangovers! But of course, Germans made even hangovers a tradition.
To experience Hamburg’s nightlife just like the locals, you have to go to “Der Fischmarkt” – the fish market, after partying. There, you will meet a lot of crazy party people.
While you’re in the Fischmarkt, be sure to eat the traditional bun with Fischfrikadelle, which is basically a fish cutlet with bread. It is yummy. (Or as Germans say, lecker). Oh, and let’s not forget the beer on the side! Not my personal hangover cure, but it is the tradition. So, when in Rome do as the Romans do!
Best time to visit Hamburg
Located in northern Germany, Hamburg tends to have a gloomy weather, so the best time to visit Hamburg is during the summer. Moreover, there are many street parties and open air festivals during summer. Some of the most famous street parties are Bergedorfer Stadtfest in Bergedorf, Osterstraßenfest in Eimsbüttel, and Schanzenfest in Schanzenviertel.
Open Air Festivals or Parties
A typical open air festival or a party is usually referred to as just “open air” in Germany. If you like rock music, you should check out the Wutzrock festival thats lasts for 3 days in August. Another notable festival is Vogelball, which literally just translates into “Bird Ball”. You can let your inner creativity show by dressing up in feathers. During easter, you can check out the Oster open air. Other open air festivals and parties are Wilhelmsburg, Come Dance, Humpty Dumpty and Dockville.
Hamburg Neighborhoods to Experience the Nightlife
St Pauli – the Nightlife hub
The famous red-light and party district, which is also known as St Pauli, is at the heart of Hamburg. During the day, this district is very cool, but here comes to life after midnight.
Did you know that the Beatlesmania actually started in Hamburg? It all began right here in St Pauli. With its erotic bars, sex shops, old sailors’ pubs, and hip discos, here offers something for everyone. It is great for every budget too, you can find many cheap student bars or fancy cocktail bars in every corner.
Just a quick tip: if you end up in an erotic bar, be careful about the ladies inside. They might charge you for a lot of stuff (like walking with you inside the bar, drinking with you, etc.)
Reeperbahn – the Sin Street
Along the calm Elbe river and located within St Pauli, Reeperbahn has always been a hot-spot for entertainment. This historic ropemakers’ district was a very popular destination for seamen, who were looking for some fun at night.
During the 1960s, the red light district turned into a very exciting spot for musicians as well. The legends like The Beatles, The Jets, and Rory Storm and The Hurricanes performed here. Today, you can still find many live-music venues, but also nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. If that is not enough, you can enjoy many art galleries, cabarets, and theatres!
Don’t have enough time to go through each of them? Well, then you have to check out the Panoptikum wax figure museum, the Beatles monument, Große Freiheit street, and Hans-Albers-Platz, or if you are only interested in drinking, you can simply join a pub crawl.
If you love outdoor concerts or markets, you also need to check out the Spielbudenplatz, which is a large square at the center of the Reeperbahn.
Also in late September, Reeperbahn hosts a massive festival full of amazing concerts, art exhibitions, and a music industry convention annually! This festival attracts around 25,000 visitors each year, so if you are visiting Hamburg in late September, you have to check out the amazing Reeperbahn Festival.
Sternschanze – the Boho Zone
Just a short walk from the Reeperbahn, you will be in an entirely different atmosphere, because the Sternschanze will salute you with its boho and leftist vibes. In here, you can check out the multicultural Karoviertel, which is known for its trendy cafés and cocktail bars.
Get yourself a yummy bite to eat, because the food here is more affordable than other areas. I recommend a place called Fischimbiss. You will most likely meet a lot of Erasmus students, and tourists here. If the weather is good, you can join the people who will be partying out on the streets too.
Best Hamburg Clubs & Bars
As per Lonely Planet, Hamburg’s party places can be broadly segregated into pubs, cafe-bars, cocktail bars, music bar, brewery bars, and nightclubs. We don’t want to confuse you with an exhaustive list, so here’s a short and curated list of best places to party in Hamburg:
Docks, St Pauli [Techno, House and R&B]
Opened in the early 1900s as a cinema with a capacity of more than 1500 people, today, the Docks is one of the most famous clubs in Hamburg. And not only the visitors love this crazy nightclub, but also the bands. The world-famous metal band Metallica called the Docks the “damn best club in the world” when they performed in 1997.
In this entrancing nightclub, you can enjoy Trance, Techno, House and R’n’B music every Friday and Saturday night. So, if you want to dance till the morning where some of the greatest music artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Black Sabbath have performed, then you have to check out the Docks!
Grosse Freiheit 36, Reeperbahn [Multi Sectional]
By far the most popular club in Hamburg is the world-famous Grosse Freiheit 36 club. This epic club is known as a real nightlife hub in Hamburg for years. With its extravagant live concerts, the Grosse Freiheit 36 has been attracting many party people for more than four decades. The club owes its fame to the epic band, the Beatles, which was also performed in this venue.
The Grosse Freiheit 36 has three separate sections; the Galerie 36, Kaiserkeller, and the Grosse Freiheit 36. The Galeria 36 is located on the upper floor and can be reached via its own entrance from the outside. In this section of the club, you will find a cocktail bar and exciting art exhibitions. You can enjoy many delicious cocktails and shop for amazing art pieces, while listening to exotic Latin music.
The second section is the Kaiserkeller. This is where the epic band, the Beatles have performed for 6 hours. Today, the concert stage of the Great Freedom 36 offers a forum for young musicians. With a good mixture of gothic, metal, rock, hip-hop and chart parties, the Kaiserkeller turns into a popular party location at the weekend.
Last but not least, Große Freiheit 36! You might have heard the name of the club from the famous movie called “Große Freiheit Nr. 7” from director Hans Albers. But today, with over 100 concerts annually, various wild parties and event programs, here is one of the best-known clubs both in Germany and internationally.
Golden Pudel Club, St. Pauli [Underground]
Golden Pudel is small underground club that’s right next to the fish market (Der Fischmarkt) in St. Pauli. This place is for serious party goers who can handle being in a small room that’s packed with people. This place is open almost everyday till 6 am in the morning.
This club has quite a history. It was once a smugglers’ prison and later turned into an underground club. The building caught fire and it was non operational for many years but then it reopened.
Südpol, Süd Hamburg [Techno]
Love techno? Then Südpol is the place for you. Many say it is the best techno club in Hamburg and has the most amazing atmosphere. Just like Berlin’s Berghain, the queues outside Südpol can be extremely long. It isn’t very easy to get inside, so make sure you’re not overly drunk and overdressed – else you may be denied entry.
If you somehow manage to enter, congratulations – you’re one of the few. At the point of entry, your cell phone camera will be taped by the security to ensure you do not click photos.
Prinzenbar, St. Pauli [Electronic and Rock]
In 1906, part of this Art Nouveau discos premises belonged to one of the first cinemas in Germany, the Kinosaal Spielbudenplatz 19. With this history and the partly preserved interior, the ambiance of this dazzling club captivates its visitors.
With ornaments in stucco and chandeliers hanging from the high vaulted ceiling, the Prinzenbar offers a very interesting experience to not only the party people, but also photographers and filmmakers.
In Prinzenbar, you can enjoy electronic and rock music, a large selection of concerts on the crowded dance floor. The prices also don’t break the bank. You can enjoy the live performance of many young musicians by paying a modest admission price.
Fundbureau, Sternschanze [Punk, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae and Electro]
Being originally a lost and found office, today, the Fundbureau is known as one of the busiest underground clubs in Hamburg. With its vaulted ceiling, walls covered with graffiti, and the narrow corridors, this nightclub offers a great atmosphere for party people.
In the Fundbureau, you can enjoy live popular DJ shows or wild live concerts. If you are lucky, you can also attend the clubs famous Datschaparty, which is a themed party organized by the club itself! At the Datschaparty, you can taste many different Russian beers, vodkas, and local produce while listening to electronic music.
Uebel und Gefährlich, St. Pauli
Looking for unforgettable concerts and long nights of dancing? Then you have to check out the famous Uebel & Gefährlich. In this massive nightclub, you can attend many fascinating concerts, wild parties, and interesting events.
This nightclub stands out from other famous nightclubs in Hamburg by its breathtaking view over the roofs of Hamburg. Located on the fourth floor, Uebel & Gefährlich is divided into three locations which host 1000 people; the ballroom, the tower room, and the roof terrace. And if you are into techno and 20s jazz, you have to check out this amazing nightclub.
Cotton Club, Alter Steinweg [Jazz]
If you are into jazz music, then you have to check out the Cotton Club. This legendary club is the oldest and most famous jazz clubs in Hamburg. In the Cotton Club, you can get to enjoy an exquisite program full of the finest exponents of Trad, Ragtime and Dixieland jazz from both national and international artists.
The program usually starts around 20.30 with a welcoming atmosphere. So, if you would like to enjoy great musicians like the Schnelsen Stompers, the Hot Shots, and the Boogie Connection while sipping your drink, then you have to check out the House of jazz in Hamburg, the Cotton Club!
Mojo Club, Reeperbahn [Mainstream]
Back in the 1990s, Mojo Club was the most popular place to party in Germany. It was the place to be if you loved clubbing. Like Massive Attack? They performed here too. Mojo Club closed in 2003 but then reopened in 2013 in a basement under “Tanzende Türme” – the dancing towers. Today it is the place to be to if you like jazz, alternative rock, and dub. You can also sometimes hear the 90s music and Bossa Nova.
Bar Hamburg, St. Georg
Want to chill with Robert De Niro on one of the chicest bars in Hamburg? Then, you have to check out the celebrity bar, aka the Bar Hamburg. In this bar, you can hang out with international stars, while choosing the best cocktail from 90 other cocktails. Whether you are looking for a chill night out or crazy dance parties, you can have them both in Bar Hamburg.
The party boat – Ms Hedi / Frau Hedis Tanzkaffee, St Pauli
I know partying on the famous nightclubs is a must, but have you wondered how cool it would be if you can party on a boat while gazing at the spectacular view of Hamburg? If yes, then you have to check out the party boats!
These tour boats offer parties or some kind of fun programs every night. If you are into live music performances, you can attend the party boat on every Tuesdays and Thursdays, or enjoy DJ performances on the other days of the week. Another cool thing about the party boat is that you can hop and hop off any time you want! The prices don’t break the bank either.
How to Reach Hamburg
Hamburg has 4 airports, so it’s not hard to get in here. You can fly to Hamburg from any major European city, with cheap flights.
If you are traveling within Germany or from any other close countries, environmental friendly options like trains, or buses like Flixbus are also nice alternatives. Hamburg is also only three hours away by bus from Berlin.
Did follow our nightlife recommendations for Hamburg?
About the writer:
My name is Alara Benlier, and I am a passionate traveler who is in a constant search for delicious foods and historical places. Currently living in Germany, I visited many places in Europe and met lots of lovely people from different cultures. Before Germany, I lived in Rotterdam for a year and traveled all around the Netherlands. I am excited to share all my experiences in Drifter Planet.
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