Arts & Culture

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Art museums, symphonic orchestras, opera, theater and ballet—Hamburg is a city alive with culture. It offers an impressive selection of arts and entertainment venues for travelers to enjoy and locals to be proud of. Here are a few must-visit sites culturally savvy travelers won’t want to miss:

  • Hamburg State Opera—Germany’s first public opera house, the Hamburg State Opera opened in 1678 and today still features the country’s finest performances in opera and ballet.
  • Hamburg Ballet—Summer 2013 marks 40 years of the Hamburg Ballet led under John Neumeier, director and chief choreographer. The remaining 2012/2013 program presents “Romeo and Juliet” and Neumeier’s ballet “Illusionen—wie SCHWANENSEE” (Illusions—like Swan Lake).
  • Art Museums & Exhibits—Modern works of art and photography are on display at Hamburg’s Deichtorhallen, while medieval to contemporary pieces can be viewed at Kunsthalle and Bucerius Kunst Forum. These two major art institutions will be dedicating two parallel exhibitions to the life and works of Swiss sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti. From Jan. 25 to May 19, Giacometti’s oversized sculptures of human figures will be on display at Kunsthalle while the artist’s portraits are presented at Bucerius Kunst Forum from Jan. 26 to May 20.
  • Elbe Philharmonic Hall—This new concert venue in HafenCity is expected to bring in the best in classical concerts as well as jazz, world music and pop in three auditoriums. The edifice is currently under construction with the grand opening scheduled for 2016.
  • Spicy’s Spice Museum—The senses are ignited in this out-of-the-ordinary museum located in Hamburg’s warehouse district where 900 exhibits are on display, explaining the life of spices from the cultivation to the final product.
  • Miniature Wonderland—Home to the world’s largest model railway system, this venue is made for the young and young at heart. More than 800 miniature trains rattle through miniature versions of the U.S., Scandinavia and Switzerland, and day turns into night in this small-scale world.

Where to Stay in Hamburg

Hamburg offers a great variety of hotel accommodations for tourists—over 300 in fact. From lavish five-star hotels to budget-saving options as well as green-centric and design-infused accommodations, visitors will be satisfied wherever they stay no matter the price point or their style.

  • Hotel Atlantic Kempinski—Situated on Alster Lake, this luxury, five-star grand hotel features 245 rooms and suites; two restaurants; a spa with pool, sauna and gym, and some of the city’s most stunning views. (
  • SIDE Hotel—This five-star hotel, part of the Design Hotels collection, is located opposite the Hamburg State Opera and offers up a fabulous ambiance and a highly stylized decor in the common areas as well as the 178 rooms and suites. The hotel also features the chic SIDE SPA and the Sky Lounge rooftop terrace. (
  • Scandic Hotel Emporio—Ideal for the traveler seeking green-friendly accommodations, this hotel boasts sustainable design and practices conservation methods. The H2O Restaurant, for example, serves organic meals using local produce and all 325 rooms are environmentally friendly, non-smoking rooms equipped with Scandinavian wooden floors (
  • Barcelo Hotel Hamburg—This four-star hotel that opened in March 2012 features 193 lavishly designed rooms and suites and is centrally located between the Jungfernstieg promenade, the Monckebergstrasse shopping mile and the central train station. (
  • Arcotel Onyx Hamburg—Located in the St Pauli neighborhood, this four-star hotel offers 215 spacious rooms, a state-of-the-art gym, sauna and steam bath. (
  • 25hours Hamburg HafenCity—Featuring 170 rooms, or as they call them, “berths,” with decor inspired by seafaring stories from around the world, this hotel, a member of Design Hotels and winner of Travel + Leisure Design Awards 2012, is located near the city-center and Hamburg’s growing new district, HafenCity, as well as Speicherstadt, the historic warehouse district. (
  • Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten—Combining tradition and history, this world-famous hotel on the inner Alster Lake oozes with historic charm and luxury. Established in 1897 with only 11 rooms and three bathrooms to share, the hotel now boasts 156 rooms and suites; a spa and gym; three restaurants; a cafe and bar. (