Best places to live in Hamburg, Germany
On the hunt for the best neighborhoods in Hamburg? In this quick guide, your lovely buddies Homelike have covered our favorite 10… and brought you useful details on each and every one of them.
The second-biggest city in Germany (yep, Hamburg is bigger than Munich, surprisingly), Hamburg is a brilliant place to live. One of the most trendy, interesting, action-packed cities on the planet, it’s easy to fall in love with the place—and it’s a hugely popular choice for a relocation.
You get incredible musical heritage, non-stop nightlife, an alluring port area, endless things to see and do, and a super-cool atmosphere. And as a nice bonus, it’s a very friendly place, full of welcoming locals and magnetic hangouts.
But because it’s a mighty big place, with a population of almost 1.8 million people, it can be hard to know where to live. There are lots of different districts in the city, and they’re definitely not all made equal. Though all Hamburg neighborhoods are great, some are definitely better than others—and if you’re moving to a new place, it’s important to find a perfect neighborhood for you, your needs, and the people you’re moving with.
So in this article, we’ve unpacked everything you need to know about where to live in Hamburg. Moving with kids? Looking for top-notch nightlife? On the hunt for a trendy neighborhood? Want lots of great green spaces? Serious about finding quality cafes?
No matter what you want from Hamburg, there’s a neighborhood that will give you it—so in this blog post, we’ve covered the top 10 districts in the city. We’ve brought you facts, figures and information on the following 10 neighborhoods:
10 Hamburg neighborhoods at a glance
Best for: Hanging in tourist-ville, making friends with other travelers, and living close to the city’s most famous spots
As you probably already know, ‘Altstadt’ translates to ‘old town.’ And in Hamburg, like in most cities, this is the most central (and most famous) part of the city.
The Alstadt encompasses (or is at least close to) pretty much all of the Hamburg stuff you’ve already heard of. You get the massive Town Hall, parts of the port, and lots of world-famous attractions… such as the Kunsthalle Hamburg, the Hamburg Dungeon, the Miniatur Wunderland, and the city’s drool-inducing chocolate museum.
In the district, you also get churches, museums, galleries, shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, nightlife, and lots of things to see and do.
Architecturally, it’s also a very interesting area, with Expressionist buildings sitting side-by-side with old-school timber homes. It’s charming and loveable, and it’s full of pretty stuff.
If you want to live like a long-term tourist and be perpetually surrounded by other visitors, you’ll really enjoy living here. But if you prefer a quieter life away from all of the popular stuff, you probably want to look elsewhere.
As a final note, the old town (as you’d probably expect!) a very pricey place to live. If you’re on a budget, this definitely isn’t one of the best places to live in Hamburg.
Best for: Great nightlife, hopping between trendy venues, and living in the lesser-known part of the city center
West of the old town, you have the imaginatively-titled new town. Together, these two districts form the very central part of the city—and in many ways, they’re surprisingly different to one another.
One of the trendiest parts of Hamburg, the place has lots of bohemian hangouts, and plenty of interesting events and attractions. Some of the district’s most famous draws include St. Michael’s Church, the Binnenalster, and lots of lovely parks.
Cafe culture dominates this part of the city, with lots of places to plonk yourself down and slurp on a coffee. Lots of these cafes are perched over the Alsterfleet Canal, which is great for sitting, strolling and sipping (especially in summer!).
One of the neighborhood’s most exciting areas is Gängeviertel (the ‘alleyway quarter’). Once a labyrinthine residential neighborhood, it’s now a creative space brimming with music, art, and other creative events and attractions.
Because of its hip vibe, the Neustadt is best suited to younger relocators. It’s a busy, bustling, non-stop district, and you’ll struggle to have a quiet life here.
Because it’s a very central (and very sought-after) neighborhood, it can be difficult to find an affordable apartment in the Neustadt. For that reason, it’s easiest to get a serviced apartment or a serviced flat if you want to move to this part of the city. Doing so removes all the fuss and stress of having to find a place to live, and you won’t need to spend fruitless months on futile house-hunting expeditions.
Again, much like its older neighbor, it can be a pricey place to live. But if you can afford it, it’s absolutely worth the outlay.
Best for: Living in a hyper-modern area, endless kooky events, and lots of waterside walks
South of the old town, you have Hamburg’s Hafencity, the water-surrounded neighborhood in and around the city’s port.
It’s one of the most modern parts of the city, packed with architectural oddities, lots of contemporary hangouts, and some pretty strange and surreal art galleries. Futuristic and fun, it’s a popular hangout for architecture nerds, and it’s a pretty unique place.
HafenCity is also home to Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the city’s massive concert hall (and the tallest building in Hamburg). A modern venue inside an old warehouse, it’s one of the neighborhood’s most interesting buildings.
Because prestigious HafenCity is so trendy, it can be a pretty expensive place to live. And because it’s busy, popular, and full of things to do, it’s best suited to solo movers and young couples. If you have a family, or if you want a laid-back life, this definitely isn’t one of the best places to live in Hamburg.
It’s also worth noting that this neighborhood is more touristy than most people expect. If you live here, expect to be bombarded with lots of visitors—but also expect to be bombarded by lots of events, with exciting things happening almost every weekend.
Because HafenCity is just south of the city center, you can get everywhere on-foot. But if that’s not your bag, HafenCity’s public transport is pretty good too.
In short, if you want to embrace centrality and modernity, HafenCity is one of the best neighborhoods in Hamburg. But it’s not for everyone.
Best for: Living in and around Hamburg’s water, being surrounded by warehouses, and having a unique and unusual home
A narrow neighborhood sandwiched between HafenCity and the old town, Speicherstadt has the dubious distinction of being the biggest warehouse district on the entire planet.
Atmospheric and alluring, it’s jam-packed with old red-brick warehouses, and stretches for around 1 mile (1.6km). Most of these warehouses are about 7 or 8 storeys high.
Because of its striking uniformity, it’s a really unique and unusual place—there aren’t many neighborhoods like this one.
Surrounded by water on all sides, it’s a nice place for a watery stroll. It’s also a good spot for being close to lots of museums, galleries, and attractions. Some of the top must-visits in the area include the Speicherstadtmuseum, the Miniatur Wunderland, and the Deutsches Zollmuseum.
Again, if you’re looking for a quiet life, a long-term stay, or a good spot for a family home, Speicherstadt isn’t ideal. But if you want to live in a central, bustling, and eventful place, it’s definitely one of the best neighborhoods in Hamburg.
Best for: Endless types of life, a residential existence, and living in a vast neighborhood
West of Hamburg’s center, you have Hamburg Altona, a massive area that actually encompassess many different neighborhoods.
Because of that, it offers many different types of potential life. Live in the eastern part of the district, and you’re close to the city center. Live in the western part, and you’re far from the major sprawl of the city. Live somewhere in the middle, and you have a decent compromise.
The most eastern part of Hamburg Altona is St Pauli, which is famous for lots of different things—it’s home to Schlagermove Festival, the city’s soccer team, the world-famous red light district, and lots of very lively nightlife.
Overall, Hamburg Altona can be a very good choice for lots of different people. If you want to party non-stop, live in the eastern part of the neighborhood. But if you want to live a quiet life with kids, head to the most western stretch of the district (where you get green spaces, beaches, an animal park, hospitals, and good proximity to international schools).
Right in the heart of the district, you have the International School of Hamburg (ISH), one of the most well-renowned international schools in the city. If you’re looking for a place to enroll your kids, it’s one of our top suggestions.
And on top of all that good stuff, Hamburg Altona is also one of the best neighborhoods in Hamburg if you want to live on a budget. Head to the western side of the district, and you can find some surprisingly affordable (and surprisingly big!) houses and apartments.
Best for: Lots of quirky hangouts, a brilliant party scene, and an LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere
North-east of the old town, you have St. Georg, which is most famous as Hamburg’s LGBTQ center. One of the most welcoming and inclusive districts on the planet, it’s a free and friendly place to call home.
But there’s way more to the district than just its LGBTQ appeal. St. Georg is also home to art studios, interesting galleries, quirky bars, kooky venues, independent stores, and plenty more interesting places. You also get a multi-faceted selection of international venues, with stores, restaurants and cafes from nations like Iran, India and Afghanistan.
It’s one of the friendliest neighborhoods in Hamburg. Here, you’ll always find friendly faces, and lots of potential new pals.
St. Goerg also sits on the southern stretch of the Alster Lake—making it a good base for weekend wandering, kayaking and canoeing.
In short, if you want to be surrounded by hip venues, trendy people, and lots of things to do, St. Georg is one of the best places to live in Hamburg.
That said, the neighborhood has undergone some rapid gentrification in recent years. So while it was once a relatively affordable neighborhood, that’s now no longer the case, and property prices can be pretty steep.
Best for: Hanging with hipsters, lounging around in bohemian hangouts, getting all political, and exploring some excellent parks
North-west of the city center, you have Sternschanze, possibly the hippest part of the city. A graffiti-covered space, it’s home to Flohschanze Flea Market, open-air Schanzenkino Cinema, and lots of cute and quirky bars and cafes.
It’s most famous as being the home of Rote Flora, an alternative cultural center with lots of events, protests, and political views. Once a theater, it’s now a self-styled “UFO in the neighborhood”. It’s both alienating and welcoming, but it’s an absolute must-visit when you’re in this part of the city.
Sternschanze is a fantastic option if you’re on the hunt for green spaces. The neighborhood is home to Schanzenpark, but it’s also close to the massive Planten un Blomen (one of the best city-center parks in the entirety of Germany), and some other great green spaces.
The area is one of the best neighborhoods in Hamburg if you want an alternative existence and edgy friends. But if you want a quiet, secure life, it’s not the best option. Although it’s relatively safe, some areas can be a little shady at night—and the neighborhood occasionally attracts some pretty strange characters.
Best for: Being surrounded by a young population, making friends with some pretty alternative folk, and living in a tiny place
Inside of Sternschanze, you have Schanzenviertel, one of the smallest city-center neighborhoods in Germany.
Popular with artists, students, young people, internationals and expats, you get a mixed crowd of friendly faces here, and there’s always something to do.
Everything we’ve already told you about Sternschanze, we can also tell you about Schanzenviertel. Overall, there’s little distinction between the two neighborhoods, except that Schanzenviertel is (of course!) a little smaller.
If you’re young, hip and happening, this is one of the best places to live in Hamburg. But if you’re raising a family, or looking for a laid-back life, this definitely isn’t the place for you.
9. Hamburg Nord
Best for: Canalside lazing, having a quiet life, getting all green, and living close to the airport
Almost as big as Hamburg Altona, you have Hamburg Nord, another massive neighborhood (found, unsurprisingly, in the north of the city).
It’s a quaint and cozy place to live—far from the center of the city, it’s relatively quiet and languid, and it’s home to canals, quiet parks, relaxing hangouts and charming townhouses.
If you’re moving with kids, a partner or a family, or if you just want a quiet life, it’s absolutely one of the best neighborhoods in Hamburg.
The most northern parts of the neighborhood stretch all the way to Norderstedt, another city that’s part of the wider Hamburg region. This city and its surroundings are very green and vast—so if you want to spend your weekends surrounded by quiet spots and verdant walks, living in the northern part of Hamburg Nord is a great option.
Hamburg Nord is also a good choice if you travel a lot for work—it’s home to Hamburg Airport, so it’s easy to fly to other parts of Germany, and to other nations. Hamburg Airport is very well connected, with direct flights to almost 40 different countries.
Because Hamburg Nord is such a sprawling place, it can be difficult to find a good home in an ideal location. For that reason, it’s often easier to rent a serviced apartment or a serviced flat here.
Best for: Spending money, living in an upmarket place, and raising some little ones
Inside of Hamburg Nord, you have Winterhude, one of the most elegant and upmarket parts of the city. It’s a pretty pricey place, but if you have the money to live there, it can be a great option.
In lots of ways, it’s a district of compromise. It’s not too central, but not too quiet. It’s very safe, but not too sanitized. It’s very green, but without lingering too far on the outskirts.
It’s a brilliant place to raise kids—it’s laconic but fun, it’s safe but exciting, it’s close to some pretty good international schools, and it has great kid-friendly attractions. Right in the heart of the district, you have the vast Stadtpark, one of the biggest parks in the city (which makes up around one-third of the neighborhood!)
Inside this park, there’s a brilliant planetarium, which is home to excellent astronomy shows (packed with lazers, 3D, and lots of thrilling fun).
If you like exercise, Winterhude is a great place to live—you have the endless trails of Stadtpark, some nice calisthenics spots, lots of pretty canalside stretches, and some great kayaking and canoeing.
All of that said, if you want to explore lots of Hamburg’s nightlife, Winterhude isn’t a great option. Though it’s a pretty lively neighborhood, evenings can be relatively quiet.