It ran hundreds of millions of euro over budget (total cost: €789 million), was five years late and yet no one knows exactly what it resembles, so it’s hard not to love the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Examine its soaring rippled glass and brick warehouse base up close, from a viewing platform inside (€2) or get organized and book a performance before you travel.
The motto of the venue is a Leonard Bernstein quote: "There is no serious music or unserious music, just good music and bad music."
Anyone for a stylish design hotel? If so, stick with the Hotel25 group. Hafencity Hotel and Hotel Altes (25hours-hotels.com, both with rooms from €100) have stylish cabins (aka rooms), buzzy lobbies, easy access to the harbor and bike tours on request. Expect the maritime touches throughout.
Nil (restaurant-nil.de; €49 set menu) certainly does not live up to its name. The slow-food menu is steered by the seasons and is a favourite with locals seeking a splurge dinner. In Schanzenviertel, a traditional working class district turned hipster haven with all the requisite restaurants, Pförtnerhäuschen (pfoertchen.de/about-1) is a tiny bar that was the former abattoir gatehouse. Just the spot for traditional herring and gherkin fischbrötchen sandwiches.
The craft beer revolution marches on at brewhouse Altes Maedchen (en.altes-maedchen.com). Ask the beer sommeliers about the menu of over 60 beers or try a seasonal brew from in-house brewer Ratsherrn. For cocktails, Clockers (clockers.hamburg) is a speakeasy with no sign. Dance at the bar or retire to the leather chesterfields in the saloon upstairs.
You'll find many of the city's acclaimed boutiques in the Karoviertel area. For "durable but not boring" locally-designed styles try Garment (garment-online.de). Back in Sternschanze, experience real flea market spirit on Saturdays (Neuer Kamp Strasse 30, 8am-4pm).
2,200 bridges. Cycle over the other 100 because in a city that has more bridges than Amsterdam and Venice combined, you can skip a few.