We recently had a last-minute opportunity to visit Hamburg for ReBoot 22; a wellness, mindfulness and creativity conference for creators hosted by the fabulous Traverse team. On the agenda were amazing sessions, workshops and events focusing on recharging our creative, emotional and physical batteries.
Some of these sessions got pretty deep and challenged the way we think, feel and work. So, of course, we had to balance all that thinking and feeling with a fun-filled long weekend in Hamburg checking out some of the cool and unique things to do in the lively German port city.
Stay at the Superbude Altona
Our home base in Hamburg was the uber funky Superbude Altona Hotel Hostel. Their website makes claims of being a colorful jungle paradise in the middle of Hamburg. That description, though accurate, is just a taste of what is waiting for you.
The space is bright, cheery and comfortable with an eclectic decor comprised of vintage, neon, tropical prints and tiki themes. The check-in desk has a backdrop of flip-flops, the lobby ceiling is adorned with upsidedown grass umbrella chandeliers and the walls are covered with greenery and parrots.
Guest rooms come in different shapes and sizes but all are outfitted with comfy beds, a full bathroom and quirky decor. Our room had a feature wall of a giant tile smiley face, a neon palm tree, a skateboard shelf and tropical print curtains. This description may come off as sounding a tad tacky but it’s far from it. Somehow they’ve pulled it off and have created a cool, fun and comforting oasis that you’ll find hard to leave.
Common areas include a bar, a restaurant, a lounge and an outdoor patio, all decorated with the same combo themes as the lobby and rooms. There is also a gift shop selling many of the cool objects that you see around the hotel.
You won’t go hungry or thirsty at Superbude Altona. They offer a healthy and delicious breakfast buffet full of organic and seasonal food and they aim to use as little packaging as possible. There is also a decent food menu and a good selection of beer, wine and cocktails. Plus an honor bar for anytime snacks.
If you are traveling solo or as a couple Superbude is a great way to meet other travelers because of the sociable hostel concept. Although in terms of comfort it’s definitely more of a hotel.
However, Superbude Altona is also great for groups, pleasure or business. They have a few 4-person suites as well as a guest house across the street with 5 double rooms and a shared kitchen.
Work at Mindspace
Our ReBoot 22 sessions were held at Mindspace. This co-working space in the heart of Hamburg is in a gorgeous 100-year-old landmark building. The interior is a harmonious blend of classic architecture, vintage touches and cool modern decor featuring local pop art. Mindspace offers open space for solo workers as well as private rooms for small groups.
Group Activities in Hamburg
If you’re in Hamburg as part of a larger group for a conference, business or team-building getaway there are some fabulous options. In addition to our sessions and workshops, Traverse organized some group events and team-building activities. A couple of these turned out to be nothing short of fabulous.
Become a Rock Star at Musicworks
As awesome as everything was there was one experience in particular that left us buzzing for days and was something we will never forget. This was the team-building event with Musicworks where a group of us became rockstars in just a couple of hours.
The visionaries of Musicworks brought the idea to Germany’s “The Lion’s Den” in 2014. Since then they have grown to a team of about 100 passionate musicians and educators. They use their skills and love of music to create an almost instant band through teamwork.
There are various workshops available for groups as small as 5 people and as large as 500 or more. Somehow they manage to do this in as little as 1 to 4 hours. That’s how skilled they are.
Our group was about 20 strong and in just 2 hours we learned to perform “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles. Pretty appropriate since the legendary band from England got their start in Hamburg. We played guitar, bass, keyboards and a variety of percussion plus several of us formed a choir to tackle the vocals. Incredibly we sounded pretty damn good. But even if we hadn’t pulled it off it was one of the most fun and collaborative things we’ve ever done.
Take a Boat on the Elbe Canal
Another of our top group activities was taking the boat to the Hamsekai Restaurant on the Elbe Canal in Wilhelmsburg. The neighborhood of Wilhelmsburg sits on an island in the Elbe River and is home to a young population of about 50,000. It has been compared to Williamsburg, NY before gentrification made it too expensive for students.
The small but elegant, maritime-themed Hamsekai restaurant has a varied menu that specializes in gourmet burgers. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a special spot to host a group event this is a great choice. They have a rooftop that can be set up for a cocktail party and with a view of the canal. Then there is the covered canalside terrace with seating for up to 100 and space for up to 500 standing.
There are many options for boating on the Elbe Canal including ferries, tours, rentals and charters.
Freestyle Tourist Activities in Hamburg
Come Together with Hempel’s Beatles Tour
As a Beatles fan myself I was excited to learn more about the iconic Liverpool band’s early days spent in Hamburg. Turns out the best way to do that is by joining singer Stefanie Hempel on a musical Beatles tour of the city.
With an unlikely ukelele in hand, Stefanie guides you through the seedier parts of Hamburg following in the footsteps of John, Paul, George, Ringo, Pete and Stuart…yes there were two other Beatles in the early days.
You will traverse the red light district of St Pauli to the nightclub dotted streets of Reeperbahn and Gross Freiheit. Along the way, Stefanie will regale you with the tales and antics of the boys (they were barely, if even, in their 20s) as they became men and musicians in the bars of Hamburg. You will also be serenaded with Stefanie’s sultry vocals and ukulele strings playing some favorite Beatles hits.
The Beatles tour was during the day so none of the iconic clubs were open. So naturally, we had to return in the evening for some drinks at the famous Indra club, one of the places the Beatles first played together as a band. We also had a couple at the hole-in-the-wall bar, ???? where Paul and the boys would go for drinks between their hours-long sets at Indra and Star-Club.
Stefanie’s tour followed by drinks after sundown is a must for any Beatles lover…or any music lover for that matter.
Big Fun at Hamburg DOM
One of the main German Landmarks to check out if you happen to be in Hamburg in spring, summer or winter is the amazing Hamburg DOM fun fair happening. We timed it right this past spring and had a great night experiencing Northern Germany’s largest festival with all the rides, games, lights and music you’d expect plus the added bonus of lots of German food and beer.
Although the basic layout and rides stay the same throughout the year, every season has a different theme. That may be tropical beach party, pirates, medieval times, giant Easter egg painting or a Pride parade. Of course, the winter season is extra special when the DOM turns into a massive German Christmas market.
If you love rides and want an adrenaline rush we highly recommend the Chaos Pendel. This unpredictable 43-meter-high ride hits speeds of 80 km per hour with 4G of force. Another recommendation is to do it before indulging in too much beer and currywurst.
So Much More in Hamburg
We only had a three-day weekend in Hamburg so this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do in this hip German city. Other highlights include the new and impressive Elbphilharmonie concert hall, Minatur Wunderland, the UNESCO site of Speicherstadt, Planten un Blumen and the Fischmarkt.
Also worth experiencing in Hamburg is wandering the streets and neighborhoods to admire the architecture, different vibes, fun cafes and bars and cool street art.
Have you been to Humburg? What did you do there?
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.