Weekend in Hamburg with child friendly activities post was first published on Culture Tourist On September 25th 2018, and updated in June 2021.
After spending a weekend in Hamburg, I’ve completely fallen in love with that city. It looks like Rotterdam‘s and Copenhagen‘s love child that was raised in Berlin. Cool and classy with a great attitude.
It’s the second-largest city in Germany with almost two million people living in it. Often described as a large port and an industrial town, images of an unpleasant grey place are something many people have in their minds when thinking about Hamburg. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I visited Hamburg a few times with my family, and here is my itinerary for the perfect child-friendly weekend in Hamburg.
Weekend in Hamburg
I was invited to Hamburg by Come to Hamburg and have spent a long weekend there with my husband and a four-year-old son. We’ve planned a relaxed weekend. But, also wanted to do some fun activities enjoyable to both him and us.
Two or three days is a perfect amount of time to allocate for a visit to Hamburg. However, there are so many fun things to do in Hamburg, you could easily spend the whole week there.
How to get to Hamburg
By car: We travelled to Hamburg by car. It was quite an easy five and a half hours long ride from Amsterdam. Highways are good (and free of charge) both in the Netherlands and Germany. The only thing is that there are often construction works on German highways, meaning some traffic jams could always happen.
By train: A few years ago, I travelled from Amsterdam to Hamburg by train, and it was also easy and convenient. The German railway system is excellent. There is even a children area in many trains where they can be louder and play with other kids.
By plane: The city has an international airport, so you can also quickly fly to Hamburg from anywhere in Europe.
Public transport in Hamburg
Tickets for public transport were included in our hotel stay, and conveniently, there was a bus station just in front of it. Public transport in Hamburg is easy to use. It consists of buses and a metro (U Bahn). It’s quick, safe, and the names of the stations are clearly marked. So, it’s straightforward to navigate it.
Hamburg Card. You can use it for public transport and discounts on some sights and museums.TIP: I’d recommend you getting a
Why should you visit Hamburg
Hamburg is a liveable city
One of the impressions I always have when in Hamburg is that it’s such a liveable city. Large pedestrian zones, beautiful green areas, many cultural events and great restaurants are just among the things I like there.
Hamburg also has that wonderful German cosiness. You’ll feel it immediately in its restaurants and beer houses. All the food there is basically comforting food. And it’s delicious! Beers are fantastic, and the service is very personal. I could spend hours only by sitting in those German beer houses enjoying my meal and chatting with people around me.
Hamburg loves technology
Hamburg is also a high-tech city where engineering and mechanics are a big deal. It seems as half of the city’s inhabitants are working in something related to technology. And they are utterly passionate about it.
While strolling around Hamburg, I saw numerous strange vehicles on its streets. Many tech exhibitions are regularly organised around Hamburg. Old cranes and marine equipment are scattered throughout the city. They are displayed around it as some special exhibits glorifying the achievements of technology.
Hamburg is home to some amazing architecture
Architecture in Hamburg is diverse, fascinating and often very innovative. Many old monumental buildings are giving a feeling the city was significant and wealthy throughout history.
The area of an old port is filled with numerous industrial buildings made of brick. However, these are not some thorn warehouses. They are beautiful, well-preserved buildings decorated with special bricks and glazed tiles. They are on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 2015 and are called Speicherstadt (Warehouse District).
And then, there are many modern buildings in Hamburg. They are small masterpieces, showcasing an innovative way to experiment with great design, unusual materials and light usage.
All of that makes Hamburg a very photogenic city. Its residents also recognised that, and it’s so fascinating to see many of them just wandering around taking pictures of their city.
Weekend in Hamburg itinerary
With so many interesting things to see and do in Hamburg, it could be easy to spend the whole week exploring this lovely German city. Here is a two days Hamburg itinerary to help your planning a bit easier, with some tips for a perfect kids-friendly weekend in Hamburg.
Saturday in Hamburg
After driving from Amsterdam towards Groningen and Bremen, we finally arrived in Hamburg around lunchtime. Our first stop was the Best Western Alsterkrug Hotel. We were starving and decided to have lunch in a hotel before exploring the city. We started in a genuine German manner with schnitzel and a beer. And it felt like a perfect start to our Hamburg adventure!
Hamburg City Hall
Address: Rathausmarkt 1, Hamburg
The best way to feel a bit of a local vibe is just by strolling around the city. We’ve started from the very heart of Hamburg, its City Hall. And continued wandering alongside the canals and its old port later on.
Although it looks older, Hamburg City Hall (or Rathaus in German) was built at the end of the 19th century. It’s still where the city’s mayor’s office is and where the official meetings are held. This beautiful building was built in the Neo-renaissance style to mark the prosperity of Hamburg and Prussia at the time.
Rathausmarkt Square, where it’s located, is a busy meeting place with both locals and visitors. Something is always happening on it, so it’s a great place to explore during your stay. There was a dog exhibition organised on it while we were there.
Canals and bridges in Hamburg
Hamburg is a city built on water. Three rivers, Elbe, Alster and Bille, are flowing through it. Since it’s also a large port, water and canals are everywhere.
It is actually the city with the most bridges in the world. There are around 2,300 bridges in Hamburg (although some sources are stating there are even more of them). So, the title of a proper Venice of the North should definitely go to Hamburg. Or, maybe we should call things by the correct name and say that Venice is the Hamburg of the South?
Whatever we’re going to call it, some of those bridges are truly beautiful, and I loved walking past them.
Dialogue in silence
Address: Alter Wandrahm 4, Hamburg
Dialogue in silence was probably my favourite thing we’ve did in Hamburg. It’s a workshop organised in one of those beautiful old industrial buildings of a former port. It’s a one and a half-hour long interactive workshop during which we learned about the world of the deaf. But also about how to communicate without any spoken words.
At the beginning of the workshop, each of us got a set of headphones. So, we were in total silence for the rest of it. It was fascinating to see how we could communicate, share our feelings and introduce ourselves without saying anything. Our guide was a deaf man, and he helped us understand his world in such a positive way.
HafenCity in Hamburg
Still impressed by the Dialogue in silence, we took a walk along the canals and an old port in Hamburg. Many of the historical buildings there are not in use by the port anymore. They were transformed into offices and cultural institutions.
It’s so surprising how liveable that area is today. Many modern residential buildings are located there, surrounded by playgrounds, parks and some fantastic street art.
People were fishing or preparing to take a ride in their canoes and boats. Some were so friendly, they showed some huge fish they caught to Karlo. Who was utterly impressed, of course.
Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg
Address: Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4, Hamburg
One of the most attractive modern buildings in Hamburg is its music hall. Elbphilharmonie is the largest music hall in the world. It was opened to the public in 2017, after ten years of construction.
The building was quite controversial because it exceeded expected costs by four times In the end, its construction cost 870 million euros.
One of the former warehouses was used as a base for the building. So, it’s a great combination of industrial brick architecture and an upper part made of glass. You can climb to its platform and enjoy the view of Hamburg from it. Or, if you’d like to get the complete experience, attend some of the performances there.
Canal cruise in Hamburg
Unfortunately, going on a canal cruise in Hamburg was something I didn’t have a chance to do in the end.
However, seeing Hamburg’s bridges and architecture from another perspective and learning about their history is a great way to further explore that city. Especially if you’ll do it in the evening, so you can enjoy the sunset from the water. There are many canal cruises organised in Hamburg, and here is just one of them.
Sunday in Hamburg
The next day we were woken up by a beautiful sun outside and were ready to spend it by exploring Hamburg more. We’ve had a tour in the International Maritime Museum scheduled at 10 AM, so that’s where we headed after a nice breakfast in our hotel.
International Maritime Museum Hamburg
Address: Koreastraße 1, 20457 Hamburg
Located in one of those former warehouse buildings, International Maritime Museum Hamburg is definitely a place where you could easily spend the whole day. Maritime paintings, ship models and other objects related to naval history are exhibited on its nine floors (or decks, as they call them).
It’s an excellent place for both kids and adults. We were especially impressed by the vast Queen Mary 2 model made of Lego bricks, located on the first floor.
During the weekend we were visiting, the International Ship Modelling Days were taking place in a museum. It was great to talk with people creating these models and seeing how passionate they are about their hobbies.
If you’re anything like me and need to have your coffee break at least twice per day, Hamburg has an excellent place for you. Public Coffee Roasters is a lovely point with perfect coffee and some delicious cakes. We stopped there on our way from the International Maritime Museum to the Chocoversum and really liked it.
Chocoversum in Hamburg
Address: Meßberg 1, Hamburg
Well, Chocoversum is not your regular chocolate museum. It’s a place where you’ll learn how chocolate is made, from the fruit on a tree until the final product. You’ll also learn how the real chocolate should taste and will get a chance to create your own chocolate.
All of that while tasting many of them. The tour through the museums lasts for an hour and a half, and it’s really informative and interactive. And great fun for both kids and adults.
Lunch at the Hofbräu Wirtshaus
Address: Speersort 1, Hamburg
Hofbräu is a great restaurant serving traditional food from the Bavaria. Although originally from Munich, they also have restaurants in other German cities. And I was so happy to found one in Hamburg, as well. I’ll just say we had our lunch while sitting in a huge wooden barrel (of course, Karlo picked up our table), and it was just perfect.
After our lunch, we just wandered around that beautiful city. Walking over its bridges and next to canals while enjoying its fantastic architecture made us feel like one of those locals from the beginning of this story.
Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg
Address: Kehrwieder 2/Block D, Hamburg
Our last stop for the day was a place where that love towards engineering and technology could be felt very well in Hamburg. Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railway in the world. The vast model spreading through a few rooms showcases the landscape of Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the US. It consists of around 1,040 trains and some 260,000 figures.
In one of the rooms, an airport model where planes are landing and departing is located. Every few minutes, lights are switching on and off again, to show how the wonderland looks like during a day or night.
The attention to details is just fascinating. And so many things are happening in a model. From firemen being busy with taking care of a building in a fire, football match at the stadium or trains transporting passengers from one side of the model to another.
Monday in Hamburg
Kids at work
Address: Osterfeldstraße 12-14, Hamburg
On a Monday morning, Karlo and I visited a huge indoor playground called Kids at work. It was located only a few bus stops from our hotel, so we were there early and had a few hours to play before heading back home.
It has a few stations where kids can play with different toys like kitchen, kinetic sand or train models. It’s clean, the people working there were very polite and is, in general, an excellent place for kids. If we were living in Hamburg, we would be spending many rainy days there.
Taking a ride in HafenCity Riverbus is probably one of the most extraordinary things you can do in Hamburg. Sadly, I’ve missed it in the end, because only kids from five years old could ride on it.
It’s a city bus that at some point goes into the water and becomes a river bus then. It’s such a fantastic vehicle! River bus is one of the things that gives Hamburg such a strong engineering and technology vibe. Where else could you go sightseeing in something like that?
Hamburg is a city with beautiful architecture, a great cultural scene, lovely people and so many things to do. Making it a great weekend destination, it’s a place that should definitely get to your bucket list! Have you been to Hamburg? Let us know in the comments below.
Many thanks to Come to Hamburg and their partners for inviting us and organising this trip for us. We had a great time and enjoyed every second of it. However, as always, all opinions are my own.
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