Free things to do in Hamburg! We list a variety of attractions that you can visit in Hamburg for free including museums, churches, and parks.

Free Things To Do In Hamburg

Is Hamburg worth visiting? We certainly think so! It is Germany’s second largest city and offers visitors many unique attractions. It is easy to get to, with its own international airport and excellent public transportation system. And yet, it is often overlooked.

After spending time house sitting in Hamburg and getting to know the city, we can confidently say: Don’t sleep on Hamburg!

Even if you’re on a budget, Hamburg is a great city to visit. There are many free things to do in Hamburg so you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy your time there.

Below we’ve put together our list of the best free things to do in Hamburg. We also include addresses, opening hours, and how to get there.

Free Attractions

Speicherstadt – Warehouse City

Address: Within HafenCity, south of the city center
Hours: Open 24 hours
How to get there: U3 to Baumwall, U4 to Überseequartier, U1 to Steinstraße

Explore the neighborhood of Speicherstadt (translates to Warehouse City). It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest complex of warehouses, spanning an area of 260,000 square meters. It was built into the Elbe River between 1883 and the late 1920s on thousands of oak poles.

The architecture and brickwork throughout the area are truly some of the most impressive we’ve ever seen. Make sure to walk past the Speicherstadtrathaus. This remarkable office building was designed by architects who were also involved in the construction of Hamburg’s City Hall.

Another popular landmark in Speicherstadt is the Wasserschloss building. It is best photographed from the Poggenmühlenbrücke bridge.

Fun Fact: Hamburg has more bridges than Venice, London, and Amsterdam combined.

visiting the Speicherstadt district is one of the best free things to do in Hamburg

Landungsbrücken – Hamburg Pier

Address: Kuhberg, 20459
Hours: Open 24 hours
How to get there: S1/2/3 to Landungsbrücken, U3 to Landungsbrücken

The historic Landungsbrücken (translates to landing bridges) was originally opened in 1839. It has been rebuilt several times over the years and now is a popular place to walk and even go for a jog. There are ferries, tour boats, and catamarans that depart from the piers and there are also restaurants and gift shops.

At the Landungsbrücken, you can see two towers with green domes on either end of the 205-meter-long terminal building. The eastern tower has a clock and its bell rings on the hour and half hour. Near the Landungsbrücken are also the museum ships Rickmer Rickmers and Cap San Diego as well as the Old Elbe Tunnel which we’ll write about next.

Landungsbrücken in Hamburg, Germany

Alter Elbtunnel – Old Elbe Tunnel

Address: Bei den St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken, 20359
Hours: Open 24 hours
How to get there: S1/2/3 to Landungsbrücken, U3 to Landungsbrücken

Just west of the Landungsbrücken terminal building is the entrance to the Alter Elbtunnel (translates to Old Elbe Tunnel). This tunnel was built in 1911 to make it easier for dock workers to get to work on the south bank of the River Elbe. The tunnel is 426 meters long and 24 meters below the river’s surface.

A new tunnel and many bridges were built in the 1970s, so the old tunnel is now more of a tourist attraction. Art exhibits are often held here as well. It’s quite beautiful inside, with an art deco design, shiny white tiles, and reliefs of sea creatures along the walls. Once you come out on the other side, you’ll find lovely panoramic views of Hamburg.

Alter Elbtunnel
Alter Elbtunnel

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg – Concert Hall

Address: Platz d. Deutschen Einheit 4, 20457
Hours: Daily from 10 AM to Midnight (last admission is 11:30 PM)
How to get there: U3 to Baumwall, U4 to Überseequartier

The most famous building in Hamburg is the Elbphilharmonie. This gorgeous concert hall was inaugurated in 2017. Visitors can walk around its public viewing platform, The Plaza, for amazing panoramic views of the River Elbe and the city.

You do need a ticket to go up to The Plaza, because capacity is restricted, but same-day tickets are free. You can get them at the Visitor Center across the street. If you’d like to get tickets for a future date and at a specific time to guarantee entrance, you can get tickets online for €2. Once you have your ticket, head to the main entrance. From there, enter The Tube. This 82-metre-long curved escalator is an experience in and of itself!

Once you arrive at The Plaza, you’ll be 37 meters above ground level. Below you will be what was once a warehouse that stored coffee, tea, and cocoa. Above you will be the concert hall, a hotel, and residential apartments. Take your time walking around the entire perimeter. The views are pretty fantastic.

Visiting the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is one of the best free things to  do in Hamburg
Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

Rathaus – City Hall

Address: Rathausmarkt 1, 20095
Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 6 PM
How to get there: S1/2/3 to Jungfernstieg, U2/4 to Jungfernstieg, U3 to Rathaus

Built in a neo-Renaissance style in the late 1800s, Hamburg’s Rathaus is gorgeous. It’s also open to the public, making it one of the best free things to do in Hamburg. The city’s parliament, senate, and mayor are all located in the building.

There are many impressive features throughout the building. The main hallway, with its vaulted ceilings, is beautiful. The inner courtyard, which was made to resemble an Italian piazza, holds the famous Hygiea Fountain. It was built between 1895 and 1896 in remembrance of the cholera epidemic that swept through the city in 1892 and caused over 8,000 deaths.⁣

Unfortunately, you can’t walk into all of the areas of the building. If you pay for a guided tour, you get to see more. The tours are offered throughout the day and in multiple languages. However, we were happy with what we were able to see for free.

Fun Fact: Hamburg’s Rathaus has more rooms than London’s Buckingham Palace.

Hamburg Rathaus
Hamburg Rathaus

Free Museums

Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte – Museum For Hamburg History

Address: Holstenwall 24, 20355
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday 10 AM to 9 PM, Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM, Closed Tuesday
How to get there: U3 to St. Pauli

This museum is on our list because they offer free admission on Thursdays after 5 PM. If you go at any other time, admission is €9.50.

The Hamburg History Museum was founded in 1908 and moved into its present building in 1922. The building itself is beautiful and inside are exhibits that detail the history of Hamburg from medieval times to modern times. You’ll learn about 14th and 15th-century pirates, the history of Jewish life in Hamburg, fashion throughout the centuries, the port of Hamburg, and so much more.

Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte
Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte

Hamburger Kunsthalle – Hamburg Art Museum

Address: Glockengießerwall 5, 20095
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM, Thursday 10 AM to 9 PM, Closed Monday
How to get there: All buses and trains to Hamburg Central Station

This museum is on our list because they offer free admission every 1st Thursday of the month after 6 PM. If you go at any other time, admission is €16.

The Hamburg Art Museum is big – it’s spread across three buildings! You’ll find everything from medieval pieces to contemporary photography. We especially enjoyed their sculptures.

Hamburger Kunsthalle
Hamburger Kunsthalle

Museum der Natur Hamburg – Museum Of Nature Hamburg

Address: Multiple locations, but all within a few blocks of each other
Hours: Vary
How to get there: U2/3 to Schlump

Hamburg’s Museum of Nature encompasses three museums, all of which are free. They are the Museum of Zoology, the Museum of Mineralogy, and the Museum of Geology and Paleontology. You can easily walk from one to the other. You’ll see huge whale skeletons, sparkling precious stones, and learn about the development of the earth and life.

Not many of the exhibits had information in English, but we did just fine using Google Translate on our phones.

Visiting the Museum der Natur Hamburg is one of the best free things to do in Hamburg
Museum der Natur Hamburg

Free Churches

Address: Multiple locations
Hours: Vary
How to get there: Vary

There are many historic churches in Hamburg. The five main churches of Hamburg are all free to enter, although some charge admission to climb their towers. The five churches are:

  • Hauptkirche St. Michaelis – St. Michael’s Church
  • Hauptkirche St. Petri – St. Peter’s Church
  • Hauptkirche St. Jacobi – St. James’ Church
  • Hauptkirche St. Katharinen – St. Catherine’s Church
  • Hauptkirche St. Nikolai am Klosterstern – Church of St. Nicholas on Klosterstern

There are also other churches we suggest visiting, like the Russian Orthodox Church of St. John of Kronstadt. The paintings inside are exquisite.

We will have a complete guide for the best churches in Hamburg on our website soon, so be on the lookout for that.

Russian Orthodox Church of St. John of Kronstadt in Hamburg
Russian Orthodox Church of St. John of Kronstadt

Free Markets

Fischmarkt – Hamburg Fish Market

Address: Fischmarkt, 22767
Hours: 1 April to 31 October every Sunday 5 AM to 9:30 AM, 1 November to 31 March every Sunday 7 AM to 9:30 AM
How to get there: S1/2/3 to Landungsbrücken, U3 to Landungsbrücken, S1/2/3 to Reeperbahn, S1/2/3 to Königstraße

One of the most fun free things to do in Hamburg is to head down to the fish market on Sunday mornings. Anything and everything is being sold here, with vendors shouting out what they’re selling and for how much. It’s definitely an experience! If you do decide you want to make some purchases, we recommend having cash on hand.

Hamburg Fischmarkt
Hamburg Fischmarkt

St. Pauli Nachtmarkt – St. Pauli Night Market

Address: Spielbudenpl. 21-22, 20359
Hours: October to February every Wednesday 4 PM to 10 PM, March to September every Wednesday 4 PM to 11 PM
How to get there: U3 to St. Pauli, S1/2/3 to Reeperbahn

Catering to the late-night crowds of the neighborhood and the average worker, this market is open in the evenings. You’ll find fresh produce, meats, and cheeses. However, you’ll also find live music and a beer garden.

St. Pauli Nachtmarkt
St. Pauli Nachtmarkt

Isemarkt – Weekly Market

Address: Isestraße 11, 20144
Hours: Tuesday and Friday 8:30 AM to 2 PM
How to get there: U3 to Hoheluftbrücke or Eppendorfer Baum

As one of the largest weekly markets in Germany, visiting the Isemarkt is one of the best free things to do in Hamburg. From fruits to flowers and from books to bread, you can find it all at Isemarkt. There are about 200 stalls!

Something unique about this market is its location. It runs underneath the bridge of the U3 line from Hoheluftbrücke to Eppendorfer Baum. This means that even in the rain, you can enjoy this incredible market.

Isemarkt is one of the best free things to do in Hamburg

Weihnachtsmarkt – Christmas Markets

Address: Multiple locations
Hours: Vary
How to get there: Vary

If you’re visiting Hamburg at the end of November or in December, you absolutely have to see its many Christmas Markets. There are over 17 Christmas Markets in Hamburg! Each market is special and unique in its own way. However, each also has mulled wine (and delicious variations) and traditional treats. Most also have stalls to purchase things like decorations, winter accessories, and toys. They are all truly magical.

Hamburg Christmas Market
Hamburg Christmas Market

Free Parks And Natural Areas

Alster Lakes

Address: Aussen-Alster, 20148
Hours: Open 24 hours
How to get there: Multiple bus and train stops, but S1/2/3 and U2/4 to Jungfernstieg is a good place to start

The Alster is divided into two lakes: the Binnen- (Inner) and Außen- (Outer) Alster. They are separated by the Kennedy and Lombard bridges. The Alster is actually a river that was dammed up around 1250 to power the mills operating on its banks.

The Binnenalster faces Hamburg’s city center. There is a fountain in the middle and it’s a great spot to take photos of the city, especially at sunset. The Außenalster is popular for kayaking, boating, and stand-up paddling. The Außenalster also has many small parks along its banks so it’s a nice place to relax, have a picnic, and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you’re a runner, there are paths along the entirety of the lake, so it’s considered one of the best places to run in Hamburg.

Außenalster in Hamburg

Planten un Blomen – Plants and Flowers

Address: Marseiller Promenade, 20355
Hours: October to March daily from 7 AM to 8 PM, April daily from 7 AM to 10 PM, May to September daily from 7 AM to 11 PM
How to get there: U1 to Stephansplatz, S11/21/31 to Hamburg Dammtor, U2 to Messehallen

Another of the best free things to do in Hamburg is visit Planten un Blomen. The 45-hectare park is considered the city’s “green lung” and has been enjoyed for over 200 years. There are themed gardens, a lake, fountains, and a Japanese tea house. It’s bigger than we originally thought and includes the area known as Große Wallanlagen. On a map, the park is shaped like a crooked number 7.

During the summer months, many concerts and events take place in the garden. However, even in the winter months, it’s a beautiful and relaxing place to wander and enjoy nature.

Planten un Blomen is one of the best free things to do in Hamburg
Planten un Blomen

Park Fiction

Address: Schauermanns Park, Pinnasberg 27, 20359
Hours: Open 24 hours
How to get there: S1/2/3/21/31 to Reeperbahn

Park Fiction, located near the Fischmarkt, is an urban park with an interesting history. It was fought for and designed by the neighborhood’s people. It was an effort to keep some green space and to stop the area from being overdeveloped.

When you visit Park Fiction, you’ll see a lawn shaped like a magic carpet and plastic palm trees. As a Florida girl, the palm trees were initially what sparked our curiosity about this place. The park is also a great spot to sit and watch the sunset over the port.

Park Fiction in Hamburg
Park Fiction

Stadtpark – City Park

Address: Stadtpark, 22303
Hours: Open 24 hours
How to get there: U3 to Borgweg

Located in the northern area of Hamburg, in the neighborhood of Winterhude, is Stadtpark. The park is almost 150 hectares, making it the third-largest green space in Hamburg.

It’s one of the best free things to do in Hamburg because you can sunbathe, hang out with friends, and admire the various sculptures throughout the park. In the summer months, you can also go swimming in the outdoor pool. The park also has a planetarium, however, there is an admission cost.

Stadtpark in Hamburg

Tips To Save Money In Hamburg

If you would like to visit some of the other attractions in Hamburg that you have to pay for, there is an option that we suggest. The Hamburg CARD. Now, this is not sponsored. We are recommending it because we used it ourselves and think it’s a good value. The card offers up to a 50% discount on most of the major Hamburg attractions. With the card you also get free travel on all city buses, trains, and harbor ferries. And that includes trips to and from the airport. It’s available in single and group tickets and for one to five days.

If you decide not to use the Hamburg CARD, but still need to buy bus or train tickets, we recommend downloading the hvv App through Google Play or the App Store. You can buy all-day tickets per person or per group (up to 5 people). We recommend the app because it’s cheaper if you buy them there than buying them in person. In Hamburg you don’t have to scan tickets at turnstiles or show your ticket to a bus driver; it’s all on the honor system. However, I don’t recommend riding their public transportation without tickets. If you are randomly asked for a ticket and you don’t have one, you’ll be hit with a hefty fine.

Final Thoughts On Free Things To Do In Hamburg

There are a lot of free things to do in Hamburg. We hope this post has shown you that it is possible to enjoy this amazing German city without spending a fortune. Now get out there explore Hamburg!

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Free things to do in Hamburg! We list a variety of attractions that you can visit in Hamburg for free including museums, churches, and parks.