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It is sort of a tradition to walk and stand in front of the City Hall for a couple of minutes. It is a tremendous building. Get lost in the crowds for little bit: here, Hamburg speaks a thousand languages. Willkommen!
City Hall’s good impression continues when you walk in and have a look. If the crowds are small take a peek inside or get a small tour. If not, you should walk down to the Alster, just a few steps away. A boat trip is always a great idea, but maybe later. Walk on to the northern side of the Alster and enter the small street Colonnaden, lined with its nice traditional shops. The arches on the right side make everything feel really cosy. At the end of this street you want to turn left and left again. Back to the Jungfernstieg – the centre of the centre. This is ideal for some serious shopping, but why not have lunch first!
You can have both, really. Enter the grand old Alsterhaus, the definition of a high-end department store, which has been recently been revamped. It feels fresh and exclusive now. Take the escalator through all the floors and target what you will be shopping for soon. But, remember, lunch must come first! On the 4th floor you will find a number of great options to have a bite. But if you are an olfactory person, there is just one option: The Artisan de la Truffe, offering “everything truffle”. You can sense it from the 3rd floor. Unforgettable. Here, you can find the biggest variety of truffle products, olive oils, vinegars, pasta, risotto, goose or duck liver pates – with or without truffles – and carpaccio with summer truffles. A dream come true. Better sit down fast and order one of the fresh truffle varieties on the menu. A nice glass of wine. Ahhh, so that is why they call it “black diamond”!
But after that: Shopping!
Once you stored all your bags in your Hotel, you should go out and have an aperitif in a unique location. Enter the Central Congress. It is in an odd spot, but just 5 minutes from the town hall. It is mostly quiet and therefore a good place to enjoy sundown. The décor is very 1980s – looking as though a press conference could take place here at any moment. Given by chancellor Helmut KOHL. All of the wood panels and the tables are authentic. And so are the drinks. It may not appear that way at first sight, but this a top-notch cocktail bar. Pick a drink and wait for the conference to start.
Now is the perfect time to get some culture infusion. There is the exquisite Opera with a world-class ballet. There is the Thalia Theatre, still being one of the top German-speaking stages in the world. And there is this fine old cinema in the main shopping area: The Passage Kino which dates back to 1915. Just do yourself a favour and enter the main hall, smell the popcorn and enjoy the flair.
If you are up for one more drink, this might be the chance to visit The Le Lion, one of the best bars in the world. It can be found on almost any annual list of relevant international publications. You will enter a well-lit classic dark bar with all the right ingredients. If you are lucky, you will be greeted by the Chief-of-the-Bar/Owner/world-class Bartender, Jörg Meyer. Let him be your guide of the night in terms of drinks. If you want to puff one away, the upstairs smoking room is not always open, but you may ask when you make your reservation (recommended).
When you step out, you are in the middle of the city, near the City Hall, again. But the shops are all closed and you can enjoy the streets for yourself or indulge in some window shopping.