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Hamburg Vacation

by Shirley
Hamburg Germany family vacation

Our family recently enjoyed Hamburg Vacation over the summer, part of our 2023 Northern Europe Tour. Hamburg is one of Germany’s three city-states alongside Berlin and Bremen. While it is still a major port city in northern Germany, Hamburg nowadays is also well-known for its unique cultures, thanks to a series of the projects the city implemented in recent years.

The Elbphilharmonie is no doubt one of those iconic projects. It transformed an old red brick warehouse into a world class concert hall. The Miniature Wonderland, which is also located in the warehouse zone is another popular tourists destinations. The city center around the city hall and Jungfernstieg Blvd offers such a unique view and vibrant atmosphere.

Where to stay for Hamburg Family Vacation

We stayed at Cidadines Apartment Hotel Michael Hamburg in the city center and really enjoyed our stay. They have laundry on-site, run by another company called “WeWash”.

We rented a one-bedroom apartment and had plenty of space. I especially appreciate the kitchen, the cooking wares are top quality and new. The bathroom is very spacious. They also offer coffee/tea in the lobby all day long.

The location is impressively convenient. The supermarket Edeka is a short walk from the hotel via underpass across the street. You can walk to most of the points of interests – the City Hall, Elbphilharmonie, The Miniature Wonderland, etc.

walk around Hamburg City Center Germany

Elbphilharmonie – Hamburg Vacation Must See

Elbphilharmonie, short for Elphi, has become the classic landmark of Hamburg, Germany. This new glassy concert hall is a cultural & residential complex. By the way, we visited the Miniature Wonderland later and were able to take a sneak peak into inside of the residential area.

The genius architect used the old red brick warehouse as a base to build out this breathtaking concert hall. The architecture and the acoustics are both second to none. The employed both the highest quality materials and craftsmanship.

Elbphilharmonie includes three concert venues – the Grand Concert Hall which can accommodate 2,100 guest, The Recital Hall, which has 550 seats, and Kaistudios which is perfect for experimental music, holding seminars/workshops, etc.

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg Germany

The two unique designs about Elbphiharmonie are the “Tube” and the “Plaza”.

The “Tube” is a 82-meter long curved escalator starting at the main entrance and taking you up through the building to a panorama window to view the harbour and docks. A second escalator brings you up to the “Plaza” and the entrance to the concert halls.

The “Plaza”, 37 meters above ground level, is a public viewing platforms, offering stunning views of the harbor, the Elbe River, and the inner city of Hamburg.

We purchased a guided tour, and had a chance to go inside the Grand Hall and Recital Hall. It was amazing to see inside the halls.

The Miniature Wonderland of Hamburg – Hamburg Vacation Popular Destinations

Dubbed as the word’s largest miniature sites, the Miniatur Wonderland of Hamburg is no doubt extremely popular. When we were there, it was packed with tourists from all over the world. To skip the queue, book the entry time on their official website well in advance.

I can’t help recalling my experiences visiting another Miniature Wonderland, Shenzhen’s Miniature Wonderland, in early 90’s during their grand openning.

Unlike Shenzhen Miniature Wonderland, which was outdoor, Hamburg Miniature Wonderland is an indoor venue. They are located in two buildings with multiple levels and connected with a skywalk bridge.

To say there are lots to see is an understatement. We didn’t get to see the other building during our 3-hour stay before we had to do our 30 minutes VR experience.

Miniature wonderland Hamburg experience

Does the 30 Min VR Experience at Miniature Wonderland Worth Visiting During Hamburg Vacation?

Well, what I can tell you is that technology is old. You have to put on very heavy armors including a helmet, body armor and a backpack, all are heavy, as well as other sensors around hands and feet. By the way, I had to constantly adjust my helmet/goggle to make it comfortable.

The whole experience is happening in a room, no bigger than an average bedroom. Frankly, they do not need to do this on site of the Miniature Wonderland. But being there and especially after you’ve visited the wonderland makes the experience more resonating.

Sure, if you haven’t had any VR experience like me, it is neat to have such experience. Nevertheless, if by any chance you missed it, I wouldn’t worry about it at all. You didn’t miss much after all.

Yin Seafood Restaurant

It appears to be a popular {wang hong 网红} restaurant around the harbor area and have great reviews on Google. Therefore it was on my list to visit. We took the bus there after visiting the Elbphilharmonie. A few observations and thoughts here.

First of all, it is a little hard to find. It doesn’t help they also own a trading company called “Yin”, but you need to find the restaurant. We also had to climb down multiple long stairways to get there. Needless to say, on the way, reverse and climb up.

Yin Seafood Restaurant in Hamburg Germany

We arrived around lunch time after searching for this place for a quite a bit. They offer lunch special, which includes a main dish with rice or noodle. I noticed several customers appear to be working nearby and having lunch there.

The most popular two sea dishes is eirther a seafood platter or a pot of seafood stew. Portion wise, they have package for either 4 people or 2 people.

Other than the fact that the service is slow and the waiter is not keen speaking to us, the food itself is fine. Nothing spectacular, although I do appreciate the freshness of the oysters very much.

Hamburg City Hall {Hamburger Rathaus}

Hamburg has one of the most impressive City Halls I’ve visited. The building is magnificent, sitting on a large plaza. There are usually some events going on in the plaza.

Hamburg city hall

Boys used the remaining scooter time riding up and down the plaza. One end of the plaza is lined with Plane Tree {梧桐树}, where we enjoyed our lunch, the popular doner kebab.

doner kebab at Hamburg City Hall area

Jungfernstieg {Shao Nu Di 少女堤}

The Jungfernstieg is an urban promenade in Hamburg, Germany. It is the city’s most high profile boulevard. On one side of Jungfernstieg is the luxury brands shopping area Neuer Wall, equivalent of the Fifth Ave in New York; on the other side is the beautiful Alster Lakes.

It is a short 5 minutes walk from the Hamburg City Hall.

Junfernstieg Hamburg Experience

We came from Hamburg City Hall, walked up Jungfernstieg Blvd and then walked around the alter inner lake. We also walked underneath the bridge and went to take a peak at the alter outer lake. After that, we walked down the Ballindamm and back to Hamburg City Hall.

Junfernstieg Hamburg Experience

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