Although it's often overshadowed by its big brother Berlin, the city of Hamburg in northern Germany is worth a visit as well. Its status as an industrial port doesn't damper the city's appeal so much as bolster it. Hamburg is a classically beautiful industrial center with plenty of activities that keep visitors coming back. After all, it has been responsible for such international exports as—you guessed it—the hamburger.
Hamburg has scores of theaters, music venues, and clubs. The city is home to a UNESCO world heritage site called Speicherstadt, a historic warehouse district where the buildings rest on oak logs. St. Michaelis Church is a popular sight that offers city-wide views from the top of the tower. Tourists can also visit the Hagenbeck Zoo or take a tour of the Elbe River. Hamburg Mitte, the city's central neighborhood, is the best place for tourists to sightsee and shop. Hamburg hotels in or near this district will give visitors the best access to activities and nightlife.
The Reeperbahn, the former Red Light district that boosted The Beatles' early career, now boasts an eccentric yet hip blend of theaters and galleries side by side with its high-end restaurants. Many restaurants in the area feature international dishes, even though Hamburg is famed for its unique cuisine. Classic dishes like Birnen, Bohnen und Speck (a stew made of pears, beans, and bacon) and Aaulsuppe, or eel soup (which may or may not actually contain eel) are regional specialties. The nearby Baltic Sea provides much of the fresh local seafood that fills menus in Hamburg.
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