What is the worth of a city without a soul? Nothing. How does a city stand out without its heart? It doesn’t. For the north German city of Hamburg, St. Pauli embodies both the heart, and the soul. A tour of St. Pauli, Hamburg, might not be on a lot of bucket lists, but don’t let that discourage you. St. Pauli and Reeperbahn (also known as Kiez) are the livewires that power Hamburg. Admittedly, this area revels in its vices. St. Pauli red light district and Reeperbahn clubs are fairly popular among a niche crowd. However, it has a lot more to offer. Read on to find out how St. Pauli and Reeperbahn tours can light your fire.
St Pauli and Reeperbahn, Hamburg
If there is one word that can describe the character of St. Pauli, Hamburg, it is “flamboyant”. Currently at its flashy best, this district was originally a planned military base. During the mid 17th Century, businesses that would prove to be inconvenient within city limits, moved here. With them, moved the rope weavers (reeper in native tongue). They settled within a 1 kilometer area. This area came to be known as Reeperbahn (ropewalk), and is now a bustling nightlife hub and red light district in St. Pauli, Hamburg. Apart from that you'll find Erotic Art Museums, Musical Theatres, adult commodities stores, bars and restaurants aplenty at Reeperbahn. Let’s now look at the places you can’t miss in this precinct.
Best Of St. Pauli and Reeperbahn Tours
For the perfect St. Pauli & Reeperbahn experience, sign up for a walking tour with a local guide who will take you through the best of Hamburg’s most sinful mile.
Highlights of St. Pauli & Reeperbahn Tour
If you're embarking on a self guided tour of Reeperbahn, here's all that you must see.
John Lennon famously said, "I might have been born in Liverpool – but I grew up in Hamburg". To be more specific, The Beatles gained momentum right here, at Große Freiheit, a street to the north of Reeperbahn. Große Freiheit is currently home to several bars, music, and dance clubs, that had once hosted The Beatles before they went big.
This square is nestled right by Reeperbahn towards the south of St. Pauli. Spielbudenplatz has been the hub of entertainment in St. Pauli since the 17th century. It began with jugglers and magicians, but Spielbudenplatz now sees food truck festivals, flea markets, night markets, and live musicians to name a few.
The claim to fame of this area stems from the fact that prostitution is legal here during certain times of the day. Davidstraße attracts its own brand of crowd, and despite its descent into shady business, there is hardly any crime here owing to the keen and watchful eye of Davidwache, a police station that once detained Paul McCartney for a night.
Check out the trending St.Pauli and Reeperbahn Tours
Herbertstraße is Germany’s reply to De Wallen (Amsterdam Red Light District). You can see sex workers in window displays waiting to picked by customers. Over the last few years, most of the business has shifted to strip clubs rather than the old fashioned, on the street dealings.
Operettenhaus adds a touch of class to the otherwise gaudy district of St. Pauli, Hamburg. This theatre is a marvel of modern architecture, and affords you stunning visuals of the entire Reeperbahn area. Operettenhaus has a history of staging successful shows and musicals like Mamma Mia! and Rocky.
Tanzende Türme (Tango Türme)
The name of this building in Reeperbahn says a lot about it. The literal translation for the name is Dancing Towers, which is exactly the result that architecture has achieved here. The idiosyncratic superstructure currently houses a music club, a radio station, office spaces, and a few restaurants.
This chain attraction was built in 2000. If you want a change of taste, this is where you should be heading. Hamburg Dungeon puts together history of the city, a cast of amazing actors, and special effects to achieve an unmatched walkthrough experience. Do not miss out on this.
To the south of Reeperbahn, lies this illustrious square named after the late actor Hans Albers. At the middle of the square is a statue of him sculpted by Jörg Immendorff. This square is always abuzz due to the number of restaurants, clubs and bars nearby. You’ll also find prostitutes lurking in the area.
Reeperbahn Clubs - Hit these up!
Party animal much? No better place to party in Hamburg than St. Pauli and Reeperbahn. Here are the best Reeperbahn clubs you must hit up!
Große Freiheit 36
Amongst the legendary clubs in the neighborhood, Große Freiheit 36 actually feels like three clubs bundled into one. One of the three locations is Kaiserkeller, where The Beatles performed before anybody knew them.
Located at the basement of Tanzende Türme, Mojo Club originally opened in 1989. The club keeps you rooted to the past with its music while leaving you breathless with its futuristic decor.
If your jam mainly consists of House, Electronica, RnB, and Hip Hop, Halo is tailor made for you. At the top floor of the club is an S&M studio themed decor that will keep reminding you of Reeperbahn.
One of the best known underground clubs in Hamburg, Molotow is for the lovers of indie and punk rock. The Killers have played here before they burst into the global scene
We saved the best for the last. Located at the Spielbudenplatz, Docks can host crowds of upto 1500 people. The likes of David Bowie and Red Hot Chili Peppers have held concerts here. Docks also is the principle host of the Reeperbahn Festival.
Reeperbahn, St. Pauli Map
Find all the clubs and explore-worthy areas of Reeperbahn on this compact map. Download the map on your phone and keep it handy while touring St. Pauli and Reeperbahn!
Tips for Visiting St. Pauli & Reeperbahn
- Use metro railway stations for St. Pauli, and Reeperbahn to reach the respective places from Hamburg.
- Avoid bringing underaged people to Herbertstraße. It is discouraged by the Police.
- Do not venture into areas where prostitution is legal if you don’t actually plan to avail the services. Prostitutes can be contentious to people who are there to just look.
- Abstain from photographing the prostitutes. It is considered to be disrespectful, and can attract agitations from them.
- Do not carry glass bottles to Reeperbahn during the weekends and around the public holidays.
- Keep and eye out for signs that impose ban on weapons in certain areas within St. Pauli.
- Watch a musical or stage play at Operettenhaus. Show information can be obtained online.
- Pick a weekday evening to go to Reeperbahn, as weekends might be overwhelmingly crowded.