Hamburg's throbbing entertainment scene is one of the most diverse you'll find anywhere. From some of the finest classical music stages in the country and top-notch German-language theatre, to the down-and-dirty stages of St Pauli, there's always something going on, whatever your taste. For a rundown on what's happening in every sphere, visit www.piste.de/hamburg or www.szene-hamburg.com.

Gay & Lesbian Hamburg

Hamburg has a thriving gay and lesbian scene. Much of the action is centred on the St Georg area but mixed venues are found across the city and, in essence, the 'gay and lesbian friendly' label could be applied to most night spots in the city.

For more information, men can find information at the gay centre Hein & Fiete in St Georg, while women can contact the lesbian centre Intervention in St Pauli.

Useful guides to Hamburg's gay and lesbian entertainment scene include:

  • Hinnerk (www.hinnerk.de) Good for gay venues around the city.
  • Spartacus World (www.spartacusworld.com) Hip hotel, style and event guide.
  • Patroc Gay Travel Guide (www.patroc.com/hamburg) Travel information for 25 European destinations, including Hamburg.
  • Travel Gay Europe (www.travelgayeurope.com/destination/gay-germany/gay-hamburg) Decent gay guide for the city.

Live Music

Hamburg has a happening live music scene, and it has long been a fixture on the European circuit for major international acts. It also has a reputation for fostering up-and-coming performers, both German and from elsewhere. It was here, after all, that the Beatles cut their teeth as a live act back in the 1960s and little has changed in the decades since.

Theatre

Big, glossy Broadway and West End productions (generally performed in German) are immensely popular in Hamburg, the nation’s ‘musical capital’. These blockbuster performances generally happen around the port area or along the eastern end of Reeperbahn in St Pauli. The tourist offices have plenty of information on the big shows, while ticket offices have highly visible shopfronts around the city.

There are also a number of venues for traditional theatre, although most performances are in German.

Entertainment by Neighbourhood

  • Altstadt Little after-dark action but at least one live venue.
  • Neustadt A handful of live venues with the state opera and classical music.
  • St Georg A few gay venues are supplemented by one of the city's best theatres.
  • Speicherstadt & HafenCity Home to the peerless Elbphilharmonie, a fab classical concert venue.
  • St Pauli & Reeperbahn The hub of Hamburg's live music scene.
  • Altona & Elbmeile Home to an excellent live venue and an arthouse cinema.