Month by Month
Reeperbahn Festival, September
Christmas Markets, December
In the depths of winter, January can be bitterly cold, but there's nothing quite like a pristine clear January sky in Hamburg when they occur. Accommodation is plentiful and cheap.
February is Hamburg's coldest month, and continues to be low season for accommodation; crowds of visitors are rare. Bring all your winter woollies.
With the first signs of Spring, Hamburg gets its mojo back. Temperatures are often still cold and rain always a possibility, but locals emerge with the sun.
Established in 1329, the month-long Hamburger Dom is held three times a year and is one of Europe's largest and oldest funfairs. This colourful carnival takes place on Heiligengeistfeld, between St Pauli and Schanzenviertel.
Although cold weather is always a possibility, temperatures are becoming milder. Easter can be something of a mini high season for accommodation with plenty of visitors, and many locals leaving the city.
Based at St Pauli Theater, this cabaret festival has been running for more than three decades. The nightly program lasts for nearly a month and sometimes spills over into May.
Milder temperatures and frequent Spring sunshine make this one of our favourite months in Hamburg. Street festivals begin to happen in a number of neighbourhoods across the city.
The city's biggest annual event is this three-day gala. It commemorates Emperor Barbarossa granting Hamburg a customs exemption and is energetically celebrated with harbourside concerts, funfairs and gallons of beer. Lots of fun.
Neighbourhood Street Festivals
Spring is the time for local street festivals, when streets are closed off, food trucks converge, live music takes to the stage and there are sometimes flea markets. It begins with the Osterstrasse Street Festival in Elmsbüttel, followed later in May by the Stadtfest St Georg.
Summer has arrived, although don't expect a heat wave. Temperatures usually cool to mild at best, but sunshine becomes more frequent. It's a lovely time to be in the city.
Run over just two or three days at the beginning of June, this small jazz festival has been going since 2010 (although it missed a year in 2016). Its future seems to have been secured with the movement to the showpiece Elbphilharmonie.
Summers in northern Germany are brief, so expect locals to make the most of them with festivals and plenty of outdoor living. July is the heart of high season, so accommodation often books out early.
Altona is a wonderful place to be in the first half of July with this street festival running over almost three weeks. Expect terrific food as well as live performances (including music, dance and theatre) and street art. There's a flea market on the final weekend.
Hamburg's gay-and-lesbian pride shindig runs over a week in late July and/or early August, with plenty of musical events, parades and a festive sense of celebration in St Georg.
St Pauli is taken over in mid-July by this typically extravagant street parade with floats and everyone dressed up in a rather fun 1970s fashion to celebrate German-language disco pop songs. It takes places across the neighbourhood from the port area to Reeperbahn.
Still high season and among the best months for nice weather. Tourists may outnumber locals who often take their summer holidays somewhere warmer in August.
This wild music festival takes over Wilhelmsburg on the south bank of the Elbe in mid-August, with a heady mix of more than a hundred well-known and up-and-coming musicians from Germany and further afield. Works by emerging artists are also exhibited.
A good month to visit, with, sometimes, echoes of mild summer temperatures as the city returns to work. If you happen upon a fine patch of the weather, this is Hamburg at its best.
This happening live-music celebration covers every musical genre imaginable and fills St Pauli's venues (from seedy nightclubs to churches!) with crowds and quality performances. Download their festival app to help make sense of it all.
With the winter chill nearing on the horizon, enjoy what could be the last nice weather for a while. The city's film festival sends locals indoors for reasons other than the weather.
Hamburg's annual October film festival runs over 10 days in early October with everything from arthouse to documentary.
If winter didn't arrive early in October, it almost certainly will in November. Temperatures can be below freezing and the first signs of Christmas (roasting chestnuts, glühwein) start making an appearance.
Christmas takes over the city and no-one seems to mind the cold winter temperatures as people throng the streets to either shop or soak up the Christmas spirit. Christmas is a mini high season for accommodation.
From late November, numerous Christmas markets spring up all over the city. It's difficult to miss them, with examples on the Jungfernstieg waterfront, Altstadt, Hamburg and St Pauli.