Crazy Christmas in Hamburg: Different Yuletide experience – with Santa Pauli and the queer Winter Pride
A slightly crazy, kitschy and, above all, cool kind of Christmas market can only be experienced in Hamburg
The pre-Christmas period is nearly through its first half, Germany’s traditional and cosy Christmas markets are as popular as ever, and Christmas sales in the city centre are booming. While the classic type of Christmas market can be found almost everywhere in Germany, a slightly crazy, kitschy and, above all, cool kind of Christmas market can only be experienced in Hamburg – at the Santa Pauli market on the famous Reeperbahn, and at the queer Winter Pride market in the district of St Georg. Labelled with the hashtag #holyhamburg, www.hamburg-tourism.de/holyhamburg now presents the most recent footage: the story of a pre-Christmas night in Hamburg’s legendary St Pauli quarter – to be taken with a pinch of salt…
In the run-up to Christmas, the nostalgic Christmas market in front of Hamburg’s town hall and the luxurious Christmas market on the Alster Lake are among the preferred after-work locations for enjoying a mug of mulled wine with friends. Then it is time to head straight to St Pauli with its Santa Pauli Christmas market, or to St Georg with its Winter Pride – Hamburg’s queer Christmas market. These two locations provide plenty of opportunities for partying away the winter nights.
After all, these alternative Christmas markets offer so much more than your average festive entertainment, plenty of glitz, glamour, and extravagance included. The Santa Pauli market on Spielbudenplatz is arguably the sexiest choice here, in the most literal sense of the word: at this market, the boundaries between traditionalism and eroticism are being blurred in a way that is quite typical of Hamburg: with great ease and total honesty.
As well as offering the finest live music and original drinks beyond the comfort zone of mulled wine, the Santa Pauli market is home to some rather exceptional exhibitors with numerous adult gift ideas, ranging from FC St. Pauli souvenirs to wooden love toys. And let’s not forget the strip tent that adds a certain erotic appeal to the event … something to be expected in the former red-light district of St Pauli, but certainly not at a Christmas market. Here you can expect the typical coolness of Hamburg’s nightlife scene, including a fair share of peculiar characters, after-work hipsters, and musicians. All of this should of course not be taken too seriously. And as the night gets cold, the party moves on to the nearby pubs and clubs.
The market on Spielbudenplatz continues to pull the crowds, even on any average Monday night. All the way to 23 December the atmosphere is simply magic, and the organisers of this alternative Christmas market don’t have to do much to make it work as the many stalls, exhibitors and artists make it all happen with their friendly, creative and open-minded attitudes.
A liberal flair the Hamburg way can also be experienced at the Winter Pride market in the district of St Georg, which will even be open until 30 December. Behind its shiny pink gates, Hamburg’s only gay/lesbian Christmas market celebrates the festive season in a way that will put a smile on the face of anyone who thought they were immune to Christmas. Open daily from 12 p.m., this market offers enough love to keep you warm through the winter. Literally anything can be found here – with the exception of traditional Christmas carols perhaps. Instead, the stage programme offers a wealth of entertainment, with live DJs on each Friday and Saturday and singer/songwriters from the Hamburg region performing live each Sunday.
Beyond the hustle and bustle of the festive season, which can be felt across the city from mid-November, the Santa Pauli and Winter Pride Christmas markets thus provide excellent opportunities for an alternative, tongue-in-cheek Yuletide experience that is unparalleled in Germany – with a lot of passion and plenty of love in the air.
This special atmosphere can also be experienced online at www.hamburg-tourism.de/holyhamburg and on the social web at #holyhamburg, including further information on all the other 14 Christmas markets in Hamburg’s city centre. Plus, we have compiled a number of exciting package deals for a pre-Christmas trip to Hamburg.
Location: Spielbudenplatz, D-20359 Hamburg
Dates: 17 November to 23 December
Opening hours: Mon–Wed 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thur 4 p.m. to midnight
Fri & Sat 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sun 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: corner of Lange Reihe/Kirchenallee
Dates: 27 November to 30 December
Opening hours: daily from 12 p.m., Sun–Thur until 10 p.m.
Fri & Sat until midnight