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The Hamburg Altona and Hamburg Ottensen district

The Ottenser Hauptstraße and the Mercado in the Hamburg-Altona/Ottensen district - Image by City-Wohnen Hamburg

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Schoolchildren, vegetable sellers, architects, artists or advertisers: life is colorful and cheerful in Ottensen. Different nationalities, religions and cultures mingle here, giving the district a unique character. Once a Danish fishing village, later a home to factories and their workers, today this is one of the most popular and colorful quarters of Hamburg. The diversity of the residents reflects Altona itself (Ottensen is actually a part of the Altona district). You’ll find everything here: the upscale promenade on the River Elbe and parks, hip bars and restaurants, small boutiques or large chain stores, and older buildings or modern lofts.

People love living in ottensen

Beautiful old buildings, many of which have Art Nouveau facades, characterize Ottensen. One sees here pointed and curved historical buildings built to fit the old, irregular streets. There are also the former factory buildings which have almost all been converted into lofts and condos with lovely courtyards. Modern buildings are increasingly part of the streetscape.

Short profile Hamburg-Altona and Hamburg-Ottensen

  • lively and authentic
  • lolorful and individual
  • lany furnished apartments
  • lany Art Nouveau buildings
  • lodern lofts
  • green courtyards
  • close to the Elbe River, many green areas
  • great dining
  • great cultural scene
  • close to the Fishmarkt
  • Sternschanze, St. Pauli easily accessible
  • many pubs, cafes and restaurants
  • shopping center Mercado
  • high-quality specialty stores & small shops
  • a number of large retail chains
  • Germany’s first city-center IKEA
  • farmer's markets, organic markets
  • good transport links from Altona station


Tastes from around the world

Many bars, cafes and restaurants liven up the neighborhood. Whether you want a mojito or a latte – head to the Alma-Wartenberg-Platz or the Ottenser Hauptstraße. You can also find good restaurants on the Große Brunnenstraße. For a quick meal, try the food court in the Mercado shopping center where you’ll find Turkish, Asian, and Indian cuisine as well as organic products from Germany. You can meet the locals and find the freshest produce at the farmer’s market. There are 4 markets a week, two of which have only organic vendors.

Culture in Altona and Ottensen

Once a year the entire neighborhood celebrates the Altonale, an alternative street festival with lots of music, events, artists and international guests. The diversity of the event has grown over the years, so you can attend theater performances, museum or gallery exhibits, or the cinema. The very lively, three-day festival has become famous far beyond the borders of Hamburg.

In terms of culture, there is a lot to discover every day in Altona and Ottensen.
There are regular concerts and events in the Fabrik on Barnerstraße. The Altona Museum is perfect for those interested in maritime and regional history. Local theaters include Theater in der Basilica, Thalia in der Gaußstraße, the Monsun Theater and also the Altonaer Theater. There are stage productions for every taste, and sometimes even international guest productions in other languages. The Zeisehallen, a former propeller factory, is home to a cultural center. Here you will find an art house cinema (Zeise Kinos), restaurants, offices, art galleries and unique artisans shops. The UCI Kinowelt is a mainstream movie theater and is located just off the access road to the A7 highway.

Local shops

Although you will see chain stores close to the Altona train station, there are many small shops with unique products and great personal service on the Ottenser Hauptraße and Bahrenfelder Straße. From handmade sweets to an organic bakery to trendy clothing stores, you can find it all in Ottensen. If you’re here in the summertime, make sure and stop for ice cream at Eisliebe. Just look for the ice cream parlor on Reitbahn with the line stretching out the door!

Elbe River and Fishmarkt

Officially, the Altona district reaches all the way to the Elbe, even if it does feel a lot like St. Pauli near the water. If your Saturday night doesn’t end until Sunday morning, it is worth visiting the famous Fishmarkt. Starting at 5 o’clock in the morning (7 o’clock in winter), market criers entertain partygoers and tourists. Fish, fruit, vegetables, plants and clothes change hands with great to-do. In both summer and winter, you can stroll a little farther down the promenade to escape the crowd and relax. Many cafés, restaurants and beach clubs are located along the River Elbe.

Transportation / getting around

Commuter trains, buses and long-distance trains leave in all directions from the transportation hub Altona station. If you’re staying in the neighborhood, a bicycle is very useful on the winding, often one-way streets. There are now many stations for call bikes (Stadtrad), a very cost-effective alternative! A bicycle will get you to the Elbe River quickly. Just zoom past the radiant white Altona Rathaus, built in the late classicist and neo-Renaissance style. You can join the locals who are playing, reading, relaxing and picnicking at the Altona Balkon. This green space is popular because of the great view of the harbor and the river.


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