Hamburg is a city of 1.75 million, and as you would expect from a city of this size it has many interesting and varied neighborhoods.  Due to its long status as a major trading port there are many historical areas, although many of the original buildings have been replaced due to fire, flood and bombs.  It is also a very cosmopolitan city due to the trade and its prosperity.  Below are some of the interesting areas worth a visit.

 St. Pauli

 Perhaps the area most associated with Hamburg, also known as the "Kiez",  this is an interesting mixture of culture, sleaze, sport and entertainment of many forms.  Reeperbahn is the most famous street in this area and home to numerous entertainment venues ranging from local pubs to strip shows and musical theatre.  St.Pauli wakes up about 11pm and goes on until the wee hours, a true 24 hour environment.  You will see all forms of life in this area, and perhaps be a bit intimidated by it.  Keep your valuables close to your body, although it is by no means as unsafe as many other European cities.  Once the party winds down in St. Pauli on a Sunday morning you can head to the fish market on Landungsbruecken, where the party keeps going until about 9am!

Jungfernsteig / Neuer Wall

The decidedly upmarket area for shopping and being seen in the latest Gucci shades, every visitor to Hamburg needs to indulge in retail therapy or window shopping at least.  Once the feet are tired stop at Cafe Alex in the Alsterpavilion for a cup of coffee or cold beer whilst admiring the Inner Alster lake.  Or splash out and have dinner at the Four Seasons.

Altona

Once a city in its own right Altona since 1937 swallowed up by Hamburg city but still has a distict identity of being bohemian and multicultural.  Look at the Altona museum or wander down Ottensen high street for shopping and stop off at one of the many bars, cafes or restaurants.  If you fancy some live music or dancing then head to Fabrik.

Blankenese

 Where the successful Hamburgers live, this cosy suburb on the banks of the Elbe is very charming.  Narrow streets with treppen (stairs) go down to the shore, past the expensive houses with the expensive view of the river!  At the bottom there are eateriesand the Strandhotel (popular with honeymooners)  to unwind in the summer sun, or avoid the rain.  Back up the hill there are quaint specialist shops and a street market.  Worth a trip (on S1 S-Bahn) to see how the other half live.  Once at the station take the wee bus to the bottom of the town or head towards the stairs.

Sternschanze/Schanzenviertel

The Schanze is an alternative area in Hamburg, but definitely worth a visit for all ages. Although it's not as clean as some portions of Hamburg (graffiti, a bit more garbage), it definitely is safe and a great place to watch people, shop at unique boutiques and to experience some cheaper, yet good, restaurant choices. It's also a great place to purchase fresh fruits and veggies during the day, and to wander around by foot. It has excellent choices for outdoor dining, or for just a drink. It's located North of St. Pauli, and West of the city-center. Sternschanze is accessible by both S-bahn (S31, S3) and U-bahn (U3). The stop shares the same name. Winterhude Winterhude is a little community within itself as well. It's located blocks within walking distance to the Northeast end of the Alster, and is situated among various little canals that flow into the Alster Lake. Winterhude is not for your typical "young" crowd, unless your crowd is well-endowed financially. Although Winterhude is wonderful, it certainly isn't short of luxurious. Ideal for families and couples, this portion of the city is great for fine dining, excellent coffee shops, and high-end shoe and clothes shopping. It's a beautiful place with idealic homes and tree-lined streets. A little off the beaten path, can be accessed from the Haupbahnhof (main station) by taking the bus 6 (1.65 Euro, "bis Gertigstrasse"). It's about 9 or 10 stops, but offers some orientation and is the best way to get there. Otherwise, from the North, the most simple way is to exit the U3 at the Borgweg stop, and take bus 6 (which is directly situated outside of the Ubahn) to "Gertigstrasse" or "Goldbekplatz" and wander around those areas.

HafenCity/Speicherstadt

The HafenCity is Hamburg's newest quarter and a major city planning project where old warehouses which used to be part of Hamburg's free zone port are being replaced with offices, hotels, shops, museums, (largely upscale) residential areas etc. It is also the home of one of Hamburg's cruise ship terminals. Take either the U4, bus 111 or bus 6 to get there. 

North of it  is the Speicherstadt, the world's largest timber-pile founded warehouse district which also used to be part of the free zone but is now the home of several museums as the Hamburg Dungeon, the Miniaturwunderland or the Deutsches Zollmuseum but some of the old buildings are still used as warehouse, often by carpet trade companies. .