Germany: Instead of Berlin go to Hamburg
Berlin is the go-to for a long-weekend escape to Germany. But next time inexpensive flights to Germany pop up on Orbitz, turn your attention about two hours northwest of the German capital to Hamburg, instead, where the hipsters have yet to make inroads. A port city along the Elbe River with a gritty edge buffered by serious shipping money and the modernistic architecture of the new HafenCity, Hamburg's cup runneth over with live music, cool boutiques and fun bars that offer as much for boys' weekends as for a couples' trip. St. Pauli, the red light district, is the nightlife hub and where the Beatles got their start. There's great live music at bars like Grosse Freiheit and the Docks and Prinzenbar. And the neighborhood called Schanzenviertel feels almost more Scandinavian than German, with minimalist boutiques, atmospheric cafes and excellent restaurants like Bistrot Vienna.