Schanzenviertel (lit. 'Redoubt Quarter' or 'Sconce Quarter') is located southwest of Schanzenpark. The name refers to the former fortifications just outside of Hamburg that protected the city from the advances of Danish troops in the late seventeenth century. Previously, the area was divided between the districts of Altona, Mitte and Eimsbüttel until it became its own quarter under administrative supervision of Altona in 2008.
Sternschanze has long been considered the counter-cultural centre of the city. You can browse independent record stores and boutiques or enjoy the cosy cafés, lively pubs and bars around the Schulterblatt street. The area is especially popular among young locals, who will gladly leave the Reeperbahn to the tourists.
Historically a distinctly working-class neighbourhood, the last decades have brought about a surge of gentrification, during which many of the areas buildings were renovated. Simultaneously, rent in the area sharply increased, and many of the original residents were forced to move out. Rote Flora, a former theatre turned autonomous youth centre and squat since 1989, still functions as a symbol of the area's strong alternative scene and is now known for its wide array of political and cultural events.
The Schanzenpark is a green oasis in the city and a popular meeting place for young and old alike. Located high atop a hill in the park’s centre, the Schanzenturm tower is a real eye-catcher and well worth a look. Finished in 1910, it was Europe’s largest water tower until 1961. In 2005, the 60-metre-tall building was fully renovated and reopened as a hotel.