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Hamburg is a city of merchants. In general, stores are open Monday to Friday 9am to 6 or 6:30pm (some Thurs until 8pm) and on Saturday 9am to 2pm (until 4 or 6pm on langer Samstag, the first Sat of the month). Unfortunately, the best shops are not concentrated in one location. Two of the oldest and most prestigious shopping streets, Grosse Bleichen and Neuer Wall, run parallel to the canals, connected transversely by Jungfernstieg and Ufer Strasse on the Binnenalster. Less expensive shopping streets are Spitalstrasse and Mönckebergstrasse.

Hamburg has nine major shopping malls. The glass-roofed Hanse Viertel Galerie Passage is some 200m (660 ft.) long. There's a scattering of upscale cafes here and even a stand-up seafood bar where glasses of beer or Sekt (sparkling wine) are served at tiny tables.

Mönckebergstrasse (U-Bahn: Hauptbahnhof), a street connecting the main station with the Rathaus, is the city's traditional shopping district. Here you'll find big department stores such as Karstadt, Mönckebergstrasse 16 (tel. 040/30940; www.karstadt.de), part of a chain that carries many of the same brands and items as the other leading department stores, all competitively priced. The store is open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm. A thrifty alternative, Kaufhof, Mönckebergstrasse 3 (tel. 040/333070; www.galeria-kaufhof.de), carries less expensive items than the surrounding department stores and also offers better deals on merchandise markdowns. Bargain hunters combing the store are apt to be successful. Hours are Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 8pm. More fashionable and upscale than any of the three mentioned above is Alsterhaus, Jungfernstieg 16-20 (tel. 040/359010; www.alsterhaus.de), which some New Yorkers have compared favorably to Bloomingdale's (same hours as Karstadt).

If you walk down Bergstrasse to the second part of the city center, you pass along Jungfernstieg, with tourist boats of the Alster Fleet on the right and a teeming shopping street on the other side. About a block farther along, you come to the Hamburger Hof, the elegant entrance to one of the most attractive chains of shopping galleries in Europe. At the end of Jungfernstieg, you can cross Gänsemarkt to Gänsemarkt Passage, another shopping gallery, with stores on three levels.

An upmarket and youthfully fashionable shopping area is in Eppendorf (U-Bahn: Eppendorfer Baum), Hamburg's oldest village, first mentioned in written history in 1140. Many prosperous and avant-garde Hamburgers live in the stately area's 19th-century homes and apartments. The shopping district, from Klosterstern to Eppendorfer Markt, has exclusive boutiques selling fashions from Paris, Milan, and New York; colorful shops with odds and ends for your home; antiques shops; and places where you can not only make purchases but also watch goldsmiths, hat makers, potters, and weavers at work.

The Hamburg Fischmarkt (fish market), between Hexenberg and Grosse Elbstrasse (U-Bahn: Landungsbrücken), is held every Sunday from 5am in summer or 7am otherwise. Flowers, fruit, vegetables, plants, and pets are also for sale at this traditional market, in existence since 1703. It sometimes seems that the fish are just an afterthought nowadays. The nearby taverns are open to serve Fischmarkt visitors and vendors.

Jil Sander, Neuer Wall 43 (tel. 040/37518704; www.jilsander.com; S-Bahn: Dammtor), is the best place to go for chic women's styling. Jil Sander burst upon Europe's fashion scene from her native city of Hamburg and has taken special efforts to make this three-floor store the flagship of her increasingly successful operation. Part of the success of her designs derives from their wearability -- they are appropriate for the office, the boardroom, or cocktail hour. Another popular choice for women's fashions is Escada Boutique, Neuer Wall 32 (tel. 040/363296; www.escada.com; U-Bahn: Hauptbahnhof), owned by the German design company of the same name. This store carries the firm's complete collection of women's sports-, evening, business, and knitwear, plus accessories that include hats, bags, gloves, and shoes. A less expensive division of Escada, Laurel Boutique, Neuer Wall 41 (tel. 040/3743270; U-Bahn: Hauptbahnhof), appeals to an active, younger clientele with alternative takes on casual day and elegant evening wear.

For high-fashion men's clothing, go to Thomas-i-Punkt, Gänsemarkt 24 (tel. 040/342009; U-Bahn: Hauptbahnhof), where you'll find suits, jackets, shirts, shoes, and belts carrying the exclusive Omen label. Ties, handkerchiefs, and other accessories are also available. Shoes, well made and fashionably styled, are sold to both men and women at Schuhhaus Prange, Jungfernstieg 38 (tel. 040/343151; www.schuhhaus-prange.de; U-Bahn: Jungfernstieg).

One of the city's leading hairdressers, for both men and women, is Marlies Müller, Königsbergerstrasse 6 (tel. 040/6403829; S-Bahn: Dammtor). Besides hair styling and beauty treatments, a large perfume and cosmetic selection is also offered here.

Brahmfeld & Gutruf, Jungfernstieg 12 (tel. 040/346103; www.brahmfeld-gutruf.de; U-Bahn: Jungfernstieg), is one of Germany's oldest jewelers, founded in 1743.

A store with a nautical nature, Binikowski, Lokstedter Weg 68 (tel. 040/462852; U-Bahn: Eppendorfer Baum), established in 1955, is the place to find a Buddelschiff (ship in a bottle), as well as ship models and clocks. Captain's Cabin, Bei Dim St. Pauli Landungsbrücken 3 (tel. 040/316373; S-Bahn: Landungsbrücken), stocks ship models, telescopes, barometers, figureheads, lamps, nautical clothing for the whole family, prints, posters, and more.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.