I’m looking for an idiomatic translation of the phrase to hit the town:

to spend time in the area of a city or town where there are a lot of restaurants, bars, etc.

The suggested translation

in der Stadt ankommen

seems very ‘formal’ for me, and I would not consider it hitting the town actually.

I would like to say something like this in German:

I’m hitting Munich today!

  • 2
    A rarely used but rather direct equivalent is "aufschlagen in ...". Aug 29 '16 at 6:01
  • 5
    I never heard the phrase »to hit a town« and I have no idea what it could mean. Please can you describe what it means in detail? I guess there just is no similar phrase in German, but without knowing what it means it's hard to say. But I'm absolutely sure that the literal translation (»eine Stadt schlagen«) is wrong. Aug 29 '16 at 6:03
  • 2
    Ankommen is in no way formal, so may use it without doubt in any context. For me as a German it seems to be the direct counterpart to arrive. Its only fault is, that it is somewhat colourless or boring, but to know which colour to apply more context would be helpful, as Hubert mentioned.
    – guidot
    Aug 29 '16 at 6:57
  • Synonyms for "ankommen" would be "eintreffen, aufschlagen, erreichen, auftauchen, sich einfinden, eintrudeln, anrollen, antanzen, aufkreuzen". Anyhow, doesn't "hit town" usually mean that you go into town for having some fun, like shopping, partying, getting drinks etc.?
    – Em1
    Aug 29 '16 at 7:18
  • 5
    Merriam Webster: "hit the town". It seems to imply visiting clubs, having fun etc. - so I translated it as "die Stadt unsicher machen", but was downvoted... maybe someone has a better idea.
    – Marco13
    Aug 29 '16 at 12:57

In der Stadt ankommen is not only a formally-seeming translation but also does not capture the intended meaning: it means little more than to arrive in a town.

A direct and equivalent idiomatic translation probably does not exist, it will most likely depend on what you want to emphasise. If it is mainly going there, I would suggest in die Stadt gehen.

Wir gehen heute Abend nach München in die Stadt.

If the implication is also partying, I would probably use feiern gehen:

Wir gehen heute Abend nach München feiern.

And finally, if you’re going all-out, you may decide to use die Stadt unsicher machen, which is the only phrasal translation I can think of but whose meaning is a tad closer to to paint a town red.

Wir machen heute Abend München (or: die Stadt) unsicher.


I'm hitting Munich today!

I'd translate this as

Heute geht's (weiter) nach München!

I'd insert the weiter if you want to express that you are at one place now and are continuing your travels. For example:

Letzter Tag in Nürnberg - heute geht's weiter nach München!

In that sense you could also say:

Heute ist der letzte Tag in Nürnberg. Weiter geht's nach München!

You could also say Heute geht's nach München if you live in another nearby town and want to say that you're going shopping in Munich or something.

In the sense of Merriam-Webster, which I understand as we're going to the place in town where people go to go shopping or to go out, a possible translation would be:

Heute gehe ich in die Stadt.
Heute geht's in die Stadt.

where die Stadt does not refer to a specific city. In that case die Stadt refers to the area in a city where things happen - cafés, shops, shipping centers, etc.

In Germany, this tends to be the center of the city (in former times, this was the central market place. The cities grew from there). Ironically, this is also sometimes called die City in German. When you talk about Munich you will often hear people say Heit gemmer in die City (Heute gehen wir in die City).

Due to the fact that the so called Stadt used to refer to some more or less central area of a city, you could also say

Heute fahren wir nach ... rein.

assuming that you stay anyway outside that inner city.

For example if your hotel is in the outskirts of Munich, you could say:

Heute fahren wir nach München rein.


The closest translation I can currently come up with

Wir sind heute in München aufgeschlagen

is a quite literal translation and at just about the same level of hip speech (or colloquialism) as "hit the city".

  • Nicht ganz. Es geht darum, "in die Stadt zu gehen". Siehe merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hit%20the%20town Aug 29 '16 at 14:53
  • Wo sagt man sowas? Wenn ich »Wir sind heute in München aufgeschlagen« höre, denke ich an Fallschirmspringer, die über München abgesprungen sind, und deren Schirme nicht aufgegangen sind. Die armen Leute sind dann ungebremst vom Himmel gefallen und in München am Boden aufgeschlagen (was meist den Tod zur Folge hat). Aug 29 '16 at 15:44
  • 3
    @HubertSchölnast "aufschlagen" wird schon auch im Sinne von "ankommen" verwendet - zumindest in jüngeren Generationen. Beispielsweise Ich denke, wir werden gegen 8 bei Deiner Party aufschlagen. Aber wie gesagt trifft es meiner Meinung nach die Bedeutung von "to hit town" nicht. Aug 29 '16 at 18:36
  • This misses the intended meaning as per the dictionary entry provided.
    – Jan
    Aug 30 '16 at 13:08

EDIT: There has been some discussion in the comments about the exact meaning of "to hit the town". It definitely seems to mean more than "to arrive". Whether or not my original answer below is appropriate depends on how much emphasis is put on having fun when saying "to hit the town". Just sitting in a restaurant and having a coffee is definitely not "die Stadt unsicher machen". I tried to describe what it usually means - namely, that it's a slightly tongue-in-cheek way of saying that someone wants to have "excessive" fun. So the asker can figure out whether this is what he actually wants to say.

A common phrase in German that seems to have the same meaning is

Die Stadt unsicher machen

Literally, it means "to make the city unsafe", and is a somewhat ironically exaggerating phrase for having parties, visiting clubs, maybe having some drinks, or having fun in general.

You could say something like

Ich mache heute München unsicher

but it's such a coined phrase that you could also say

Ich mache heute in München die Stadt unsicher

(even though "die Stadt" is München in this case)

  • "Die Stadt unsicher machen" is more along the lines of "painting the town red". Not sure if that was asked.
    – Robert
    Aug 29 '16 at 4:18
  • 1
    @Robert Merriam Webster disagrees here - at least it seems to mean more than just arriving somewhere. But I'll delete the answer, it's not so important.
    – Marco13
    Aug 29 '16 at 12:55
  • 1
    @Robert I think the difference lies in the degree of hyperbole. in die Stadt gehen would've been too tame, and unsicher machen may be slightly overdone.
    – Chieron
    Aug 30 '16 at 14:12

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