Divide your days into neighborhoods when visiting Berlin. Every area has it’s own charm, quirks, and characteristics. I have zoomed in on my favorites in three days. Maybe I’ll make another for some of the other areas or one whole post pr. neighborhood. That’s how much I love visiting and working in Berlin.
One of my favorite cities, Berlin is like no other place in the world. With shops, clubs, and restaurant open 24/7 the German capital is way more awake than the city that never sleeps (which I love too and soon will post a guide to)
So let’s make a toast with some Berliner Luft to the museums, the architecture, the parks, the clubs, the food, and the people!
Where to stay
Berlin offers a variety of hostels and boutique hotels. I have often opted for a hostel because of the clientele and the feel, especially when traveling in groups. One of my favorites is the Sunflower Hostel in Friedrichshain. But there are many good hotels in Berlin, which is not that much more expensive than most hostels. Like the Michelberger Hotel at Warschauer Strasse. The decor is original both when talking about the rooms and the lounge area where guests can relax in sofas before heading to the famous metro station Warschauer Strasse to explore more of the city.
Here’s breakfast, free wi-fi, and daily newspapers in the lobby. And the staff speaks English well – which is not something every German person does, so bring your phrase book or download Duolingo.
Where to eat
You have tossed your suitcase at the hotel. Head over the bridge across the train tracks to where Warschauer Strasse meets Revaler Strasse. Here you’ll find Saray. A small kebab place popular with the party people around this area which is full of clubs and restaurants. You’ll get to know these later. For now just order a döner with everything and grab a cold beer to go.
Bac Hai at Niederbarnimstrasse serves excellent Vietnamese food in ample portions. I stepped in on accident and got a table out front but the food and services mean that I will definitely come back. The place doesn’t have a website yet, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
Where to work
Looking to type out a few lines before getting that second beer, hop into Shakespeare and Sons further up Warschauer Strasse. In black letters on white, the sign out front offers bagels and books which is what makes this café perfect. It is part café, part bookshop with seats for the hardworking freelancers and readers. The place closes at 8 PM and opens again at 8 AM if you want to try the breakfast too.
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What to see
Walk along the Eastside Gallery while the sun sets. The Gallery is not a real gallery; it is a series of murals painted on a more than one-kilometer long remnant of the Berlin Wall. This is where you’ll find the famous painting of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing and the faces of different colors.
Later when the sun has set go to the area around Simon-Dach-Straße in Friedrichshain, a street famous for its many restaurants and diverse clientele ranging from hipsters and ravers to metalheads, tourists and old school Berliners. This is an area famous for its happy hours and atmosphere, multicolored string lights and bars. Try Primitiv Bar where the back room most of all looks like the red room from Twin Peaks and the bartenders can make a mean Long Island Ice Tea even if it’s not on the menu.
Kreuzberg and Mitte
Where to eat
This might be the hardest question you’ll ask yourself while staying in Berlin. Eat breakfast at Cozys. I opted for the Green Benedict, two poached eggs with avocado, aubergine, hummus, and bread – it was delicious.
A staple in Berlin is currywurst. There are so many options, but one of the better according to my tastebuds is Curry 7 in Kreuzberg.
Go to the famed Weinerei, a collection of establishments where you pay as you like for wine and food. It is by far one of the coziest experiences in all of Berlin, take for example http://www.weinerei.com/forum-cafe-weinbar/Forum. The food is not Michelin starred but the service is amazing (maybe to get you to pay more) and the wine and schnapps is abundant!
Where to work
Berlin is a smorgasbord of co-working spaces!
Around Kreuzberg and Mitte go for The Place, Betahaus or co.op.
Rainmaking Loft has been present in Berlin for years but has recently relaunched as the Place neatly located at Charlottenstrasse 2 with both a bar and cool events like FuckUp Nights.
Betahaus is the veteran of Berlin’s co-working spaces located on Prinzessinnenstrasse. If you’re more of a coder, just a few blocks away you’ll find co.op at Adalbertstrasse – also one of the first co-working spaces in Berlin.
What to see
Walk to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe close to Brandenburger Tor, both impressive landmarks any tourist must see. Right next to you is the Tiergarten, a popular place to run or get some sun, and of course go to the zoo in the other end of the park. Take the bus to see Berliner Dom. You can get a pretty cool photo with the tv tower – Berliner Fernsehturm – in the background. Walk along Rochstrasse to Münzstrasse and the adjacent streets where you’ll find some cool shops. Also, if you’re in need of cheap t-shirts or extra socks pop into Primark at Alexanderplatz.
Catch a train to Treptower Park after breakfast and stroll along the Spree, eat local ice cream with delicious tastes like strawberry cheesecake or dopamine or chill on a blanket on the lush lawns.
If you’re in Berlin in the winter, or just have bad luck weather-wise, switch the trip to the park for a trip to the Topography of Terror – Topographie des Terrors – a harsh, well-curated site documenting the horrors of Nazism.
Now it’s time to rave. And never has it been harder to choose. A classic is Berghain, a remodeled apartment building with floors of raving people, a jazz story, and an ice cream parlor. But be warned. There is a dress code, and the bouncers are not shy about turning people down.
Other great choices are Polygon or Sisyphos. Polygon is not always open like a normal club, so sign up for their newsletter to check out when you can rave here. The same goes for Sisyphos which sometimes throws parties running from Wednesday to Sunday.
If you want to be sure – or sure as can be – to try the rave scene head to Suicide Circus. It is a smaller venue indoors and outside open most days of the week in the more touristy area of RAW-gelände.
If you’re not a raver, a good alternative is to head to Karl-Marx-Strasse and catch a movie at the Kino International. Here you’ll find new releases not dubbed and the bar areas overlooking the street is lovely for a drink underneath the chandeliers.
Where to eat
Get your breakfast at Silo Coffee at Gabriel-Max-Strasse. Go for The Silo or the Avocado on Sironi Toast and don’t forget the coffee!
Go to An Einem Sonntag in August; a retro café meets second-hand shop meets grandma style place than opens around 1 pm. If you’re hungry earlier further down the street, you’ll find Ilsebill, a small establishment serving both vegetarian, vegan and meat-based dishes.
Where to work
Coffee Fellows on the corner of Pappelallee and Danzigerstrasse just across from the Eberswalder station. Coffee Fellows is a co-working place and cafe open from 7 in the morning to 10 PM. The chain started in Munich in 1999, and in 2009, Coffee Fellows received the Coffee Shop Award.
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What to see
In the afternoon, before you have to fly home, take the U-bahn to Prenzlauer Berg. Walk down Kastanienallee and the adjacent streets, a little more uppity area but with great bookshops, vintage, and cafes. Remember to see Pratergarten and Mauerpark.