It’s ALL that and much more. Underground nightlife scenes will blow your mind and ruin your entire next day (lol). Berlin is so many things wrapped up into one city, and the only way I can adequately describe it is this: it’s anything but mainstream. What’s “in” is actually “out” here. The WWII history and rise/fall of the Wall not only materializes museum after museum but complexities and pieces left for Berliners to pick up. Any attempt to put a label on the city becomes futile because it chooses to be defined by its complexities and contradictions – not by beauty, wealth, or industry. And I absolutely love that.
Population of Berlin: 3.5 million
Climate: Cold winters, hot summers, mild autumn and spring
Jump Bikes – Highly recommend these electric bikes by Uber…even in a dress 😉
U-Bahn – The underground railway in Berlin is fast, cheap and pretty decent as far as pubic transportation systems go
Uber – Available all over Berlin!
Silo Coffee – Ethically sourced specialty coffee house in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg with bomb poached eggs and avo toast (above)…however next time I’m ordering the oven baked pancake due to massive food envy from the table next door.
Roamers – Set in the Neukolln neighborhood, this cozy space has a DECADENT chai tea latte and avo toast offering
W-Der Imbiss – In the heavy foot-traffic neighborhood of Mitte lies an Indian food spot that’ll satisfy all of your taste-bud needs. Order the Tasters Menu full of alllll the winners and bask in the naan glory.
POTS – Hands down my favorite dining experience in Berlin because not only was everything in copper pots as seen in the open-concept kitchen but also the food inventions were delicious (think classics with a modern twist) and the staff was crazy memorable. Many thanks to Sommelier and host Mathias Brandweiner for somehow knowing my tastebuds better than, well, me.
Boxhagener Platz Market – On Sundays, go here hungry 🙂 Lots of food stalls and clothing stalls to indulge in! I ate my body weight in foreign foods.
Markthalle Neun (Market Hall Nine) – I ADORED this place. What’s not to love about cannoli, ice cream, pizza, empanadas and Trdelník (cinnamon/sugar pastry wrapped around a stick with creme inside) all being served under one roof?! Thursday in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood stuffing your face with street food. BE THERE. More markets throughout the week as well!
Cassiopeia – Nightclub by evening but an even better biergarten by day! Berlin is FULL of hidden gems around every corner – which is why lots of walking is required to find said gems (or just keep reading this post). With a rock climbing wall, biergarten and food stalls, I could spend many hours at this repurposed rail station.
Holzmarkt – SO nice we went here twice 🙂 This eclectic spot by the river is full of yummy coffee, beer (duh), lively crowds and delicious pizza. Learned here that customers pay a deposit, or Pfand surcharge, to the bar/food stall and can get it back when bottles are returned.
- FUN FACT: The German Pfand system was brought into force to ensure that there was a responsible policy in place for the recycling of plastic bottles. It encourages drinks companies to supply their product in multi-use, refillable plastic or glass bottles. These can be refilled up to 25 times for the plastic variety and up to 50 times for glass which reduces the average CO2 emissions per bottle in circulation because fewer new bottles have to be manufactured. The process of washing and sterilizing these bottles is loads more environmentally friendly in terms of CO2 output than the production of single-use bottles.
Klunkerkranich – Sprawling open-air bar on top of a shopping mall garage…bringing new life to rooftop bars 🙂 Berlin, you’re so damn cool!
Urban Spree – Sometimes all you need in life is live music, German craft beer and some pretty art to enjoy. Love the vibe here in this multi-faceted, multi-leveled space!
Museums & Memorials
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – Also known as the Holocaust Memorial, this space holds 2,711 concrete slabs of varying heights and wavelike in form. There’s a somber mood over the area with a side of uncertainty as the observer wanders through the tall slabs. Don’t miss the underground Rooms for more information from families and victims.
Topography of Terror – It’s strange that this history museum, the former site of both the Gestapo and SS headquarters, was a highlight of Berlin for me. How something entitled “Topography of Terror” where terror is so tangible could possibly make its way to the top of my list is all a bit morbid, but the amount of history and information pouring out of this place in an organized fashion is truly mind-blowing and educational.
Book Burning Memorial – I’d go ahead and assume that many people pass right by this memorial not having a clue what it all means. That, or you come upon a big crowd standing around a glass plate in the ground. The public square of Bebelplatz holds a sunken library with empty white shelves to signify the 20,000 books that went up in flames here on 10 May, 1933 at the hands of the Nazis.
Museum Island (Museumsinsel)- 1 island, 5 museums. Enough said 🙂
Brandenburg Gate – 18th century monument in the western part of the city and historically a site for major events
Reichstag – With a war-torn past and many restorations later, this stunning building now serves as the German Parliament building
Checkpoint Charlie – Also known as Checkpoint C, this was the best known Berlin Wall crossing point between east and west Berlin. Lots of people are here taking photos of the checkpoint, but if you don’t know what it is exactly, you’ll likely walk right through!
Berlin Fernsehturm – TV tower in the center of Mitte in Berlin allowing spectators to get a 360-view of the entire city
Gendarmenmarkt – A beautiful square in Berlin with rotating markets and concerts showcasing an architectural ensemble with German and French influences
Eastside Gallery – Serving as a massive piece of history, this 4,318 ft. section of the Berlin Wall painted with murals acts as an open-air art gallery
Potsdamer Platz – Modern-day entertainment, shopping and business district with a loaded past as the Berlin Wall went through this area. Easily reached via U-Bahn.
Berlin Cathedral – A main landmark of Berlin, you can’t mistake this stunning dome for anything else! After the division of Germany, the Cathedral was in East Berlin. After many damages in WWII, the full restoration was only completed in 1993, four years after the Berlin Wall fell.
Tiergarten – Berlin’s most popular park coming in at 520 acres. Great spot for a run, some shade or a little peace and quiet.
Mauerpark – If you like flea markets, karaoke and lounging in the park with your friends – look no further. Sundays here are lots of fun, especially if you’re brave enough to belt it out while singing karaoke in front of a few hundred people 🙂
Badeschiff – Floating public swimming pool in the Spree River with a bar and views for days. Be prepared for an entry fee and mediocre service.
Ritz-Carlton Berlin – A grand marble staircase greeted us as we checked into the property. It’s hard to take your eyes off of it and pairs swimmingly with the recent remodel and art deco theme running throughout. Situated in Potsdamer Platz with a backyard of the Tiergarten, I hiiiighly recommend this gem!