Apr 8, 2014

10 Cool Things to Do in Berlin


 
My sister will be visiting Berlin this month and asked for insider tips about what to see and do. I compiled this list and thought it might be interesting for some of you out there as well. Full disclosure: All of the places and brands listed here are personal recommendations. None of them have compensated me in any way, shape or form for mentioning them in this post. Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comment section!

walk, walk, walk
I love walking around Berlin. My favorite routes include the following, just click on the bold print for detailed directions:

* Prenzauer Berg Tour *
Hackescher Markt -> Mauerpark (≈ 45 minutes non-stop)
See the Hackeschen Höfe, Prenzlauer Berg, Zionskirchplatz, and the Mauerpark flea market.

*  Sunday Walk *
Bahnhof Zoo -> Brandenburger Tor (≈ 45 minutes non-stop)
See Berlin Zoo and the Aquarium, the Tiergarten Park, Goldelse and Brandenburg Gate)
* Hip and Trendy *
Hermannplatz -> Warschauer Str. (≈ 1 hour non-stop)
See the hip and trendy districts Neukölln and Kreuzberg, Berlin's famous outdoor clubs Club der Visionäre,  Freischwimmer, and Badeschiff and explore Friedrichshain.
* Politics *
See the Reichstag, Berlin Main Train Station, government offices, and Friedrichstraße. Walk along Unter den Linden and see Museum Island and City Hall.
* Cultural Tour *
Viktoria Luise Platz -> Potsdamer Platz (≈ 1 hour and 20 minutes non-stop)
See Viktoria-Luise-Platz, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, KDW, Bauhaus-Archiv, Neue Nationalgalerie and Potsdamer Platz.


ride the 100 bus
If you're pressed for time or too lazy to walk, take the bus. The 100 bus is a sightseeing tour for a tenth of the normal price, pretty much. For 2,60€, you can ride from Alexanderplatz to Bahnhof Zoo and view most major Berlin sights. Try visitberlin.de for more information on the 100 and more typical things to see and do in Berlin.  

eat lots of vegan food
Undoubtedly, Berlin is Germany's vegan capital. From lifestyle blogs to meaty looking burgers to fashion, fancy dining and even enitre vegan supermarkets, you can get anything cruelty free. Veggie Love is a great resource for vegan trends, Berlin vegan is the community page to research vegan food in your area - they even have an app for when you're on the go! My personal favorite vegan restaurants include Satyam (sooo good and super affordable) and Kopp's (a little more expensive, best to make reservations). I also enjoy the coincidentally vegan vegetarian platter at Abissinia, an Ethiopian restaurant owned by Dantina, the friendliest owner ever.


go to a concert / the ballett / a reading
Berlin overflows with all things cultural. There's really something interesting for everyone! Before I turned 30, I liked to take advantage of the ClassicCard, with which you can go see balletts for as little as 10€. Even when you're over thirty, though, tickets to the Staatsballett Berlin are inexpensive in international comparison.

For booking concert tickets, there are plenty of options, but I always liked eventim: You can buy online tickets with them for (almost) any event, then all you have to do is download, print and bring them. Easy as pie.

Berlin's literary scene is awesome, too. There's the young and hip Literaturwerkstatt in Prenzlauer Berg's event space Kulturbrauerei, and also the somewhat posh Literaturhaus close to Ku'Damm. The Literaturhaus has a nice café attached to it, where Berlin's rich intelligenzia likes to hang out. With plenty of shops around the corner, it makes for a nice stop after a visit to the Gedächtniskirche and/ or the surrounding shops. Three relatively hidden gems in the same street are Umasan (vegan fashion), lululemon athletica's City West Showroom (Canadian sports fashion and free Yoga classes on the weekends) and Thull + Schneider (fine scarves) - neither of these are for shoppers on a budget, though. If you like your readings a little more indie and underground, try Kookbooks publishing for contemporary poetry readings that often include musical performances, too, and usually end with a party.  


see art
After London, Berlin is my second favorite city when it comes to art. There is so much stuff - from ancient to postmodern, decent to crazy. My personal museum of choice is the Hamburger Bahnhof near the central station. The East Side Gallery (art painted on remaining parts of the Berlin Wall) is another hit with visitors. To get an idea of just how many museums there are, try Museumsportal Berlin for more info, exhibition recommendations and up to date news on what's on.  

shop around Weinmeisterstraße

The area around Ubhf Weinmeisterstr and the Hackesche Höfe certainly is one of the most exciting and convenient to shop in. With a cool mix of international brands and national designers, the younger audience will certainly find something to their liking. Famous cafés Barcomis (bagels! chocolate fudge cake!) and St. Oberholz (wifi!) are nearby, too, and if you have time, you might want to explore the small designer shops around Mulackstr and sample Mamecha's green tea selection.   

get a cheap massage
My favorite place to get a massage in Berlin is with the lovely ladies of Bootsabong. 30€ for 60 minutes of traditional Thai Massage is an unbeatable price even for Berlin standards, and quality and service have always been impeccable. While you're in the area, take a stroll around the shops and restaurants on Bergmannstr. and the Marheinekeplatz. Parlamento Degli Angeli has some of the best pizza in town. If you like your Italian food a little more upscale, try the Osteria No.1 at the bottom of Berlin's Viktoriapark. Tomasa at Villa Kreuzberg offers great brunch. Just make sure to reserve your tables, as all three places can get pretty busy.

do yoga!
Berlin offers Yoga for every taste, and most studios welcome travelling drop-ins (a drop-in class usually costs around 15€). There are also plenty of interesting workshops with visiting international teachers - try the Jivamukti events list. With lululemon having set up shop in the city last summer, there are also opportunities to take free classes on the weekend in one of their Showrooms (Mitte and West). For fancy studio time and English language instruction try Spirit Yoga.

get a hair cut
Berlin is renown for it's avant-garde style, and quite a few of Berlin's hair salon's are different from what you are likely to know. Salon Notaufnahme in Prenzlauer Berg, for example, offers a live DJ and loud club music while you're getting your new look. For Rockabilly styling, try Kaiserschnitt and their 1950's inspired shop in Friedrichshain.


spend a night at Kumpelnest or Kaffee Burger
I know Berghain is all the rave, but I've spent some of my most enjoyable Berlin nights in the curiosity shops that are Kumpelnest 3000 and Kaffee Burger. Both places attract a cool mix of locals, tourists and crazies, and should make for unforgattable early mornings. Don't start your nights off there, though, go as late as possible!

17 comments:

  1. hier is another great blog (kinda reminded me on yours, similar design and feeling): www.berlinforallthefamily.com, also gives great tipps and reveals secret places which can be reached even if one is travelling with children...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey thanks for posting this. Next time you're in Berlin and searching for tips about Berlin’s free, non-commercial and underground events, check my blog.

    http://unsceneberlin.blogspot.de/

    I’ve been passing on my tips about the city (free of charge) via this site for over three years now :-)

    Cheers!

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  3. I really enjoyed this! I've just posted my Top 10 Things to do in Berlin and would really welcome your feedback!

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