Recently I spent a whirlwind three days in Berlin, and was completely blown away by it. I had been hesitant, even doubtful towards Germany’s capital going in, because for some reason my memories from childhood visits hadn’t left a lasting impression. But guys, I fell in love. The city is the hip, fresh side of a country I love so dearly. It’s filled with vibrant art, spunky individuals, and just a sense of freedom, an air of liberation. So without further babbling, here’s a list of 20 things I love about Berlin, whether it’s places I ate, shows I saw, or walks through one of the city’s many neighborhoods.
- Touring Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg by bike. We did this with a bike company called Berlin on Bike, and it was so much fun. You discover tons riding up the little side streets and through parks.
- The public art. In particular, the street art found all around the city. Post about this coming soon!
- Alexander Platz. While this is a bit touristy, the tower is quite impressive to gaze up at. And, great shopping in the center there!
- Lunch at Clärchens Ballroom. The inside and upstairs featured beautiful ballrooms, and the restaurant serves wicked good pizza. And a beautiful outdoor seating area!
- The Underground. Each subway station is decorated with different colored tiles. My favorite was the Alexander Platz station.
- Lunch at STUDIO by Tim Raue. A new restaurant right by the Berlin Wall Memorial, Tim Raue is one of Berlin’s Michelin starred chefs. The food was divine, and for you broke students out there: they offer an affordable lunchtime menu that can’t be missed!
- Watching the show “Dummy Lab” in the Chamäleon Theatre at Hackescher Markt. I was blown away by the acrobatics in this show. A must see if you are in town, housed in a beautiful little square in the city center.
- The graffiti yard at the Anne Frank Museum. Street art galore. I know I already mentioned public art, but this one is worth seeing on its own. Right next door to the Hackescher Markt.
- All the hip sidewalk cafes. While in Paris the cafés are classically chic, in Berlin they’re hipster beyond words and a dime a dozen. I wanted to try them all! The coolest ones were for sure in the Scheunenviertel and Prenzlauer Berg.
- Vegan breakfast buffet at the Almodóvar Hotel. Seriously breakfast was a delicious highlight each morning. Never thought I would love vegan currywurst so much!
- The Berlin Wall Memorial. Beautifully done, this area really brings you back to the past. You’re learning about history right where it happened! My favorite part was an area of the wall where they had left the middle “death zone” in tact, it really put everything in perspective as you gazed out over the barren ground.
- Seeing a classical music concert in the Konzerthaus (concert house). My mom and I attended this show on quite a whim, and it had to be a trip highlight. For just 8 Euros, I got to see Mozart’s Jupiter performed live.
- Visiting the Typography of Terror memorial site and museum. A hard hitting museum about what the time of the Nazis was like in Germany. It was made even more real by being placed on the site of the former GESTAPO headquarters.
- Dinner at Schneeweiß. Oh my, was this a culinary experience. Packed when we arrived and recommended to us by another restaurant owner, I had the in-season white asparagus with Wiener Schnitzel and sauce Hollandaise. Perfection!
- The green Ampelmänner. A symbol of East Berlin, the Ampelmann is the traffic light signal that you see at eastern pedestrian crossings. There’s art for it all around the city.
- Visiting the remains of the wall. I loved seeing the wall around town, especially because it has been decorated with such bright art. They have left the past standing as to never forget, but have also given it new life in today’s world.
- Museum Island. While I didn’t go into any museums during my trip, the Museum Island (a little island in the city that houses 5 museums) is something my mom insisted on showing me, and I’m glad she did. Lush gardens, and an absolutely beautiful tunnel-way.
- The street markets. These were all over and sold such beautiful goods. Whether visiting a vintage one at Boxhagener Platz or ones selling postcards and lovely trinkets, there were always treasures to be found.
- The fairytale fountain. This is a large fountain built with fairytale characters in mind. There are frog statues all around, and the peaceful area here really does seem to transport you back to another time period. It’s located in the Volkspark Friedrichshain.
- It’s not perfect. Berlin is a city where you can still see the effects of a war that devastated the country. It’s not polished and chic, but rough around the edges. Not as clean cut as many other parts of Germany are, and the most vibrant youth culture I have ever seen. I love every bit of it, enough so that it has become one of my favorite European cities.
And wow, incase you guys can’t tell now I just really love Berlin! I highly recommend you take a visit sometime, I feel like it’s such an overlooked European capitol. And for more information you can check out www.visitberlin.com.
Are any of my readers from Berlin?