Berlin is a city that has been badly damaged by history but is more alive than ever. Far from the romance of Paris or Prague, the Berlin Wall paints a jagged scar through the city covered in the paint of a new generation. The bustling nightlife scene and pop punk culture makes the city a perfect weekend destination. Berlin embodies a modern and industrialized version of Europe full of Turkish food and techno for the taking.
Things to eat:
This Cold War dish combines the traditional German cuisine with Turkish influence due to an influx in Turkish migrants. I had these twice in two days, it’s delicious + cheap!
Again, Berlin is a perfect opportunity for Turkish food because of the high concentration of Turkish migrants. This was my first time trying it and I loved it, ya gotta experiment.
Giest Im Glas
To me, brunch is the most important meal of the day so I was on the hunt for high quality brunch in Berlin. This little place was so unique and had a very young, hip crowd. Probably the best pancakes of my life and their food is inexplicably photogenic so check it out.
Cuoro Di Vetro
We stumbled upon this place late one night, call it serendipity. This local shop offers coffee, gelato, cake, wine; literally everything good in the world. Petition for more places like this in the US or I might never come home.
Things to see:
If you’re interested in history, this spot was the checkpoint between the US occupied West Berlin and the Soviet East Berlin. There’s a a museum and a great little gift shop and its especially impactful for an American to see the legacy we have created.
One of the only truly historical areas of Berlin that was not destroyed during the bombing of World War ll, this square reminded me of the traditional beautiful Europe I’ve come to love. A perfect people-watching spot filled with happy old Euro men with their tiny dogs.
One of the most easily recognizable buildings in Berlin, the Cathedral is a spectacular token of European architecture and genius. Closely located to the popular museums downtown, this monument is definitely worth a visit.
Memorial for Murdered Jews
The Memorial for Murdered Jews of Berlin is a humbling experience. I recommend to actually think about what this giant work of public art means, rather than take selfies, walk on the stones or yell like a lot of tourists in this area. You can literally get lost in the giant stones representative of tombstones and feel the isolation the Jews of Berlin must have experienced times 1 million years ago.
This little market was a peak into the quaint and local culture of Berlin with fruits, flowers, hats and artisan crafts for sale. Right off the metro stop, the square is covered in stands offering souvenirs, juices and desserts.
Haus Schwarzenberg Street Art Alley
This is an example of one of the many times that the internet is magic. We read about this little hidden gem on a blog about Berlin and it was well worth the search. This alley is covered in works of public art and a secluded break from the chaos of the main streets.
Another iconic scene in Berlin, the Brandenberg Gate is again testament to the rich history of the city. Great photo ops but pretty crazy full of tourists most of the time.
Things to do:
Topography of Terror
If you’re really into World War ll history (even if you’re not) this FREE museum is a must. I learned more information about the Third Reich and beginnings of the Nazi regime through this exhibit than any history class has ever taught me. It’s very reading intensive but incredibly educational and built upon the original headquarters of one of the most destructive regimes in modern history.
Walk the East Gallery
The wall is obviously a symbol synonymous with Berlin, communism, the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. A barrier now covered in art is a testament to the rebirth of the city and in a world yelling about building walls, more relevant than ever before. This was probably my favorite part of Berlin. To see the physical barrier between freedom and repression was pretty wild and the art was fantastic + FREE.
Berlin is internationally known for its nightlife and techno scene. The best way to venture into this world is by talking to a local. Most of the recommended clubs online are tourist traps and going to be very expensive or even dangerous. Our Airbnb owner gave us some recommendations such as Katerblau or Susswargestern. We also loved a local smaller bar called My House by the Sea that had a rotating dance floor on the lower floor. The vibe at most clubs is more casual than in the states and deep haus is everywhere. Berliners stay out LATE with most clubs opening at midnight and closing in the afternoon the next day so my advice is: nap.