city guide: berlin

city guide: berlin

Trip Information:
Date: multiple trips from 2010 – 2015
Type
: Solo, Backpacking, Group
Average Cost Per Day: N/A

Important travel information:

Berlin is a city of wonders, it is a city of ideas. When you go, make sure you pack your open-mindedness, and leave behind all thoughts of conventionality. Explore – physically and mentally. From it’s renowned historical museums, to it’s investment in parks, to it’s otherworldly nightlife, Berlin is, in my humble opinion, one of the few cities that managed to preserves it unique grunge and charm.

Stay:

The first time I went to Berlin, I stayed in Hostel One80 in Alexanderplatz. It just opened and was cheap, modern, fun and most importantly, clean. It’s very close to the S-Bahn which made the location very convenient. Alexanderplatz is also a great location to be in. At the plaza, there are shops and little places to eat at, not to mention at least a handful of beer gardens to choose from.

Second time I went, we stayed at St. Christopher’s in Rosa-Luxemberg-Strauss. This is more of a party hostel – the rooms had more beds and people went in and out a lot more compared to One80. Pro: it has one of the most famous sports bar in the city so if you’re trying to catch a game of football, the hostel bar is definitely the place to be.

Eat:

Hektikfood was one of the first places I ate at. Located in a doubledecker bus in East Berlin, this little establishment has a garden in front, and a “garden” with seats for diners to chill at upstairs. Don’t forget to BYO and have a makeshift picnic with currywurst instead of jam sandwiches!

Another notable restaurant we stumbled upon was Mister Vuong in Mitte. This little Vietnam flair is always packed and rightfully so. With a cute atmosphere, and incredible drinks menu, Mister Vuong is your perfect little let’s-have-Vietnamese-in-Germany spot.

Bugermeister is another famous quick-eats nestled right under a train station in Kreuzberg. Fun fact: it serves burgers. Great burgers. Not-so-fun-fact: it used to be a public restroom.

Dudu is an incredible sushi restaurant in Mitte. It’s chic, minimalist decor is bettered with bench seating to accommodate groups.

Katz Orange, another amazing restaurant in Mitte. Sit in the courtyard for a lazy dinner. Very fresh ingredients and beautiful presentation, mixed with a hip crowd.

History:

You have to visit all the museums and sites. No explanation needed. Here’s a short list (in no order) DDR Museum, Holocaust Memorial Jewish Museum, Berlin Wall, History Museum. You can find a better and more expansive list anywhere online.

Art:

I didn’t manage to cover the big art galleries as our days were very limited. We did have three galleries on our itinerary –

Sammlung Boros is a former bunker turned contemporary, international art collection. Make reservations WAY in advance.

C/O Gallery is in an old royal post office. Great photography exhibitions.

Berlinische Galerie – museum of modern art, photographer and architecture.

There are also pop up galleries all around the city. Easiest way to stumble upon these – ask a local.

Outdoor Sights:

One of my favourite parts of Berlin is how accessible it is via bike. Definitely rent one for the day and cruise around the city – discover all the historical sites and peruse the beautiful architectures.

Spend an afternoon napping in the tall grasses of the Tiergarten after a cold beer in it’s best beer garden, Schleusenkrug. Take you time and enjoy the park – the Germans definitely did a fabulous job with it’s construction.

Mauerpark also has a great flea market on Sundays. Wander in on a lazy afternoon and watch people barbecue, listen to live music and pick up games of ball.

Lastly, explore! Every neighborhood in Berlin has its own little charm. Wander into places, take photos, feel the graffiti on broken down walls linger on your finger tips. There are pop up events and parties everywhere – find them, and experience.

 

Clubs:

Partying in Berlin literally transports you to a different world – for I do not think anywhere else in the world generates same vibes, good spirits and most importantly, music. And the best part? You don’t have to wear sparkles and heels. Converse + t-shirt FTW.

Obviously the first place I’m going to talk about is Berghain. It’s Berlin’s most famous/hard to get into club, partially thanks to their resident bouncer/photographer, Sven. Berghain opens on Friday nights and stays open until Monday morning. This night club is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Housed in an old electric power factory, there are bridges you can cross, raised platforms you can nap on, popcorn machines you can get food at. The wait is always long but remember, it will all be worth it. Pregame in line! Why not?

Kater Holzig is another favourite. A friend described it as “Alice in Wonderland” but for adults. You say I’m exaggerating but last time I went, I met an artist who lives there in his spaceship made out of umbrellas and aluminium foil. He said he’s only a few days away from touching down on the sun. *note: this has since closed down and a sister reopened called Kater Blau.

Salon Zur Wilden Renate. How do I describe this one? From hang bird cages with stilettos, to fountains of absinthe, to black and white rooms with smashed TVs dangling off a wall, this is a place where I’m not sure is harder to remember or to forget.

Club der Visionnaire is a small little bar right by the river. My favourite part? It’s little wooden rowboats tucked away under the willow tree that you can climb onto. Meet a stranger and chat with them till dawn.

Located right by the water, Watergate is perfect for dancing and watching the sunrise. A less rowdy crowd, this is a beautiful place to just sit outdoors, and appreciate how beautiful this city is.

Bars:

Weinrei – pay €2 membership fee, sit in this old grandparents style living room and drink as much wine as you want. When you leave, just “tip” how much you think you owe them.

Mein Haus Am See – this place is what my friends and I call the “steps” bar. It has his concrete steps in the middle for anyone who “can’t afford to spend the night at a hostel” – the collection of people who frequent this place always have great stories to tell.

Luzia – a more upscale bar in Kreuzberg. Loungey with cool music events. There’s a big painting of a creep girl on the wall.

Soho House – you just can’t go wrong here, no matter which city you’re in.