So, you’ve just arrived in Berlin…where to begin in this massive city? TGP founder Meredith has compiled her favorite spots and activities from all around the city into the ultimate weekend guide. See Berlin like a local in just a few days by following the itinerary below!
Willkommen in Berlin!
In this guide you’ll find all of my main spots sorted by neighborhood so each place is near the next (so you don’t spend your whole trip on the U-Bahn darting across the city). Some of my favorite neighborhoods (and where I’d recommend looking for accommodation) are Mitte, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg, and Neukölln. One great place to stay is the stylish Mitchelburger Hotel in Friedrichshain. The downstairs cafe is always bustling with a young, creative and international crowd – perfect for people watching or even making some new friends! A more budget-friendly option would be Circus Hostel in Mitte. The location cannot be beat and you’ll be sure to meet some friendly backpackers at the hostel cafe or bar.
Tonight, head to bustling Rosenthaler Platz for dinner. I can’t get enough of Transit, which serves tapas-sized portions of Southeast Asian food amidst a trendy crowd of young locals. Another favorite asian food option nearby would be District Môt – a kitchy and colorful place to sample authentic Vietnamese street food. After dinner, migrate over to nearby Mein Haus am See or Neue Odessa Bar for a few drinks in a cozy nook over candlelight (the Berlin way). But take it easy – Berlin has a lot more in store for the weekend and you’re just starting out! *TIP: Be sure to always have cash on hand in Berlin – most businesses and cabs don’t accept credit cards!
Wake up and head over to the hip neighborhood of Neukölln for brunch at Roamers. This hole-in-the-wall cafe is often packed (especially on the weekends) but worth the wait. Try the french toast, you won’t regret it! From there, walk over to the Turkish Markets on Maybachufer to peruse the stands of fresh fruit, spices, Turkish cuisine and textiles (only on Tuesdays and Fridays).
No visit to Berlin is complete without trying at LEAST one kebab place. Berlin is said to be the birthplace of the döner kebab, and Kottbuster Tor is the perfect place to grab a really good one (for only €3! But, be extra careful here of pickpockets). Walk along the canal to Böcklerpark, where you can have a picnic in the grass or rent a kayak. Catch the sunset at hidden gem Klunkerkranich – a make-shift bar on the roof of the parking garage at Neukölln Arcaden mall. It’s a little hard to locate, but the cheap drinks and amazing views of Berlin cannot be missed!
Afterwards I suggest a late dinner at Lavanderia Vecchia for Italian food in an old laundry factory. End the evening bar-hopping along Westerstraße – one of my favorite places to spend a night out in Berlin! This street is filled with dark, smokey spots (try Fuchs & Elster, TiER, and Ä Bar) filled with cool Berliners, killer music and affordable drinks.
Get your morning caffeine (and people-watching) fix at St. Oberholz – one of my favorite cafes right in the middle of Mitte. Walk over near the Weinmeisterstraße U-Bahn for some nice shopping and continue past Hackescher Markt (more shopping) to explore Museum Island and the Berliner Dom. From there, walk down the famous Unter Den Linden boulevard to see The Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial.
Then, make your way though the Tiergarten (Berlin’s largest park) to Cafe am Neuen See – a beer garden tucked away on a little lake – for some lunch, German beer and a canoe ride!
If you still have enough energy, go browse the collections of independent designers from all over the world at the Bikini Berlin shopping center. Across the street on top of the 25hours Hotel, get drinks at Monkey Bar or dinner at Neni for sweeping views of the former West Berlin.
Alright, now for the real fun…what Berlin is known for…clubbing! The techno and electronic music scene is said by many to be the best in the world. Some of my favorite clubs are Kater Blau, Wilder Renate, about:Blank or Tresor. For something a little more mellow you could check out Club der Visionäre on the Spree. Keep in mind that the lines are always super long – try going before 12:30/1am if you don’t want to wait. Its also quite difficult to get in to some of the clubs, here are some tips that might help: wear all black or dark colors, keep your clothing casual and cool (ladies, NO heels or fancy dresses!), don’t be overly loud or draw attention to yourself while in line, know how to say your age and the names of the DJs playing in German. It’s all quite strange, I know… but it’s worth it to experience a true Berlin club!
Still have the energy to keep going? Good. Have a picturesque brunch in Prenzlauerberg at Cafe Anna Blume and then head to Mauerpark to enjoy the park’s famous outdoor karaoke and flea market (only on Sunday afternoons). Grab a beer from a Späti (convenience store) and find a place to sit on the grass to enjoy live music and street performers from all over the world. Afterwards, walk down Invalidenstraße along the route with the photos from the Berlin Wall ending at the Berlin Wall Memorial. This is one of the most impactful walks in Berlin to learn about the history while walking along where it actually happened. Be sure to make it to the memorial before the free museum closes for the day! I’d definitely recommend this over the East Side Gallery. Spend your final evening dining al fresco at Berlin’s oldest beer garden, Prater Garten. Have your choice of several locally brewed beers and traditional German dishes.
I hope that after this jam-packed weekend you love Berlin as much as I do! Gute Reise!