June 12, 2017Posted by Bethany Larson Bloch
In many ways, Berlin defies description. It has never been the prettiest or most polished European city, and yet it has easily enchanted so many – not just today, but in many generations past. When David Bowie moved to Berlin in the late 1970s to record what would be some of his most successful albums, he famously described it as, “the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine”. All these years later, his words still ring true, to me as well as to countless others who have fallen for this lively, spunky iconoclast of a city.
Despite its tumultuous 20th-century history and the sweeping changes since the reunification of East and West Berlin, the capital has remained true to its unique character. Today’s Berlin is just the right balance of things from the past and new trends, high culture and low. This is a place full of action, shot through with an independent spirit and a love of a good time, and it’s so much fun to discover.
9:30am: Fuel up for a morning of exploring vibrant Kreuzberg at Le Bon, a neighborhood favorite that does scrumptious breakfasts – the eggs Benedict and a double cappuccino will keep you going for hours.
12pm: Work off the rest of breakfast with a jaunt along the willow-lined banks of the Landwehr Canal through Neukölln. On the way, stop at vintage store Sing Blackbird to try on a hip outfit or two.
2pm: Back in Kreuzberg, visit Markthalle Neun, a 19th-century market that’s become a hotbed of foodie culture. A pulled pork sandwich from the BBQ stand inside makes the perfect casual lunch. Once you’re sated, hit the market stalls for things like homemade jams and chutneys, microbrewed ales and artisanal sourdough.
4pm: Stroll to busy Oranienstrasse to take in the colorful and charming collection at the Museum der Dinge, a repository of quirky design objects from East Germany and beyond.
5:30pm: Head next door to scout for a new get-up at Voo Store, the trendiest concept shop in town. If the Museum der Dinge got you inspired, mosey up the road to Modulor, a huge, creative emporium with every art supply imaginable.
7pm: Take the U-Bahn from Moritzplatz to Rathaus Neukölln, and then wind down the day while sipping a beer and taking in the view high up at Klunkerkranich, an open-air, rooftop hangout in Neukölln that’s part bar, part club, part urban garden.
9pm: Walk for five minutes and join the fashionable and tattooed dining crowd at Industry Standard, where the steak tartare is the star of the creative, ambitious menu.
11pm: Hop on the U-Bahn at Rathaus Neukölln and ride three stops to Kottbusser Tor. Then, climb a flight of stairs to Fahimi Bar, where you can nurse cocktails into the wee morning hours while gazing down into the heart of Kreuzberg.
10am: After a night in Kreuzberg, a morning in tranquil, pretty Prenzlauer Berg might do you good, as will a stick-to-your-ribs Swiss-German breakfast at Meierei. Order the müsli if you’re feeling virtuous, or sausages and scrambled eggs if it’s fortification you need.
11:30am: Flag down a taxi and direct the driver to Mitte to experience the city’s slick, fashion-forward side. Start by perusing the exhibitions at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, then thumb through the selection at magazine shop Do You Read Me?! down the block.
2pm: Walk over to Muret la Barba, an Italian enoteca that offers daily specials like fresh ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and ricotta. Have a glass or two of wine with lunch – why not?
4pm: Pop around the corner to shop at the small, independent stores clustered on Mulackstrasse, like R.S.V.P., purveyor of high-end stationery. Keep exploring the neighborhood’s prime retail options at Berlin designer boutique Konk and menswear emporium 14 oz.
5:30pm: Perk up with some matcha or sencha at Green Tea Café Mamecha, a lovely spot for that all-important caffeine break.
7pm: Feast at Katz Orange, a gorgeous boho-chic restaurant tucked away in a former brewery courtyard. The lamb from the “Candy on Bone” section of the menu is a must-try.
11:30pm: To keep the night going, take the U-Bahn four stops from Kurfürstenstrasse to Uhlandstrasse, and then head to your final stop on the bar circuit, Schwarzes Café, a long-time Charlottenberg nightlife institution. Linger as long as you like – the joint stays open all night and all day.
About The HUNT Berlin Writer: Hilda Hoy is a journalist and writer who ended up in Berlin as a result of a very happy coincidence: after leaving a newspaper job in Prague, Berlin just happened to be a nearby place to take an extended holiday – one that has lasted nine years and counting. When not covering local dining and nightlife for Where Berlin magazine, Hilda can be found tilling her allotment garden, scouring flea markets or exploring all corners of the city by bike, U-Bahn and on foot. She writes about the places she finds on her blog, thenwetakeberlin.de.
For more great insider recommendations to Berlin, pick up the guide on gatehousepublishing.com.