A Local’s Guide: Berlin Recommendations

Wow, it’s hard to believe that I’m almost hitting my one year mark.

Since my time living here (even in 2016), tens of friends have asked me for Berlin recommendations and must-do activities for their trip. After numerous copy-and-pastes, I’ve lost track on my recommendations, so I’ve finally created a centralized list of places to see while you’re in town.

Before proceeding with my list, I recommend opening a separate tab for Google Maps in order to mark down each stops. The list is extensive and might overload you with information, so I suggest adding each spot in your Map as you scroll 🙂 

Historical Sites: 

  • Brandenburger Tor – a gate representing Berlin’s Cold War division into East and West
  • Tiergarten – the city’s largest inner-city park located near Brandenburger Tor and Siegessäule
  • Siegessäule (Victory Column) – A Prussian victory monument with amazing views of Berlin; pay €4 to go up the Column
  • Reichstag Dome & surrounding areas – the pariliamentary area of Germany featuring sleek architecture by the water
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews – a Holocaust memorial featuring concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field 
  • Jewish Museum – the largest Jewish museum in Europe
  • Museum Island & Berliner Dome – the area features a variety of museums and Berlin’s biggest cathedral
  • East Side Gallery – an open air gallery consisting of murals painted on remnants of the Berlin Wall

Must-Try Food:

  • Currywurst is a must try street food while you’re in town; popular stops include Curry Eck, Curry Mitte, Cury 36, Curry 61, Konnopke’s Imbiss (any of these are good, get it with fries translated as “mit pommes”)
  • Mustafa’s Gemuse Kebap – A stand famous for its döner kebabs; the lines are always long, so be sure to come at odd hours — definitely worth a stop 
  • Maria & Josef – one of my favorite German restaurants that serves classics like Schnitzels and fried pork knuckles; it has a cute outdoor area and cozy ambiance with big portions
  • Umami – a Vietnamese restaurant that always hits the spot; although I question it’s authenticity, the decor is beautiful and the food is super tasty! I recommend opting for the family style portion in the back of the menu – it serves 2-3 people and shares samples of many dishes for about 11 per person — check out the bathroom to be blown away (it’s a new level of extra).
  • Yarok – A Syrian food joint with THE BEST and most crispy falafel in town; choose one of the “teller” options for a big plate of varieties (couscous, different types of meats, hummus, falafel, tabouli, etc)
  • 1990 Vegan Living – before you give me the look, yes I, a meat-lover, am recommending you vegan food. Trust me on this, their menu is very tasty and you will have a new-found opinion on vegan food; the restaurant features Asian flavors in small dishes like fried dumplings, curry, tempura, seitan that literally taste like chicken nuggets — please please try it. I promise, you will not be dissapointed. 
  • Thai Park – On warm-weather weekends, visit this park for homemade Thai street food. The field turns into a mecca of freshly fried snacks, wok-tossed noodles and Asian desserts and drinks

Hangout Spots:

  • Mauerpark on Sundays – A flea market selling antique items, food and drinks; it’s also home to Berlin’s open air karaoke (keep an eye out for it in the summertime)
  • Tempelhof Airport – Berlin’s abandoned airport that turned it’s runways into a park; if the weather is nice, I’d recommend going for a bike ride or a picnic
  • RAW-Gelände – A hub of bars, lounges, beer gardens and art spaces in Friedrichshain with industrial and abandoned building vibes — the space is decorated with murals and unsuspecting actives like outdoor theaters and former water-towers turned into a rock-climbing walls
  • Maybachufer Street & Landwehr Canal – A street facing the Kreuzberg and Neukölln canals where you can hang out, bring your own drinks and run into local hipsters sipping späti beers or enjoying vegan ice creams from the many shops closeby 

Nightlife:

  • Cocktail bars: Buck and Breck, Tausend, Die Apotheken Bar, Monkey Bar (rooftop bar)
  • Casual bars: Klunkerklarnich (rooftop space), Birgit und Bier (outdoor area with spots to chill), Villa Neukölln, Mr. Pong (ping pong bar), Mein Haus am See, Zu Mir oder Zu Dir
  • Clubs: Sisyphos, Salon Zur wilden Renate, Kater Blau, Ipse (if it’s spring or summer), Berghain (amazing techno)

You’ve made it to the end of the list!
I know that was a lot but look at your Google Maps — it’s know filled with exciting new spots for your upcoming trip. I hope you make the most of my Berlin recommendations and enjoy your time in this crazy city 🙂 have fun!

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