This is a city in constant transformation, driven by the young people that come here to explore their creativity and lust for life. Berlin has always been a magnetic melting pot of edgy and progressive music, design, fashion, art, and architecture. Never afraid to push the limits of reality, this is a city you personify in order to enjoy it best. Get out of your comfort zone- this the place to try new things and go a bit wild. It’s normal to do so here.

The rumors are true: “dark rooms” at 24-hour dance clubs where anything goes exist, though as do amazing parks and galleries. It’s very grey, but the rainbow graffiti and street art make up for that in spades. The food isn’t that great – you will be so sick of potatoes and sausages after this trip. We remember missing vegetables so much it hurt sometimes. But do try Borchardt’s- it’s the one place in the world to eat Steak Tartar, where they make it in front of you on a brass trolly, and the waiters are in white tie and hand you a Kir Royale as you walk in….Berlin really is a place filled with love and good vibes- and it’s cheap. This is a place where you can enjoy yourself and have fun.

Where to stay

SO/ Berlin Das Stue

One of our favorite hotels in this city- Das Stue means “living room” in Danish. Fun fact: it was also the Danish Embassy prior to being a forwardly-designed boutique hotel. This very reasonably priced five-star ‘design hotel’ is the perfect mix of sophisticated, new-age interiors and old-school historic bones. The contrast works well, and Das Stue naturally attracts a fashionable crowd because of it.

If you are more of a hipster (or want to be one), the Michelberger Hotel is the place for you. Young, hip and relaxed, the Michelberger is a) fun to say, and b) happens to have one of the best restaurants in its area. It’s also known for its music vibe-

Hipster or not, the 4-star Hotel Zoo Berlin in the central and convenient area of Mitte is a sure spot for someone wanting to be both price and design conscious. Book a room facing the Tiergarten Park’s Zoo, and you’ll likely spot some real monkeys from your bed. Spend an evening on the rooftop in the Monkey bar (yes, there’s a theme), or at least have a drink before or after dinner one of your nights. Yes, it’s weird. And can’t be missed.

Soho House Berlin – so this is the fancier option. The Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) architecture makes this unique building a Grade II classified historic building; you’re basically sleeping in a weird time capsule of politics in Berlin from pre-WWII through the fall of the wall in 1989. This beauty was passed between parties and then left dormant for 10 years before the international members club scooped it up. Both Socialist and Communist party heads were based here at different times before and after WWII. We’re surprised that Wes Anderson hasn’t made a film here yet- there’s lots of symmetrical stuff, and the building’s history is certainly odd. One of the slickest, most people-watchy private rooftops of the city, the terrace will open its doors to hotel guests, as well as members- otherwise, you can’t go in. Many rooms have DJ turntables, too.

Where to eat & drink

Paris Bar

Your only mandatory visit is to the famous restaurant located in West Berlin. Enjoy watching the people that come here or just the great art hanging on the walls while having your dinner and drinks. If you want to try something else that is a German essential, try a döner kebab. You can find it everywhere in this city, but Mustafas is the most well-known one.

Other than that, Katz Orange is a safe bet for a great dinner in Berlin. Borchardt is another one. This one is especially worth a visit on a Friday night when they host parties upstairs. If you choose a different day of the week, you can always go to the Neue Odessa Bar instead for a drink afterward. Make sure to get their Moscow Mule.

Where to get a coffee

The perfect place to stop for coffee and something sweet is the Distrikt Coffee (the bread pudding is legendary).

If you’re more serious about your coffee than that, The Barn will be right up your alley. A coffee shop and roastery in the Mitte district that roasts all its own beans on-site, this is a rarity in Berlin. They don’t offer any WIFI, so don’t come here with your computer. They do however offer free coffee tasting sessions every Saturday and will love for you to stay all day and chat about coffee if that’s your thing.

Where to shop

Voo store

For a fairly large store, Voo manages to feel very exclusive, as if every single piece is hand-picked. You feel very cool and almost untouchable just by walking in here, so it’s going to be difficult to leave without buying something.

The Store is another great one, part of Soho House. There are even a coffee bar and a lot of seating in sofas placed around the store, which makes it the perfect place to just come and have a coffee while enjoying that smell of fresh clothes. Or while sitting around bored but luxuriously comfy while your Instagram wife/husband shops- either/or.

Where to see some hits of culture

Berlin is a place that lives and breathes art. Even the buildings are often full of graffiti and most locals see it not as a nuisance, but rather as an art form. Try to download the Street Art Cities app and take yourself on a tour with your headphones. If you are here during the Gallery Weekend or Berlin Art Week, there’s even more art coming to life in the city than normal. All this street art is sharply in contrast to the sights and monuments that remind you of a very different time, such as the Holocaust Memorial and Berlin Wall Memorial, or Checkpoint Charlie, for example. We think it’s best to take it all in- the modern, and the historic. The saddening, and the beautiful.

If you prefer to stay indoors, go to the Helmut Newton Foundation. Not only is it Berlin-born Helmut Newton’s own work that is featured here, but there are also exhibitions of some of the most influential photographers of our time. This will be an experience to remember for anyone enthusiastic about art, and photography in particular. And the gift shop has the best postcards ever- especially if you enjoy a little nudity every once in a while (which is a big thing that Newton was known for).

Where to work out


Go swimming in this outdoor swimming pool situated in the river. You’re swimming in chlorinated water, but it still feels like you’re out on the Berlin river with your strokes.

Where to work- ie creative remote “offices”

Go to Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin for the world’s best cheesecake in the lobby! This place is also great to sit down in the lobby with your computer, but there’s no need to stay. Too pricey.

Where to party

Berghain is a club people have heard of, and is often referred to as “The Best Club in the World.” Yes, it’s kind of a big deal- and by ‘kind of,’ we’re messing with you. There is this small detail of course of actually getting in (pro time: NEVER wear nice shoes! No dress shoes, no stilettos), and the long queue and the finicky bouncer won’t make it easier for you to plan your night. That said, it’s probably the best club since Studio 54- so it’s probably worth trying regardless of the annoyances. We suggest calling that German exchange student from high school- no, it’s not that weird. If you’re not lucky enough to get in, there are plenty more fish in the sea, though. CDV is a great option, especially in the summer when you party outside. Birgit und Bier has several dance floors and is also for people who aren’t hardcore techno lovers.

What to do

Enjoy the outdoors with drinks! Bring a blanket, go to Weinerei and buy a good bottle of wine and sit in Weinbergspark. Or buy something bubbly, and take your loved one (there are a lot of lovey-dovey couples here) and sit at Modersohnbrücke in Friedrichshain and watch the sunset on the skyline.

And, just because it’s so Berlin to turn something as harmless as mini golfing into an artsy ‘underground event,’ go to Blacklight Minigolf.

Best bar for a secret rendezvous

Go to one of the many hidden bar/speakeasy’s that are in Berlin. Buck & Bread is our top pick.

Best place for IG stories

Inside the lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel (we know, but trust us) is the DomAquarée fishtank elevator. A ride in this elevator will make you feel like The Little Mermaid for a second and is definitely worthy of an Instagram “Highlight” reel.

Berlin City Guide
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Berlin City Guide
This Insider's guide to Berlin will help you discover highly-recommended restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, attractions, and shopping in this incredible city!
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