I adore edgy, ever-changing, gay-friendly, arty Berlin. You will find typically German beer gardens but also very cool artistic cafes. Lots of street art, flea markets, history, museums and monuments.
So far I’ve visited 7 times. On this page I will share my favorite spots!
My Google Map with tips
You can view this map on your phone too, and use it to navigate to places.
More details in the next paragraphs.
Berlin does not really have 1 city center. Each district has its own central area with shops and restaurants and cafes.
I especially love the areas called Kreuzberg (Turkish / gay / trendy); Friedrichshain (artistic / squatter atmosphere, for example Boxhagenerplatz for nice bars and a flea market); Prenzlauer Berg (laidback urban / yuppie, especially Kastanienallee), Neuköln (nice mix of Turkish / gay friendly / vintage / arty). Mitte is also conveniently located but very gentrified and yuppie.
I don’t really like the west, (Kurfürstendamm and such), too ‘clean’ and too much like any other German city. Kreuzberg and the east are uniquely Berlin unlike anywhere else.
Sights and museums
- Holocaust memorial made up of blocks of stone, Ebertstrasse just beside Brandenburger Tor
- Berliner Unterwelten (bunkers and metro tunnels)
- The Jewish Museum. Very special architecture and interesting exhibition.
- Hohenschönhauser prison (also been a Stasi prison and they tell you a lot about the mental torturing techniques)
- Tempelhofer Feld airfield which is a now a recreation area with people windsurfing and kitesurfing on wheels
- Tiergarten park
- Mauerpark flea market on Sunday, and the open air karaoke they do after about 3 pm is great fun
Open air karaoke every Sunday in Mauerpark, weather permitting (wait for the ‘cute’ (?) girl at the end of the video)
- Boxhagenerplatz flea market is also fun, also Sunday
- Checkpoint Charlie Museum: it’s a bit tacky, but genuinely interesting and complete
- East Side Gallery = the part of The Wall (1.3 km) that is still standing between stations S-bahn Ostbahnhof and U-bahn Warschauerstrasse. Bring your passport to get an inofficial stamp
- Reichstag is quite boring on the inside except for the architecture. But walk / cycle all the way around it, you’ll come across some interesting things like modern architecture and a huge ‘pill’ which is a monument to the German medication industry, etc.
- The Soviet Monument along Strasse der 17. Juni not far from Brandenburger Tor (continuation of Unter den Linden).
- The Stasi Museum shows you the depth of Eastern Germany’s governmental spy machine. It’s also in a cool building.
- Karl Marx Allee and all its beautifully ugly communist buildings
Breakfast / lunch / coffees
- Kaffeebar: cool decorations, great coffee, very tasty salad lunches (for example buddha bowl with avocado, quinoa, broccoli, carrot and more).
- Morning Glory: lovely breakfasts including Bircher muesli and forest fruits.
- Morgenrot, cheap vegetarian and vegan brunch buffet, all you can eat, nice outdoor seating too. Kastanienallee, Prenzlauer Berg. You pay what you want between 6 and 12 euros (without drinks).
- Das Edelweiss: nice cafe in Görlitzer park (Kreuzberg), soft couches, good cakes.
- Kater & Goldfisch: nice decorations and atmosphere, good food.
- Blaues Band for breakfast.
Dinner (okay I have a thing for Vietnamese food):
- Chay Viet, vegetarian and really good Vietnamese food, Brunnenstrasse.
- Monsieur Vuong, delicious Vietnamese lunch and dinner. Very popular and queus in the evenings. Alte Schönhauserstrasse.
- Cat Tuong, vegetarian Vietnamese food, cute little restaurant with nice decorations. Kastanienallee.
- Trattoria I Due Forni pizza restaurant, Schönhauserallee, U-bahn stop Senefelderplatz. Run by a gang of bearded Italian squatters. The best pizzas in Berlin, get one with rucola.
- Maroush, huge and cheap portions of delicious Lebanese food, cosy shared tables in tiny restaurant. Adalbertstrasse, Kreuzberg.
Gay / lesbian
Things change all the time, so not all of these places might exist anymore, and new ones might have popped up.
Get a free copy of the magazine Siegessäule at one SO36 or Schwules Museum or another gay bar, which lists all gay bars, parties, saunas, and has handy maps.
- Roses gay bar, ultra kitch with lots of pink fur and bling. Oranienstrasse.
- Various other bars on Oranienstrasse.
- Möbel-Ölfe, bar with lots of artistic lesbians (perhaps only on Tuesday, ask locals).
- Sanitorium, mixed gay bar with live dj playing dance music, very friendly atmosphere, modern decoration, age range about 20-40 y/o.
- Himmelreich, certain nights are girl night (Wednesday or other, ask locals). Simon Dachstrasse, Friedrichshain.
- Girlstown girl parties in Kino Berlin. Young crowd, live performances, good deejays.
- Silver Future queer bar; squatter style bar with androgynous people, queers, transgenders.
- Bar Zum Schmutzigen Hobby (Dirty Hobby), a gay bar in an area with more bars and nightclubs to choose from.
- Schwules Museum / Gay Museum and the bar nextdoor, Mehringdamm.
Nightlife (not specifically gay / lesbian)
- L.U.X. Music Club, live bands performing. Underground feel, mix of straight and rough / arty lesbians. Schlesische Strasse.
- The bars in Simon Dachstrasse, and south of Revalerstrasse.
- IMA Lofts are fantastic apartments in a renovated loft warehouse in a really nice part of Kreuzberg. It has free wifi, a little kitchen with a fridge, and rents out bikes. It’s near three metro stations, various Turkish shops, many cool bars (gay and straight) and restaurants on Oranienstrasse and side lanes.
- Circus Hotel is also supposed to be very nice, I have never stayed there myself.
(In the seasons without snow) I recommend you rent bikes and enjoy Berlin by bike (much less tiring than by subway + on foot).
- Potsdam is worth a visit. A pleasant little city with a palace.
- Beelitz-Heilstätten high walk offers great views onto ruins of a huge former hospital complex and treetops.
More info / links
My Berlin photos
Find photos from 4 different Berlin trips here: www.pbase.com/cile/berlin.
And a short report of a 10 day trip in 2016.