Berlin is what New York City was in the 1990s. Genuine, affordable and creative. The hot summer is ideal for a long weekend.
Eating & Drinking
The dining scene has massively improved in the last few years with talented young chefs bringing modern concepts.
Latest discoveries and hidden gems: Drei is a minimalist Italian restaurant in Mitte on WeydingerStraße with dark walls and discreet service. The menu offers simple yet elegant dishes from fresh pasta to refined beef tartare. Its sister bar next door Bar 3 is perfect for late drinks and mingling with artists and hipsters. Katz Orange, located in a former brewery offers a beautiful patio, warm brick wall dining room and lounge. The ambiance is sexy and stylish and the contemporary creative cuisine is very good.
Favourite spots for relaxed breakfast or lunch: House of Small Wonder (also in Brooklyn NYC) offers eclectic cuisine from eggs to healthy Japanese influenced dishes. Chipps (created by nightlife moguls H. Gindullis and S. Hentschel) is a modern and relaxed eatery with a lovely quiet terrace for the summer, and a simple menu including eggs, create-your-own salads & fresh juices. For healthy brunch and hang-over cure, Daluma is the place to be on weekends. If you can get in, Soho House rooftop terrace is the best spot for a glass of rose in the summer and a light lunch.
Mogg & Melzer is a trendy, Jewish deli-style cafe inside the refurbished Jewish girls’ school on Auguststraße. Expect pastrami sandwiches and other traditional items like matzoh ball soup.
Next door is Pauly Saal an Elegant fine dining German restaurant & lounge-bar featuring contemporary art and a large patio for warm summer nights.
Burgermeister is a ultra hip and cheap burger joint in a former toilet under the subway rails.
For a more classic experience, Cafe Obermaier with its garden and simple Austrian cuisine and Cafe Einstein Stammhaus, a chic, Viennese-style coffeehouse in a Neo-Renaissance villa, are good dinner venues.
Get your coffee fix at baristas The Barn. You can buy their own brand to grind it at home.
Berlin night scene is vibrant and relaxed. Bar Saint Jean is my favourite for late night drinks with great music (very gay friendly). A must do is going clubbing at the world famous Berghain. Dress in black, wear sneakers and get a low profile attitude in front of the bouncers. Good luck and enjoy!
Berlin is a heaven for street style hipsters and the mecca of Adidas.
Voo Store features iconic brands from Acne to Y-3 and includes a Companion Coffee corner. Wood Wood sells its own brand (including some limited edition collaborations) alongside other brands and dedicates one room entirely to sneakers.
For more sports clothing and cool sneakers, go to Stab in Mitte.
Fashion addicts and Adidas fans, No 74 store is for you. Limited edition collection pieces include collaborations with StellaMcCartney, Jeremy Scott or Mary Katrantzou. Explore further Torstraße for cool shops, galleries and restaurants.
For independent fashion brands and more famous ones like A.P.C, Mulackstraße is lovely to stroll around.
For the best art / fashion / design magazines, Do You Read Me? book shop makes a great stop on a weekend shopping day near The Barn and Stab.
Art & Culture
Berlin is a serious cultural and art scene from historical sites to small galleries.
For contemporary art, the Boros Collection, a converted bunker, is a must visit. The building, which is itself a great piece of architecture hosts long-term exhibitions where the knowledgeable staff guides you. Artists exhibited include Olafur Eliasson, Wolfgang Tillmans and Ai Wei Wei. Upon booking only!
For photography fans, the Helmut Newton Foundation is an immersive experience, from his witty fax messages to Vogue Anna Wintour to his own camera collection. Short films, legendary and less known photos make the permanent exhibition very interesting.
For more contemporary art, photography and architecture, check the current exhibitions at Berlinische Galerie.
Hamburger Bahnhof houses collections of contemporary art. The museum’s name refers to the building’s original function as the terminus for the railway line between Berlin and Hamburg.
The Museum Island, part of UNESCO world heritage and the Holocaust Memorial, famous for its architecture, are some of Berlin's main cultural attractions.
When it gets too hot, hop in the tube and head to the lakes: Strandbad Wannsee is a real Berliner experience. It is the largest inland lido in Europe and is listed as a Cultural Heritage site. Not very far is Krumme Lanke is ideal for sunbathing and proper swimming in leafy green nature. Much further north, a 45 mn drive from the city center, is Bernsteinsee Ruhlsdorf, another great spot for swimming during the hot summer days. It is not easy to find andI must admit I went with locals, but a bus goes there. It offers sandy beaches, fresh lake water and unspoiled ature. There is nothing elese so pack your beach towels, suncream and picnic.
Food & Drink
Drei / Katz Orange / House of Small Wonder / Chipps / Daluma / Burgermeister / Mogg & Melzer / Pauly Saal / Soho House / Cafe Obermaier / Cafe Einstein Stammhaus / The Barn / Bar Saint Jean / Berghain
Voo Store / Wood Wood / Stab / No 74 / Do You Read Me? / Mulackstraße
Boros Collection / Helmut Newton Foundation / Berlinische Galerie / Hamburger Bahnhof / Holocaust Memorial / KW / Museum Island
Stranbad Wannsee, Krumme Lanke
Tegel Airport is the best option as it is small and very close to Berlin Center.
Go in the summer and cycle everywhere like the locals.