When I travel, I like to wonder the streets of a new place and just take it all in. For me it is really enough to just be in a new place looking at new things. When I went to Berlin with my boyfriend and our friend Josh, we didn’t have much planned besides what other people told us were “must sees.” There is so much rich history in this city, mixed with an alternative hipster vibe. Berlin is very liberal with tons of art (old and new), cool restaurants, and of course a crazy nightlife. Seriously, you can be out until 6AM. At first I thought that we didn’t do enough with our time in Berlin but I realized that we ate good food, drank a bit, and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.
I’ve put together some killer tips and advice to help you plan a weekend in Berlin like a pro!!
Where to Stay
The best way to experience a city like a local (and save a little cash) is to opt for an Airbnb (click here for a $40 credit). I would suggest staying bit outside of the “main action” but close to a tram stop so you can get into the heart of the city easily. This way, you can easily store your own booze and cook a big breakfast before heading out for the day.
How to Get Around
I recommend going for the 5 day tourist pass, which allows you to ride almost all public transportation for those 5 days. We purchased this at the main S Bahn Station when we arrived. It was very useful when we were lost and continually switching trams. You can also get a WelcomeCard that includes public transportation, discounts at various sites and a city map. Even though we only had our tickets checked once, better safe than sorry… especially abroad!
What to See
The East Side Gallery is a huge section of the Berlin Wall that has been painted by artists all over the world. It features over 100 different works of art. It is amazing to think that a wall separated a country for so many years. The works of art are so different and provide a deep meaning of symbolism to onlookers. Tourists flock to see the paintings and visit this memorial for freedom.
Museum Island is a part of an island home to 5 internationally acclaimed museums that sits in the middle of the city. The buildings are absolutely beautiful architecturally and draw enormous crowds. We wound up going into the Pergamon Museum, which according to one of Nathan and Josh’s co-workers is was a must see. To be frank, I am more of a modern art gal but I did enjoy many of the tile work, sculptures, and other ornate objects on display. My favorite part of Museum Island is the huge green space in the middle. It is perfect for a picnic or even a nap!
Within Museum Island is the Berliner Dom, the largest cathedral in the city and my favorite landmark in Berlin. It’s a great place for a photo opt! If it were built today, it would cost about 180,000,000€ (sounds like how much my first home should cost, right?).
Travel Tip: Check for bank holidays, we ran into problems because most museums were closed on the first day of our trip.
Where to Eat and Drink
For a very American style breakfast and vibes, Chipps is perfect! The menu was pretty much all in English and it felt like we were in NYC. We loaded up on pancakes and waffles before our long trip back. After making breakfast at home most days, Chipps was a nice little treat during our last morning in Berlin.
If you don’t mind a long wait for street food, Mustafa’s has a world famous döner. A döner is somewhat similar to a gyro; it’s a turkish street food. I have to admit, at first I was not into the big slab of revolving questionable, grayish meat. After the half hour wait and getting a bit hangry, I seriously loved it…and not just because I was starving!
Opted for an Indian dinner at Amar one night and it was really good! Tradition German food can be quite heavy and this was a great option to get some much needed veggies.
This public square is the perfect place to sit and have a beer or a radler. A radler is basically a beer mixed with lemonade or Fanta and is a perfectly refreshing drink, especially during the summer. If the weather is nice, I would spend a few hours here. If you’re hungry, grab some currywurst, a sausage and french fries topped with spices and curry ketchup. This is another German street food favorite that is a great snack.
This place had a gigantic cocktail list and specials after 10 pm, which is perfect before going out for the night. We got a spring roll app, chicken satay, and this amazing cheesy pasta. Of course I got a super girly drink called 7 Heaven and Nathan got a big old beer. BONUS: TempoBox is located fairly close to a bunch of super cool clubs!
Where to Party
People weren’t lying when they say that clubs in Berlin are super unassuming and industrial. We pretty much followed the music into Cassiopedia, which wound up having this super dope DJ. Even though it wasn’t one of the biggest or most well known places to party, we definitely enjoyed ourselves and didn’t turn into total zombies after traveling all day.
Watergate is pretty much THE place to party in Berlin. The thing is, it’s extremely hard to get into. We didn’t make it in, so we opted for another place that was in a old hotel…super cool. The good thing is that there are tons of clubs to explore and young people on the street will always help you find what you’re looking for.
On our way to find a different club, we stumbled across this super awesome beer and food festival at Urban Spree. It was this really cool outside space and we wound up getting a few beers and some savory pies too! Very chill vibe and we even met an adorable pooch and some other tourists.
What are some of your travel tips for Berlin? Leave us a comment below! Also, make sure to hashtag all your travel photos with #vgbsquad or #travelgold to join the squad!