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Berlin see + do

Berlin is a sprawling city, but you don't need to see all its boroughs to do its attractions justice. The central Berlin districts of Mitte, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Schöneberg, Tiergarten, Charlottenburg, and Wilmersdorf cover a lot of territory. All contain worthy walks and sightseeing highlights that can easily be strung together using the excellent public transit system, explained in our Berlin Fact Sheet.

Because of Berlin's Cold War division, there are two of everything that has to do with high culture: In eastern Berlin, grand old museums and theaters are clustered around Museum Island near Alexanderplatz in Mitte, and their western equivalents from the 1960s and '70s are just west of Potsdamer Platz in Tiergarten. After German reunification in 1990, the government poured billions of dollars into making Berlin a glass-walled architectural showcase, as best witnessed in the government quarter south of the new central train station. The buzz in Berlin, in general, centers on the revitalized eastern half of the city, which is full of art galleries, modish cafés, fashion boutiques, and more hipsters than you can count. But walking through the old western neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Charlottenburg—the former hippie/radical and haut-bourgeois neighborhoods, respectively—shows different sides of Berlin. Kreuzberg is multicultural, with heavy Turkish and Middle Eastern influences, and Charlottenburg has old façades, massive prewar apartments, and tree-shaded streets—a perfect place to sit in a café and watch the fancy cars and old jalopies roll by.

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Architecture Walks, Berlin

Berlin boasts more new buildings designed by top international architects than perhaps any other European city. At the turn of the last century, it was, after...more

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Art Scene, Berlin

Berlin remains a place where artists can rent studios and gallery spaces can be opened for a reasonable sum. But Mitte no longer has the lock on the gallery...more

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Charlottenburg, Berlin

When the Wall went up, Charlottenburg became the commercial heart of West Berlin, as it remains today. The Lehrter Bahnhof is the point of entry for many...more

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Eastern Berlin, Berlin

Remnants of the Berlin Wall are few and far between these days, and most locals are happy about that. Nostalgia for the former German Democratic Republic,...more

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Friedrichshain, Berlin

As the true bohemians were squeezed out by the bobos taking up residence in the increasingly pricey Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg neighborhoods in the late 1990s,...more

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Government Quarter/Tiergarten, Berlin

Tiergarten, Berlin's version of Central Park, is also the name of the neighborhood that includes the Regierungsquartier (Government Quarter). Per square mile,...more

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Kreuzberg, Berlin

Boxed in on two sides on the West German side of the Wall in the years following the war, Kreuzberg was somewhat isolated from the rest of West Berlin and...more

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Mitte, Berlin

At the height of Cold War tensions, the name of this neighborhood, Mitte (Middle), seemed anachronistic. Once the heart of prewar Berlin, Mitte, subsumed into...more

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Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

After 1989, Berlin's bohemians came to settle in this former East German working-class neighborhood of gray, unrenovated tenements, many of them with coal...more

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Schöneberg, Berlin

Ever since Christopher Isherwood wrote The Berlin Stories, which served as the inspiration for the musical Cabaret, Schöneberg has been associated with gay...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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