You can’t escape art in its many forms in the German capital even if you tried. The art, the design, the architecture, the culture, the history, the food, the fashion — it’s omnipresent. This past year, 2019 was a particularly important year for Berlin for many reasons — it was the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus. Whether you’re visiting for the beautifully ornate architecture, historical art museums, contemporary art galleries, or the trendy boutiques, you’ll find an abundance of excellent places to stay, sightsee, and shop. Here are some of my favorites when it comes to museums, art, design, fashion, restaurants, wellness, and hotels in the “poor, but sexy city.”
This was largely my itinerary from my 5-day birthday trip to Berlin in June 2019.
- Cookies Cream – finally a vegetarian restaurant that proves that you don’t need meat or faux meat to do a fantastic meal, the Michelin star is well-deserved
- Beckett’s Kopf
- Bar Tausend
- Bar Fahimi
- Monsieur Vuong
- Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt – for the best apfelstrudel in the city
- Monkey Bar – for the views alone
- Maria Bonita
Consider a food tour through the city’s many distinct neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own storied past, and there’s a history lesson in every bite served. Check out Berlin Food Stories.
- Berliner Dom
- Blaine|Southern – contemporary art gallery
- Dan Stockholm at The Dig
- Do You Read Me? Bookstore
Consider an exclusive art tour through GoArt! Berlin tours. One of the founders, Miriam Bers is an art historian, curator, event manager, and as knowledgeable as one can get about Berlin’s vast art scene, past and present. I recommend letting Miriam know your tastes and preferences with respect to art beforehand, so she can tailor your tour accordingly. It was also fascinating to speak with her about how the art scene has influenced the city’s demographics and social, economic, and political climate.
- Working Title Studios – at the intersection of luxury, sustainability, and fashion
- Maisonnoée – their specialties are leather and silk
- Pugnat – luxury knitwear
- Andreas Murkudis
- Bikini Berlin
- Museum Island – Neues Museum, Altes Museum, and Pergamon Museum
- Bauhaus Archives – Museum of Design
- Topography of Terror
- Jewish Museum Berlin
- The Berlin Wall Memorial
- DDR Museum
- Get a facial at the Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel — perfect before and/or after a long flight.
- Pamper yourself with a hair blowdry at Shan Rahimkhan.
- SO/Berlin Das Stue — read my review here about this perfect little luxury hideaway in the middle of the diplomatic enclave
- Hotel Adlon Kempinski – a classic luxury hotel located right in the heart of the city in Pariser Platz
- Soho House – a members-only luxury boutique hotel in the city center
- Walking through the city is one of Berlin’s greatest pleasures, though its metro (U-bahn and S-bahn) is pretty damn good too. Check out the Berlin Welcome Card for an easy way to navigate the city.
- Shop along Kurfürstendamm, Tauentzienstraße, Friedrichstraße, Torstraße, and Oranienstraße.
- Check out the local Berlin events calendar.
- Kreuzberg has some of the best Turkish food in the city!
- Discover Berlin with my 48 Hours in Berlin guide.
- The city shines in all its glory in different ways during any season of the year, but my absolute favorite time to visit Berlin is the fall or early winter for the Christmas markets. The autumn air is crisp and refreshing, and it’s the perfect weather to enjoy the city’s many outdoor spaces or parks. The early winter is when the city comes alive with its festive spirit and holiday cheer — there are very few places that do Christmas better than Germany.
Plan Your Berlin Adventure