Welcome to Berlin! If this is your second, third or even sixteenth trip to the German capital, then the Brandenburg Gate or the Pergamon Museum certainly won’t be on your agenda anymore. Been there, done that! You’ve done your holiday photo shoots and you’ve had enough of the audio guides. This time, you’d like to explore new, as well as interesting areas of the city, and at the same time not wander all over the place, right? I know exactly how it is in the big cities – for this reason, I have put together a list of some alternative and cool things to do in Berlin Mitte, which are no more than 7 km from the city centre.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Berlin besides hipsters and graffiti? Well, it’s the multi-cultural way of life! The most diverse cultures come together and contribute towards making the city so lively and versatile. The countless influences from all over the world allow tourists in Berlin to try out things they might not experience at home. And the best way to get to know a foreign culture? Food!
‘Integration through the stomach’ is, among other things, the motto of the Markethalle Neun, which stands for ‘slow food’ and openness towards other culture. In addition to the usual weekly market, which takes place on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the organisers have added Street Food Thursday to their programme. Every Thursday from 5pm-10pm you’ll find numerous stands offering well-priced food from all over the world. There’s even plenty to keep vegans, vegetarians and even the fussiest of eaters more than satisfied!
Buck & Breck
Berlin’s nightlife has achieved legendary status around the world. Reasonably priced drinks, fantastic atmospheres and a huge variety of venues means that no matter what vibes you’re looking for – whether you be a biker at heart looking to sip a few pints to AC/DC, or play a bit of Super Mario World as you’re dancing the night away (yep, I’ve done that myself!) – you’ll find the place for you. But if it’s exclusivity you’re looking for, then hop on the Ubahn (U8 line) at around 7 pm and head to Rosenthaler Platz. Now walk just 300 metres to Brunnenstraße 177 aaaaand… stop! No, you haven’t got lost! If you’re standing in front of a run down building with an old-fashioned shop window, then you’re in exactly the right place. Look for the doorbell nameplate, which says ‘bar’. You’ve arrived – a warm welcome to Buck & Breck, arguably one of the best bars in all of Germany.
There is only room for 14 guests at the bar area, drinks start from €10 (very steep) and the drinks menu is pretty small. But in return you’ll be enjoying some of the finest cocktail creations you’ll ever sample, all in an intimate atmosphere. Watching the bartender crafting the drinks and lacing bottles of champagne up close is a large part of the experience – you’ll learn to appreciate the mastery that goes into mixing. If you’re in Berlin and have some money left over, then I’d definitely recommend swinging by this unique bar. But be aware: the doorman only allows a maximum of three guests to enter at once. If there are four of you, one of you will have to stay outside.
Do you read me?
If you’re a bit of a bookworm like me and love a good read, then head to the wonderful little shop called Do You Read Me on Auguststraße. It’s a small business that’s dedicated to only one thing: a love for good magazines. Not just any magazines mind you – I’m talking about those really big, fancy ones that are brimming with specialised columns, articles and plenty of amazing illustrations and photography. Passionate owners Jessica Reitz and Mark Kiessling stock magazines in a variety of languages and over 5,000 publications to choose from.
The homely but artistic interior design is very inviting and the store is regarded as a mecca amongst magazine lovers. Categories which lie on the shelves here include art, fashion, photography, design and architecture, and literature and society. If you’re particularly friendly, then they may even give you one of their popular tote bags for free, to carry your pile of magazines in!
Yellow Sunshine Burger
Finding out that a restaurant actually has a really good selection of vegetarian dishes? Pretty amazing feeling! And if you ever find yourself in Berlin, then I have one place I totally, definitely recommend – the Yellow Sunshine Burger. Or in other words, heaven for vegetarians and vegans! The first organic fast-food chain in Germany can proudly sing about two wonderful things: great food and a good conscience. ‘Better than beef’, is the mantra of the Yellow Sunshine Burger team, and all dishes steer away from any artificial flavourings, taste enhancers and all that sort of junk. I mean, it’s not that we need that stuff in our grub anyway!
Even meat eaters swear by Yellow Sunshine. When I first tried that vegetarian Gyros dish that they have, it’s fair to say that my socks were truly knocked off! And when you first try the Lapland Burger, it’s enough to make you want to keep on coming back. It is rumoured that the Hawaiian Burger has already brought a lady to tears. If that isn’t a sign of a successful food culture, I don’t know what is!
Mogg & Melzers
A large part of any multi-cultural city is the humble deli. What started out as small restaurants opened by Jewish immigrants around the US in the ’30s have since transcended borders – even this Jewish-New York culture is now an established part of the Berlin flair. In a former Jewish girls’ school resides Mogg & Melzers – a true deli, which even makes the traditional pastrami sandwiches themselves.
Why’s that so special, you ask? Well, the cook actually prepares all of the pastrami meats himself too – the process, which includes salt curing, smoking, and slow heating, can take up to six weeks! Think of it as a little labour of love. The owners, Mr. Mogg and Mr. Melzer want to keep the authenticity of their food their number one priority. For all New York dishes, the Mogg & Melzers team is at your service. The interior design also has a New York theme, which is particularly noticeable when you discover the cabinet containing a unique, worn out Converse trainer inside it.
Exit Live Escape Games
Who said that when you travel to Berlin, you have to have a sophisticated bucket list? A small detective game would make a good change from all the high-profile cultural events and restaurants, no? Right in the heart of Berlin Mitte is the EXIT Live Escape Game. It invites all of the crime enthusiasts among you to a true adrenaline rush in an original Berlin wartime bunker. Live escape games, which are interactive games, are a worldwide trend at the moment. You’re locked up with your friends inside a room and have a certain amount of time to escape, by solving riddles. There are six different adventures you can choose from in Berlin and can even participate with up to eleven friends.
Imagine waking up in a mental hospital after a city break in Berlin. Or you’re arrested without reason and thrown in prison – with one of you in solitary confinement! How do you get out of this mess? At EXIT Berlin you’ll find out for yourself, be it for better or worse! Prices range from €20 to €30 per person. If you staying in the centre of Berlin and are looking for a thrilling activity for your group: EXIT will not disappoint!
Then let’s go explore the centre of Berlin! You can quickly book a flight, book a cheap hotel in the centre of Berlin and then nothing stands in your way of exploring the undiscovered areas of the German capital. If you know of any more hotspots around the centre of Berlin, then you should definitely let me know. Even the holiday guru always has time for a weekend away in the centre of Berlin.
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