Edged in by woodlands and a network of freshwater lakes is Germany’s kaleidoscopic capital, Berlin—the sprawling concrete metropolis home to 3.5 million people.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the city—once divided—has grown together, becoming what is undoubtedly one of the most interesting cultural centers in Europe: A city of art and artists, of verdant spaces and brutalist buildings, of history—both terrible and beautiful, and of culture. With one in three Berliners being of foreign birth, to belong in this city requires a state of mind rather than a passport. We’ve composed a list of our favorite locations for you to visit in Berlin—the city IGNANT was born in.
Gerichtstraße 54, 13347 Berlin
Torstraße 180, 10115 Berlin
Bonanza Coffee Roasters
Adalbertstraße 70, 10999 Berlin
The Modern Houseboat
Gustav-Holzmann-Straße 10, 10317 Berlin
Warschauer Straße 39-40, 10243 Berlin
Drakestraße 1, 10787 Berlin
Potsdamer Straße 81, 10785 Berlin
Torstraße 1, 10119 Berlin
Kantstraße 79, 10627 Berlin
Hallesches Ufer 70, 10963 Berlin
St. Agnes, Alexandrinenstraße 118-121, 10969 Berlin
Schierker Straße 8, 12051 Berlin
Hansaviertel, 10555 Berlin
Tempelhofer Damm, 12101 Berlin
Am Sudhaus 3, 12053 Berlin
WHEN: Mon-Sat 09.00-20.00
WHAT: Behind a large aluminum door that fronts onto an unassuming street in Wedding is one of Berlin’s most talked-about restaurants—ernst. The brainchild of Dylan Watson-Brawn and Spencer Christenson, this raw yet refined twelve seat space offers a dining experience with a difference. Inside, you’ll find handcrafted design objects and unprocessed materials buttressed against one another, the aesthetics of the space offering a sensory experience of balance that is mirrored in the organic, locally sourced food and drink.
WHERE: Torstraße 180, 10115 Berlin
WHEN: Mon 12.00-15.00 | Tues-Sat 12.00-15.00, 18.00-22.00
WHAT: Berlin’s first zero-waste, vegan restaurant Frea has opened shop on a bright corner in Mitte, with a simple mission: to change the way we eat. This sustainable restaurant uses organic regional produce to create delicious fare that is available from lunch until dinner time. From kefir and kombucha to sourdough and hazelnut spread, everything you consume they make in house—and everything you leave on your plate, they compost and return to their suppliers.
WHEN:Mon-Fri 09.00-18.00 | Sat-Sun 10.00-18.00
WHAT: Pioneers of Berlin’s third-wave coffee movement, Bonanza Coffee Roasters in Kreuzberg is just the spot for a caffeinated pick me up. Larger than their first site—the cozy cafe in Prenzlauer Berg that opened in 2006—the roastery is tucked away in a quiet courtyard off Adalbertsraße beside an interestingly positioned petting zoo. In the light and airy double-height space, long-haired baristas flit between tables and amongst plants, delivering perfect coffees, pastries, and the odd Polish pun.
WHO: The Modern Houseboat
WHAT: Berlin is usually a destination for those looking to tap into its creative energy and diverse nightlife, but it can also be a good place for those looking for some solitude in nature. In the eastern part of the city on the river Spree, sits a secluded modern houseboat surrounded by still waters and trees. Inside, the minimal space features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, concrete surfaces, and wooden touches. From the bedroom, there’s a striking view of greenery that resembles an impressionist painting peppered with floating swans and tiny buildings in the distance.
WHO: Michelberger Hotel
WHAT: Fusing sophistication, rebellious energy and a curious sense of creativity, the Michelberger Hotel celebrates the beauty of imperfection, paying homage to the unparalleled atmosphere of its beloved Berlin. Housed in an industrial building that was once a factory, the hotel has been reimagined by renowned architects and is conveniently located in Friedrichshain, surrounded by the exuberant energy of Berlin’s pulsating nightlife.
WHO: Das Stue
WHERE: Drakestraße 1, 10787 Berlin
WHAT: A neoclassical building that once housed the Royal Danish Embassy has been transformed into one of Berlin’s most stylish boutique hotels; Das Stue. Situated in the heart of Berlin with views of both the city’s favorite park, Tiergarten, and the neighboring zoo, the hotel offers a unique perspective of Berlin from its luxurious interior. Designed by Patricia Urquiola, the opulent hotel houses 79 guest rooms, two restaurants—including the Michelin star restaurant, Cinco—and a bar, alongside the Susanne Kaufmann spa complete with a Finnish bath and indoor pool.
WHO: Andreas Murkudis
WHEN: Mon-Sat 09.00-20.00
WHAT: In an unassuming former newspaper building on Potsdamer Straße, you’ll find Andreas Murkudis, also known as AM; a minimal 1000 square meter concept store with 10 meter-high ceilings. Andreas Murkudis, who has been working in the art scene for nearly 20 years, opened his very first eponymous store in 2003 and has since unveiled a total of six renowned concept stores. He collaborated with architects Gonzalez Haase AAS to renovate a hall in the retail store and, has expanded the brand by launching AM Möbel + Architektur, a shop also on Potsdamer Straße dedicated to design and furniture.
WHO: The Store
WHERE: Torstraße 1, 10119 Berlin
WHEN: Mon-Sat 10.00-19.00
WHAT: Spanning the ground floor of Soho House Berlin, The Store Berlin exists at the intersection of art, lifestyle, dining, and fashion, offering an immersive experience designed to make you feel at home rather than in a gargantuan department store. Customers are encouraged to spend the day here; relaxing on one of the many plush velvet sofas, thumbing through a copy of 032C, or working on their laptops. Combining the eclecticism of an emporium with the comfort of a rather luxurious living room, the light-filled space is paving the way for a new kind of retail therapy.
WHO: Bocci 79
WHERE: Kantstraße 79, 10627 Berlin
WHEN: Tues-Sat 11.00-19.00
WHAT: Built as a courthouse at the turn of the 20th century, Kantstrasße 79 is now home to Bocci 79: a showroom and archive space for the Vancouver and Berlin-based design studio of Omer Arbel. The 2,200 square meter historic space houses over a decade of Arbel’s works; which flit between the genres of architecture, sculpture, and design.
WHEN: Fri 14.00-19.00 | Sat-Sun 11.00-19.00
WHAT: British architect John Pawson has transformed a former telecommunications bunker in Kreuzberg into a sophisticated museum that juxtaposes international contemporary artists with Imperial Chinese furniture and Southeast Asian sculptures. The 6,500 square meter Feuerle Collection is located on the Landwehr Canal in a part of Berlin famed for its revolutionary creative scene.
WHERE: Am Sudhaus 3, 12053 Berlin
WHEN: Mon-Sat 10.00-18.00 | Sun 12.00-18.00
WHAT: In 2016, the 1920s building that housed the brewery of Berlin’s favorite beer was transformed, becoming the Kindl Centre for Contemporary Art—a cultural hub in the district of Neukölln. Named after the beer once made on the site, the 5500 square meter space has retained many of its original features; including its dramatic brick expressionist facade and six monumental copper brew kettles, which are the largest of their kind in Europe. Under the artistic direction of curator Andreas Fiedler, the center holds several major exhibitions each year, along with artist talks, lectures and concerts.
WHO: König Galerie
WHEN: Mon-Sat 10.00-18.00 | Sun 12.00-18.00
WHAT: One of the architectural highlights that emerged in Kreuzberg following WWII was the St. Agnes Church, a building destroyed by air raids and reimagined in a striking manner by one of Germany’s most important post-war Modernists, architect Werner Düttmann. “The church doesn’t stand apart from everything else,” Düttmann said, “it stands in the way.” The monumental structure features a twenty-meter-tall tower, with a textured concrete exterior and incredible brutalist interior. Today, the austere monolith has been reinvented as the contemporary art gallery and cultural space that is König Galerie.
WHAT: The regal beauty of Körnerpark is an unexpected addition to the landscape of suburban Neukölln. Donated to the town of Rixdorf in the early 1900s, the site was quickly transformed from a graveled area into a sunken garden of neo-baroque beauty. Today, an opulent water feature cascades down into a large grassed area that is edged by hedges, colorful flower beds, and stone balustrades. The 2.4-hectare park is a hidden spot favored by Berliners, who while away their weekends here picnicking on the lawn, perusing the vine-covered gallery, and lounging at the park’s cafe.
WHERE: Hansaviertel, 10555 Berlin
WHAT: Air raids and bombing during WWII saw the suburb of Hansaviertel razed almost entirely to the ground: 300 of the 343 buildings were gone, and those that remained were almost irreparable. This once dense residential area of Tiergarten was the subject of intense urban regeneration, its terrible fate providing a unique opportunity for city planners to rebuild an entire area from scratch. The Interbau 57 invited architects from around the world to build socialist housing estates there—today, the groundbreaking Modernist designs of Walter Gropius, Alvar Aalto, Oscar Niemeyer, Arne Jacobsen, Egon Eiermann, and Max Taut amongst others remain.
WHAT: Tempelhof has seen many incarnations; originally a small site used to test some of the world’s earliest aircrafts in the 1920s, during the Third Reich it was rebuilt as a monument to Nazi power. From the fall of Hitler until 1998, it acted as one of Europe’s largest airports, and today, it is one of Europe’s largest parks—beloved by Berliners and visitors alike. Situated between the suburbs of Tempelhof and Neukölln, the colossal former airfield is today known as Tempelhofer Feld. Here, past and present collide. Flowers from community gardens sprawl towards the tarmac; people on bikes, go-karts and rollerblades whizz down the former runway whilst groups of picnic-makers lounge on colored rugs in the designated grill areas. Locals will tell you that there are few better ways to spend a warm evening than watching the sunset at Tempelhof.