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The exterior of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, at sunset. The gate has columns. There are statues on top of the gate. Getty Images/iStockphoto

The 20 best things to do in Berlin if you love design

From dance clubs in former industrial spaces to art galleries in Brutalist ex-churches, the German capital has it all

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Berlin, known for a raucous club culture and cache of world-class museums, theaters, and cultural institutions, is in a class of its own when it comes to global cities.

Divided between East and West until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the landscape of the unified German capital is still marked by the turbulence of its complex 20th-century history. The free-spirited city has long attracted artists, musicians, and bohemians of all stripes, ushering in creative possibilities that continue to shape the city despite its rapidly rising rents.

For a city of three million people, Berlin has a laid-back vibe that lacks the frenetic pace of London or New York. While some areas are gritty—part of the city’s appeal—Berlin possesses an abundance of public parks, waterways, and lakes, making it especially ideal when the sun decides to shine.

Architecturally speaking, the city has plenty to offer. Certain areas were completely destroyed during World War II, creating an immediate need for infrastructure and housing. In addition to a variety of new buildings, the former West still features many modernist structures from the ’50s and ’60s, while the former East remains dotted with Soviet-style high-rises in all their drab charm. A host of repurposed pre-war buildings now house museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions, leaving lots to discover in this modern metropolis.

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1. Olympiastadion Berlin

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Olympischer Platz 3
14053 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 30688100
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Built for the 1936 Berlin Olympic games when Adolf Hitler was in power, Germany’s largest stadium retains its original architectural style, complete with hulking columns built from stones lugged from the Alps. After lengthy debate about whether the city should remove or preserve the structure, the latter strategy won out and renovations were competed in 2004. Today, visitors can take tours to learn about the stadium’s dark origins, or see Berlin’s Hertha football team play on its home turf.

The exterior of the Olympiastadion Berlin. There are two tall structures in front where the Olympic symbol is suspended on a string. Shutterstock

2. Corbusierhaus Berlin

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Flatowallee 16
14055 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 30209833
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This building was part of Le Corbusier’s large-scale residential project Unité d’Habitation, first realized in Marseille, France, which aimed to provide communal housing for millions of people displaced after the war. The property was equipped with a kindergarten, medical facility, and a garden, demonstrating the Swiss-French architect’s goal of creating a city within a city. The apartment building was meant to be a symbol of German modernization in the postwar period and remains a landmark example of postwar modernist architecture in the German capital.

3. Monkey Bar

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Budapester Str. 40
10787 Berlin, Germany

Located on the 10th floor of the 25hours Hotel, this cocktail bar offers sweeping views over the Berlin Zoo and Tiergarten park. It’s part of the Bikini Berlin complex, a series of structures including a cinema, the hotel, restaurants, and shops that some say are ushering in a new era of hip in the drab former heart of West Berlin. The Bikini Berlin mall, which opened in 2014, features local design stores, pop-up concept shops, and a view into the baboon cage of the zoo next door. Just across the street is the memorial church, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche. Heavily bombed in the war, its 1963 redesign incorporated the damaged structure as a reminder of the country’s past.

4. Hansaviertel

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Hansaviertel
Berlin, Germany

Located in an area of the city almost completely demolished during the war, this protected housing complex known as “Interbau 57” was built between 1957 and 1961 by a group of international modernist architects, including Alvar Aalto, Walter Gropius, and Oscar Niemeyer. Envisioned as “the city of tomorrow”, this was West Berlin’s answer to the housing complexes in East Berlin on Karl-Marx-Allee. Taking a stroll in the leafy neighborhood is like walking into a long-lost modernist paradise.

5. Berliner Philharmonie

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Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1
10785 Berlin, Germany

Completed in 1963 by German architect Hans Scharoun, this futuristic concert hall took Berlin by storm. Today, it remains one of the quirkiest buildings among a smattering of new high-rises near Potsdamer Platz—a previously desolate area on the border of East and West Berlin. Placing music at the center of the design, the Philharmonie’s sloping, angular interior leads to a large concert hall that’s shaped like a fishbowl and features 360-degree seating. A chance to hear the world-class Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in this acoustically-advanced space is a treat, to say the least. Insider tip: There are free concerts in the Philharmonie lobby on Tuesday afternoons at 2 p.m. To snag tickets, arrive at least 15 minutes beforehand.

The exterior of the Berlin Philharmonie. The facade is yellow and geometric. Shutterstock

6. DZ BANK AG

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Pariser Platz 3
10117 Berlin, Germany

This mixed-use building is a prime example of architect Frank Gehry flaunting his signature brand of postmodern whimsy. With a facade of limestone to match that of the nearby Brandenburg gate, the building features a large interior courtyard with a curved glass ceiling and floor. Its theatrical four-story-high curved structure is coated in stainless steel and appears to rest in space, and cheekily conceals a conference room.

7. Boros Foundation

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Reinhardtstraße 20
10117 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 27594065
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Locally known as the “banana bunker” for its post-WWII role as a storage unit for tropical fruit shipped from Cuba, this massive bunker was purchased by the Boros family in 2003, who now shows its massive collection of contemporary art in site-specific exhibitions that rotate every few years. Guided tours provide a look at the collection of works by big names in the art world—such as Ai Wei Wei—and offer plenty of anecdotes about the building itself and how its role has changed over time. Be sure to book via the website well in advance, as tickets sell out early.

8. KW Institute for Contemporary Art

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Auguststraße 69
10117 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 2434590
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In the heart of Mitte, stroll down Linienstrasse or Auguststrasse to find many of the city’s contemporary art galleries, including the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, which is tucked into a quiet courtyard (Auguststrasse 69). If you’re hungry, nearby is gastronomy paradise and Michelin-starred restaurant Katz Orange, which occupies a 19th-century former brewery.

9. Berlin State Opera

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Unter den Linden 7
10117 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 20354555
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Berlin is home to three opera houses—more than any other city in Europe. The Staatsoper is located on the main boulevard and reopened in 2017 after over seven years of renovations. As a result, opera-goers now experience enhanced acoustics, as well as the charms of the original Baroque interior. The boulevard itself is worth a stroll for its unique architecture, such as Humboldt University (Unter den Linden 6), Alte Bibliothek (Bebelplatz), and others—most of which were envisioned by Prussian king Frederick the Great in his 18th-century urban development plan for central Berlin.

The exterior of the Berlin State Opera. The facade is pink.

10. Jewish Museum Berlin

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Lindenstraße 9-14
10969 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 25993300
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With its 2001 extension designed by American architect Daniel Libeskind, this museum dedicated to German-Jewish history provides a powerful experience for museum-goers. Using reinforced concrete, Liebeskind achieved a design that demonstrates absence and emptiness—a representation of the disappearance of Jewish culture in German society. The zig-zag structure—with sloping paths that lead to dead ends, or voids lit only by a slit of light—creates a feeling of somber hopelessness. Similarly powerful—and disorienting—is the Jewish Memorial by Brandenburg Gate (Cora-Berliner-Straße 1), designed by German architect Peter Eisenman.

11. Neues Museum

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Bodestraße 1-3
10178 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 266424242
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Located on “museum island,” an area named for its abundance of (you guessed it) museums, the Neues Museum holds a cache of ancient art and artifacts  ideal for anyone interested in learning about the history of humanity—or just taking in some stellar interiors. The original 19th-century building was heavily bombed during the Second World War and reopened in 2009 after extensive renovations by British architect David Chipperfield. Also worth a visit is the nearby Pergamon Museum, which houses full-scale buildings reconstructed from ruins in the Middle East, like the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.

12. KÖNIG GALERIE

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121, Alexandrinenstraße 118
10969 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 26103080
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One of the few examples of Brutalist architecture in Germany, this 1967 church built by German architect Werner Duettmann fell into disrepair and was acquired by a local art collector in 2011. After undergoing renovations, the quaint church was transformed into a light-filled contemporary art gallery tucked away in the heart of Kreuzberg. In the summer months, pay a visit to the nearby Prinzessinnengarten (Prinzenstraße 35-38), a community garden that serves garden-grown food in its cafe and kitchen.

13. Freizeitgelände Tempelhof Field

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Tempelhof
12101 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 700906616
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Although it was built in the 1920s, Tempelhof Airport is perhaps best-known as Hitler’s airport for the extensive renovation it underwent in the ’30s. In the late ’40s, it became the drop-off point for U.S. soldiers delivering supplies to war-torn West Berlin, and in 2015, the airport’s hangars began to house refugees. The building’s controversial history feels miles away when enjoying a day on the airstrip, which is now a local park. Popular with bikers, runners, and picnickers, this 950-acre green space in the center of the city is also home to a variety of local gardening projects.

The Freizeitgelande Tempelhof Field. Shutterstock

14. Hackesche Höfe

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Rosenthaler Str. 39
10178 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 25002333
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Located in the former Jewish quarter of the city’s chic Mitte district, formerly East Berlin, this large Art Nouveau complex of eight interconnected courtyards is home to a variety of clothing boutiques, restaurants, a theater, and cinema, and is best accessed through the first courtyard (Rosenthaler Strasse 40). Outside of the main complex, don’t miss the small alley next to Cafe Cinema (Rosenthalerstrasse 39). It’s flush with Berlin’s signature street art, and features a tiny theater (Central-Kino), the Neurotitan shop with books and prints by local illustrators and artists, and the Anne Frank Center, celebrating the neighborhood’s Jewish heritage.

15. Holzmarkt25

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Holzmarktstraße 25
10243 Berlin, Germany

Rising from the ashes of the legendary club Bar25, which closed its doors about a decade ago, this recently opened complex along the Spree river flaunts Berlin’s signature ramshackle Peter-Pan-on-LSD-style, yet with a slightly more grown-up feel. Multi-room club Kater Blau offers plenty of tunes, while fine-dining restaurant Katerschmaus serves adventurous pan-European cuisine in an offbeat environment. Also located on the grounds are a coworking space, wine shop, yoga studio, hair salon, and a riverside terrace.

16. KINDL - Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst

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Am Sudhaus 3
12053 Berlin, Germany

Deep in the heart of the trendy and ethnically diverse Neukölln neighborhood is one of the latest additions to the contemporary art scene. Opened in 2016, the massive brick building, built in the 1930s in German Expressionist style, is a former brewery that still retains some of its original elements. The cafe, for example, is positioned around six massive copper beer vats—once the largest of their kind in Europe. The most spectacular room is the three-story boiler house, which features a new large-scale work by a contemporary artist each year.  

17. Markthalle Neun

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Eisenbahnstraße 42/43
10997 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 61073473
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Housed in a brick 19th-century market hall, this revamped building has become a center for urban food experimentation in the heart of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood. It hosts a variety of permanent food stalls, such as Sironi italian bakery, Big Stuff Smoked BBQ, and Heidenpeters, a local craft beer company. Aside from a variety of specialized food events held on the weekend, the flagship event is Street Food Thursday, a weekly gathering of dozens of rotating vendors offering everything from Sicilian arancini to Japanese Takoyaki.

18. Berghain | Panorama Bar | Säule

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Am Wriezener Bahnhof
10243 Berlin, Germany

Located in a sparsely populated area of central Berlin, this former East German power plant-turned-techno club has come to epitomize Berlin’s hedonistic nightlife culture. While Berghain is famous for its relatively random, highly selective door policy and its primarily gay fetish parties, those who make it in can dance in the cavernous high-ceilinged interior, which still retains much of the rawness of the industrial space it once was. For a quieter night, visit the Berghain Kantine, the establishment’s music venue, and its adjacent beer garden.

19. Frankfurter Tor

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Frankfurter Tor
10243 Berlin, Germany

This 1.2-mile avenue was the showcase boulevard of Germany under Soviet rule and features both housing built for the proletariat (prefab buildings made of concrete slabs), as well as the two special buildings found at this intersection. While they may look both ominous and somewhat bland by today’s standards, these monoliths were considered opulent in East Germany, due to their tiered “wedding cake” design, and were reserved for the East German elite. Toward the end of the boulevard, near Alexanderplatz, striking modernist buildings still in use, like Kino International and Kafe Moskau, provide an interesting contrast to the prefab look.

20. RAW-Gelände

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Revaler Str. 99
10245 Berlin, Germany

This area in the trendy former-East neighborhood of Friedrichshain is an interesting example of a former train repair station turned alternative cultural complex. With brick buildings decked out in the slightly haphazard, unpolished style for which Berlin is known and loved—plus a healthy heaping of top-notch street art—visitors can browse galleries and artist workspaces, see a concert at Astra Kulturhaus, dance to techno music at Cassiopeia, or find vintage goods at the Sunday flea market. A short walk further south will bring you to the East Side Gallery. While it’s not an actual gallery, per se, this art-covered original section of the Berlin Wall is worth a look.

1. Olympiastadion Berlin

Olympischer Platz 3, 14053 Berlin, Germany
The exterior of the Olympiastadion Berlin. There are two tall structures in front where the Olympic symbol is suspended on a string. Shutterstock

Built for the 1936 Berlin Olympic games when Adolf Hitler was in power, Germany’s largest stadium retains its original architectural style, complete with hulking columns built from stones lugged from the Alps. After lengthy debate about whether the city should remove or preserve the structure, the latter strategy won out and renovations were competed in 2004. Today, visitors can take tours to learn about the stadium’s dark origins, or see Berlin’s Hertha football team play on its home turf.

Olympischer Platz 3
14053 Berlin, Germany

2. Corbusierhaus Berlin

Flatowallee 16, 14055 Berlin, Germany

This building was part of Le Corbusier’s large-scale residential project Unité d’Habitation, first realized in Marseille, France, which aimed to provide communal housing for millions of people displaced after the war. The property was equipped with a kindergarten, medical facility, and a garden, demonstrating the Swiss-French architect’s goal of creating a city within a city. The apartment building was meant to be a symbol of German modernization in the postwar period and remains a landmark example of postwar modernist architecture in the German capital.

Flatowallee 16
14055 Berlin, Germany

3. Monkey Bar

Budapester Str. 40, 10787 Berlin, Germany

Located on the 10th floor of the 25hours Hotel, this cocktail bar offers sweeping views over the Berlin Zoo and Tiergarten park. It’s part of the Bikini Berlin complex, a series of structures including a cinema, the hotel, restaurants, and shops that some say are ushering in a new era of hip in the drab former heart of West Berlin. The Bikini Berlin mall, which opened in 2014, features local design stores, pop-up concept shops, and a view into the baboon cage of the zoo next door. Just across the street is the memorial church, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche. Heavily bombed in the war, its 1963 redesign incorporated the damaged structure as a reminder of the country’s past.

Budapester Str. 40
10787 Berlin, Germany

4. Hansaviertel

Hansaviertel, Berlin, Germany

Located in an area of the city almost completely demolished during the war, this protected housing complex known as “Interbau 57” was built between 1957 and 1961 by a group of international modernist architects, including Alvar Aalto, Walter Gropius, and Oscar Niemeyer. Envisioned as “the city of tomorrow”, this was West Berlin’s answer to the housing complexes in East Berlin on Karl-Marx-Allee. Taking a stroll in the leafy neighborhood is like walking into a long-lost modernist paradise.

Hansaviertel
Berlin, Germany

5. Berliner Philharmonie

Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1, 10785 Berlin, Germany
The exterior of the Berlin Philharmonie. The facade is yellow and geometric. Shutterstock

Completed in 1963 by German architect Hans Scharoun, this futuristic concert hall took Berlin by storm. Today, it remains one of the quirkiest buildings among a smattering of new high-rises near Potsdamer Platz—a previously desolate area on the border of East and West Berlin. Placing music at the center of the design, the Philharmonie’s sloping, angular interior leads to a large concert hall that’s shaped like a fishbowl and features 360-degree seating. A chance to hear the world-class Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in this acoustically-advanced space is a treat, to say the least. Insider tip: There are free concerts in the Philharmonie lobby on Tuesday afternoons at 2 p.m. To snag tickets, arrive at least 15 minutes beforehand.

Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1
10785 Berlin, Germany

6. DZ BANK AG

Pariser Platz 3, 10117 Berlin, Germany

This mixed-use building is a prime example of architect Frank Gehry flaunting his signature brand of postmodern whimsy. With a facade of limestone to match that of the nearby Brandenburg gate, the building features a large interior courtyard with a curved glass ceiling and floor. Its theatrical four-story-high curved structure is coated in stainless steel and appears to rest in space, and cheekily conceals a conference room.

Pariser Platz 3
10117 Berlin, Germany

7. Boros Foundation

Reinhardtstraße 20, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Locally known as the “banana bunker” for its post-WWII role as a storage unit for tropical fruit shipped from Cuba, this massive bunker was purchased by the Boros family in 2003, who now shows its massive collection of contemporary art in site-specific exhibitions that rotate every few years. Guided tours provide a look at the collection of works by big names in the art world—such as Ai Wei Wei—and offer plenty of anecdotes about the building itself and how its role has changed over time. Be sure to book via the website well in advance, as tickets sell out early.

Reinhardtstraße 20
10117 Berlin, Germany

8. KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin, Germany

In the heart of Mitte, stroll down Linienstrasse or Auguststrasse to find many of the city’s contemporary art galleries, including the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, which is tucked into a quiet courtyard (Auguststrasse 69). If you’re hungry, nearby is gastronomy paradise and Michelin-starred restaurant Katz Orange, which occupies a 19th-century former brewery.

Auguststraße 69
10117 Berlin, Germany

9. Berlin State Opera

Unter den Linden 7, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The exterior of the Berlin State Opera. The facade is pink.

Berlin is home to three opera houses—more than any other city in Europe. The Staatsoper is located on the main boulevard and reopened in 2017 after over seven years of renovations. As a result, opera-goers now experience enhanced acoustics, as well as the charms of the original Baroque interior. The boulevard itself is worth a stroll for its unique architecture, such as Humboldt University (Unter den Linden 6), Alte Bibliothek (Bebelplatz), and others—most of which were envisioned by Prussian king Frederick the Great in his 18th-century urban development plan for central Berlin.

Unter den Linden 7
10117 Berlin, Germany

10. Jewish Museum Berlin

Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin, Germany

With its 2001 extension designed by American architect Daniel Libeskind, this museum dedicated to German-Jewish history provides a powerful experience for museum-goers. Using reinforced concrete, Liebeskind achieved a design that demonstrates absence and emptiness—a representation of the disappearance of Jewish culture in German society. The zig-zag structure—with sloping paths that lead to dead ends, or voids lit only by a slit of light—creates a feeling of somber hopelessness. Similarly powerful—and disorienting—is the Jewish Memorial by Brandenburg Gate (Cora-Berliner-Straße 1), designed by German architect Peter Eisenman.

Lindenstraße 9-14
10969 Berlin, Germany

11. Neues Museum

Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany

Located on “museum island,” an area named for its abundance of (you guessed it) museums, the Neues Museum holds a cache of ancient art and artifacts  ideal for anyone interested in learning about the history of humanity—or just taking in some stellar interiors. The original 19th-century building was heavily bombed during the Second World War and reopened in 2009 after extensive renovations by British architect David Chipperfield. Also worth a visit is the nearby Pergamon Museum, which houses full-scale buildings reconstructed from ruins in the Middle East, like the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.

Bodestraße 1-3
10178 Berlin, Germany

12. KÖNIG GALERIE

121, Alexandrinenstraße 118, 10969 Berlin, Germany

One of the few examples of Brutalist architecture in Germany, this 1967 church built by German architect Werner Duettmann fell into disrepair and was acquired by a local art collector in 2011. After undergoing renovations, the quaint church was transformed into a light-filled contemporary art gallery tucked away in the heart of Kreuzberg. In the summer months, pay a visit to the nearby Prinzessinnengarten (Prinzenstraße 35-38), a community garden that serves garden-grown food in its cafe and kitchen.

121, Alexandrinenstraße 118
10969 Berlin, Germany

13. Freizeitgelände Tempelhof Field

Tempelhof, 12101 Berlin, Germany
The Freizeitgelande Tempelhof Field. Shutterstock

Although it was built in the 1920s, Tempelhof Airport is perhaps best-known as Hitler’s airport for the extensive renovation it underwent in the ’30s. In the late ’40s, it became the drop-off point for U.S. soldiers delivering supplies to war-torn West Berlin, and in 2015, the airport’s hangars began to house refugees. The building’s controversial history feels miles away when enjoying a day on the airstrip, which is now a local park. Popular with bikers, runners, and picnickers, this 950-acre green space in the center of the city is also home to a variety of local gardening projects.

Tempelhof
12101 Berlin, Germany

14. Hackesche Höfe

Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178 Berlin, Germany

Located in the former Jewish quarter of the city’s chic Mitte district, formerly East Berlin, this large Art Nouveau complex of eight interconnected courtyards is home to a variety of clothing boutiques, restaurants, a theater, and cinema, and is best accessed through the first courtyard (Rosenthaler Strasse 40). Outside of the main complex, don’t miss the small alley next to Cafe Cinema (Rosenthalerstrasse 39). It’s flush with Berlin’s signature street art, and features a tiny theater (Central-Kino), the Neurotitan shop with books and prints by local illustrators and artists, and the Anne Frank Center, celebrating the neighborhood’s Jewish heritage.

Rosenthaler Str. 39
10178 Berlin, Germany

15. Holzmarkt25

Holzmarktstraße 25, 10243 Berlin, Germany

Rising from the ashes of the legendary club Bar25, which closed its doors about a decade ago, this recently opened complex along the Spree river flaunts Berlin’s signature ramshackle Peter-Pan-on-LSD-style, yet with a slightly more grown-up feel. Multi-room club Kater Blau offers plenty of tunes, while fine-dining restaurant Katerschmaus serves adventurous pan-European cuisine in an offbeat environment. Also located on the grounds are a coworking space, wine shop, yoga studio, hair salon, and a riverside terrace.

Holzmarktstraße 25
10243 Berlin, Germany

16. KINDL - Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst

Am Sudhaus 3, 12053 Berlin, Germany

Deep in the heart of the trendy and ethnically diverse Neukölln neighborhood is one of the latest additions to the contemporary art scene. Opened in 2016, the massive brick building, built in the 1930s in German Expressionist style, is a former brewery that still retains some of its original elements. The cafe, for example, is positioned around six massive copper beer vats—once the largest of their kind in Europe. The most spectacular room is the three-story boiler house, which features a new large-scale work by a contemporary artist each year.  

Am Sudhaus 3
12053 Berlin, Germany

17. Markthalle Neun

Eisenbahnstraße 42/43, 10997 Berlin, Germany

Housed in a brick 19th-century market hall, this revamped building has become a center for urban food experimentation in the heart of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood. It hosts a variety of permanent food stalls, such as Sironi italian bakery, Big Stuff Smoked BBQ, and Heidenpeters, a local craft beer company. Aside from a variety of specialized food events held on the weekend, the flagship event is Street Food Thursday, a weekly gathering of dozens of rotating vendors offering everything from Sicilian arancini to Japanese Takoyaki.

Eisenbahnstraße 42/43
10997 Berlin, Germany

18. Berghain | Panorama Bar | Säule

Am Wriezener Bahnhof, 10243 Berlin, Germany

Located in a sparsely populated area of central Berlin, this former East German power plant-turned-techno club has come to epitomize Berlin’s hedonistic nightlife culture. While Berghain is famous for its relatively random, highly selective door policy and its primarily gay fetish parties, those who make it in can dance in the cavernous high-ceilinged interior, which still retains much of the rawness of the industrial space it once was. For a quieter night, visit the Berghain Kantine, the establishment’s music venue, and its adjacent beer garden.

Am Wriezener Bahnhof
10243 Berlin, Germany

19. Frankfurter Tor

Frankfurter Tor, 10243 Berlin, Germany

This 1.2-mile avenue was the showcase boulevard of Germany under Soviet rule and features both housing built for the proletariat (prefab buildings made of concrete slabs), as well as the two special buildings found at this intersection. While they may look both ominous and somewhat bland by today’s standards, these monoliths were considered opulent in East Germany, due to their tiered “wedding cake” design, and were reserved for the East German elite. Toward the end of the boulevard, near Alexanderplatz, striking modernist buildings still in use, like Kino International and Kafe Moskau, provide an interesting contrast to the prefab look.

Frankfurter Tor
10243 Berlin, Germany

20. RAW-Gelände

Revaler Str. 99, 10245 Berlin, Germany

This area in the trendy former-East neighborhood of Friedrichshain is an interesting example of a former train repair station turned alternative cultural complex. With brick buildings decked out in the slightly haphazard, unpolished style for which Berlin is known and loved—plus a healthy heaping of top-notch street art—visitors can browse galleries and artist workspaces, see a concert at Astra Kulturhaus, dance to techno music at Cassiopeia, or find vintage goods at the Sunday flea market. A short walk further south will bring you to the East Side Gallery. While it’s not an actual gallery, per se, this art-covered original section of the Berlin Wall is worth a look.

Revaler Str. 99
10245 Berlin, Germany