Berlin is a large and entertaining city. I was most surprised by all of the graffiti and art on the buildings (at least in East Berlin). It’s really very beautiful and there are some talented artists. Very large pictures. Bring the camera.
There is also a lot of history in Berlin about the wall. The city seems to have much more focus on that than WW2. If you look around town, you can find the markings on the ground where the wall once stood. In a few places, new buildings have been built over the wall.
Things to Do
The obvious choice that stares you in the face everywhere you look in Berlin, is the Radio/TV Tower (Funkturm). We decided to go at night. The wait was not too bad, maybe 30 minutes. You can leave the building and come back later when it’s time for your number, so it also helps that you don’t have to stand in line. I would recommend going early in the morning or at night to avoid lines. It’s a great view over Berlin, but difficult to take pictures at night because of the thick glass.
There is also the Stasi museum, if you are interested in learning about the secret police in East Berlin during the time of the wall. Everything in the offices has been kept as it was when everything ended in 1989. However, they obviously didn’t buy furniture often because most of the rooms and some of the equipment look straight out of the 1960s. The exhibits with different types of spy cameras are very interesting, as were the stories of people arrested. You are also allowed to take pictures and video for the extra cost of 1 euro. I think this is a great deal and more places should do this instead of banning it all together.
While in Berlin and visiting the Brandenburg Gate, one can stop by the Holocaust Memorial just 5 minutes away. It is a very interesting array of rectangular blocks, which are surprisingly easy to get lost in because of their different levels (the ground drops lower even though they all look the same from the top). You get a sense of being confused and lost, but also a quiet peace or lonliness, however you decide to interpret it.
For fans of old signs and Neon art, stop by the Buchstaben Museum. Collections of old German Neon are gathered here and the staff is very friendly and informative.
And if you’re looking for some fun and enjoyable nightlife, try Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke. You can watch and/or participate on stage, or even book a private box for you and your friends to have a hilarious time.
Our favorite place in Berlin is Monsieur Voung, a Vietnamese place in East Berlin. Such excellent food! Come a bit early if you want to grab a seat. It’s very popular.
Alte Schönhauser Str. 46
For a great breakfast, try KollBerg 35 in Kollwitzplatz. Plenty of great food with outdoor seating. Nice view of the park.
Wörther Straße 35
While in Berlin, we usually rent an apartment from AirBnB. Our favorite areas are in East Berlin, as the buildings are generally a bit older and it’s more of an artist vibe.