Before coming to Berlin, I made a bucket list of things I wanted to do consisting of things I saw online, on social media, and recommendations that people have given me. However, since coming to Berlin, I’ve realized that some of the best places I’ve been were places I discovered by accident! I am a firm believer that Berlin has something for everyone—and I put together this brief list of places in Berlin that I love, from clubs to restaurants to bookstores. Some are popular, some less so, but they are all some of my favorite spots in Berlin.
Located in the district of Kreuzberg, SO36 is a club and concert venue that played a significant role in the West Berlin punk scene and it is still open today. They host several events a week, ranging from parties to concerts to even slam poetry nights. I went to their “Kreuzberg Calling” party event with some of my friends from IES Abroad, and we had a blast! The music was from the 80s and 90s for the first few hours, later changing to 2000s music. Most of the songs were ones we recognized, and the venue was not too crowded. We all felt very comfortable and had a great time dancing the night away! If you want to experience nightlife in Berlin but want something less intense than the stereotypical clubs (or are just tired of techno music), SO36 is the place for you!
Dussmann Das Kulturkaufhaus
Dussmann Das Kulturkaufhaus is a multi-level book, music, and film store located right on Friedrichstrasse in the heart of Mitte. The first time I accidentally wandered into the store, I spent over an hour inside looking at thousands of books, DVDs, vinyls, and more. They also have many books in English! If you are like me and love browsing physical media in person, prepare to spend hours inside.
If you are in Berlin, then trying currywurst (steamed, fried sausage with a curry ketchup) is a must. It is by far my favorite food here, and I visit my favorite currywurst shop (Curry 36) at least once a week. With low prices and delicious food (be sure to also try their french fries with mayo), I have yet to find a better spot for my Berlin on-the-go lunch.
Deutsche Kinemathek (Museum for Film and Television)
For those of you who love museums, Berlin is the place to be. My IES Abroad Transatlantic Cinema class took a field trip to the Deutsche Kinemathek and it became one of my favorite museums in the city. The museum has many artifacts from throughout the history of German cinema, and, as someone who enjoys German pop culture of the past and present, it was an amazing experience. Not only did I get to see some of Marlene Dietrich’s iconic costumes, I also got to sit down and watch film and television from the museum’s large digital collection on a private couch! Anyone interested in the history of German cinema (or just looking to learn something new) will be captivated.
Siegessäule (Victory Column)
Located in the massive park of Tiergarten, for a beautiful view of the city (especially around sunset), you can climb up the spiral staircase of the Siegessäule. It’s especially fun to be able to see the places you’ve already been to in the city from above! The golden statue of the Roman goddess of victory, Victoria, stands atop the column, making it visible from far away. Inside the column is a museum about monuments in Germany where you can learn about the history and significance of the Siegessäule. From the top of the column, you get a wonderful view of the Brandenburg Gate, TV Tower, and more. It can be exhausting to make the climb to the top, but it is beyond worth it.
Since being in Berlin, I have found so many interesting and fun places filled with fascinating history, delicious food, and more. Whether or not you have a bucket list or an idea of the places you want to visit while in Berlin, there are countless wonderful places that you will encounter just by walking through the city. As I have learned from my experience here, some of the best places to visit are the ones you never planned to go to in the first place!
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I am a junior at the University of Michigan and am double-majoring in Environment and Communication and Media (Class of 2024). I’m from Brookeville, Maryland, and apart from writing and blogging, I love music, playing the guitar, drawing, learning, and exploring new places. My passion for advocating for the environment as well as my interest in the culture and history of Berlin led me to this study abroad experience, and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you!