Berlin’s progressive disposition is driving its trendy art and fashion scene. Just as controversial to some are its cutting-edge restaurants and bars, which attract visitors with a flair for wine and food.
Plan an overnight stay at the Ritz-Carlton, which sits on the line that once separated East and West Berlin. Beyond luxe accommodations, the hotel lies in the new heart of the city—the Potsdamer Platz—and is within walking distance of the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and endless cultural venues and galleries. If you’re feeling more artsy and less historical, head to Hotel Art Nouveau, located in Berlin’s City West district. The hotel is within walking distance of the luxurious Kurfürstendamm Avenue, home to upscale shops like Chanel and Valentino.
The richness of Berlin’s history becomes apparent within seconds. Immerse yourself in Berlin’s complicated past by walking through the city, starting at the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall. The open-air space near the center of Berlin along the Wall promotes paintings by artists from around the world. Study the artwork paying homage to Berlin pre- and post-Wall as you walk toward the Brandenburg Gate, through which people who were allowed entry into the West from the East passed. Don’t miss a walk through Berlin’s Jewish quarter (berlinwalks.com), which despite its demolition during the Nazi era, is now a revitalized part of the city. Young designers are located in the Mitte Quarter, where new labels are sold, including Lala Berlin, C’ést tout and Starstyling. Galleries like Me Collectors Room and provocative art and hidden sculpture gardens will delight art lovers.
Wine & Food:
Still a haven for schnitzel and sausages, today’s Berlin food scene also draws eclectic newcomers and celebrity chefs to its up-and-coming kitchens. Start your day at Oliv Café, an organic eatery that serves stellar fresh breads, pastries, homemade soups and sandwiches. Feast on some of Berlin’s most authentic cuisine at Marjellchen; beetroot soup, smoked meats and pickled beef go well with one of the house German wines or local brews. End your meal with a cheese plate and a glass of Riesling. Tim Raue is one of Berlin’s most talked-about restaurants. Offering a cutting-edge mix of Asian cuisines, Raue’s philosophy is to serve dishes that “release energy and joie de vivre to the body,” which is why he eliminates bread, pasta, rice, white sugars and gluten from his recipes. The Michelin-star restaurant, located in a former art gallery, features a full wine bar and cocktail lounge. The rustic Brasserie Desbrosses draws wine lovers with dozens of wines (by the glass from Germany and France) written on a blackboard in a rustic setting and the Sunday Champagne brunch offers unlimited Dom Pérignon. For a day of beer tasting, head to the Prater Beer Garden, Berlin’s oldest, brewing their own pilsners and drafts since 1837. The garden is open from April to September. Join Berlin’s city-wide nightlife party at the eclectic Bar Tausend.You can have dinner, play a game of Truth or Dare (or another cheeky game) and dance the night away to live music.