You will never run out of things to see in Berlin; one of the world's greatest cultural and geopolitical hotspots, it is in a constant state of flux. It is also a global design center, garnering the UNESCO title of "City of Design." Lovers of design and architecture should keep their eyes open for amazing sights in every direction. Use this Design Destination Guide as a point of departure for your visit to Berlin.
• Go up
: Visit 1990s glass dome on top of the 1890s Reichstag
or the iconic Berliner Fernsehturm
(TV Tower) for an aerial view.
• Look down
: In a city filled with monuments and memorials, two of the most thoughtful and beautifully designed memorials are in the ground: Stolpersteine
) are cobblestone-sized brass plaques listing the name, dates of birth, deportation and death of victims of the Nazi regime. They are installed in front of the buildings where the victim resided. Look down to see Micha Ullman's memorial to the 1933 book burning at Bebelplatz; visitors peer down through a window in the middle of the square to find a library lined with empty shelves.
• Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
: The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation runs 18 incredible museums, including the final building of Mies van der Rohe's career, the Neue Nationalgalerie
, and Hamburger Bahnhof
(a contemporary art museum housed in an 1870s train station). Set aside a day for Museumsinsel
, an island of five museums on the Spree.
: It was a cattle market in the Middle Ages, the hub of Weimar Republic urban life documented in Döblin's novel (and the very very long Fassbinder TV miniseries adaptation) Berlin Alexanderplatz
, and the City Center of East Berlin during the GDR years.
• Go Art! Berlin Tours
: Book a tour highlighting Bauhaus and Modernist architecture, or check out Berlin's green design scene.
• Reederei Spreetours
: See the city by boat as you travel along the Spree.
• Walk along Karl-Marx-Allee
: Originally Stalinallee, the massive Socialist boulevard is lined with housing built for workers in the Zuckerbackerstil (wedding cake style).
• Kauf Dich Glücklich
: The name means "shop yourself happy," and how could you not in this furniture shop/vintage boutique/ice cream parlor?
• Pro qm
: This incredible book store has a great design section, and the space itself is something to see.
: The shop at the Bauhaus Museum is everything you might imagine.
• Fleamarkets: Find old world treasures at the Straße des 17. Juni market, then head to Arkonaplatz in search of mid-century design.
• Imbisse: All over the city, little kiosks sell food for Berliners on the move. Doner kebabs
are ubiquitous and delicious Turkish sandwiches. Currywurst
is a pork sausage served in curry ketchup that needs to be experienced firsthand to be understood.
• Cafe BilderBuch
: Equal parts library and restaurant, BilderBuch is known for its brainy clientele and tasty cakes.
• Cafe Einstein Stammhaus
: They bake their own bread and roast their own beans at this consummately European cafe.
: The name means "living room," and it feels like you're sitting in a very cool one at the Helmholtzplatz cafe and bar.
• Hotel Adlon
: Steps from the Brandenburg Gate, the Adlon has been a Berlin icon since 1907.
: Guests at this beautiful and affordable hotel in the heart of Mitte are blown away by the garden tucked away in the back.
• Cosmo Hotel
: This minimalist boutique hotel is a big hit with design-minded guests.
Please help us out and add to the guide in the comments - what are your recommendations for Berlin?
(Images: 1. Shutterstock, 2. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 3. VisitBerlin.de, 4. Pro qm, 5. Flickr user Mystery in the mail licensed for use by Creative Commons, 6. Kauf Dich Glücklich)