Discover your neighbourhood: Berlin-Mitte

Marle

Updated on Jan 27 • 5 minute read

Once upon a time, Berlin-Mitte was the wildest district in the city but that's changed a long time ago: the young, wild ones are drawn to Neukölln and Kreuzberg whereas in Berlin-Mitte people sit back and soak up the peace and quiet, laugh at the prejudices, grab a coffee and take a stroll down Linienstraße.

What about you, have you just moved to Berlin-Mitte and wonder about the hotspots away from the tourist magnets that you should know about in Berlin Mitte? We'll take you on a walk through 10 places that you, as a new Berliner, have to know about in Berlin-Mitte.

First things first, what exactly is part of Berlin-Mitte?

All right, before we walk you through the hotspots in Berlin-Mitte, you need to get a feel for this neighbourhood. Did you know that Berlin-Mitte is made up of four main areas?

Wedding, Gesundbrunnen, Moabit and Zentrum are all part of Berlin Mitte.

Yes, the number one tourist attraction is also located here! The Brandenburg Gate on Pariser Platz (supposedly one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin!) graces pretty much every tourist photo. Around the Brandenburg Gate you can literally feel the history; where once Prussian kings ruled you will now find a lot of elegant city villas, embassies and luxurious hotels.

That's not all! As we've told you, Berlin-Mitte is a real tourist hotspot. You'll find Tiergarten Süd, the government district and Alexanderplatz ('Alex').

Did you know that Berlin Mitte was once part of East Berlin? If you pay attention to little details, you can spot even 30 years after the fall of the Wall whether you are in the former East or West of the city. For example, the lights are orange in the east and white in the west, even the traffic lights look different in the east!

New to Berlin-Mitte: What's going on off the beaten tourist track?

Ask true locals what they think of Berlin-Mitte and you'll no doubt get the same reaction: too expensive, too chic and too touristy. They don't get why you would want to scurry through the Berlin's swarms of tourists only to drink overpriced coffee at a café chain.

It’s a promise: off the beaten tourist track, Berlin-Mitte reveals a taste of the vibrant old Berlin way of life. Once you step off the typical tourist routes, you'll find secluded backyard oases, hidden parks and gallery shop windows that easily make you forget you're in the jungle of the German capital.

10 places you shouldn't miss as a newcomer in Berlin-Mitte

1. Art exhibition in an intimate bunker atmosphere

No longer a massive refuge filled with fear and terror, the Reichsbunker (aka banana bunker in GDR times) today acts as a hub of inspiration and creativity. In early 2000, Christian Boros bought the bunker and now exhibits his private collection of contemporary art. Amidst massive grey walls, you can admire works by international artists from 1990 to the present day. Among them are also alumni or professors of the art universities of Berlin: Ai Wei Wei, Olafur Eliasson or Tomás Saraceno's art pieces await you here.

P.S. Register on the website before your visit! You can only enter the bunker in a group of 12 people.

2. Taste of culture with the Berlin Cathedral

Let's face it, when you hear the word 'cathedral' in Germany, all eyes turn to Cologne. Yet it’s also certainly paying off to visit the Berlin Cathedral! Not only does Berlin's largest church feature stained-glass windows in the chancel that stands out in the sunshine, but there's also a cosy setting below the church, in the crypt of the Hohenzollern dynasty.

What's more: climbing up to the cupola walkway will reward you with a stunning view all over Berlin.

3. Stopover at Cuore di Vetro

Had enough culture for now? Why don't you treat yourself to something sweet? The minute you set foot on Max-Beermann-Straße, you'll come across plenty of people with ice cream in their hands. It feels like there are entire kindergartens queuing in front of Cuore di Vetro, but if you make it through the queue, you'll be treated to what's said to be the best ice cream in town!

4. Checking out the Scheunenviertel: a trendy place to be in the 30s.

Refreshed by the chocolate sorbet at Cuore di Vetro, we continue towards the Scheunenviertel. What was once a working-class ghetto is now home to boutiques of well-known and unknown designers. Walk a little further along Mulackstraße until you arrive at the hipster restaurant The Klub Kitchen (yes, every Berlin blogger raves about it!).

Do you see the restaurant? Use your imagination and try to picture the place in the 30s: Here is where Berlin's upper class met and back then the pub was Marlene Dietrichs' regular haunt. Seems like the magic hasn't worn off!

5. Housing project 'Line 206'

After the Silky Eggplant at The Klub Kitchen, we continue along Gormannstraße into Linienstraße. From a distance, you can already glimpse the housing project 'Linie 206' on the corner of Linienstraße and Rosenthaler Straße. Shortly after the fall of the Wall, 'Linie 206' was occupied in May 1990 and restituted to a community of heirs, then changed hands several times. In 2016, the housing project was evicted by the police.

6. Get inspired by the greatest poets and thinkers.

Grab a pad and pen and soak up the inspiration of great poets and thinkers. From Linienstraße, turn into Kleine Auguststraße, a narrow, rose-ringed path, and continue straight ahead on Joachimstraße. Continuing towards Gipsstraße, you find a green space where the Café Altes Europa is located. Grab a seat and let the spirit of the great poets and thinkers waft around you.

7. Take a break at Clärchens Ballhaus

Head north to Auguststraße after your creative break. Do you see the Clärchens? Yes, a true Berlin institution for everyone. Between swing, tango and salsa, you can dine on German classics like Maultaschen and Königsberger Klopse.

After your dance performance, you can stroll up to Oranienburger Straße and see the graffiti 'How long is now' on the wall that once belonged to the arthouse Tacheles; and yes, the meaning of this graffiti is puzzling to every Berliner.

8. Hidden parks

Moving away from the tourist bustle of Oranienburger Straße, it's easier to stroll around in the Heckmann-Höfe, the backyards. At the iron gate on Oranienburger Straße, just behind the synagogue, there's a secret green space that you won't even find on the city map. Relax a little in the greenery of Krausnickpark before heading straight on.

9. Alte Volksbühne

This is no insider tip, yet the Alte Volksbühne is a must-do for anyone who has moved to Berlin-Mitte. From Krausnickpark, walk past Monbijouplatz. On the terrace of the Monbijou Hotel here is where you can sip cocktails with the TV tower in the background! But first, head up to the Hackesche Höfe in the direction of Weinmeisterstraße. Turn right onto Münzstraße and left onto Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße. Almost there!

Upon arriving at the Alte Volksbühne, take a guided tour through the Volksbühne, which was nearly entirely destroyed during the Second World War. In the early 1950s, it was rebuilt in a purist style as a theatre for the capital and hosted premieres such as Heinrich Müller's 1975 work 'Die Schlacht' (The Battle).

10. Back to the 20s

Hop on the bus 124 from Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz station to Torstraße/U-bhf Oranienb station and travel back in time. At Hackendahl you can choose from over 300 distillates in a cosy, rustic shop in the style of the 1920s. Cheers!

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