With our headquarters in Berlin, it’s only fair that Highsnobiety’s first 24-hour travel guide should take in the German capital. Although you’ll probably want to spend more than just a day exploring a place like this, if your time is limited these are the spots you should make sure you hit. Read on to learn how we recommend you spend 24 hours in one of Europe’s most burgeoning cities.
Hotel: Soho House Berlin
After arriving in Berlin, it’s time to settle down in the center of the city. Located in Mitte, literally “Middle” or “Centre,” Soho House Berlin is situated in a beautifully restored Bauhaus building. Within walking distance of some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, cafés and shops, the 65-room hotel combines the charm of a boutique hotel with the amenities of a world-class mega chain. In addition, Soho House Berlin is equipped with 20 apartments and four lofts in case you’re in need of a bit more space. To the north you’ll find long-since-gentrified-yet-still-charming Prenzlauer Berg while south will lead you to the more alternative neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Neukölln. For now, though, it’s time to explore the city center.
Also check out: Michelberger Hotel, Amano Hotel, Mani Hotel, Lux 11, Cosmo Hotel, Das Stue
Breakfast: 3 minutes sur mer
Located just a few few blocks down from the hotel, stop by the French restaurant 3 minutes sur mer and fill up before heading out for the day. A cup of coffee along with the plat du jour can be enjoyed indoors or out on the sidewalk if the weather allows it, making for the perfect start to your day.
Also check out: Café Einstein, Edelweiß, Barcomi’s Deli, Café Fleury, Engelberg
Site-Seeing: Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial
Platz der Republik 1
Once your energy levels are topped up, it’s time to stop by some of the city’s must-see sites. History buffs will enjoy the conveniently located trifecta of the Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial and Reichstag, while down along the border of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg you’ll find the East Side Gallery: a 1.3-km section of the Berlin Wall covered in internationally recognized works of art. A number of world-class museums dot the city as well, including the Martin-Gropius Bau, Neue Nationalgalerie (designed by Mies van der Rohe) and Pergamon Museum.
If historical relics and highbrow art aren’t exactly your thing, keep an eye to the sky, as a large number of the city’s buildings – both neu and alt – are covered in impressive works of graffiti, many from renowned street artists.
Also check out: Berlinische Galerie, me Collectors Room, Bauhaus Archiv, Hamburger Bahnhof
Take a breather to contemplate the city’s chequered past and bright future at the appropriately titled westberlin. This cozy café lies right at the edge of Checkpoint Charlie, the former Cold War border crossing between West and East Berlin. A light snack of whole wheat bread, soft honeyed goat cheese and beetroot spread alongside a cup of coffee should hold you over until lunch on the canal in Kreuzberg.
Also check out: Bonanza Coffee Heroes, Cuccuma, Silo Coffee, The Barn
Shopping: Voo Store
As a hotspot of creativity, Berlin finds itself in a peculiar position just 25 years after the fall of the Wall. Although the city isn’t necessarily wealthy, a certain clichéd edginess manifests itself through its inhabitants’ approach to fashion. As such, you can find everything from streetwear to conceptual, avant-garde fashion on its streets, along with something for everyone in between. Most shopping can be done in Mitte in the area around Weinmeisterstraße, although an increasing number of boutiques have begun to call Kreuzberg and Neukölln their home.
Out in the oft-spoken-about-but-rarely-visited West, you’ll find Kaufhas des Westens, better known as KaDeWe. With 60,000 square meters of retail space, this multi-floor department store comes in as the largest in Continental Europe. It is flanked by the equally impressive Kurfursten Damm, or KuDamm, which features many major flagship stores from well-known international brands. Furthermore, at Zoologischer Garten you’ll find Bikini Berlin – the city’s newest designer retail complex, featuring top notch boutiques in an impeccably finished modern environment.
Once you’ve had your shopping fix for the day, head over to the canal to enjoy an authentic ramen experience at Cocolo. With two locations in Berlin, only the Kreuzberg restaurant is open for lunch so you’ll have no choice but to enjoy your cuisine along the waterfront. Once seated, we recommend the miso tantanmen for a heartwarming, savory experience.
Also check out: Shiso Burger, DUDU, Chipperfield Kantine, Mogg & Melzer, Berlin Burger International, District Mot
Park: Tempelhofer Feld
After lunch, head on over to one of Berlin’s most unique offerings: Flughafen Tempelhof. Formerly the world’s largest man-made structure, the airport played host to the Berlin Airlift, supplying the besieged West’s 2.5 million residents with everything they needed in one of the greatest feats in aviation history. Now, amazingly, the airfield has been converted to a park and is open for all to enjoy in its entirety – including the former runways. Hidden in the grassier areas you’ll find historic aircraft, while off in the distance the hangars offer another impressive sight if you’re up for a little exploration.
Also check out: Viktoriapark, Görlitzer Park, Hasenheide, Tiergarten
Dinner: Katz Orange
After a quick refreshment stop back at the hotel, it’s time to head out to one of the city’s most impressive restaurant spaces. Katz Orange serves up a mixture of classic European dishes with a contemporary twist. Daily specials rub shoulders with local, organic entrées on a diverse menu that has something for everyone in opulent, yet rustic surroundings.
Also check out: Grill Royal, eins44, Kimchi Princess
Bar: John Muir
Skalitzer Straße 51
After dinner, it’s back down to Kreuzberg for a taste of Berlin’s famed nightlife. Located on one of the district’s most popular streets, John Muir, named after the Scottish-American naturalist, mixes both local favorites and seasonal cocktails. After a long, hot day, we recommend the Cool Runnings.
Also check out: Das Hotel, Geist im Glas, Nathanja & Heinrich, Odessa, Schwarze Traube, Tier
Club: Prince Charles
Once you’re well in the mood, it’s time to head out into the night and discover just how infinite the possibilities are in a city like Berlin. Renowned for both its hip-hop and house music lineups, Prince Charles hosts all-night parties across a dancefloor space that used to be an old swimming pool! A large, 360-degree bar keeps the drinks flowing, while the outdoor area offers a more relaxing atmosphere when the music gets a little too much.
Also check out: Watergate, Chalet, Ritter Butzke, Berghain (sometimes referred to as “Church”, as locals tend to go on Sunday), about:blank, Chester’s, Farbfernseher, Golden Gate
Hangover Brunch: California Breakfast Slam
Waking up slowly and, let’s be honest, most likely hungover, the only thing you’ll have on your mind is food – and only at California Breakfast Slam, or Cabslam, can you find food that is distinctly Californian. South American-inspired treats are paired with classic West Coast offerings for one of the most delicious dining experiences you can experience in the German capital – Cali native or otherwise! Best of all, each dish is served all day long, so no matter what time you make it over you’ll have the chance to order that special dish that catches your eye. On the off chance you “accidentally” miss your flight, at night Cabslam turns into a bar that serves up homemade cocktails along with their classic burgers, for a late-night treat at all hours.
After you’ve stuffed your face and said your goodbyes, it’s time to bid farewell to Berlin. The main points of departure are the same as the points of arrival: namely Hauptbahnhof (trains), Flughafen Schönefeld and Flughagen Tegel (planes). All points are accessible by public transport, but if you’re lagging a little behind after the day’s activities it’s probably best to pay up and take a cab to avoid changeovers. After that, all that’s left is to hope for eine gute Reise (a good journey), and bid the city Auf Wiedersehen!
- Photography: Ryan Hursh for Highsnobiety.com