I stayed in Berlin for one month this summer and quickly fell in love with the city. It’s a magical place where any Montrealer would have a good time.
Even if most locals and tourists spend their time partying day and night, there are tons of things to do and EAT!
So here’s a few ideas for you if you plan on going in the future. And don’t forget to read my article on working in Berlin if you’re a digital nomad in the making.
1 – Be a tourist, it’s okay
If you like history, Berlin has a lot to give in it’s incredible sights and landmarks that will make you stop and ponder its complex past. Shown above:
- Boat tour on the Spree Make sure to book a boat with a rooftop with chairs and bring a snack if you think you’ll get hungry.
- East Side Gallery Walk 1.3km of the Berlin Wall taken over by artists.
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe Pretty amazing installation, just please don’t take a selfie there!
2 – Go on a coffee crawl
Really good coffee shops are a bit hard to find in Berlin which makes it the perfect way to discover neighbourhoods around the city. In the photo:
- Left BEN RAHIM Speciality Coffee The only place where I could get a glass of cold brew.
- Right Father Carpenter Coffee Brewers Hidden in a beautiful courtyard, they carry Five Elephant beans.
3 – Share a drink with the monkeys
The 25hours hotel chain has its Berlin location set in the fancy Bikini Berlin Mall. The hotel features a beautiful top floor terrace that peaks directly into the zoo’s monkey area. You could also buy a ticket and go for a walk in the zoo, one of the largest in the world!
4 – Explore the food scene
Skip the Currywurst or Schnitzel and go explore Berlin’s food scene! I had some solid asian food and huge burgers during my stay.
- Left Dong Xuan Center Or best known as the vietnamese mall, this center has great restaurants for pho. The stores can also be pretty entertaining if you’re looking to buy a drone or leopard print pants..! I actually picked up an awesome drip coffee set in metal on my visit for future trips.
- Middle Room 77 Very cool restaurant that specializes in burgers with a few picnic tables outside. They accept bitcoins if you’re into that.
- Right YamYam This Korean restaurant was my favorite location over the month. I had the same thing on each visit, a bulgogi rice bowl with a side of kimchi and spinach salad.
5 – Admire the beauty of the city
Whenever I get asked what was my favorite thing about Berlin, I have to answer the architecture or what’s left of it. The city is a huge mess in the most positive way and that’s what makes it so special. Everything looks like an installation but compared to other big cities where things would have been taken down a few weeks later, everything is there to stay and grow in Berlin.
I also loved the constant presence of water with all the canals around city center. Bridges that cross those canals are always a hot spot to sit down and have a beer.
6 – Eat and shop around Hackescher Markt
For my stay, I rented a flat in Kreuzberg which can be compared to Montreal’s Mile-End. However, it ended up being a bit too much of a party neighbourhood for me.
I discovered Hackescher Markt on my last week in the city and it’s where I will look to rent in the future. This area is filled with local shops and restaurants and just has a great vibe! Get off at the Hackescher Markt train station and get lost in all the little streets. I even found a cool vegan candy store so it’s a great area to find gifts to bring back.
- Left Mamecha green tea café Excellent Japanese restaurant for affordable bento boxes.
- Right Zeit Für Brot This bakery makes a pretzel croissant and many types of cinnamon buns.
7 – Get productive
If you have work to get done during your visit or you are simply feeling productive, betahaus is a cool coworking space that is very well located in Kreuzberg. You can work on the coffee shop level that’s open pretty much all day or get a membership which gives you access to the top floors with real desks and quiet areas.
I was lucky to be in Berlin when betahaus was hosting its yearly startup festival People in Beta. Even if the festival lasts one day only, it’s as packed in content and workshops as conferences of 2 to 3 days! The quality of the workshops given every 20 min really impressed me. I got to work on my public speaking skills and practiced meditation, which reminds me… I should start doing that again soon!
8 – Try all the food markets
My favorite activity in Berlin was to go to street food markets on evenings and weekends. You can easily find one happening every day of the week, especially during summer time. It’s a great way to grab a beer with friends while tasting some of the best food in town!
My top 2 consisted of Street Food Thursdays at Markthalle Neun and Bite Club next to the pool at Badeschiff.
9 – Walk and party around Warschauer
The last stop of the U12 train gets you to Warschauer Straße, one busy location! You might already find yourself in an improvised rave leaving the train station depending on who’s jamming outside. Start by checking out the current festival or show happening at Urban Spree, get a bite from one of the pop up restaurants in the containers and then you’re ready to stroll away to an array of clubs, outdoor cinemas, a swimming pool and even one cool bouldering spot.
If you’re too early for clubs and wish to pre-drink, go hang out in front of a Späti (convience store) with the locals.
10 – Enjoy some rare hip hop during a meal
Last but not least, a special mention for District Môt! This very trendy vietnamese street food restaurant not only serves amazing food and drinks but also plays quality hip hop all night long. Finding hip hop in Berlin is something that just doesn’t happen.. unless you go to this restaurant! So go enjoy that barbecue for 2 (really!) and sing along to Aliyah if you’re into that, I know I am 😉