5 Hidden Gems in Berlin
By Emilie Drew
There’s no doubt that there are hundreds of hidden gems in Berlin, around every corner, in every seemingly abandoned building and on virtually every rooftop. With such a tormented past, followed by the reunification between East and West, Berlin is a unique city with a rich cultural heritage and an unusual history. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 led to many buildings being taken over and alternative venues springing up. And although the city is changing at a quick speed, it has many hidden gems that offer an authentic view of the city for visitors who want to enjoy their trips as the locals do. Here are 5 secret spots in Berlin loved by the locals, so you can discover the best neighbourhoods!
The Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park
Berlin is full of green parks that fill up in spring with happy Berliners eager to enjoy the rays of sunshine, chill on the grass with a beer and food from a grill or cycle along on a bike. Treptower Park is particularly charming and its location along the Spree offers a stunning view of the sunset over Berlin’s famous Warschauer Brücke and Fernsehturn (television tower). Walk further into the park and you will come across a colossal and impressive monument: the Soviet War Memorial. This remarkable statue commemorates the Soviet soldiers who died during the battle of Berlin in spring 1945. You may come across other Soviet memorials in Berlin, distinguishable by their extraordinary size.
The Beer garden in Tiergarten
Tiergarten is a very central park that spreads across over 500 acres, with a radically different vibe to other parks: it has trees, paths that go through forest areas, and small secluded coves of grass between the trees. Tiergarten is also known for its memorial mentioned above. However, the beer garden hidden inside is a real secret gem. Hiding behind the trees are tables and benches typical of German beer gardens, offering a beautiful view of a small lake. On sunny days, people gather at Café am Neuen See in its tranquil atmosphere to enjoy a fresh drink. Another classic Biergarten located more central is the Prater Garten in Prenzlauer Berg, which also has a good restaurant twhere you can enjoy an authentic atmosphere.
Cafe Cinema in Haschker Markt
The cinema in Hackescher Hof is one of a kind, an arthouse cinema with a great selection of independent movies. Behind it, in the Hinterhof (typical of Berlin’s buildings, the inside courtyard leading to “behind” apartments), the Café Cinema is definitely worth a visit. The cute passage is full of street art and the café has a great vibe. Many of Berlin’s Hinterhaus such as this one offer hidden bars or cafés surrounded by funky street art. The capital city has managed to keep alive the tiny independent cinemas that offer a great atmosphere, far from the anonymous modern cinemas we are used to. Zukunft am Ostkreuz, in the east of the city, is another tiny cinema to try!
This rooftop bar is a real hidden gem. Located on top of the commercial centre, the elevator leads you to a parking lot where you then find your way to the rooftop which offers the best view of Berlin’s beautiful sonnenuntergang (sunset). This is probably the best place in the city to have a beer whilst watching the sunset, or chill in the inside bar enjoying the live DJ sets. The Klunkerkranich often hosts a flea market where you can buy vintage clothes or artisanal objects created by locals. Worth a trip for sure! Berlin is full of flea markets, especially at weekends, where people sell clothes, objects, handcrafted jewellery, handmade bags amongst many other things. For a real local experience check out the Sunday market at Boxhagener Platz, after a coffee on one of the local terraces, or the Sunday market in Maybachhufer, along the river.
Located inside Görlitzer park, Edelweiss 36 doesn’t seem like much at first sight yet it offers some of the best jazz nights in Berlin. On Tuesday nights in particular, as it gets dark, Berliners bask in the atmosphere of a unique sound. The area is full of trendy bars that fill up during weekends. Berliners’ favourite picks include bar zentral, mano bar and multilayerladen. These often host local DJs of the Berlin techno and house scene, spinning records till dawn. These DJ sets are part of Berlin’s unique sound. If you want to jam with other musicians during your stay, the bar Kiki Sol in Wedding is full of musical instruments and has great jamming sessions where people get together for a rare experience.