Berlin is a city entrenched in history; a unique place that has been at the centre of the world’s attention on numerous occasions.
Now, since the fall of the wall in 1989, Berlin has prospered into a youthful city, attracting thousands of young creatives brimming with fresh ideas helping to sculpt the city into what it is today. Neo classical architecture rubs shoulders with contemporary design, history with a futuristic mentality. We caught up with Anja Knoth, a local and a landscape architect, to find out how to experience Berlin like a true Berliner.
Berlin is divided into neighbourhoods; do each have their own identity?
Berlin was and still is very diverse. It’s made up of lots of neighbourhoods – so called “Kiez” – which all have their own identity marked by the architecture and their inhabitants; each area is unique and exciting. Some people even define themselves by their local neighbourhood, specifying that they are from Kreuzberg, Mitte or Neukölln etc rather than just Berlin.
If you could choose just one museum or art gallery to visit, which one would it be?
Berlin is full of exceptional museums and has a vast amount of galleries. If I had to choose just one it would be The Boros Collection, located in a former bunker in Reinhardtstraße. You have to make a reservation for the tour in advance.
What’s Berlin’s best kept secret?
Arkona Platz market on Friday. It’s great for freshly cooked fish and a glass of chilled white wine- for those who don’t have to continue working afterwards! I also enjoy spending time at the theatre and would recommend seeing the play "Gutes Wedding, schlechtes Wedding" at The Prime Time Theater in Wedding.
Berlin’s food scene is relaxed and diverse – give us your top 3 places for dinner with friends
I split my time between Berlin and Buenos Aires and as a result have quite an eclectic taste! Berlin has an amazing food scene which people may not realise- you can still get traditional German food but you can also try Asian, Eastern European and African. For those seeking out a traditional Schnitzel, I love being in the quiet garden of the original Einstein in Kurfürstenstraße. In the east side of Berlin I enjoy Alpenstück for Austrian comfort food. Ryong has great Asian soup and noodle dishes and is often a go-to. Finally, new on my list is the Israeli restaurant and bar Yafo. On arrival you instantly feel like you’re part of a party in Tel Aviv- everyone is happy, including the waiters, and the hummus is the best I’ve ever had in Berlin!
Where and what is your go-to place on a Friday night?
I’d actually rather go out on a Wednesday or Thursday- like most cities, Friday nights are always so busy and crowded. Monkey Bar is located on top of the 25 Hours Hotel and boasts amazing panoramic views of the city to the west side, including the zoo. Bar Milano in Mitte is very different but offers just as good an evening. It’s famous for its aperitivo – I recommend the negroni.
Berlin is surrounded by lakes – which is your favourite for a moment’s peace of calm on a Sunday?
Grunewald See is perfect for a relaxed walk through the woods and a dip in the lake. However, try and go during the week to avoid the crowds! If you fancy more of an adventure then hop in a car to Warnemünde and experience a bracing swim in the Baltic! This is only about two hours away from the city.
Best spot for people watching?
I enjoy sitting outside Daluma with a fresh juice and watching the world go by on the Weinbergsweg. Another option is to simply take the S-Bahn from Hackescher Markt to Savignyplatz; you will see everything on that journey, from Mitte hipsters to bohemians from Charlottenburg.
Last-minute date spot?
The last date I went on was a little while ago but a boat trip on the River Spree is a great way to break the ice before heading to dinner at Night Kitchen at the Heckmann Höfe or drinks at the Victoria Bar on Potsdamer Straẞe.
Where’s best to stay in Berlin?
The Gorki Appartments in Mitte are well located for exploring the city centre, they are also fresh and youthful in their design. Hotel de Rome is great for a treat and is an iconic sight in the historic centre.
Where’s best to grab coffee? A cold beer?
There is no end of places to grab drinks in Berlin, whether alcoholic or otherwise! If you’re in the west of the city, the The Barn Coffee Roasters is great for an Instagram-worthy snap or if you’re after a more traditional spot then you can’t beat Kranzler Eck which also has a great view of Kurfürstendamm. The east of Berlin is bursting with lovely, independent cafes too including No Fire No Glory on Rykestraße. Alternatively, if you’re craving a great flat white then head to Bonanza Coffee Heroes in Oderberger Straße, which is close by.
If beer is what you’re after then the best, in my opinion, is at Café Am Neuen See which is in the Tiergarten. It’s great on a sunny afternoon. For something a bit different then Strandbar at the Museumsinsel is fun. Not only can you enjoy a drink, you will often spot people tango dancing late into the night.