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The Essential Guide to Berlin

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Whether your interests lean toward history, culture, shopping, nightlife, or, even better, a mix, Berlin is sure to become one of your essential vacation spots. The once-divided city has turned into one of Europe’s hottest destinations, where writers and artists drive the conversation and the fun goes into the early hours of the morning. As modern as Berlin is, however, the city doesn’t shy away from its past, offering sites like the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe as well as historic attractions like Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate.
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Knesebeckstraße 1-2, 10623 Berlin, Germany
Bauhaus—the German design, crafts, and architecture school founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius—is one of the most famous design movements of the 20th century, and this Berlin museum shows its impressive breadth and influence. Designed by...
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Bernauer Str. 111, 13355 Berlin, Germany
The city’s official memorial to the Berlin Wall is along Bernauer Strasse, where the wall once divided the eastern districts of Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte from the West Berlin district of Wedding. The half-mile stretch functions as a kind of...
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Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Napoléon and his armies marched through it; revolutionaries and Nazis gathered beneath it; the Berlin Wall ran right behind: It’s safe to say that Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, completed in 1791, has pretty much seen it all....
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10969 Berlin, Germany
When Berlin was divided, Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous of the border crossings between the eastern and western halves of the city. It was here that Allied soldiers registered before crossing over into the Soviet-controlled sectors. Thanks...
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Mühlenstraße 3-100, 10243 Berlin, Germany
The most famous remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall gets its name from its location on the east side of the Spree River, as well as from its collection of political and satirical murals. Originally painted just after the wall fell, the...
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Stauffenbergstraße 13, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s German Resistance Memorial Center, close to Potsdamer Platz, recounts the city’s tales of resistance against the Nazis. The center is in the Bendlerblock, a historic military building where the expansion of the German navy was...
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Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin, Germany
The architecturally striking Jewish Museum is the best place in Berlin to get an overview of German-Jewish relations and to understand the nature of the integration of the two cultures before the Holocaust’s horrors. Designed by Daniel...
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Museum Island, Berlin, Germany
Visiting at least one of the five museums that make up Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must for any serious culture-seeker in Berlin. A pioneering concept, this ensemble of public institutions brimming with exquisite artworks and...
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Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, Germany
Built by Kaiser Wilhelm I in the late 19th century as a gesture to parliamentarians, Berlin’s famed Reichstag came into its own during the Weimar era—Germany’s first attempt at democracy. The parliament building burned under...
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Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany
Berlin isn’t exactly short of impressive parks, but the 520-acre Tiergarten, stretching westward from Brandenburg Gate, is one of the city’s largest, most central, and most historic. The area, originally a royal hunting ground, became...
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Gipsstraße 3, 10119 Berlin, Germany
To put it bluntly: If you like ramen and you’re in Berlin, Cocolo is a must. There are two locations thanks to an opening in Kreuzberg, but the Mitte original is worth seeking out for its authentic, Japanese-style ambience. Located next...
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Behrenstraße 55, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The main challenge when visiting Berlin’s hippest vegetarian restaurant is finding the place—it’s hidden in an unglamorous backyard behind the Westin Grand Hotel, and a nondescript door lit by a telltale bulb marks the...
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Schönhauser Allee 44B, 10435 Berlin, Germany
Along with Kreuzberg’s Curry 36, Konnopke’s in Prenzlauer Berg is one of the most famous currywurst stands in Berlin. The two couldn’t be more different aesthetically, though. While the former has a fairly loud and brash...
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Linienstraße 160, 10115 Berlin, Germany
It might be small and simple—conspicuously bare white walls, just a smattering of handmade wooden tables topped with flower arrangements, and a few barstools—but the updated German cuisine at Lokal is far from basic. With a commitment...
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Schlegelstraße 26C, 10115 Berlin, Germany
Berlin has a lot of fine-dining restaurants these days, but few have won a coveted Michelin star, not to mention two. Tucked away in a courtyard that once hosted an Edison factory, Reinstoff has an unabashedly stylish, industrial-chic...
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Invalidenstraße 160, 10115 Berlin, Germany
While several spots can justifiably claim to serve up the best burger in Berlin (the Bird, Burgermeister, Shiso Burger), there is something effortlessly simple and exquisitely tasty about Tommi’s version that makes it particularly good. The...
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Unter den Linden 77, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The Hotel Adlon Kempinski undoubtedly boasts the most distinguished location in the city—right on historic Pariser Platz, opposite the Brandenburg Gate. The original incarnation opened in 1907 with the blessing of none other than Kaiser...
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Kurfürstendamm 25, 10719 Berlin, Germany
Located a few blocks from the zoo and Tiergarten and just a minute’s walk to subways that get you almost anywhere in the city, the Hotel Zoo Berlin feels a bit like a fashion-forward version of Alice in Wonderland. The lobby greets guests...
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Drakestraße 1, 10787 Berlin, Germany
An enviable location in the quietly upscale embassy quarter on the edge of sprawling Tiergarten Park is only part of SO Berlin Das Stue’s appeal. Occupying a graceful, gray-stone 1930s building that once housed the Danish embassy, the...
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Torstraße 1, 10119 Berlin, Germany
Looming over one of central Berlin’s most vibrant intersections, this restored Bauhaus building with its distinctive 1920s curved facade was transformed in 2010 into the Berlin outpost of the glamorous Soho House hotel and private members...