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Berlin is fast becoming the hipster capital of the world as young creatives reject the high rents and pressure of other European capitals and embrace Berlin’s laid back attitude. You’ve given Rome and Paris a whirl, so why not spend 36 hours trying on the Berlin lifestyle for size?
8:30 Start your day with breakfast at Sphere, the rotating restaurant at the top of the Berlin’s iconic TV tower, to get your orientation. It’s only a short walk from the Hotel Indigo Berlin – Alexanderplatz, but book in advance for fast-track entry and a guaranteed window table.
9:30 Stroll along the river Spree towpath to take in the best of Berlin’s governmental architecture. While you’re there, explore Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to five museums including the Pergamon Museum, which contains several reconstructed buildings of historical significance such as the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.
12:30 Take Axel-Springer straße (which turns into Lindenstraße) to the recently-opened Hallesches Haus, where you can eat while you shop. Located in a former post office, the design-led shop stocks an eclectic range of industrial and vintage homewares alongside products by up-and-coming local brands. The canteen-style menu offers seasonal dishes, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.
4:30 Once suitably sated, head south-east towards Rag and Bone Man in Berlin’s hippest district Neukölln. Indulge in some vintage shopping (and a slice of strudel for pudding). While you’re there, pick up the ‘Schatzkarte,’ a map of local shops, bars, and cafes, curated by co-owner Maggie Coker, and explore the rest of the area.
17:30 Grab a pre-prandial cocktail at Klunkerkranich, a 2,500 square-metre concrete mall/car park that has been converted into a garden bar, and watch the sun go down.
18:30 Treat your taste-buds to dinner at Industry Standard. Enjoy Berlin’s best steak tartare complemented by a stellar selection of natural wines. The casual atmosphere belies the quality of the food. NB: Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
20:00 Weave your way back towards the hotel, stopping off en route at Ora, a cocktail bar housed in a former pharmacy. It’s still stuffed full with original features and details.
21:30 Grab a nightcap in the hotel’s own White 5 Bar. Ask for one of the ‘neighbourhood drinks’ or local cocktails for something special.
10:00 After a lazy start, head over to the Berlin outpost of Brooklyn breakfast spot House of Small Wonder for their infamous Homemade Biscuit Benedict (yogurt-scone with ham, soft cooked organic egg, and wasabi hollandaise sauce). Or find whatever takes your fancy from the all-day brunch menu.
11:30 Next, visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, an abstract and incredibly haunting monument dedicated to the 3 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold, the 19,000 square-metre installation comprises 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid. The sloping site combined with the varying heights allow you to sometimes see over the top of the slabs, and, at other times, they tower overhead, creating an immersive and contemplative experience.
13:00 Hop in a cab to Markthalle Neun, Berlin’s biggest food market. Explore, shop, and grab some lunch. There are different themes and events on different days, but you’re sure to spot something to sate your appetite.
15:00 Just over the river is East Side Gallery, a graffiti project by 118 street artists covering part of the Berlin Wall in celebration of its fall in 1989.
16:30 On the other side of town is the C/O Gallery, a photography non-profit established by photographer Stephan Erfurt, designer Marc Naroska, and architect Ingo Pott to promote visual culture. A changing programme of exhibitions and talks makes it worth the trip. Nearby, the Camera Work Gallery, specialising in contemporary and vintage photography is also worth a look.
18:30 Head back to the hotel to freshen up. Then enjoy a leisurely beer at nearby Hofbräu before heading out for the evening.
19:30 Indulge in a traditional German meal at Clärchen’s Ballhaus and steel your nerves with one of a wide range of local beers. Then boogie the night away in the mirrored dance hall, echoing the footsteps of WWI veterans tangoing with their sweethearts in years gone by.
21:30 Finish the night with cocktails at Reingold. Ring the doorbell next to the formidable steel door to request entrance. The bartenders know their stuff, so ask for a recommendation. Or try the Vera Cruz, a perfect blend of espresso and tequila blanco.