Mayor Klaus Wowereit’s description of Berlin in 2003 as “poor but sexy” still holds, but these days the city is much more than shabby chic. Massive construction has brought bright new spaces to the Mitte district, mainly consisting of upscale restaurants and watering holes clustered around Friedrichstrasse. Meanwhile, the latest evolution of Berlin’s cherished cheap-thrills aesthetic is centered in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, where a buzzing, multicultural scene is drawing clusters of creative types. Read on for more on where to find the essential Berlin experience.
Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg, the former center of radical West Berlin, is now one big sidewalk café spiced with kebab shops and leading-edge, cheap-chic boutiques like Egoiste and UVR Connected. Magazine junkies relish Motto Berlin for its archives of artsy, hard-to-find publications. After dark, the club SO36 hosts an energetic bingo night in addition to bills of see-them-now bands. Over in Mitte, a mix of fashion and media types frequent Tausend, built under the tracks of the commuter S-Bahn train.