Berlin is a city that has risen, fallen and dusted itself off so many times in the past centuries that it could be called a Stehaufmännchen (a Weeble; it wobbles but it doesn’t fall down). Sprawlingly large, home to 3.4 million and still divided—at least mentally—along east-west lines nearly two decades after German unification, Berlin still isn’t always sure what it wants to be. Which is precisely what makes it so exciting. World-class museums join a lively contemporary arts scene, historical monuments abut new starchitect structures, legendary watering holes exist alongside chic new restaurants and the west’s lush parks and lakes meet the east’s factory parties in a multilayered synergy that mayor Klaus Wowereit calls “poor but sexy”—but any visitor could simply say is electrifying. See the slideshow.
Strolling along Unter den Linden from the Brandenburg Gate to the half-dismantled Palast der Republik—which leads past Humboldt University, Museum Island, the State Opera, the Berlin Cathedral, and the Old National Gallery and Neue Wache.
An afternoon in Berlin-Mitte’s charming Scheunenviertel—once a Jewish ghetto, now an arty hub bursting with galleries, boutiques, and cafes.
Dining alfresco in one of the city’s fabulous outdoor eateries—like Schleusenkrug in the Tiergarten, Schoenbrunn in Volkspark Friedrichshain, or Nola’s in Weinbergspark.