While you’re in Berlin…

Berlin. Image by Reinhard Link, Flickr creative commons

Berlin. Image by Reinhard Link, Flickr creative commons

If you’re lucky enough to be arriving early – or staying on in Berlin for a few days after OEB – we’ve compiled a list of attractions that will make your trip to this culturally rich and dynamic city complete. 

  1. Christmas Markets (Weihnachtsmarkt)

Christmas is almost upon us, and the Germans really know how to make the most of the festive season! For the classic Christmas market experience, head to the daily WeinachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt, where you can browse the stalls of traditional handcrafts and sample the typical cuisine. Most common on the menu are bratwurst (a sausage – in Germany usually made of pork – on a roll), roasted mushrooms, and kartoffelpuffer (a large, crispy potato pancake).

On December 5th, Betahaus, one of Berlin’s creative hubs, is holding a sustainable Christmas market, with products by local designers and interactive workshops. On the last two weekends in November and the first two in December, the Markt der Kontinente (Market of the Continents) at the Dahlem Museum is a colourful experience, with global beats, cultural performances and international gifts.

Continuing with the Christmas spirit, OEB will host its own Weihnachtsmarkt themed party on Thursday, December 3rd, at the Hotel InterContinental. It will be an evening of traditional winter entertainment, with live music and dancing, a buffet of German specialities and international cuisine, plus plenty of steaming Glühwein (hot, sweet, spiced wine) served from an open bar, against a backdrop of sparkling winter wonder. Find out more and purchase your ticket online here.

  1. Tiergarten

The Tiergarten Park, Berlin’s largest park is just a short walk from the Hotel InterContinental. Wander down the leafy avenues, past ponds, regal statues, and shy red squirrels. Heading north, you will reach the Siegessäule (the gold angel of Berlin’s Victory Column), while paths to the west will take you to the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament, which is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. The highlight of the Reichstag is its striking glass dome -designed by star architect Sir Norman Foster -, a feature that was added after the German reunification.

Address: Strasse des 17. Juni, 10785 Berlin

  1. Currywurst Museum

If you’ve got a taste for currywurst, Berlin’s signature street food, head to the Currywurst Museum to find out where it all began.

Address: Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin, Schützenstrasse 70, 10117 Berlin

  1. Hamburger Bahnhof

For a more contemporary art fix, head to Hamburger Bahnhof, just a short walk from Berlin Hauptbahnhof (the central train station), or stroll past the galleries on Auguststrasse.

Address: Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstrasse 50-51, 10557 Berlin

  1. C/O Berlin

If photography is more your thing, then C/O Berlin will provide a feast for the eyes. It hosts up to 17 exhibitions featuring works by some of the world’s most influential photographers, including Annie Leibovitz, Peter Lindbergh and Martin Parr.

Throughout December, you can catch the Anton Corbijn Retrospective, which showcases his striking, raw photographs of musicians, artists and cultural icons.

Address: Amerika Haus . Hardenbergstraße 22-24 . 10623 Berlin

  1. The Stasi-Museum

The former East Germany’s notorious secret police were generally known as the “Stasi” (Staatssicherheit, literally State Security). Join a guided tour of the Stasi Museum – located on the former headquarter grounds – and find out about their methods of surveillance and how they spied on the citizens.

Address: Stasi Museum, Ruschestrasse 103, 10365 Berlin

  1. Computerspielemuseum (Computer Games Museum)

For techies, the Computer Game Museum in Friedrichshain will teach you everything you need to know about gaming, gamification, and the history of interactive, digital entertainment. The permanent exhibition, Computer Games. Evolution of a Medium, features over 300 exhibits including “rare originals” and “playable classics”.

Address: Karl-Marx-Allee 93a, 10243 Berlin. Open daily (except Tues) 10:00 – 20:00.

  1. Mauer Park Flea Market

The Mauer Park Flea Market takes place every Sunday and is a treasure trove of retro beauties, antiques, and second-hand finds, plus unique t-shirts and handmade gifts by local designers. Right next to the market, in the park’s amphitheatre, you can bust out some tunes at Bearpit Karaoke, weather permitting.

Closer to the Hotel InterContinental is Flea Market at Strasse des 17. Juni, one of the oldest and most famous antique markets in Berlin. It takes place every weekend between Ernst-Reuter-Platz and S-Bahn station Tiergarten.

Address: Flohmarkt im Mauerpark, Bernauer Str. 63-64, 13355 Berlin

  1. Vabali Spa

If you’re looking for a little R&R post-conference, then head straight for Vabali Spa, a chic, luxurious wellness village that spans 20,000 square metres. Hidden behind an inconspicuous entrance next to Stadtbadt (public baths) Tiergarten, it has 11 different saunas, as well as various treatments and massages.

Address: Seydlitzstrasse 6, 10557 Berlin

  1. Live Music

Berlin’s live music scene is a multi-faceted thing. Enjoy a classical concert by the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, local and international acoustic and jazz musicians at b-flat, or hipster indie bands and Balkan beats at Lido. If dancing is more your thing, head to the atmospheric Clärchens Ballhaus on Augustrasse in Mitte for Argentinian tango, salsa, or swing dancing.

  1. Clubs and bars

For a post-conference cocktail, head to the Berlin district called “Mitte” and the glamourous, Neue Odessa bar on Torstrasse, or the Newton Bar, with its deep armchairs and huge photographs of stilettoed nudes by Helmut Newtown. For the grittier side of Berlin, make a beeline for Luzia on Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg, or Das Hotel in the same neighbourhood.

If you’re itching to hit the dance floor, Berlin has all bases covered. Watergate, in the famous Kreuzberg district, not only showcases local and international techno and house DJs, but offers floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Spree river. For bassheads, Gretchen is the place to be, while Cassiopeia in Friedrichshain, offers everything from old-school hip hop, to reggae, dancehall, punk, and hardcore bands.

Getting around the city

The easiest way to get around Berlin is to use the public transport system. A ticket (Einzelfahrausweis AB, €2.70) is valid for two hours and can be used on all trains, buses and trams – but only in one direction. To return, you will have to buy another one.

A day ticket (Tageskarte AB, €6.90) lasts until 3am the following day and can be used as much as you like.

Don’t forget to validate your ticket in the machines located near the tracks on every subway platform and in the busses!

The “BVG” is the municipal public transport authority. Their website, http://www.bvg.de/en, features a journey planner in English both online and for mobile devices.

Enjoy your stay in Germany’s vibrant capital!