The West of Berlin is not as swanky as Mitte, but it has a lot of flair. A lot has changed since the Cold War times, but you can still spot some of the iconic buildings that were the talk of the town back in the 70s. To get a fun history angle before you set out on our Friday excursion, you can check out this 70s short film supposed to encourage tourists to visit West Berlin.
Breakfast – Benedict
I’ll have to let you in on a little secret: although all of our foodie suggestions are really excellent and backed up by legit research, no other breakfast place could be compared to Benedict’s. The concept of this place confronts an issue vital to many of Berlin’s avowed freelancers – where to find quality breakfast at 4 pm? Benedict serves various kinds of breakfast (like a pancake with capers and salmon!) around the clock, and their quality is just as awesome as the taste.
Benedict Berlin, Uhlandstraße 49, 10719 Berlin-Charlottenburg
The vicinity of the Zoo station is also where Kurfürstendamm meets Kantstraße – it’s cooler counterpart. You can go to the Schwarzes Cafe, a bistro with a rich menu that’s opened around-the-clock and which used to be frequented by David Bowie himself! You’ll also find there such amazing cultural institutions like Theater des Westens or Literaturhaus Berlin or even the store of Bocci79 – a contemporary design and manufacturing company from Vancouver that specializes in lamps. Check out our full guide to Kantstraße here.
As you stroll through Kurfürstendamm to get to Wittenbergplatz, you’ll have to shoulder your way through a lot of touristy crowds, and pass by groups posing to take a picture in front of the Apple Store. It’s worth it, though – by the time you get to Zoologischer Garten, you’ll find yourself surrounded by various points of interest – first of them being the C/O gallery located in the Amerika Haus. It always has some interesting photography exhibitions going – we wrote more about it back when it moved to its current location back in 2014.
C/O Berlin, Hardenbergstraße 22-24, 10623 Berlin – Charlottenburg
photo: David von Becker
The Helmut Newton Foundation at the Museum for Photography is one of the top galleries for photography as it doesn’t only host changing exhibition by legendary Newton, but also the work of other amazing photographers such as Greg Gorman, Alice Springs, and Francois-Marie Banier.
Helmut Newton Foundation, Jebensstraße 2, 10623 Berlin-Charlottenburg
photo: Helmut Newton Foundation
Personally, I find this church one of the most moving sights in Berlin. I’m not the only one – Gedächtniskirche is one of the Berlin spots Wim Wenders has included in his cult movie Wings of Desire. Greatly damaged during the war and only partially rebuilt, its opened to tourists and inside you can admire a dazzling colorful mosaic.
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, Breitscheidplatz, 10789 Berlin – Schöneberg
The Bikini Berlin is a concept shopping mall next to the zoo in West Berlin. It’s not focused on mainstream brands and high-street fashion, but on local designers and brands as well as a selection of renowned contemporary international labels. You’ll find everything from fashion, interior design, books, design electronics and much more. There are also some cafes, restaurants and bars integrated into the mall and a lovely rooftop terrace garden facing the monkeys of the zoo.
Bikinihaus, Budapester Str. 38-50, 10787 Berlin – Schöneberg
Especially if you’re traveling with kids – Berlin’s zoo and aquarium speak for themselves, really. The aquarium hosts one of the most impressive variety of species on the whole continent.
Aquarium Berlin, Budapester Str. 32, 10787 Berlin – Schöneberg
photo: Zoo Berlin
If Berghain is the ”temple of techno”, then KaDeWe could be considered the temple of consumptionism. Whether you’ll like it or not depends on your approach towards renowned labels and sometimes shocking prices. Its top floor is dedicated to food – and grabbing a quick bite there is not as expensive as one might fear. Right in front of KaDeWe, you’ll find Wittenbergplatz – one of the most delightfully restored historic U-Bahn stations in Berlin.
KaDeWe, Tauentzienstraße 21-24, 10789 Berlin – Schöneberg
photo: Alejandro Arretureta
Dinner – Madame Ngo
We culminate the trip with another suggestion from Kantstraße that still remains within walking distance. As cheeky and progressive as the exterior of this relatively new Vietnamese joint on might seem – once inside, you can expect delicious, traditional Pho, among other dishes.
Madame Ngo, Kantstr. 30, 10623 Berlin-Charlottenburg
Madame Ngo, photo: hello.anias