I first visited Berlin in January of 2010, it was cold and snowing, but I sort of fell in love with the city, I dug the artsy and hip vibes of everything and everyone around.
I was pretty excited to come back in the summer and to see the city that had so captured my attention on my first trip to Europe. All I can say is, Berlin might be even cooler now than it was then. The art scene is exploding, hipster cafes and bars are popping up, but the city still seems to retain its history and grittiness.
Being the hipster’s we are, we enjoy the weird and the funky. So with the help of a couple of friends who really know Berlin, we visited some of the coolest areas around the city.
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Not your average public pool, the Badeschiff has a sandy beach, bar, food truck, beach chairs, a dock going out into the river, and the pool itself sits in the river! And it seemed like all of Berlin’s young cool attractive people were there the day we went. It really was an awesome setup, we were able to rent towels from the bar and posted up on the dock in the sun. The breeze coming off the water kept the temperatures pleasant while we lounged, ate tacos, and had a beer. And when it got too warm we jumped in the pool.
I didn’t even realize Berlin had canals running through it until we were standing on a bridge over one scoping out the bar/cafe/club situation along it.
We hit up Freischwimmer, a cute little cafe type bar, that felt like it might be something out of Pirates of the Caribbean. The vibes were slow and mellow, and it was a nice place to hang out with a radler (beer and lemonade cocktail, sound weird, but is delicious) for the afternoon.
We then went across the river to Club der Visionaere, which during the day is a pretty chill bar, but at night is more of a club. The red vinyl and dj booth definitely gave it a clubby type feeling, but it was cool. They also serve homemade pizza oddly enough.
The street art in Berlin was what got me the first time around, and I was so excited to go see more of it this time.
The East Side Gallery is not to be missed and probably the most famous area of street art in Berlin. In the center of Berlin a section of the Berlin wall is still standing, and in 1990 it was sectioned out and given to artists to paint as a tribute to the fall of the wall and peaceful negotiations after. There are 105 paintings along it, and it is the largest and longest open air gallery in the world.
Urban Spree is an artist space and gallery dedicated to urban culture. There is an indoor gallery you can check out but I think some of the best art is all around outside on the walls of the building itself as well as the street overpass near by and all over the buildings in the surrounding area. There is also a beautiful and uniquely artsy biergarten where you can sit outside and enjoy the art with a cold one.
The whole area around Urban Spree might at first glance look like a bunch of abandoned warehouses but you’ll realize that there is plenty of life amongst the run down looking buildings. From clubs, to bars, to a craft beer bar and plenty of art you won’t get bored wandering around.
All around the Kreuzberg neighborhood you’ll find plenty of street art as it is Berlin’s epicenter for counter culture and punk rock. Some of Berlin’s most famous murals are in Kreuzberg including the cosmonaut (one of my personal favorites!). So just go wander around you’ll find some cool stuff!
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I feel like Kreuzberg is Berlin’s hipster neighborhood, as I said before, it’s the center of the counterculture, punk rock, art, as well as a haven for LGBTQ, and is more culturally diverse in general as it was the area that many immigrants flocked to in the 60’s. It is now has one of the highest populations of young people in all of Europe due to it’s cheaper rents and general culture. Here you’ll find cafes and bars and late night eateries to your heart’s content.
We went bar hopping all around the area and had a blast. I can’t tell you what bars we went to, because honestly I was having too much fun to notice, but I can tell you if you go out to have a good time you definitely will. And it doesn’t hurt that there are falafel spots open late for your walk home at the end of the night.
So I don’t really think this counts as hipster, but there are some fancy ice cream places around and the concoctions are definitely instagram worthy. My friend Jennifer told me I had to try the Spaghetti Ice, vanilla ice cream that is in strands like spaghetti topped with strawberry topping and chocolate chips. It really was pretty, and delicious, and I scarfed it down before I could think to take a picture of it.
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Great city! I’ve also switched to a healthier lifestyle and training with SportMe running app for my first 5k race. Sneaking in my running routine into my travel destinations is super challenging, and your blog posts are super inspiring.