Berlin is an unpretentiously cool, accepting, and welcoming city; once centered around war, Berlin is now a city centered around art, tolerance, and progression. There is such a wide, diverse range of things to do and see in the city. You will find plenty of history to explore as well as quirky hipster cafes, street art, and boutiques. No matter what you are looking for – nightlife, culture, history, great food and coffee – you are sure to find it in Berlin. Finding the best places to stay in Berlin is an important decision that will shape your trip.
Mitte. Berlin’s central area – conveniently called Mitte, or ‘middle’ – encompasses many of the city’s tourist hubs, including Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, the Nikolaiviertel and Unter den Linden. Here you will find a heady mix of sights (Brandenburger Tor, Reichstag, TV Tower) alongside a buzzy blend of shops, cafés, restaurants and clubs that are more or less equally split between the touristy and the trendy.
Prenzlauer Berg. Just north of Mitte, this pleasant, gentrified neighbourhood is characterised by cobbled, tree-lined streets and squares that are lined with independent boutiques, chic coffee shops and an array of diverse restaurants. With the exception of the impressive Kulturbrauerei (a 19th-century brewery turned into a cultural and commercial area), there’s not much in the way of tourist sights, but its laid-back ambiance makes it popular with families and urban strollers.
Kreuzberg. The heart of West Berlin’s punk scene in the 1970s, East Kreuzberg still offers visitors a quintessentially ‘alternative’ experience. It's one of the most multi-cultural districts in the city, thanks mainly to the Turkish and Middle Eastern ‘guest-workers’ that live and work around the Kottbusser Tor area. It’s also one of the most lively districts come night-time thanks to a plethora of bars and clubs. Its western area, particularly around Bergmannstraße, is contrastively elegant and peaceful.
Friedrichshain. Once a grungy hang-out for squatters and punks, the former East Berlin district of Friedrichshain has gentrified somewhat since reunification. The commercialised area along the Spree features the East Side Gallery, the Mercedes Benz Arena and an increasing number of hotels and restaurants, while the streets that radiate out from neighbourhood hub Boxhagener Platz are awash with cafés, bars and boutiques. The nightlife remains edgy though thanks to clubs such as Berghain and those within the lively Raw Gelände complex.
Charlottenburg. Usually synonymous with ‘West Berlin’ or ‘City West’, the upscale district of Charlottenburg has come into its own of late thanks to high-profile redevelopment (chic hotels, trendy malls) around the Bahnhof Zoo area. Its main boulevard, Ku’damm, has long been one of the city’s most famous for its high-end shops and well-heeled restaurants, while parallel Kantstrasse has quietly become a hotbed of multi-cultural cafés and eateries, including many of the city’s best Asian hotspots.