In the heart of the German capital
The Mitte district really is at the centre of Berlin and it has much more to offer than just the government quarter, famous attractions and landmarks. Berlin-Mitte has a number of shops, bars and cafés. It also brings visitors in their droves with a wealth of cultural attractions and events.
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- Get to grips with letterforms and their histories at the Buchstabenmuseum
Berlin – the Museum of Letters.
- Discover a different Berlin on a Verein Berliner Unterwelten tour of underground bunkers, escape tunnels and deserted subway stations.
- Enjoy the Prime Time Theater smash-hit “Gutes Wedding, schlechtes Wedding”, a soap play parodying Berlin’s neighbourhoods and residents. Reservation recommended!
- See - and listen to! - the Brauseboys on a Thursday evening at one of their famed staged readings.
- Take a break in the Tiergarten park’s Tea House in the English Garden.
Mitte has a number of attractions that represent both the past and future of Berlin. Bellevue Palace, the German parliament in the Reichstag building, the Philharmonic Hall, the Chamber Music Hall and the State Library give way to the exciting modern architecture on Potsdamer Platz. Berlin's Museum Island and Gendarmenmarkt square are just a stone's throw from Brandenburg Gate.
The Spandau quarter is also a successful symbiosis of old and new. The lovingly restored Hackesche Höfe retail complex, Oranienburger Strasse and a number of smaller side streets offer a wealth of restaurants and cultural institutions, offering an insight into the diversity of the Berlin fashion scene.
The Victory Column is a wonderfully positioned, aesthetic monument and one of Berlin's most famous landmarks. It commemorates the Prussian victories against Denmark (1864), Austria (1866) and France (Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871).
More than any other German square, Potsdamer Platz reflects the history and fate of Germans in the 20th century. With its incredible architecture, it attracts tourists from all over the world to the political, cultural and economic centre of Berlin. Nearby are the government quarter and the monument to the murdered Jews in Europe. Also not far away is Checkpoint Charlie, the legendary border crossing that once separated the Soviet from the American sector. Situated right on the former border is the private 'Haus am Checkpoint Charlie' museum – one of the city's most popular attractions.
Going Local: Art in the Hood
The tour directions for the walk shown in the video can be found in the “Going Local” brochure available in the visitBerlin shop. Order yours today.
Going out, cultural scene
There are around 400 galleries here offering a variety of fine arts. Many of these are in the Spandau quarter. At the heart of the museum scene in Berlin, Berlin Museum Island is nestled between the River Spree and Kupfergraben canal. Numerous theatres are close at hand, such as the Berlin Ensemble, Friedrichstadtpalast and Deutsches Theater, along with a variety of artistic attractions such as the Philharmonic Hall, whose ensemble is one of the best orchestras in the world.
Berlin's marathon and half-marathon attract large numbers of athletes and spectators from all over Germany, Europe and the world. Both races start on the Strasse des 17. Juni. The highlight is the home straight at Brandenburg Gate. Wedding is home to the Erika Hess ice-skating rink. There's also an indoor climbing centre, an outdoor climbing centre in Humboldthain, an altitude training centre and several skate parks.
The shopping boulevard known as Unter den Linden is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll. If you are looking for something luxurious, the Quartier 206 department store on Friedrichstrasse is a great place to browse. Covering an area of 40,000m2 across three floors, the glass-roofed Potsdamer Platz arcades are the ideal place to stroll, browse and spend some time. With the building of the new Alexa and Die Mitte shopping centres and the restoration of the Galeria Kaufhof department store, Alexanderplatz now has a new urban quality, attracting Berliners and large numbers of visitors from the rest of Germany and abroad.
- The carillon near the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Tiergarten, is one of the largest instruments in the world and is played by carillonneur Jeffrey Bossin on every Sunday from May to September and on some holidays.
- The Tieranatomisches Theater is a classical lecture hall designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans and was once home to an institute researching animal diseases (Tue-Sat 2-6), free admission.
- The Uferhallen were built in the 1920s as workshops for Berlin’s tram system. They now offer creative groups and individuals exceptional work and exhibition space for art and dance.
- The Gerichtshöfe is a former industrial complex with multiple courtyards that has housed numerous artists’ studios for several decades now.
- A visit to the AEG Turbine Hall, designed by Peter Behrens in 1909 without any columns to support the roof, will illustrate the transition that took place in industrial architecture from Art Nouveau to Modernism. Huttenstraße 12-16
- Take a detour to traditional Konditorei G. Buchwald at the Bellevue S-Bahn station and enjoy a piece of home-made Baumkuchen.
- The Meilenwerk was finished in 1901 and remains Europe’s largest tram depot at 10,000 m² (1 ha). The site has a display of vintage cars, including Messerschmidt Kabinenroller to sports cars. Wiebestraße 36-37
- Moabit’s Arminiusmarkthalle, built in 1891, is home to the traditional market stands as well as gourmet specialities and makers of local products. The market hall also displays art and culture with citizen participation.
Other neighbourhood tips can be found in our free “Going Local Berlin” app. Download your copy today and check it out.
You may also want to check our series of posts on Berlin’s districts in the visitBerlin blog.
International Film Festival – Berlinale
The Berlinale is not only an outstanding art and media event, it is also the largest film festival in the world for public screenings. An international panel of judges award the festival's Golden and Silver Bears to selected films. The Theater am Potsdamer Platz – or 'Berlinale Palast' – is the main venue for the festival. This is where the opening film is shown, along with the premieres of the participating films, and where the award ceremony takes place.
Classic Open Air
The series of concerts held on Gendarmenmarkt, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, on several evenings in the summer are always well attended. With a combination of classicism and classical music, a fabulous atmosphere is guaranteed.
New Year's Eve Party at Brandenburg Gate
Hundreds of thousands of people come here every year to see in the New Year with music, dance, food and drink between the Victory Column and Brandenburg Gate. At midnight there's an impressive light and laser display and a spectacular firework display.
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