Like a local: 24 hours in Berlin

by Christine Orford

Berlin. Rich in history, rich in culture, rich in food and rich in fun. There’s a cornucopia of things to keep you occupied here. Want proof? Take a look at our 24-hour guide to experiencing Berlin like you live there.

Saturday, 9:30 am

Berlin trainsGrab a travel card – it’ll be your best friend in a city where public transport is so good. Buses, trams, S-Bahns and U-Bahns even run 24 hours on the weekend.



Saturday, 10:30 am

Order some huevos rancheros and a breakfast cocktail or two at Cabslam, Innstrasse 47, Neukölln. Take your time, use the free Wi-Fi and have the delicious blueberry pancakes for dessert if you’re not too full.


Saturday, 12:30 pm

Berlin’s DDR MuseumEver imagined what it was like to live under the German Democratic Republic’s communist regime? Well, with the DDR Museum, Karl-Liebknecht-Str, Mitte, you don’t have to. Step inside a typical DDR apartment, get up close and personal with the infamous Trabant car and learn about the technology the Stasi used to spy on citizens.


Saturday, 2:30 pm

There are some sandwiches that you remember long after the crumbs are dusted off your jumper. The bánh mìs in Cô Cô, Rosenthaler Strasse 2, Mitte are like that. For the uninitiated, a bánh mì is a Vietnamese baguette stuffed with zingy, tangy, salty fillings. The bánh mì Chay – with lemongrass and tofu – is excellent.


Saturday, 3:15 pm

Soda BookstoreWhile you’re in the area, peruse the extensive selection in Soda Book and Magazine Store, Weinbergsweg 1, Mitte. The subjects covered in these niche publications vary wildly, but they are all beautifully produced. Pick up a couple to make yourself look smart in a trendy café while you’re in the depths of the inevitable Berlin hangover tomorrow.


Saturday, 4:15 pm

Hamburger Bahnhof exhibit Housed in a gigantic former train station, the Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstrasse 50-51, Mitte is worth a visit for the impressive architecture as much as the contemporary art inside. With permanent works by the likes of Andy Warhol and John Cage, as well as the occasionally bizarre temporary exhibits, strolling through this building is a more than pleasant way to while a couple of hours.


Saturday, 6:30 pm

Sip a few pre-dinner drinks at The Pier, Invalidenstrasse 51, Mitte. At just over 10 minutes’ walk from Hamburger Bahnhof, it’s a nice place to gather up some energy after appreciating all that art. They’ve got a great rotating international and German draft beer selection, but watch out, some are deceptively strong.


Saturday, 8:00 pm

Need some grub to soak up all that booze? Salt n Bone, Schliemannstrasse 31, Prenzlauerberg is a hearty option. The ‘Pump Up The Skins’ are some of the best loaded potato skins we’ve ever tried, while the tasty seasonal homemade sausages flavours change regularly.


Saturday, 10:00 pm

Kugelbahn bowling alleyWork off some of those calories in Kugelbahn, Gruntaler Strasse 51, Wedding. Descend into the basement and find a mini bowling alley, which looks like it hasn’t been touched since about 1953. If bowling isn’t your thing, there are plenty of comfy chairs to lounge on upstairs.


Sunday, 12:30 am

Head to Badfish, Stargarder Strasse 2, Prenzlauer Berg, a cosy New York-style bar that’s popular with locals and the expat community alike. People come here for the big range of craft beers, an impressive selection of whiskeys and great cocktails. They stay for the often-Irish, always-charming bartenders. If you’re feeling brave, try one of their potent, yet delicious, frozen margaritas.


Sunday, 3:00 am

Wilde Renate in FriedrichshainSwing by Wilde Renate, Alt-Stralau 70, Friedrichshain, a club inside an old apartment block, with lots of different rooms to explore. At this stage in the night, a Club Mate is key. Ask for one of these highly caffeinated drinks ‘mit wodka’ or ‘mit rum’ and the bartender will wait as you take a swig from the bottle, then they’ll top it up with your chosen alcohol. It’s not particularly tasty, but it gets the job done.


Sunday, 6:00 am

You’ve worked up some confidence, you’ve had your fill of Club Mates, you’re wearing all black. It’s time to try to get into Berghain, Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain. While you’re in the queue, sober up enough to remember your school German lessons, think of the hippest Berlin DJs you can and, whatever you do, don’t speak English. The bouncers are notoriously tough to get past, but if you manage it, dance in celebration and bask in the reflected coolness of those around you.


Sunday, 9:00 am

Berlin by nightGrab a bottle of water and a halloumi im brot at the next kebab shop you see between Berghain and your hostel. Your hangover will appreciate it tomorrow.



Sunday, 9:30 am

Generator Berlin MitteArrive back at your hostel. Whether you go for the quirky (Circus Hostel), the international (Generator Berlin Mitte) or the floating (Eastern Comfort Hostelboat Berlin), you’ll sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that you’ve squeezed the most you could out of this city.


Check out our huge selection of private rooms and dorms located in the best spots around Berlin.

Thanks to John Carkeet and tracy the astonishing for use of their great images under the Creative Commons license.

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