Siegesäule in the heart
of the Tiergarten

For people visiting Berlin for the first time, I certainly  understand the temptation to visit all the “attractions.” But you miss the local flavor of a city if you only visit the “sites.” In Berlin, people always go to the Brandenburger Tor, Check Point Charlie, the East Side Gallery, the Siegesäule, the Alexanderplatz Fernsehturm, Unter den Linden, Schloss Sansocci, and Museum Island. These are all great places, but why not try something unique, even if means missing one of these famous spots. 

Here are six Berlin sight-seeing recommendations not found in most tour books:

English Theatre Berlin:  Sure the productions are in English, but the flavor and audience is definitely Berlin. Moreover, you can actually see a live theatrical production in Berlin and understand it. The plus: it’s not very expensive!

Britzer Garten: A 90-acre garden that offers art, restaurants, concerts, sports, health facilities, animals; and above all, beautifully manicured gardens and nature. In May there is an amazing Tulip show and in the fall a huge Dahlia exhibition.

Gärten der Welt im Erholungspark Marzahn: This park contains seven “Gardens of the World.” It has the largest Chinese Garden in Europe, as well as gardens from Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Bali and a “Christian” garden.  It’s my favorite place to go for a quiet Sunday afternoon. Try some tea at the Chinese Pavilion overlooking the small lake.  And while you’re in Marzahn, check out the block after block of Soviet Era apartment buildings.  

Public Swimming Pools: What? Some the best examples of Art Deco architecture and design can be found at a few of these wonderfully restored pools. My favorites are Stadtbad Charlottenburg, Stadtbad Neukölln, and Stadtbad Mitte. Check out the links for the 360 decree view of these facilities.

Turkish Market: It’s a real Turkish Market selling exotic delicacies from the Middle East. Located in Kreuzberg, it’s in the heart of Turkish Berlin.

The Headstone reads: Here I stand
at the mile-stone of my days

Berlin-Schöneberg – Friedhof Schöneberg III: Cemeteries are miniature versions of cities except all the people are dead.  Each headstone is like the front door of some one’s house, each with its own unique style and nameplate. I try to imagine what the person was like and how they died.  I really enjoy the cemetery experience!

Friedholf Schöneberg III is a beautiful place to stroll; and when you’re there, why not visit the graves of two of its more famous citizens:  the actress Marlene Dietrich and the photographer Helmut Newton.


Get a copy of Zitty and/or Tip Magazine: Both publications give you the low down on what’s happening in Berlin. They have information concerning opera, music, film, theater, literature, and it even activities for kids. They’re in German, but if you know just a few German words, you’ll be able to discover a wide range of activities to enjoy. You should also check out the English language magazine, The Ex-Berliner.