After the Berlin Wall – Mitte in the twenty-first century

Mitte, meaning middle in German, is the beating heart of Berlin. The city has a long and often dark history but has always been a cultural hotspot, admired by all.

After the wall was torn down, East Berlin – and more precisely Mitte – became one of the most creative areas in town. It was one of the most heavily bombed during WWII, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why it is one of the most flourishing areas of the city now, characterised by exciting regenerative energy.   

If you are an art lover, you will already know of the artistic riches that can be found here. From magnificent museums full of treasures about Berlin and European art history such as Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum, Pergamonmuseum, Hamburguer Banhof, to very specific, contemporary art galleries like KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Me room Collectors, Galerie Eigen + Art, and Boros Collection, all of which are worth a visit.

View of Bode Museum 

Eating well is easy in Mitte: there are plenty of restaurants with an inviting atmosphere and excellent food. For a sophisticated but casual lunch or dinner, Pauly Saal will fit the bill. The relaxed Shiso Burger, Mozzarella Bar and Mogg & Metzel are all ideal for burgers, salads or sandwiches. If Ramen is more your thing, don’t miss the specialists at Cocolo, and for Korean delights, you should try Yam Yam, on Alte Schönhauser Street – weather permitting, you can dine al fresco here! 

If you fancy a drink there is a wealth of places all over the city, the bar scene is especially buzzing in summer when the revellers sit on tables outside, giving passers-by a preview of what each bar serves. Augustrasse and Kastanien Alle are two great streets to find an outdoor bar. In the Winter the best bars would be Hackbarth’s and Mr Susan. Hackbarth’s is a real favourite “Kneipe” of us Berliners (kneipe being the handy-to-know word for ‘pub’ in German) and the beautiful Mr Susan has an exceptional array of cocktails.  

A beer garden on Augustrasse

Berlin is a really green city. If you are lucky to visit during spring or summer, you will see the variety of trees and plants everywhere. Finding a park to relax in between meals and museums is a good idea and Mitte has the charming Monbijou park, right next to Oranienburger Str. 

The charming Monbijou park  

Another interesting place to visit is the Bode Museum, it has a sensational view of the Spree, the river, around which the original centre of Berlin was built. You can just sit on the benches on the riverside and watch the world go by.   Beautiful design is also accessible in Mitte: Fashion and interior design labels can be found near the U-bahn subway station, Weinmeisterstrasse. If you happen to travel from there, take the opportunity to have a wander round first, you will find unique streets – like Sophienstrasse and Gipsstrasse – with delightful old buildings, shops and bakeries. 

For book lovers, there are two must-see spots: Walther König, a renowned bookshop in Germany, with an impressive selection of art, photography and design books and “Do you read me?”. This is a very trendy store where amazing magazines and books can be found.

If you are looking for a night out, tango your night away in Clärchens Ballhaus, where you can also find pizza and beer in the garden, which is a very romantic option. Prater, right on Kastanienalle, is a legendary biergarten, perfect for mingling and meeting locals! 

The garden behind Clärchens Ballhaus

Every year, during summer you can find Freiluftkinos, the open air cinemas, I recommend you check what screenings are happening on Google before you visit. Mitte has two great cinemas. The unique “international Kino” on Karl Max Alle, built in 1963, is a statement of architectural modernism. Alternatively, the very popular Babylon, in the heart of Mitte’s rosa Luxenburg platz (Rosa Luxemburg Square), usually screens independent movies. 

Right beside Babylon is the Volskbühne ("People's Theatre). Known as Berlin’s most iconic theatre, the Volksbühne was built between 1913 to 1914 and it is still a very important venue where you can see plays or concerts. 

You probably won´t be able to avoid passing by the impressive Alexanderplatz. It is the largest, best-known public square in Berlin. There you will find Berlin’s iconic die Fernsehturm (TV tower). Inaugurated in 1969, it used to be a symbol of communism but now it has become an integral part of Berlin’s modern cityscape. It is possible to take a tour to the top, which I highly recommend. Alexanderplatz is also Berlin’s eastern centre and is a very important connecting point while travelling in the city – the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, regional trains, trams and buses all pass through here. 

Altes Museum facade

While there, sneak a peek at the city tour options for Berlin. There are different buses going from Alex every hour, visiting different attractions...and who doesn’t love a bus tour? 

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