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After you’ve taken the obligatory selfie at Brandenburger Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, seek out these lesser-known local treasures.
While Berlin’s most famous tourist sites such as Museumsinsel (Museum Island) are known throughout the world, this city of secrets offers many less-obvious attractions worthy of discovery. For a truly off-the-beaten path experience, check out the following places.
Climb up to a former NSA station, visit an abandoned theme park, discover a secret speakeasy or the best spot in town for sundowners – live like a Berliner and take in the city.
It’s easy to miss the entrance to Buck & Breck, given that it’s hidden behind a CLOSED sign in a seemingly vacant storefront in Mitte. Appearances are deceiving, however, and those who ring the bell and manage to get past the bouncer will find exceptional craft cocktails served around a single table.
Journey out to Grunewald and climb up to this eerie relic of Berlin’s conflicted past. The Teufelsberg, or “Devil’s Mountain,” features some impressive graffiti, not to mention stunning views of the city and surrounding fields and forests.
Spreepark, the dilapidated, deserted fairground on the outskirts of the city, is every bit as spooky as it sounds. Entrance is technically prohibited, but Berliners have made a habit of barging in nonetheless. On occasion, theatre troupes and musicians have performed amongst the crumbling amusement park rides.
Since it opened in 1913, Clärchens Ballhaus has hosted all manner of concerts and grand affairs. Today, the original fixtures in this baroque ballroom remain in a state of gorgeous decay, which only adds to the already decadent atmosphere. Regular dance classes and concerts are held here throughout the week.
Unlike the glitzy rooftop bars in Ku’damm, Solar isn’t easy to spot from outside. Housed in what was once a series of private apartments and tucked away in a parking lot, this restaurant and bar is one of Berlin’s most chic surprises. Ride the glass elevator up to where diners nosh on guinea fowl with rabbit, yellow beetroot and vanilla, while admiring an unrivalled view of the skyline.
Sequestered away in a nook not far from Kottbusser Tor, Yorck Kinos Berlin is an arthouse cinema par excellence. It’s a welcome, tasteful alternative to the crass, commercial theatres on Potsdamer Platz and always features a carefully curated selection of films.
Though first-timers are usually sceptical when they see the unremarkable facade of a drab shopping centre, the rooftop bar at the top is one of the loveliest hidden spaces in town. Skip straight past the fast-fashion chains and go to Klunkerkranich for DJs, drinks and dancing.