Berlin city is the home to so many uprising architects, designers, and artists. Everywhere you go you will find something creative around the corner; from contemporary art installations, museums, exhibitions, dynamic architecture, graffiti, street music, and more.
Shaping Berlin City
After getting its name in 1163, Berlin city has undergone so many historical events that shaped up its unique identity. It is the living proof that art is a very strong peaceful weapon to fight against wars. From being destroyed in World War II, to the fall of the berlin wall in 1990, the events that passed through this city collectively brewed its artistic flavor.
Although it’s very different than the true German culture, Berlin has a contemporary identity of its own. You can absolutely enjoy so many things whether you are a night owl or morning lark. It’s a big city full of life, which has the capacity to satisfy very different tastes.
Cycling around Berlin’s City Architecture
One of the best things about this city is that it is fully equipped with bicycle lanes. Consequently, it provides a very exciting way for commuting. Cycling around berlin has so many benefits. You get to see what’s on the way before you arrive to your destination, which is 10/10 guaranteed to be full of architectural gems, or simply artistic encounters around the street. Moreover, it gives your trip an active feeling that energizes you throughout your journey.
Additionally, the road network is very well connected, which makes it easy to go from one spot to the other. You can easily find your direction through finding the best route on Google maps. You will easily get the options to ride a mixture of subways, trams, or cycle your way through. But be prepared for some serious legs exercise if you have a lot of destinations on your list.
Best Architecture in Berlin City
It is very hard to limit the best destinations in Berlin in a list of 10, 20, or even 100 (seriously everything is super cool there). On the other hand, it’s not always possible to explore every place in the city within a limited time frame, because such destinations, especially Berlin, have endless places to explore.
Berlin Zeiss Planetarium
TV tower as seen from the Berliner Dom
Rather, we think that you have to go by yourself, put some main attractions that you think are most important for you, and then get lost on the way. We followed this method in our trip to Berlin, and it was amazing what we discovered.
Here are 4 of our favorite elements for the designers visiting berlin, and some places we stumbled upon.
Because of its diverse background, Berlin has different layers of architecture. It varies between Gothic cathedrals and Modern Match boxes, to extremely dynamic contemporary buildings. Moreover, some historical buildings were renovated to its original form after being destroyed during the war. Yet, other ones were left as they are as a reminder of the gruesome past.
The Berlin house of parliament
Take a tour to the top of the Berlin house of parliament designed by Norman Foster, and you can both enjoy the beauty of Foster’s design, as well as a panoramic view of Berlin from above. Here you will get a true sense of how huge and diverse this city is. Moreover, you could spot so many landmarks from the top. But be sure to visit on a sunny day to get the most of your experience.
The Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind is one of our favorite Berlin architectural gems. Most architects know its design, as it’s a staple to study its brilliance all over architecture schools. Yet, experiencing the place is a whole other story.
The Concept and Experience
Libeskind’s concept for this museum was to show the agony of the Jews during the holocaust through a tense experience. There were so many challenges in designing such a space without affecting the surroundings negatively. But Daniel successfully blended his design with the original baroque style building which was the former “Berlin Museum”.
The Jewish Museum – Hall Ways
The Garden of Exile
The building consists of a 4 main halls connected by jumbled pathways full of ramps and a long dead-ended stairs. Additionally, it contains 2 exhibitions with interchangeable exhibits. The 4 halls create different moods, giving you feelings of what it was like during the holocaust.
For more check our article: Architecture of Memory: The Jewish Museum in Berlin.
If you are a graffiti lover, Berlin is one of the best destinations around the world for street art. Wherever you go there must be some installations, wall art, stickers and doodles filling out the space.
You don’t necessarily have to go to a special place to experience nice art, because anyway you will find that everywhere. But there are 2 districts that are particularly full of amazing art everywhere: Kreuzberg & Friedrichshain.
In those 2 districts, you can simply walk around the streets and explore amazing artistic expressions by local artists. The messages behind those are often political and against war/promoting peace.
Moreover, you will find in the latter district the famous East Side Gallery. Here, you will find a very long remainder of the berlin wall full of very strong artistic messages on a span of over 1.3 km.
But the strongest message that you should check out is that on the abandoned former house of statistics near the center of Berlin at Alexanderplatz.
Berlin finds no shame in showing its gruesome and oppressive past. The city works very well on showcasing its terrible history to show the visitors to which extent the city has developed in a positive sense. You can find a lot of War related memorials, exhibitions and museums all over the city.
Moreover, most of these memorials/exhibitions are admission free, as a way to encourage visitor’s to explore these places. That way, the visitors can get a deeper understanding of what this city has undergone throughout the ages.
The memorial of the murdered Jews is one of the most interesting places that you must pass by when in Berlin. It is an abstract graveyard full of grave-sized concrete blocks that creates an immersive labyrinth around them.
Interested in knowing more? Check our article “The Memorial of The Holocaust” in Berlin: Controversy and Abstraction.
Museums & Exhibitions
Futuruium – Contemporary Science/Art Exhibition
Futurium – Swirly Entrance
Now that you have explored some architecture attractions in Berlin, it’s time to immerse yourself in the endless list of art galleries, museums, & exhibitions. Wherever you stay in berlin, just type in your maps “museum” or “art gallery” and you will find an endless recommendation list.
Urban Nation Street Art Exhibition Gallery
Trash Art Exhibition Alley
While there are some main ones you have to visit first, but always make sure to check out some of the non-mainstream exhibitions to get a more fresh experience.
In addition, don’t forget to pass by Neus Museum that’s located in the museum island near the center. There you will see the magnificent busk of Queen Nefertiti’s. It is in a single hall all alone with a special security system, as it is the most valuable exhibit in this museum. Luckily, the queen is in a safe hand, because it turns out the security guy in that hall is Egyptian.
Never Stop Exploring
Would you believe if I said that is not even 5% of what you can experience in berlin?
Plan a trip to Berlin and you will find out by yourself. Don’t forget to fit as many days in your trip plan just for this city, as it’s definitely worth a very deep and slow-paced exploration.
And if you aren’t the big city type of person, always know that there are numerous parks where you can disconnect from the contemporary world and re-gain your energy.
It is best to visit Berlin in spring when the weather is nice and the city is not so crowded with tourists.