Hidden Gems in Berlin
Below, you’ll find historic corners of Berlin, hidden-away art and antiquities, curiosities and beautiful buildings that don’t appear on traditional tourist itineraries for Berlin attractions.
Located just minutes from Humboldt’s main campus, and an even shorter distance from where most classes are held, is this small movie theater. Though the theater can be hard to locate, once you do, it’ll become a staple hangout spot. A marquee marks the entry to an alleyway in which the theater is located. The alleyway itself could be considered a hip spot; the walls and shop doors are decorated with graffiti style art, and a number of picnic tables are installed under the words: Central Café. The theatre shows movies in German, English, and other languages. It plays American films but also shows more independent films and documentaries that aren’t typically found in American movie theaters.
This is an unusual café in Berlin; this surprise fairytale tearoom was a present from the government of Tajikistan to the GDR. The carved columns, fine woven rugs and hanging tapestries were all hand-made and initially exported to Leipzig as part of an exhibition in 1974. The interior was relocated entirely in 1976 to the Palais am Festungsgraben, a former seat of the Prussian Ministry of Finance. When the teestube was donated the building was the ‘house of GDR-USSR friendship’, today the palace houses several grand ballrooms, which are all available for hire. In keeping with its heritage, the teestube is a celebration of Tajik culture serving accordingly authentic teas and light snacks, where visiting guests are asked to remove their shoes and sit on cushions at low-level tables. Every Monday at 6pm (winter only), a visiting storyteller entertains guests with traditional fairytales in German. The teestube is particularly popular at this time and reservations are advised.
Funkturm Observation Deck
The Funkturm is Berlin’s own slightly less impressive Eiffel Tower. The architect responsible for the design was Heinrich Straumer, who supervised a total of 140 technical drawings of the steel framework and based his design on the Eiffel Tower. Located in the far west of the city, this former broadcasting tower is a protected monument in Berlin and its observation deck has spectacular city views. Far less known than the TV Tower at Alexanderplatz, Funkturm offers a cheaper view from its observation deck which costs only 5€ ($5.88 USD).
The people of Hakenfelde certainly know Uli Feick and his bicycle shop, but Berliners from the 11 other districts of the city may not be so familiar. This Spandau resident exhibits beautiful historical bicycles and his shop is a go-to destination if you’re in need of any repairs on your own vintage beauty.
Gardens of the World
Berlin’s Gardens of the World is a 22-acre park of beautifully themed landscapes, hidden among tower blocks in Marzahn. The perfectly manicured gardens take visitors on a journey around the world as they wind their way from one continent to another. From an Arabian courtyard to a Balinese rain forest and hillside Korean temple, this stunning space is an impressive gem in Berlin. A must-see while in the garden is the Chinese garden—a picturesque ensemble of crystalline lakes, pagodas, and traditional gardens built entirely by Chinese craftsmen that offers an authentic look into traditional Chinese aesthetics.
Silent Green Kulturquartier
Silent Green Kulturquartier is located in the former historical Wedding Crematorium, and is an independent project that considers itself a site for interdisciplinary art and culture, and consists of a number of offices, studios and event venues. A self-proclaimed place for ‘thinking, research and experimentation’, the venue is home to leading art gallery SAVVY Contemporary and also has a year-round eclectic programme of music, film, art shows, as well as open discussions and lectures, many of which take place in a beautifully restored cupola. Even if the shows aren’t your cup of tea, it’s worth discovering this true architectural gem in Wedding dating back to 1911.
This is a regular feature on the calendar of the S036—the little Berlin bar made famous by the nighttime exploits of famous musicians like David Bowie. Now you can roll back into the smashing 70s with the bar’s monthly roller disco dance spectacle. You don’t need to have your own pair of old-school four-wheel skates, as you can rent a pair.
Skywalk Marzahner Promenade
For those who laugh in the face of extreme heights, this sky walk in Marzahn is worth checking out. It’s a secret, free viewing platform over the city perched atop a high-rise building that stretches 70 metres (230 feet) into the sky. You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of central Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg.
This mountain in West Berlin looms almost 100 metres (328 feet) over the Grunewald forest. Somewhat in the shadow of its more well-known neighbour Teufelsberg, Drachenberg (‘Dragon Mountain’) still attracts fans to its treeless, oddly-shaped plateau and is a great place to fly a kite or spot a few wild bores and foxes.
It’s a fascinating little place filled with unique exhibits, which detail spells, witches and different forms of magic through the ages. you can wander leisurely through this museum. The friendly curator here is also extremely generous with his time and will happily answer any questions you have.