3 nights in Berlin
April 1, 2019 10:04 AM   Subscribe

I will be visiting Berlin for the first time later this month. I will be there for three nights with a buddy, and we are both kinky people. We are not only kinky people, of course. We like food, we like ambling around, we like tea, libraries, and bookstores. In my case, also arboretums and cemeteries. Not usually so fond of museums, however. My budget is modest; I have lodging. What should I do? Where should I go?

The last question about Berlin is five years old so it seems fair to ask again. Also, prefer stuff locals enjoy to any sort of tourist attraction 1000 times over and also fan of produce (not crafts) markets. Thanks, hive mind!
posted by Bella Donna to Travel & Transportation around Berlin, Germany (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

If you like saunas and self indulgence, check out Vabali, where you can spend a full day for about $40, dipping into saunas and resting between saunas on water beds or lounge chairs, inside or out. The saunas are "textile free", which is code for no clothing allowed, though people tend to wear bathrobes to wander around between saunas. Be sure to make it to some of the "infusions", which are listed on chalkboards around the facility.

If you like Asian fusion and good cocktails, check out Prince in the Alexanderplatz neighborhood.
posted by spindrifter at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'll double-up on the sauna recommendation: depending on your preference for atmosphere, I'd suggest one of two:

The Liquidrome Berlin is a sauna/massage/swimming/relaxation center. In addition to a full service sauna (with hourly Aufguss), they have a steambath, an outdoor hottub, indoor hottub, and a pool (I can't describe the architecture of the pool except this picture)Easy (five min, max) walk from UBahn Möckernstrasse, or just a hair longer (six min, max) from S Bahn Anhalter Bahnhof. Bring swimwear as while most of the facility is textile-frei, you'll want it for the floating-light-show-sound-show-pool-noodles pool.

Or for a more low-key alternative, Olivin Sauna/Lounge (Schönhauser Allee 177, 10119 Berlin - take the U2 in Richtung Pankow to Senefelderplatz, it's about 2 min north of the station) is a relaxing just-a-sauna and garden in Prenzlauer Berg, and it's next to a biergarten. Friendly staff, nice cozy atmosphere.
posted by Seeba at 10:55 AM on April 1, 2019

Best answer: For bookstores, there's only one answer: Kulturkaufhaus Dussmann is huge and has a great selection of books, plus there's a whole English bookstore inside the bookstore. They're just on Friedrichstraße just off Unter den Linden and close to Bahnhof Friedrichstraße.
posted by amf at 10:59 AM on April 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There's an active scene in Berlin on Fetlife, with EN-speaking meet-ups every Friday.

The Botanical Gardens are nice, but the Gärten der Welt (particularly the Japanese and Balinese gardens, are gorgeous), if a bit of a slog to get out to on public transport.

The Alter Garnisonsfriedhof, close to the posh shops around Weinmeister Strasse /Hackescher Markt, is a striking experience. Mostly housing the Prussian military squirearchy, with imposing tombs and elaborate inscriptions, it also has war graves and mass graves of Berlin civilians killed at the end of WW2.

There are decent produce markets on Maybachufer in Kreuzberg and at Wittenbergplatz, but it's not like France or anything.

The Staatsbibliothek library at Potsdamer Strasse (not! the Unter den Linden branch) has a stunning "modern" interior (and I usually hate anything modern). You can only access it on a guided tour. There is a gorgeous scene in Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire) set there.

message me if you want more info about the above or anything.
posted by runincircles at 11:00 AM on April 1, 2019

A friend and I visited the year before last and had a lovely light dinner at Feinberg's, an Israeli restaurant we stumbled on. The price was modest, the food was absolutely delightful.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on April 1, 2019

There’s some kind of giant food hall where I had an ok burger and very good speck. My most memorable Berlin tip is that the punk bars let me use the toilets in midday when they were closed. Three different bars! I was surprised how nice the toilets were, given my experience with American punk bars.

(Pro-tip from experience: if you’re so sick that you urgently need a toilet three times in an hour...go to the hospital.)
posted by bilabial at 8:41 PM on April 1, 2019

Best answer: Silent Green Kulturquartier an old crematorium that has been transformed into a cultural center - there's a bar/restaurant attached (that I can't attest to).

Yafo tasty tasty food from TelAviv

Markthalle Neun a market hall that has some good restaurants built into it - check for opening times. There's a similar hall at Marheineke Platz (Bergmankiez/ good place to stumble around, eventually walk uphill and over to Tempelhof Flugfeld (the big disused airport and a great park) - there's also a Markthalle in Wedding, Arminius Markthalle, where you can get poutine - yeah, poutine.

Pfaueninsel this is a hike, kind of, but cool and a bit nuts - the former island of pleasure of Friedrich the... Great? Some Prussian hotshot. It's beautiful, calm and full of peacocks, as promised.

If you like flea markets the one at Mauer Park is gloriously excessive - and over in the over-crowded, garbage strewn Mauer Park there's a Karaoke Corner (...if they haven't shut it down, of which there was talk) which is totally worth watching for a little while.

(It's mentioned somewhere, but I'll mention it again) The Jewish Cemetery at Weissensee. If you want to see the grave of Helmut Newton, you have to go to the other end of the city, Friedenau the Cemetery there. Marlene Dietrich is also buried there. Afterwards, go around the corner to Lehmbrucks for coffee/lunch.

Do you read me? is a nice magazine store in Mitte. Another Country is a english language bookstore in Kreuzberg that is worth a stop (close to Marheineke Markthalle).

Berlin is, like, five or six cities squinsched together so planning is important. The metro goes everywhere, at least, so that helps but don't despair if you don't get here or there - there's vast areas of people just getting through their days, living their lives.

have fun!
posted by From Bklyn at 3:05 AM on April 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

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