Getting to know Berlin, the German capital of cool

Cultural offerings, from continental classic and sophisticated to eccentric and youthful, never fail in Berlin.

To see the locals play, head just southeast of the city center to the site of the old Tempelhof Airport, which closed in 2008 and was turned into Tempelhofer Feld (Tempelhof Field), one the city’s most popular public parks and event spaces. Spread over nearly 400 acres, the park is home to an eclectic assortment of Berliners and native expats, many of whom are drawn to the six-kilometer cycle, skating and jogging path, as well as huge areas for barbecue, la dog walking, picnics, urban gardening and more.

The Silent Green Kulturquartier is a prime example of how Berlin’s younger generations have breathed new life into old historic facilities. Housed in the atmospheric Crematorium of the Wedding District, which dates back to 1911, this independent resort emphasizes interdisciplinary art and culture.

A typically diverse cross-section of Berliners occupy a number of offices, studios and event venues, while visitors enjoy an eclectic program of music, films, art exhibitions, open discussions and lectures, many of which take place under the imposing dome of the magnificent restored ceremonial hall.

For a little retail therapy with a bit of culture, head to Germany’s first concept mall, Bikini Berlin. In addition to interesting boutiques, flagship stores and trendy restaurants, there are around 20 wooden “pop-up boxes”, where established boutiques and new start-ups temporarily display their products.

Those looking for a quick bite to eat visit the Kantini, home to around a dozen trendy food stalls. Shoppers often stop along the large terrace of the shopping center to admire the monkey enclosure at the Berlin Zoo; for an even better view, meet next to Monkey Bar, one of Europe’s coolest hotel bars, located on the 10th floor of the uber-artsy 25hours Hotel.

Photo: Dagmar Schwelle

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