Unearthing Berlin’s Unexpected Spots

Mapping out the uncommon places that identify Berlin

From an eclectic after-hours to a creative art and gastronomical scene, Berlin is notoriously a diverse city – one that often pays tributes to the once declining buildings of its past. And whilst its charming and unrefined character has come to form a strong part of the city’s identity, there’s also a whole host of local hotspots that unearth its more unexpected side. Have a read on seven places in Berlin that get you living like a local, but one that knows the city inside out.

Sammlung Boros

Contemporary art in a private bunker

Located in Mitte, Sammlung Boros was once an air-raid shelter turned nightclub, celebrated for its techno and fetish parties – vibrations from which could often be heard from the underground station nearby. In 2003, however, the curious building attracted the eyes of art collectors Christian and Karen Boros, who purchased it for private use. The bunker was then renovated, renamed and now showcases the Boros’ expansive and impressive collection of contemporary artworks. Guided tours are offered, for which you must book in advance, but once inside, you’ll be led through a surprising kaleidoscopic maze of contemporary works that are housed in and placed in contrast to their concrete surroundings.

Markthalle Neun

The modern indoor market

An indoor market that hosts a carefully selected array of international food vendors, wine, beer and shops, Markthalle Neun is the heart of modern Berlin. Come here for community events such as The Breakfast Market and Street Food Thursday, or to enjoy reputable food vendors such as the artisan butchers Kumpel & Keule or the Italian brothers behind Mani In Pasta who make homemade hearty dishes daily. Not to mention Sironi, the Northern Italian bakery where you can find fresh Italian pastries and breads (including the choice of mouth-watering focaccias). It’s the kind of place that takes the atmosphere of outdoor eating on a warm summer’s night, adds some excitement of the hustle and bustle, and couples this with the finest food and beverage options on offer. Whether you’re in town for the weekend or looking for a business lunch spot, don’t just take our word for it – hit them up.

St. Agnes

A rare Brutalist structure

A stone’s throw from Markthalle Neun you’ll find another unexpected spot in Kreuzberg: St. Agnes, also known as the König Gallery. A pre-war church dating to the 1960s, St. Agnes was since refurbished in 2012 as an impressive concrete structure that now primarily serves as a home to contemporary art pieces. The result? St. Agnes is a building that binds its historical, religious character with a new, modern identity. With a wide-ranging programme of interdisciplinary events and exhibitions, entering its light-flooded, expansive interior will captivate you every time.

Do you read me?!

Berlin’s modern-day library

When we think of bookstores, the image of a dusty shop filled with unruly piles of publications might come to mind. Not in do you read me?! in Mitte. Browse through carefully selected magazines and publications from around the world, ranging from art, fashion, photography to architecture and culture, and displayed neatly against the shop’s jet black interior. Although there are a number of impressive libraries in Berlin, do you read me?! is definitely one for the books.

Botanical Gardens

A Succulence haven

Heading to the Botanical Gardens is like heading to an impressively green and beautiful oasis. Located southwest of the city, away from the centre, there’s over 22,000 different plant species to eye up, housed both in large tropical conservatories and in the outside gardens. Stepping into the area is nothing short of grand and idyllic – making you wonder, of course, whether you’re even near a city at all. Come here if you’re looking for an unexpected haven from the hustle and bustle in town.