Best areas of Berlin

Old May 20th, 2009, 05:03 PM
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Best areas of Berlin

There seem to be packages to Berlin with airfare and hotel. Does anyone have a recommendation of the best areas of Berlin to stay? We'd like to be in the heart of things.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 05:05 PM
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Well, problem is that Berlin was a divided city until recently, so where your heart is when it comes to enjoying Berlin depends on knowing more about you and what you want to do on your trip (or any vacation or tour of a foreign place).
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Old May 21st, 2009, 12:16 AM
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In general, there are 2 centers: Mitte of former East Berlin(the triangle roughly formed by Potsdamer Platz, Friedrichstr and Alexanderplatz) and Charlottenburg/Wilmersdorf of former West Berlin, the neighbourhood around Kurfuerstendamm.
Which of the 2 you'd want depends on what you are looking for.

Mitte is good for access to the Museum Island, Checkpoint Charlie, Reichstag. It is more touristy these days.
Charlottenburg is good for access to Schloss Charlottenburg, Zoo, Deutsche Oper, shopping on Ku'damm. In general there isn't as much buzz as in Mitte probably.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 12:34 AM
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I's recommend any of the following districts for Berlin- Kreuzberg, Freidrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg or Hackescher Markt (in Mitte).
Since Berlin does not have much of a "downtown" persay, it's quite difficult to feel "right in the heart of things" since everything is so spread out. This is by the way, part of the charm.

Here's a brief guide to Berlin to help you plan:
http://www.waytostay.com/area-info-Berlin-en-222.htm
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:20 PM
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Since public transportation is excellent both day and night, it really does not matter so much where you are staying.

From a tourist's point of view, the most central areas are

- the area around Gendarmenmarkt (Berlin-Mitte),
- Potsdamer Platz,
- the area around Kurfürstendamm, including side streets, Savignyplatz and Lietzenburger Straße,
- the area around Hacke'sche Höfe, especially Oranienburger Straße.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:26 PM
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I stayed near Pottsdammer platz several years ago. we found it to be a very good area. walking distance to many of the sights, checkpoint charlie, etc. The hotel was down the street from Anhalter Bahnhof. We stayed in a hotel that had been a Siemans warehouse at one time. very contemporary. Walked to Pottsdammer Platz for the trains. Enjoyed berlin as it was different than I had expected.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:27 PM
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From a certain *kind* of tourist's point of view -- a tourist like traveller1959 or who is only interested in certain kinds of experiences of Berlin -- his list might make sense. But if you're not like that, there may be a better location!

It's true that Berlin has an almost absurd amount of public transportation, and taxis are not extravagant. However, given my reasons for being in Berlin, I was very glad I stayed near Museum Island, and next time I go, I'm definitely staying in or closer to certain areas of West Berlin, which had a much different vibe that I wanted to learn more about.

I agree with travel buzzing that the spread out topography of Berlin is part of its charm, even though a couple of times I ended up footsore misjudging when I needed a tram.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 02:44 PM
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Thank you all very much. The info is very helpful.
Keubel
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Old May 29th, 2009, 05:59 PM
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The heart of historical and cultural Berlin is Mitte. You will almost certainly find yourself going there every day you stay in berlin, so why not "stay" there. I can't see Charlottenberg and Wilmersdorf as a daily expectation on any trip to Berlin.
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 10:05 AM
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As a rule of thumb, those areas with a magnitude of sights are usually NOT the hotspots of evening entertainment (restaurants, bars, pubs, etc.) or shopping.
Mitte/Gendarmenmarkt and Potsdamer Platz all have their share of restaurants and bars (and the latter also lots of shopping), but it gets a bit dull and touristy there at night.
The area around Hackescher Markt is a bit the odd man, since you have many sights like the Synagogue or the proximity to Museum Island, and lots of shopping and dining/clubbing. Nevertheless, the area has become quite gentrified during the last decade, upscale shopping has replaced more unique shops, and the area has lost a bit of its charme.
In Charlottenburg you will find lots of shopping around Ku'damm and evening entertainment/restaurants, the latter esp. around Savignyplatz.
Finally, Prenzlauer Berg area has a wealth of cafes, restaurants, bars and still is one of the hotspots to go to at night. But you will find few sights there.
So, from a tourist's perspective, Hackescher Markt may still be your best bet, but it's a trade-off between touristy and "authentic" in either case.
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 10:31 AM
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I am heading there with my 11 year old this fall. She is excited about the trip cause she has heard that Berlin is full of artist and dancers, etc. Yes, we will visit Checkpoint Charlie, etc. but really we want to see the art museums, find out if there are any interesting events or installations, just really experience the vibrant scene in Berlin we have heard about.

So, assuming that transportaion is good for getting around, so that area is not THAT important, what area should we try to stay? Also, recommendations for good hotels under $200 would be welcome.
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Old Jun 1st, 2009, 10:42 AM
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StellaY,

the areas have been outlined and their respective advantages and disadvantages have been beaten to death in previous posts on this thread and various others. Ultimately you say it yourself - assuming transportation isn't much of an issue for you, stay in whichever area you want, the one that sounds most appealing to you and where you can find a good hotel deal.
With your budget, I would seriously look into the Arcotel Velvet on Oranienburger St, a good compromise regarding location with reasonable proximity to museums, Hackescher Markt, Friedrichstr S-Bahn station.
In the West around Ku'damm/Savignyplatz, Hotel Q may have a deal, the Bleibtreu could be an alternative.
Other than that, there is a gazillion options of good decently priced hotels - consult with tripadvisor or ask around here for remarks on specific preliminary choices of yours.
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