By Amy Laughinghouse
The German capital has rolled out more than 375 miles of bike-friendly paths, attracting 500,000 cyclists every day. Freewheeling tourists can plot their own route and rent a bike for about $13 per day, or sign up for guided tours that lead them past landmarks such as Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and remnants of the Berlin Wall.
Whether you come for the beef or the buzz, you’ll find both in ample measure at the Grill Royal (Friedrichstrasse 105b; 49-30/2887-9288), the see-and-be-seen steak house by the River Spree. At Volt (Paul-Lincke-Ufer 21; 49-30/6107-4033), chef Matthias Gleiss delivers a jolt to German cuisine, serving seasonal dishes in a former power substation that retains its metal catwalks and exposed brick.
Tausend (Schiffbauerdamm 11; 49-30/4171-5396), sequestered behind an unmarked door under a bridge, you’ll feel the rumble of passing trains and the kick of high-octane cocktails such as the Hot Mexican Mule. Lebensstern (Kurfürstenstrasse 58; 49-30/2639-1922), above Café Einstein, offers cozily furnished rooms and glass cabinets stocked with a staggering variety of rum and gin. Amid the cushions and carved pillars at the Tajikistan Tearoom (Am Festungsgraben 1; 49-30/204-1112), sweets and a shot of vodka accompany a steaming cuppa.
Kaufhaus des Westens, dubbed “KaDeWe” (Tauentzienstrasse 21-24; 49-30/21210), is Berlin’s best-known department store, stocked with big-name brands. For Berlin-based boutiques such as Hut Up (Oranienburger Strasse 32, Heckmann Höfe; 49-30/2838-6105), featuring reversible fashions with felt seams, head for cobblestoned Heckmann and Hackesche Höfe (“courtyards”). Oderberger Strasse also has a wealth of local designs, such as the elegant gowns at Parapluie (Oderberger Strasse 5; 49-30/5673-3059).
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, May 2013.
Exceptional Experiences: Germany
The Waters of Stockholm
Portland: Eat, Drink, Bike