At the heart of all Berlin districts is Mitte, the most central of all the boroughs. Made up of the smaller districts of Moabit, Hansaviertel, Tiergarten, Mitte (yeah, there’s even a Mitte inside Mitte ;-), Wedding, and Gesundbrunnen, this portion of the city houses the most touristy locations and museums of any of the districts of Berlin.
On the tour of things that you absolutely cannot miss within Berlin, an overwhelming majority are in Mitte, where everything from the Brandenburg Gate (Strasse des 17. Juni at Ebertstraße, S+U Brandenburger Tor), which divided former East Berlin from former West Berlin is located, to the 368-meter tall Fernsehturm (television tower) at Alexanderplatz (Panoramastraße 1, S+U Alexanderplatz), to Checkpoint Charlie (U6 and U2 Stadtmitte, U6 Kochstraße), the infamous crossing point at which one left the American sector of Berlin exist within Mitte, meaning that in all seriousness one could (but I don’t suggest you do) take a trip to Berlin’s Mitte district and never explore any other boroughs.
Take a walk down Unter den Linden, where you can see the Museumsinsel (Museum Island) where the Pergamon Museum, the Altes Museum, and the Alte Nationalgalerie. Continuing down Unter den Linden towards the Brandenburg Gate will bring you past the Deutsche Guggenheim, the smallest of the Guggenheim museums, and Humboldt University, one of the city’s three flagship educational institutes and the only one which is centrally located.
After reaching the Brandenburg Gate, you may want to stop for some mid-afternoon tea at Hotel Adlon (Unter den Linden 77, S+U Brandenburger Tor) where you can dine in high style, all at the hotel Michael Jackson dangled his infant son out the window of.
If you were to continue walking straight ahead from the Brandenburg Gate, you would reach Tiergarten, a giant park that’s great for bicycle rides and picnics. If you decide, however, to turn left or right, two very different locations will await you.
To the left is the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, a giant Holocaust memorial constructed to resemble hundreds of cement coffins. To the right is the Reichstag, which houses the German Parliament. Originally built for Adolf Hitler, the building now houses a giant glass dome which you are free to visit—be sure to bring your passport if you want to get past security, though.
If you find yourself craving some English language stimulation while in Mitte, head over to Potsdamer Platz (S+U Potsdamer Platz) where you’ll find an English language movie theater and many delicious restaurants and well planned bars that cater to English speaking patrons.
Potsdamer Platz also allows quick access to the Hauptbahnhof, Berlin’s central train station. Having opened in 2006, the giant glass and steel structure receives nearly 2,000 trains per day, and is one of the most efficient ways to get in to, or out of, Berlin.
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