Most grocery stores are open Monday-Sunday, from 8am to 10pm (sometimes later). Retail shops are usually open Monday-Saturday from 10am to 8pm. On Sunday, all shops (except at train stations) are closed--which makes it a great time to check out one of the many flea markets, to kill time while also getting to know the city better! Visit the markets in Mauerpark (U-Bhf Eberswalder Strasse), Treptower Park (walk east on Köpernickerstr), and Tiergarten (S-bhf Tiergarten)
Boutique Shops line Kastanienallee (U-Bhf Eberswalder Strasse) and around Prenzlauer Berg.
The Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets) - these are in most public spaces during the holiday season.
The Museum Island features highlights like the Pergamonmuseum, the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, as well as the bode Museum.
South of the Tiergarten, this low-rise museum complex is the epicenter for a number of world class art collections. The Gemäldegalerie houses an incredible collection of early European painting. Paintings by Frans Hals and Rembrandt are highlights of the collection. For 20th-century paintings the glass cube of the Neue Nationalgalerie is well worth a visit with key works by Kirchner, Heckel and Schmidt-Rottluff and Cubist pieces by Picasso, Gris and Léger. A great time to visit is during the Long Night of the Museums (www.museumsportal-berlin.de), when for around €12 you can go on a museum crawl all night.
There are two prime spots to view upright remains of the Berlin Wall, though traces remain throughout the city. The East Side Gallery (in Kreuzberg), where artists have engaged in graffiti on old segments of the Wall is part of a public exhibit that celebrates freedom and the reunification of Germany. For a more somber and realistic perspective, visit the piece that still stands in Mitte near Checkpoint Charlie.
The official seat of the German Parliament, the Reichstag affords amazing views of the city from its famous dome and roof terrace. Although it is free, lines are long during the day, so it’s best to visit at night. You are allowed to remain in the building until midnight, although the last entry is 10 pm. A free brochure, available as you enter the building, offers a pictorial guide to the Berlin skyline.
The Berlinale, a major international film festival, takes place in February. It is open to the public, so make sure to check it out!
The “Monument to the Murdered Jews in Europe,” was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and opened in 2005. It consists of 2,711 concrete slabs arranged on sloping ground. Walking through the enormous memorial can be somber, disorienting, and dizzying. An underground information center is open daily (except Monday). The outdoor monument is open and free to the public at all times.
Jewish Saturday morning service in Kreuzberg
"The service was more orthodox than I am used to, but the congregation was welcoming and I was invited to Shabbos dinner at someone’s apartment. ... While there is an obvious Christian domination over German government and culture, all religions are widely accepted. I never felt alienated as a Jew in Berlin." —Sam