Where to Get Your Fix of History and Fashion in Berlin

by  Jim Sherman | Mar 5, 2010
Berlin city skyline
Berlin city skyline / bluejayphoto/iStock

For a 20th century history buff (which I am) walking around Berlin is like taking a stroll through history itself. But what's most fascinating is oftentimes exactly what you may miss on your own. That’s why I strongly encourage taking a guided tour to ensure you sneak a peek at the city's best sights. Artisans of Leisure offers fantastic, 6-day bespoke tours in Berlin, employing expert guides to escort you to all the best sites, museums, and even special interest lectures. The Checkpoint Charlie museum on Friedrichstrasse (Frederick Street) is on my not-to-miss list, as it offers a fascinating review of the history of Berlin’s division, the construction of the Wall, and the daring escapes by many from the city’s former East side.

Walk further down on Friedrichstrasse and you’ll find terrific shopping. On my first trip to Berlin in 1982, I saw only rubble and crumbling, dilapidated buildings here. But today, the area has unbelievably transformed into a glittering beacon of capitalism and shiny storefronts. Stop off at the lower level of the Gallery Lafayette, where you’ll find an outstanding food court with irresistible pastries and a Moet champagne bar. It’s a hidden gem!

For more Berlin activities, see our Berlin Travel Guide.

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