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My name is Ben, I am 20 years old and I work in the User Experience team at Hynt. I studied Business in London for the past three years but have spent the other 17 years in Berlin. I think it's fair to say that I am a Berlin native.
For breakfast, there are only two places I usually go to which are both in Prenzlauer Berg close to where I live. They are Kaffee Morgenrot and Kauf Dich Glücklich. Both of these have nice areas to sit outside surrounded by plants and have other shops around. Kaffee Morgenrot serves an all-you-can-eat vegetarian breakfast that is absolutely delicious. Kauf dich Glücklich has a range of breakfast plates and a Vegan one, as well, that will fill you until dinnertime (they are famous for their waffles too).
Lunch is a whole other topic. There are so many nice places all over town including many small shops and on-hand food. When I’m in my area there are 3 places I would usually go to: Duy Thai, a small Thai place that serves delicious traditional meals, Banh Mi Stable which serves pork and tofu Banh Mi, and Zweistrom Falafel which has great falafel plates but also a range of other options. I also recommend Frea and Feel Seoul Good which are also great vegan spots. For a sandwich or burger I recommend Formidable.
There are many classic museums to visit like the Pergamon, the Bode Museum, Naturkundemuseum (The Natural History Museum) and also museums or exhibitions of contemporary art like Sprüth Magers or one of the countless galleries in Berlin (especially in the Mitte district). However, I often prefer an afternoon in a park with friends playing football, cards or boule, listening to music and having a beer. On the topic of beer, in Summer there are a number of beautiful beer gardens in Berlin that you can visit that are great for an afternoon break or after dinner. Prater Garten is a personal favourite but googling ‘beer garden’ should give you plenty of options. In the Summer you might also want to go to one of the many lakes in and around Berlin, the proximity to so many of them is one of the best things about summertime in Berlin. I recommend Flughafensee, Plötzensee and Müggelsee.
There are so many amazing places for dinner in Berlin. For something more casual I would recommend Belluno (Italian), Chutnify (Indian), and Aromi e Sapori (the best Italian). For a classic and original Berlin restaurant, my number one recommendation is the Prater Garten restaurant. For something fancy (and also for something of a hidden gem) I would recommend Cookies Cream or Crackers.
Contrary to London it is quite normal to spend an evening in a park or by the river and just have drinks there (or before a party). In Winter you would usually switch to a small bar like Feuerstein or Schmittz. My favourite bars are Ankerklause, Würgeengel, Milano Bar, BonBon Bar. Sometimes I also like to play billiards while enjoying a drink which I find is done best at Pool & Cigars at Kulturbrauerei (Don’t worry, the ‘Cigar’ part is not in the same room as the billiards). The clubs I like to go to are Griessmuehle and Ritter Butzke. There are of course many other clubs in Berlin, the most famous one being Berghain.
Berlin has many parks and bars by the Spree (the main river). Out of the countless spots by the Spree, my favourites are Monbijoupark and James-Simon Park, Holzmarkt (a beautiful authentic Berlin spot), Yaam (Jamaican food and open air space), and Sage Beach. These are all located close by one another and are easily reachable by the underground and overground transports. The Vietnamese restaurant Dudu is great for lunch and dinner too but it is also interesting because it is located on a very busy street and yet is super relaxed because it has a wall of plants shielding you from the noisy road.
There is an outdoor cinema in Volkspark Friedrichshain that makes for a great end to a day. The movies start just as the sun starts to set so you can enjoy the sunset and settle into a movie seamlessly. There are benches but also a meadow at the top of the hill to lay on.
I might be biased to my area but I think Mitte is the best place to stay. This is because from there it's easy to go anywhere in the city via public transport and there are a number of hostels. Of course the area itself also has a lot to offer making it the best place to stay as a tourist, I think.
Spring or Summer.
Berlin is definitely best for a ‘friends’ holiday. While it has an incredibly rich history which can also be fun to explore with parents, I would still recommend visiting with friends to get the most out of it and experience all that Berlin has to offer.