A chat with Jessica Taylor, a performance maker and curator, confirmed a travel fact we had long suspected: Berlin just may be one of the coolest European capitals, period. Expat Taylor, whose next project is conceptualizing the menu for a weekend pop-up eatery at Sing Blackbird, a spot local to Berlin, shared some of her favorite places in the city she now calls home.
Avant-Garde Haven: Volksbühne, Linienstraße 227, +49 30 24065 ext. 5
What I love about the Berlin theater scene is that even the state-run theater is experimental and innovative. I’ve seen incredible productions at Volksbühne, from the great Laurie Anderson to an epic 11-hour marathon adaptation of Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman.
Artsy Haunt: Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstraße 50, +49 30 3987 3411
A former railway station, Hamburger Bahnhof houses permanent pieces by Cy Twombly and Joseph Beuys along with a fantastic rotation of exhibitions. My favorite: a Carsten Höller exhibition with twelve live reindeer in which (a few lucky) visitors were invited to spend the night on an elevated mushroom above the reindeer pen and wake up to breakfast in bed!
Locavore Gem: Little Otik, Graefestrasse 71, +49 30 5036 2301
I used to live around the corner from this gem that specializes in farm-to-table fare.
Fashionable Café: Sing Blackbird, Sanderstraße 11, +49 30 5484 5051
My girls Tasha and Diana run this sweet little cafe/vintage shop. In the three years it has been open it’s quickly turned into a Berlin institution, serving delicious treats and hosting the most fly vintage-clothing flea market in town.
Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. Many a late morning have been spent here enjoying a fine English breakfast that languidly eases into afternoon scones, and suddenly it’s half past six and you’re ordering a pitcher of Pimms.
Indie Movie House: Babylon Kino, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 30, +49 30 242 5969
A great place for film buffs! My favorite Babylon moment was watching a live orchestra perform during a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.
Vintage Treasure Trove: Das Neue Schwarz, Mulackstrasse 38, +49 30 2787 4467
A superstore of beautiful fashion! Sometimes I get dizzy just thinking about the impeccable selection of accessories.
Singular Bookshop: Dialogue Books, Schönleinstraße 31, +49 30 6273 5111
A haven for expats looking for great literature. Dialogue’s expert team of book geeks will actually sit down with you to recommend their favorite reads and take special orders. I always leave with something unexpected.
Round-the-clock Hangout: Tempelhof Feld, Künnekeweg 1, +49 30 9170 0700
When the city of Berlin decided to turn one of Europe’s most iconic airports into the city’s largest public park, Berliners went berserk. And rightfully so. Now you can spend the day barbecuing, gardening in your vegetable plot, going to trade shows or dancing in the hangar to Diplo.
Palatial Escape: Sanssouci, Schloss Sanssouci – Potsdam, +03 3 1969 4202
Germany’s very own Versailles! If you’re looking to escape the DDR architecture of the city, take the train 30 minutes outside of the city and explore Sanssouci’s verdant gardens and majestic palaces.
Buzzy Boutique Hotel: Michelberger Hotel, Warschauer Straße 39/40, +49 30 2977 ext. 8590
Hotel Michelberger knows how to throw a shindig. For their opening party three years ago, they invited guests to party all night and stay the entire weekend in their rooms to party some more. Classic Berlin!