Remember that cool guy Andy, the travelling hairdresser, we told you about? Well, it’s time to meet his other half, Jess.
Jess and Andy have been living in Berlin for over three years, so they know a thing or two about the city. What else is super cool about Jess is she writes a food blog called Wholy Goodness featuring delicious vegan recipes, quirky colourful food styling and photography and handy tips. And the girl is a photographer so she likes going to galleries and doing cultural stuff making her the ideal candidate to give us some tipps on what to do when your parents come to town.
Over to Jess.
So your Ma and Pa are coming to Berlin. If they are anything like my parents, they are loving and supportive of whatever choices you make in life, even if it means living on the other side of the world. But you know that deep down their wish is that you would move home and have babies already. Try as they may, they don’t understand why you picked Berlin – the antipode to your motherland – nor can they grasp why the heck you would ever want to settle down here. Hence, it is imperative that you show them the time of their lives. You want your parents to love Berlin. Here’s how to do it in three jam-packed days:
Start with brunch in your favourite local kiez-cafe and then head to Martin Gropius Bau. It is my go-to whenever I need an art fix and there is always at least one exhibition worth seeing there. If your parents aren’t so impressed by art, next door is the Topography of Terror, on the location of the former SS headquarters. I like this place for two reasons. One, because it is free. The other, because Germany is well aware of how fucked up their past is and they don’t try to hide it.
From the Topography of Terror you can walk to West Berlin Café, which is a goldmine in this otherwise tourist-driven little pocket of Berlin. They have some of the best coffee going round and good cake and art books to boot.
Humour your parents for the afternoon and let them get their photo taken at Checkpoint Charlie and go up in the hot air balloon to get a view across the city. Finish your day off with a bang by taking them for a nice dinner in Kreuzberg. A short Bus / walk will get you to StreetFood Thursdays (if indeed it is a Thursday), Mundvoll if you are looking for something a little bit fancy, Trattoria Venezia if you would like giant pizza and cheap wine, Cocolo Ramen if your parents have never tried Ramen or for my absolute favourite food in all of Berlin – Langano. Order the vegetarian platter, you won’t regret it!
The next day I suggest brunch at Father Carpenter Coffee Brewers and then jump on a Fat Tire Bike Tours from Alexanderplatz. These tours are great and I highly recommend doing one even if you have lived in Berlin for three years. After the bike tour, do something you would never-ever do unless you were with your parents and go up the TV Tower for a coffee and a rotating view of Berlin.
Take a stroll down the streets and browse the boutiques along Alte Schönhauserallee and the independent designers on Mulackstrasse, which are open until 7 or 8pm. There are also galleries galore in Mitte if you prefer art to shopping, with KW Gallery and Me Collectors room on Auguststrasse amongst my favourites.
Finish off your day with a meal at one of the many delicious restaurants in Mitte – some of my recommendations are Maedchen Italiana – the best Italian Food in Berlin, District Mot for a Saigon street food experience or Mogg & Melzer, located inside the Old Jewish Girls School on Auguststrasse. We like to go here for dinner and then next door to Pauly Saal for a cocktail or three. If your parents aren’t asleep yet after their epic day, take them to the Clächens Ballhaus for a boogie and a parent-friendly insight into the Berlin nightlife scene.
Kick off the following day with a coffee and snack at The House of Small Wonder and then another must-do while your parents are in town – a trip to the Boros Bunker. Bookings are essential and be sure to book well in advance. On the tour you will be guided through the diverse history of the building and how it has come to be the home of one of the largest private collections of contemporary art. After this, get ye to Mogg & Melzer if you didn’t make it the night before, or wander the lovely streets of Mitte again before ending up at Neta for a Mexican street food experience.
Then there is the West. If your parents like to shop, take them to fancy Kurfürstendamm where they will find designer boutiques and the infamous food hall at Ka De We. Something not to be missed while in this part of Berlin is the Café am Literaturehaus which is possibly the most beautiful café in all of Berlin. If time allows and you are not sick of art, I recommend a trip to Berlin’s most highly revered photo gallery- C/O Gallery – which is yet to disappoint.
On a Sundays, there are always the beautiful floh markets. For parents, the best is definitely the one at Boxhagener Platz as you can actually walk freely and look at things, unlike Mauer Park and Nowkoelln Floh Markt where you shuffle through like cattle. You will find great coffee and food at Australian-owned Silo Café nearby Boxhagener Platz, and don’t forget, many galleries and museums are open on a Sunday so there are plenty of places to send your parents if you have a hangover to tend to.