What to do in Berlin? Let’s face it, the German capital has more to offer than the cold war, clubbing and currywurst you know. It’s one of a shrinking number of major cities with a wide range of unusual and specialist shops, which means you are spoilt for choice when looking for something different to bring home as a souvenir. We’ve put together this list to highlight 6 shops we think are great and to demonstrate the diversity of goods on sale. So next time you’re in Berlin there really is NO excuse for settling on the Ampelmann t-shirt or the bear beer mug…
When you want to see if the magic’s still there – Zauberkönig
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Jörg Kantel
Rather incredibly this emporium of magic equipment has been in business in Neukolln for over 125 years and is still going strong. Here you can find everything you need for your act, whether you are performing in front of your partner or on a stage before a large audience. Expert advice and friendly staff make this place well worth the journey on the U-Bahn and you’re sure to find something to take home and impress your friends and family with.
Hermannstraße 84-90, 12051 Berlin. U-Bahn to Leinestrasse
Opening hours Monday to Thursday 13-18, Friday 10-18, Saturday 10-13
When you want to buy your clothes like you buy your fruit and veg – Garage
Image (c) berlin.unlike
By which I mean by weight. Yes, Garage is still going strong (I was often here back in 1992) doing what it does best – selling second-hand clothes by the kilo. When I last did the research (admittedly a few years ago) Garage was the largest second-hand clothes store in Europe and it has a good range of jackets, coats and jeans. Collect what you want then proceed to the checkout to have your bounty weighed and priced. This rather baffling method of valuing textiles generally works in your favour and you’ll certainly find items here you’ll not find elsewhere.
Ahornstrasse 2, 10787 Berlin. U-Bahn to Nollendorfplatz
Opening hours Monday to Friday 11-19, Saturday 11-18
When you want to create your own perfume – Harry Lehman
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) fortune cookie
You can’t get much more personal than a perfume you created yourself, which is where Harry can help. In his Charlottenburg store he has over 50 different fragrances (including, of course, “Berlin”) which you can blend to your heart’s desire and take home with you. I can’t promise you’ll produce the next Chanel no. 5 (Chanel no. 6?) but it’s well worth a try for the few Euros it’ll cost you. And it certainly makes for a unique and dare I say romantic gift from your visit.
Kantstrasse 106, 10627 Berlin. U-Bahn to Wilmersdorferstrasse
Opening hours Monday to Friday 09-1830, Saturday 09-14
When you want to equip yourself for moving on – Globetrotter
Image (c) Globetrotter
Okay, outdoor stores are not that unusual but this place is huge and boasts a few cool features – including a freezer room where you can test how warm those jackets and sleeping bags really are. Well, I did say cool…not only that, it also has a pool where you can actually try out their kayaks. The expertise is as good as you would expect and prices are reasonable. No matter where you are off to after Berlin, you’ll be able to get the right kit here.
Schloßstr. 78 – 82, 12165 Berlin. U/S-Bahn to Rathaus Steglitz
Opening hours Monday to Friday 10-20, Saturday 09-20
When you want to bring out your inner Jamie Oliver – Kuchenladen
Image (c) edelight.de
A veritable treasure trove of quality kitchen equipment, this Charlottenburg institution is perfect for would-be chefs but also worth visiting if you want to buy gifts for your hosts in Berlin or friends back home. They stock most of the major brands as well as more unusual items, and as is the case with most smaller shops the staff have a passion for their work and know what they’re talking about.
Knesebeckstrasse 26 , 10623 Berlin. S-Bahn to Savignyplatz
Opening hours Monday to Friday 11-19, Saturday 10-18
When you’re not prepared to give up on vinyl – Mr Dead and Mrs Free
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Montecruz Foto
If you’re one of the growing number of people determined to keep (and use) your vinyl record collection, or if you are looking for that special disc for that special someone who is similarly anti-CD, this is the shop for you. They’ve been going for years and appear to be doing better than ever, offering a wide range of music but with an emphasis on rock, punk and indie. A good place to meet people with similar taste too, and to find out about gigs and clubs in Berlin. Also good for browsing and reminiscing on the old days before Amazon et. al. And to relive that record store smell…
Bulowstrasse 5, 10783 Berlin. U-Bahn to Nollendorfplatz
Opening hours Monday to Friday 12-19, Saturday 11-16