Lifestyle in Berlin
Berlin has been compared to Paris in the 1920s and New York City in the 1970s; it is modest yet inviting, attracting the young and the restless from all corners of the world. Lifestyle in Berlin is a lesson in bohemian living, and expats moving to the once-divided German capital should be prepared to immerse themselves in the alternative.
Much of the city is unemployed and around 40 percent are young people, therefore residents take certain creative liberties with even the most stock-standard of practices. In short, experimentation has become tradition in the city, and those easily offended may end up spending more time indoors.
Lifestyle in Berlin pivots around the aesthetic of poverty and the innovation it begets. Fashion, design, music, art and architecture are many people's mainstay and their source of enjoyment. These 'modern hedonists', as they are often called, have blurred the lines between work and play, and the result is a constantly changing and culturally rich metropolis.
Internationally acclaimed outdoor festivals come to rest in the summertime; galleries have stopped squatting and have started opening up shop; and the fashion district is bursting with enough cuts and colour to fuel the counterculture movement for decades to come.
Nightlife in Berlin
Berlin's nightlife is second to none; boasting full-throttle sex clubs, dimly-lit cafés and even opportunities to enjoy a night as an opera-goer. Specifically, the districts of Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg are saturated and any space is likely to become a venue for young Berlin to dance the night away.
Those who enjoy anything with an intellectual edge will find a fertile nesting ground in hip Berlin. Art galleries and live music venues are often open till late in the city.
Shopping in Berlin
In a city as innovative as Berlin, lifestyle and fashion go hand-in-hand. It follows that shopping in Berlin is an experience defined by both style and originality. While each area in Berlin has its own commercial hub, the two most well known in West and East Berlin respectively are Ku'damm (Kurfurstendamm) and Mitte.
Ku'damm is a two-mile (4km) stretch of avenue in Charlottenburg where everything from department stores to designer outlets can be found. This area is akin to Berlin's Fifth Avenue and can seem a bit claustrophobic with both locals and tourists during peak shopping season. Alternatively, Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse in East Berlin are beginning to rival Ku'damm as the city's premier shopping mile. Once host to a bevy of tacky souvenir shops, these areas have become home to a number of well-known and luxurious fashion houses in recent years.
Mitte, on the other hand, is full of funky finds for those more artistically inclined. In contrast to West Berlin's tradition of mainstream megastores, this East Berlin area boasts an array of second-hand shops and flea markets.
Eating out in Berlin
Expats living in Berlin will find that the food in the German capital is fuss-free and delicious. Much of the local cuisine in Berlin has been influenced by immigrants from neighbouring countries and ingredients such as pork, goose, fish, cabbage, turnips, pickles and potatoes commonly feature in the German cuisine in Berlin.
If German fare doesn’t suit an one's tastes, there are plenty of international options to be had in cosmopolitan Berlin. The city is home to a whole host of top-quality restaurants featuring cuisine from across the globe, including Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, French, Turkish and Spanish.
Outdoor activities in Berlin
Active expats will find plenty to keep themselves busy in the city. While football is probably the most popular sport in the capital, expats can also take part in a number of different outdoor activities such as horse riding or hiking. Cycling is a favourite pastime amongst Berlin residents and there are many great biking trails which will allow new arrivals to explore the city and its surrounds. Those that enjoy a spot of golf will find some great scenic golf courses also located close to the city.
There are over 2,500 parks and green spaces in the German capital. Expats should certainly take the time to visit one of the city's greatest green assets such as Tiergarten or Viktoriapark. These parks offer a great environment for runners, walkers and cyclists, but even those that would prefer to enjoy a good book or have a picnic in the sunshine will enjoy these spaces.