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Berlin is a city like no other. The German capital offers the best of the best for both inhabitants and tourists, providing a good quality of life in a dynamic and multicultural environment. Berliners are a rare breed. They are hard to sum up, but adjectives like progressive, open-minded, boundary-pushing, night-owls seem to work quite well. It’s hard to definitely say what distinguishes Berliners from other metropolitan inhabitants, but there’s ostensibly some things only a Berliner would do.
Berliners are social beings and every excuse to meet new people or their friends is a good one. Hence, when the weather is suitable for barbecuing, Berliners call their friends, decide who is buying what, and then gather around in parks, such as Mauerpark or the famous closed airport, Tempelhof, which is now one of the best green spots in the city. After eating and talking a lot, some of them even take a nap to enjoy the sun while it lasts.
Speaking of Mauerpark, this is one of the liveliest zones in the city. More than just a place for barbecues, park-goers can find a flea market here on the weekend, play basketball or football, and watch standup comedy shows and musicians. This is also a popular destination at night during the summer.
When Ben Harper sings, ‘She’s only happy in the sun,’ he is probably thinking of a Berliner girl. As the sky is mostly grey or dark throughout the year, everybody in this city likes to enjoy every sunbeam they can get, so don’t be surprised if you see the whole city outdoors if you visit Berlin on a sunny day.
The famous Television Tower of Berlin is located right in the city center, in Alexanderplatz, and it is the tallest building in Berlin, so you see it from anywhere in the city. Whenever Berliners or visitors are lost or feel a bit disoriented, they look for the tower as a reference point. Sometimes they even follow it, as Alexanderplatz is a good connection point of transportation with its plethora of trams, U-Bahns, and buses. So, when lost, follow that giant marker in the sky.
People visit Berlin for its unique nightlife, and locals usually don’t occupy their time on the weekends with ‘Netflix and chill.’ Famous especially for its techno and electro clubs, there are establishments and entertainment options for every taste and sexual orientation, and Berliners take partying very seriously, starting sometimes in the morning and only coming back home the next day. Don’t come out if you can’t hang with the big kids.
Berlin is super unfriendly for card holders, most establishments do not accept credit cards as a form of payment, which is why most Berliners have cash in their wallet. Yet, to make it worse, the ATMs are few and far between, and if it’s not the designated bank of the cardholder, there will be a nefarious fee. Paper beats plastic in this city.
The vintage photo booths of Berlin take black and white photos and make a perfect souvenir of the city. Take the challenge and fit inside with your friends, make funny faces and have fun with the photos.
Berliners usually don’t drink coke, they drink Fritz-Kola. When it comes to energy drinks, their favorite is Club-Mate, and if it’s cocktail-o-clock, order a Moscow Mule. When on a night out or having a meal, or simply thirsty, try out one of these typical Berliner drinks. Ah, and don’t forget the delicious beers from local breweries.
Although currywurst is a famous Berlin dish, what the locals really love is a good kebab. You can find kebab spots easily, the most famous one being Mustafa’s Gemüse (vegetable) Kebab, you’ll have to wait in line, but it will be totally worth it.
Berliners understand what cold temperatures are, but they never go out of style because of it. Most of the locals have adopted an alternative fashion style and love vintage pieces of clothing, including the winter jackets. In second hand stores and in flea markets you can find several options, including lumberjack coats, completely warm and one of a kind.
Berlin is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, and many locals use it as their main means of transport. It is flat and the traffic is not so dense, so it is super easy to get around with your bicycle.
Most useful establishments are closed on Sundays, such as supermarkets, cafés, and stores, and therefore Berliners and visitors have to plan what they are going to eat and where they want to go beforehand. If you are hosted in an Airbnb or in a hostel and you would like to cook, better buy something before Sunday. On the other hand, if you prefer to eat outside, there are still many restaurants open.
Berliners do not stop doing their lives because it’s cold outside, so establishments all over Berlin, such as cafés, restaurants, or bars, provide blankets for those who choose to sit outside. Now there is no excuse not to be outside.
Christmas time in Berlin is magical. So many lights, decorations, and traditional Christmas markets. Berliners love to visit them with their friends and have a cup of Glühwein, the famous hot mulled wine. It is delicious, and it will keep you warm.
Yes, Berliners have seen a little bit of everything. The real challenge is to name what a Berliner has not seen. The truth is, Berlin is a city of freedom and this is one of the reasons why this is such an attractive city. It welcomes everyone irrespective of their race, sexual orientation, or even hair color, and therefore there are a lot of things going on, even during daylight. Hence, it is very hard to shock a Berliner. It’s difficult to prepare a non-Berliner for what they will have to visually endure. The best bit of advice to give is to just say ‘expect the unexpected.’
If you don’t, you’ll clearly be the one who’s not from Berlin.