Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Fri July 31 2015

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | July 31, 2015 3:00 AM ET

    Berlin: An Electric Artists' Mecca

    Berlin: An Electric Artists' Mecca

    PHOTO: One of Berlin's many large commissioned pieces of street art you will come across along the alternative walking tour. (all photos by Shannon Wolf)

    It took two years, waiting patiently and anxiously for this moment and I am both in disbelief and amazement that in a few short moments, my dream will become my reality.  

    “The American Dream” for me was always Europe — where I was convinced the grass was truly greener. Berlin was and is an artists’ mecca where anything is possible and out-of-the-box thinking is relished. That is why I’m here and that is why I traded in my previous life. For bluer skies, encased by art, passion and endless possibilities to become inspired. 

    It's been 15 hours, a taxi, two plane rides and three bottles of complimentary wine on Turkish Airlines and outside of the window, I finally see it: the city I had dreamt of, yet never been to, and the reason why I’m about to land in Europe. My heritage, my new life, my (soon-to-be) new home: Berlin.

    After a month of living in Berlin, looking for the perfect neighborhood, meeting new friends and finding my favorite cafes and 80-cent beers at the local spati, I can say that Berlin truly is the end-all, be-all for artists. The city is electric — there’s no other way to put it.

    It has an energy to it that can only be felt — not talked about — and I understand now why everyone told me it was “my” kind of city.

    If any of you are artists or looking for a city to inspire you, look no further than Berlin. The people, the food, the clubs, the prices, are beyond belief, and the city truly lives up to the hype.

    Weather: Wonderful summers but weather is unpredictable — always bring an umbrella.

    Transit Cost:

    Berlin is divided into three tariff zones: AB, BC und ABC. Tariff zone AB runs from the urban area to the city boundary

    Fares: Tariff AB: €2.70, Tariff BC: €3.00, Tarif ABC: €3.30

    Short Distance Ticket: €1.60 Euro and counts for three stops with S- and U-Bahn

    Day Ticket for one Person: €6.90 (valid all day until 3am)

    Note: Always remember to validate your ticket

    Best Hostel: 36 Rooms (€10 Dorm)

    Although I couchsurfed most of my time in Berlin, I stayed in 36 Rooms and was pleasantly surprised. Best location in the city, knowledgeable staff and comfy beds. You don’t need much more than that!


    • Walking distance to the best places in Berlin

    • Comfortable beds/Clean rooms/bathrooms

    • Large lockers

    • 24h reception

    • Kitchen/Dining room

    • Hangout Room with lots of seating

    • Good Wi-Fi/free computers

    • Bicycle Rentals

    Must Do’s in Berlin:

    • Hang out in one of the many parks:

      • Kreuzberg Park — Great for watching sunsets
      • Maier Park — Sunday outdoor karaoke
      • Winterfeldtplatz Platz — Farmers markets on Saturday
      • Boxhagener Platz — Trendy shopping market on Sunday

    • Get your party on:

      • Berghain (Club)
      • Watergate (Club)
      • Mein Haus Am See (Bar)

    • Get your coffee fix:

      • St Oberholz (Mitte)
      • Five Elephant (Kreuzberg)
      • Batueu Ivre (Kreuzberg)

    • Eat, drink and cure your hangover at brunch like the locals do. Berlin is filled with some of the best food joints, clubs and gourmet style buffets to cure even the worst hangovers. Start your evening with pre-drinks for 80 cents at your local spati on the way to Mein Haus Am See, then mosey on down to Berghain hoping to get in to dance till sunrise and once it’s 11 a.m. the next day, put on those Ray-Bans and head over to Morgenland to fill up on a massive brunch before you sleep the next two days away.

    • Walk along the Berlin Wall, aka “East Side Gallery” (free)

    • Visit the Holocaust Memorial — Go early in the morning or late in the day for best photographs (free)

    PHOTO: Walking through the Holocaust Memorial is incredibly moving yet haunting experience at the same time. 

    • Take the Alternative Walking Tour (or do it yourself with the help of this website)

    • Get your photo taken in one of the many Photoautomaten booths for €2

    • Partake in a spati crawl

    • Watch a film at Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz or Friedrichshain Open Air Cinema

    • Attend a Lokale Open Air Party

    • Explore the many abandoned places in and around the city via Abandoned Berlin

    Don’t Leave Berlin without eating at:

    • Markethall Neun: Every Thursday

    • Morgenland: Best buffet brunch

    • Dolores: Best burrito

    • Bibimbap: Yam Yam

    • Vegan: Kopps

    • Gustav Kebab: For best doner

    • Currywurst 36

    • Burgermeister: For meat lovers

    • White Trash: For best milkshake

    Day Trips:

    • Tropical Islands

    • Potsdam

    • Wannsee (can swim here)

    PHOTO: Once you step out into the streets of Kreuzberg, you will feel as though each street is a new exhibit on display so grab a beer and prepare to be blown away.

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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