May 17, 2017

The Creative Guide | Colourful tips for Berlin

The city of street art, falafel, uber-cool cafes and flea markets. The one that holds my heart firmly in it’s hands. It’s no secret that Berlin is where my soul comes to life and one day I hope to pack up my bags and make the big move to the land of pretty parks and abandoned buildings galore.

Having visited pretty frequently over the last five years, I have quite the list of recommendations over on the East side (Kreuzberg, Neukölln & Mitte are the places for me) and in recent months I’ve explored West further too! Personally, my favourite time to visit is for the fun of May Day where you can drink and dance the night away – if you’re unsure, this is the time to book and if that part is already done, thank ‘Willkommen’ to my creative guide to Berlin!

To Stay:

 Creative-guide-Berlin-25hours-hotel-bar Creative-Guide-Berlin-25hours-hotel-zoo

25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin

25hours hotel is the destination for anyone who is anyone in Berlin. Effortlessly cool, bohemian vibes make it a wonderful place to hang and panoramic views of both the zoo and the city ensure that you can easily whittle away an afternoon monkey-watching.

Comfortable interiors are at the forefront of the hotel design with a news corner, hammock area, working area and jungle sauna all waiting for restless guests. Food is sorted with a buffet breakfast that dreams are made of and NENI Berlin serving up a culinary mosaic of Persian, Moroccan, Spanish and Israeli influences.

The rooms take on either an urban or jungle theme, featuring comfortable beds, one of the best showers I’ve ever experienced and design features from the likes of Moroso and Hay Design. Personally, I would 100% advise making the most of your stay and bumping up to the Jungle M room for a little bit of hammock time – an incredible experience and once that I’ll be booking time and time again.

25hours Hotel, Bikini Berlin, Budapester Str. 40, 10787 Berlin


Michelberger Hotel

With its chilled vibes and industrial interior design, the Michelberger is the ultimate reasonably priced hotel and you’ll find Instagram opportunities on every corner. Working and drawing in the bar is a favourite pastime of mine and even the toilets spark inspiration with a new soundscape on every visit.

The cosy room is small but does what it says on the box and provides you with a comfortable space to rest and a steamy shower, complete with window that looks out on to the bed (maybe just one for lovers). If you don’t stay, be sure to pop by for drinks in the evening and a game of table football, it’s the place of cocktail and dreams and a pretty lovely outdoor terrace.

Michelberger Hotel, Warschauer Str. 39, 10243

To Chill:

Boxhagener Platz

Boxhagener is a charming little park, perfect to relax in and just a short walk away from the Michelberger. On Sundays you’ll find a sweet  flea market with vinyls, clothes, furniture and various other little trinkets, much more bearable than some of the other larger markets. Not to mention that it’s also surrounded by great food and drink! Santa Maria is a trendy Mexican restaurant just on the corner with great mojitos and BURGERAMT does top notch burgers to eat-in or takeaway. Once you’ve stocked up on food, just a little explore of the surrounding streets will uncover some small boutiques as featured a little further down this guide. 

Boxhagener Platz, Grünberger Str., 10245


Monkey Bar

One of the key features of the lovely 25hours hotel mentioned earlier is the rooftop bar. You might have to wait a good while to get into Monkey bar as a non-hotel guest on a busy evening, but trust me the wait is worth it.

With panoramic views of Berlin and windows directly overlooking Berlin zoo, the interior of the place is vibrant yet cool and relaxing, and the hustle and bustle of Berlin’s trendiest is sure to bring you a few hours of fun. The extensive drinks menu is hard to choose from but one thing that you’ll regret not trying is the sweet potato fries – a perfect snack for overlooking the hoards of monkeys.

25hrs Hotel, Budapester Str. 40, 10787 


Staircase to bookstore vie Cafe Cinema passageway

Cafe Cinema

Cafe Cinema resides in one of my favourite areas in Mitte. The entrance to a secret passage, this is the perfect little cafe to enjoy a hot chocolate avec Baileys and people watch from the antique-filled interior. On a sunny day sit outside and take in the graffiti and flags in the passage, all leading to a secret cinema, bookstore and art installation – perfect!

Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178


Happy Baristas

There’s an abundance of good coffee shops in Berlin but Happy Baristas stole my heart on a recent visit and I’d recommend a trip if you’re nearby. With a typical Berlin-style industrial interior as well as some pretty cool artwork, the general audience appears to be the Australian locals which can only be a good thing – stronger coffee! I enjoyed my first ever nitro-coffee while I didn’t test it out, I certainly had food envy at surrounding guests’ brunch plates. Happy Baristas, happy coffee drinkers!

Happy Baristas, Neue Bahnhofstraße 32, 10245 Berlin

To get cultured:


Revaler Strasse

Just down the road from Warschauer Strasse lies an old bus yard and tram depot filled with various bars, galleries and a whole ton of street art. This is one of my favourite places to visit on a Sunday afternoon for drinks and a spot of flea market shopping. Also located in the area is Urban Spree, a 1700-square-metre artistic space dedicated to urban cultures through exhibitions, artist residencies, DIY workshops, concerts, an art store and a large Biergarten. Lovely stuff!

Revaler Str. 99, 10245 Berlin


William Klein exhibition at C/O Berlin

C/O Berlin

I always check out what’s happening at C/O Berlin every time I visit the city. This is probably one of my favourite galleries in the world and whatever the exhibition I always leave feeling both satisfied and inspired.

C/O Berlin is a charitable foundation presenting predominantly photography and visual media works by renowned artists. It also heavily promotes emerging talent and encourages the youth to get involved in the creative world. You’ll normally come across one huge exhibition of someone like William Klein (as above) with two smaller exhibitions on the upper level focused on German history or innovative processes. The presentation is always stand-out and as well as a wonderful gallery shop, there’s also a photo-booth for picture perfect memories.

Hardenbergstraße 22-24, 10623 Berlin


Ruine Kinderkrankenhaus

 We always have to visit somewhere abandoned on any trip to Berlin, even though I’m an absolute wuss and spend most of the time crying behind my camera. Although I’ve been to a few places, the best thing to do if you’re looking for somewhere abandoned to visit is just to check out the #abandonedberlin tag on Instagram – new places appear all the time and old places have a habit of being burnt to the ground.

One place that does seem to have lasted some time is Ruine Kinderkrankenhaus which recently had a facelift by a graffiti artist with a penchant for repetitive doodles. There’s a lot of abandoned building to go through on the site, but look for the actual doors to property (as opposed to trying to scale the building) and you’ll find it’s pretty easy to walk around without injuring yourself in the process. The whole abandoned thing is rather beautiful when you see nature take over, but do be careful as there are a lot of open manholes and the structures aren’t technically safe. always stay vigilant and don’t go at night, unless there is a party because yes, that happens too and I wouldn’t want you to miss out.

Ruine Kinderkrankenhaus, Hansastraße 178-180, 13088

To Shop:



A delightful little creative lifestyle store selling a wide range of prints, interior pieces and stationery. From the golden walls through to the little tags you take to the counter to purchase your print, everything has been thought out in this store and I was rather thrilled to find it in the heart of Mitte. Everything is super affordable and eclectic, making it the perfect stop for gifts, or just for yourself of course!

Schee, Rosenthaler Str. 15,


Type Hype

A graphic designer’s dream, Type Hype is a typographical lifestyle store complete with in-house coffee shop. The store stocks a new collection of in-house premium design products centred around the alphabet, designed and manufactured in Germany. Expect everything from prints to coasters.

Old industrial lights are suspended above lead letter cases and a Korrex printing press. The reason for the coffee shop? Typesetting apprentices used to drink a lot of milk at work. The Type Hype milk bar serves fresh organic milk from Brandenburg, coffee specialities from a Berlin-based roasting company and small but delicious slow food dishes.

Type Hype, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 9-13, 10178 Berlin



hAusen is a delightful interior concept store situated in the Boxhagener Platz area. With a focus on Scandinavian living, the store is not dissimilar to one that you would find in Copenhagen. Products from well-known manufacturers and small newcomers in Danish design are showcased in a minimal and cosy manner. From pillows and blankets, decoration, to small furniture and lamps, here’s where you can get your Hay and House Doctor fix in the heart of Berlin.

Krossener Str. 25, 10245 Berlin


Tucked away in a courtyard on Skalitzer Strasse, Motto is a hidden gem of a bookshop and one that I tend to spend a good hour browsing in. In here you’ll find rare books, zines and tiny illustrated books from a variety of artists, it’s fully of typographic inspiration and wonderful book layout designs. Make the time to look around as the books tend to be stacked and your one true publication love could be hidden.

Motto, Skalitzer Str. 68, 10997

Do You Read Me?

Do You Read Me is a fairly well-known destination these days but it will still remain on my list of places to go every visit. I rarely buy anything due to luggage restrictions but it is so lovely to see so many publications all housed under the same roof and occasionally I’ll come across a zine or smaller magazine that I just can’t say no to.

Do You Read Me, Auguststraße 28, 10117 Berlin


R.S.V.P Papier

The ultimate store for any paper lovers out there. There are actually two store just opposite each other on the same street and you might think you don’t need any more stationery, but R.S.V.P will show you otherwise. From their board of bulldog clips to their sweet selection of cards and wall of paper, there is something to entice you in every crevice and you’re sure to find something you didn’t even know you needed.

R.S.V.P Papier, Mulackstraße 14, 10119 Berlin 

Bikini Berlin

Bikini Berlin is probably my favourite shopping centre ever. It doesn’t put a foot wrong with any of the shops inside and although I can still pick out a few favourites such as Odernichtoderdoch and Super concept space, this ever-changing landscape is likely to surprise you with it’s creativity and imagination.

I’ve never seen a similar concept and if you’re a lifestyle store addict this is the absolute shopping destination for you. The garden space allows you to look across the zoo and the rooftop is also the gateway to Monkey Bar and 25hours hotel.

Bikini Berlin, Budapester Str. 38-50, 10787

For tips on eating and drinking in Berlin, get in touch. I have a whole sheet of good places to go – they’re just a little dark and dingy in typical Berlin style. Do you have any secret gems in Berlin? Be sure to comment below if you do!


  1. Siobhan says:

    Well now I wanna go back to Berlin even more!! We nearly moved there (came so close), we even got engaged there. And for 10 years straight we went every year, it’s only been a year and I’m desperate to go back. Especially with these recommendations!



    • I totally didn’t know that you got engaged there! TELL ME MORE! I’ve been close so many times as I LOVE it but timing has never been quite right. Now, I’m lusting after Hamburg too! x

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Emma Jane Palin is a freelance art consultant, interior stylist and multi-award-winning blogger residing in Margate, UK. She has worked with various home and lifestyle brands not limited to West Elm, Apple, John Lewis, Habitat, MADE, Caran D'Ache + No.3 Gin. Emma is also a regular contributor to Hunker where she writes about design trends and interior advice.

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