Guide to Berlin
Part I: Julie’s Best of Mitte

Guide to Berlin: Best of MItte

In this Berlin city guide series, friends of Archer Relocation share what they love most about the part of the city they call home. In our first installment, Julie shares the best of Berlin-Mitte. 

Who: Julie Schoen, a photographer and social media manager.
Berlin Neighbourhood: Berlin-Mitte
Moved to Berlin: with her husband and two children in 2017 from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Julie's Guide to Berlin Mittee
What do you love about Berlin?

The creativity. I love how I can meet so many different types of people on a daily basis. From a film producer to an artist, to someone who works in technology, there is just a constant creative vibe as you walk down the street in Berlin. I love that. 

Where in Berlin do you live?

I live in Mitte near Weinbergspark. We chose that neighborhood initially because of the proximity to our children’s school. But after having lived there for two years now, I wouldn’t change it. Mitte is so central, it’s close to the U-Bahn, the S-Bahn, the trams… It’s a great area to live in. 

What do you like about your neighborhood, Berlin-Mitte?

You walk down the street and have every different cuisine you can imagine in a 2-block radius. There are super cool shops. And while it feels sometimes overwhelmingly busy, that also gives it a certain vibe that you might not have in other neighborhoods in Berlin. 

Berlin does have some great restaurants! What are some of your favorites in Mitte?

My absolute favorite restaurant in Berlin is noto. I’ve been there about 10 times and everything is always good. The menu is small but the service is great. They have a great wine list, good veal ribs, good Austrian cheeses… It’s just got a great vibe. Small restaurant but probably my absolute favorite. 

Noto Best Berlin Mitte Restaurant

What about going out as a family, what Berlin-Mitte restaurants do your kids love? 

For family dinners we love Yafo. It’s an Israeli restaurant and it’s just a fun place. You sit around in old velvet chairs and eat hummus. We also love Yumcha Heroes, a  dumpling place on Weinbergsweg. And for brunch we love Commonground in the bottom of the Circus Hotel. It’s fun and they have Australian-American type brunch dishes.

What’s your favorite place to go out for a drink in Berlin?

My favorite cocktail bar is Mr. Susan. You go in and you give them a few adjectives and they will develop a cocktail for you. Their cocktail menu is super interesting as well.

Where can you find the best coffee in Mitte?

For good coffee to take away I like The Barn, but my favorite place to sit and have coffee is Espressobar Mörder. It’s totally unpretentious, not hipstery, I love the design, the old GDR style, the wallpaper in the bathroom… It’s a quirky weird place. Another place I like to have coffee is Café Lois. It’s very cozy, quiet, and you can sit outside in the summer. It’s also an excellent spot to transition from afternoon coffee to an evening glass of wine.

Sounds like Mitte has a lot of good restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, is it a good neighborhood for kids?

Yes! Especially as you go a little further up Kastanienallee into Prenzlauer Berg. You see children everywhere. The Kita situation is challenging but the fact that you’re close to Weinbergspark, which has a super large playground, is perfect. You’re also not too far from Volkspark Friedrichshain another huge park with nice playgrounds. Most of the restaurants are kid friendly as well, which makes it a really good area for families. 

How’s the grocery shopping in your part of Mitte?

We have a new Edeka around the corner from us which is great. It borders Denn’s so if you want to go the bio (organic) route you’re all set. There’s also a Rewe down the street. It’s a fantastic area for grocery shopping, especially if you don’t have a car.

Is there a good Wochenmarkt (farmer’s market) in the area?

The market on Saturdays at Kollwitzplatz is my favourite weekend market. Technically it’s in a different neighborhood — Prenzlauer Berg, but we’re right on the border. It’s probably the best food market I’ve seen in Berlin. I always pick up some fresh pasta and homemade pesto at the pasta stand. We usually have lunch at the market as well. You can have a really good porchetta on ciabatta and a little glass of wine. 

You’ve got amazing style. Can you share your favorite shops in Mitte?

For a very “Berlin” clothing store my favorite is Studio 183 on Brunnenstr. They carry clothing by independent designers, many from Berlin, and they have very funky stuff — spray painted shirts and really cool jewelry. 

There’s a concept store I like called Maisinger Berlin, which is a good place to buy candles. That was my big thing when I moved to Berlin. I love good candles and that place has got them. 

On the corner of Chaussee Str., OFT Vintage Berlin is an enormous vintage/consignment store. It’s crazy. There are just so many cool things. It’s not cheap but they have these amazing light fixtures and belts and just funky stuff.

You’re an avid runner. Is your neighborhood good for running?

The proximity to the Spree makes it a great neighborhood for running. Running along the river toward Bellevue is a route that I like, then turning around and coming down the other side of the Spree gives you great views of the TV Tower and the Reichstag. There are nice big running paths, and when you get a sunny morning, especially in the winter, the air is crisp and the sun is shining — it’s beautiful.

What else do you do for fun and exercise in Berlin?

There’s a great pool in Volkspark Humboldthain for swimming. It’s enormous. In the summer it gets very crowded, but if you can go early during the week, there’s no one there, and you can swim laps in their olympic-sized swimming lanes. Kids love the waterslide, and there’s a really good snack bar with the best french fries in Berlin!

The Oderburger Hotel also has a great pool, which is good in the winter since it’s indoors. We sometimes go with the kids on a Saturday morning. And after a swim you can have a hot chocolate at the bar!

You got a dog after moving to Berlin, what’s it like having a dog here?

Yes, about a year after moving we adopted our dog Scout through an organization called Stray Aid Montenegro. I highly recommend it for anyone in Berlin who’d like to get a dog.

Berlin is such a great city for dogs. You can take them anywhere — any restaurant, you can’t take them into supermarkets, but most other stores allow dogs, in the trains, on the trams. 

Scout, is an English setter mix. She’s a hunting dog, so she loves going to the forest. Grunewald, in the western part of Berlin always makes a great weekend destination for a family outing with a dog. We take the S-Bahn. It’s super easy. 

Do you have any tips you’d give to someone just moving to Berlin?

We love Mitte, but there are so many great parts of the city. I think it’s important to get out of your neighborhood and explore the diversity of Berlin. Each neighbourhood is so different. I like to pick a restaurant destination and then go for an early dinner with the kids. I love going out to Neukölln or Kreuzberg and seeing something different.

Thank you Julie! 

You can follow Julie’s adventures in Berlin on her Instagram sites: @schoeninberlin and @trackthetown 

(All images courtesy of Julie Schoen.)

 

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Archer Relocation has been providing relocation services to families, individuals and companies in Berlin since early 2015.  Managing Director, Emily Archer, founded the company desiring to use her first-hand experience as an expat to make the relocation process as smooth as possible for others moving to Berlin.  Read other useful information about moving to and living in Berlin, such as ‘How to Find a Berlin Apartment’, on our Berlin Blog.  

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