Otto Dix, Else Lasker-Schüler and Max Libermann…during the golden twenties one would have found artists, playwrights and politicians alike swanning around the iconic theatres, shops and cafes of West Berlin. Today this area is known as Charlottenburg, and is still reputed as one of the most affluent districts of the city. Set away from the creative hubs in East Berlin, it isn’t as popular with the young, hip Berliners and tourists, but that certainly helps it maintain it’s spruced up appearance and composed lifestyle. Aside from this the area has much to offer: historical attractions, beautiful period property and swanky shops and restaurants (here you can find the famous KaDeWe, the original powerhouse shopping mall of the west, its design based on the traditional Parisian arcade style). Charlottenburg one of the only places in Berlin with that ‘old’, established European city feel: if you take a stroll down one of the main streets, K’damm (Kurfürstendamm), you’ll see it’s littered with well-dressed business people and well-heeled holiday makers emerging out of smart hotels and expensive shops. In winter, K’damm transforms into a stunning Christmassy boulevard with lights glistening in the trees and a traditional German market.
In Charlottenburg you’ll find Zoologischer Garten, the old central station of the West when the city was divided. It was the gateway through which you could enter or leave Berlin, and the main meeting point of the city. The investment that has since gone into the surrounding area is unmistakably corporate, and can be seen in developments like the famous Bikini Berlin – a shopping centre that towers over K’damm with views over the zoo. In fact, there’s no denying that Charlotteburg is one of the most corporate corners of the city. Still, with the investment has come an influx of people to the area, which in turn has had a positive impact on local businesses – as well as improving convenience for residents through the arrival of a variety of retailers. The area is also home to the famous baroque-style Charlottenburg palace, the largest palace in Berlin and the city’s last remaining royal residence. Next door is the Kleine Orangerie restaurant that has a sunny atrium and outdoor seating area for when it’s pleasant weather. The Grosse Orangerie (it’s sister building) holds classical music concerts from April through to October – music from the 17th and 18th century are performed in traditional baroque costume.
Something worth knowing: Glass restaurant on Charlottenburg’s Uhlandstrasse is making the rules of modern cuisine with it’s free spirit and exquisite yet unconventional food. However, it’s a well-kept secret: not many people (even Berliners) know it exists.
Nearest airports: very close to Tegel airport and easy transport links to Schönefeld airport – both of which have international flights.
City centre: 10 minutes by U-Bahn to Potsdamer Platz or Alexanderplatz