Shopping in Berlin: boutique hopping

by Paul.Sullivan

There are lots of places to shop in Berlin, but trendy Mitte is one of the most dynamic areas, full of designer stores and independent boutiques...

Formerly the centre of East Berlin, Mitte was one of the first districts to gentrify when the wall fell. Today it blends an abundance of historical sights with a happening arts scene and some of the best boutique and brand shopping in the city.

Clothing and shoes

You’ll find a lot of fashion shops around Alte Schoenhauer, Neue Schnoehauser and Roenthaler str - brand stores like Replay, Diesel and Levi but also plenty of trendy boutiques, some of them hidden away in courtyards or down stairs.

Male shoppers might want to visit Treufellschwein (Rosa Luxemburg tr. 21; www.trueffelschweinberlin.com), which stocks a great range of clothing from shoes, ties, trousers and swimwear by labels like Original Penguin, YMC and Superga. If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, try Respectmen on Neue Schönhauser Strasse (No. 14; www.respectmen.de), which stocks a more urban and mature range of clothing from the likes of Grisby, Karl Lagerfeld, Bonser and more.

Ladies will love the store of legendary local fashion designer Claudia Skoda (Alte Schönhauser Str. 35; www.claudiaskoda.com) – a beautiful space filled with her instantly recognizable knitwear designs (there’s a small men’s section too). Another gorgeous store is Konk (Klleine Hamburger Str. 15), which sells stylish brands by local designer as well as accessories, jewellery and more.

For second hand try Made in Berlin (Neue Schönhauser Str. 19), part of a trio of shops across the city that sell cutting edge clothes for girls and boys. You’ll find everything from hats and shoes to blouses and the faintly bizarre. Want vintage? Try Cash (Rosa - Luxemburg Str . 11), who sell second season and second hand garments.

For something more upmarket, Galeries Lafayerre (76-78 Friedrichstr; www.galerieslafayette.de) stock French products ranging from designer clothes to perfume. If it’s specifically shoes you’re searching for, look no further than Trippen Gallery (Alte Schönhauser Straße 45; www.trippen.com), which has men's and women’s shoes for every occasion in a range of materials.

Lifestyle

In the unapologetically posh Department Store Quartier 206 (Friedrichstrasse 71. www.departmentstore-quartier206.de) you’ll find everything from music and stationery to furniture and obscure cosmetics, all with a luxe-designer twist.

At the Ueber Store (Auguststrasse 26; www.ueber-store.de) you can find an offbeat collection of knick-knacks that changes every few months, while s.wert (Brunnenstr. 191; www.s-wert-design.de) sells everything from funky drinking glasses to shirts to ‘urban’ pillows.

Ausberlin (Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 17; www.ausberlin.de) has Berlin-made furniture and clothes, accessories and trinkets in spades – with selections from over a hundred designers, artists and musicians there’s a good chance you’ll find something of your liking.

Accessories and cosmetics

If it's glasses you seek, IC Berlin (Max-Beer-Strasse 17; www.ic-berlin.de) is internationally famous thanks to owner Ralph Anderl’s hand-made screwless frames and fantastic designs. They’ve been bought by everyone from Tom Cruise to Shakira – they’re not cheap, but they are beautiful.

For jewellery, Michaela Binder (Gipsstrasse 13; www.michaelabinder.de) makes stylish rings, bracelets, ear studs and necklaces in clean, basic shapes from brushed silver and gold. There’s also a line of (cheaper) steel and stone vases.

Brandy & Melville (Rosenthaler Strasse 36, in den Rosenhöfen), which sells beautiful 100% cotton products (also dresses, skirts, tops) made in Italy, is a good place for bags. Milk Berlin (Torstrasse 102) has an even broader, more style-conscious range made from vinyl, leather and more.

Talking of leather, Monia Herbst (Torstraße 101; www.moniaherbst.de) is an excellent choice for leather bags and accessories, with stylish precise cuts and detailed designs.

Gifts and souvenirs

For gifts and souvenirs Berlin Story (Unter den Linden 26; www.berlinstory.de) has a vast range of goods that veers from the kitschy to the quite useful -- think books, maps, and lots of Berlin-themed paraphernalia.

You may also enjoy the Amplemann Shop (Rosenthaler Str. 40-41; www.ampelmann.de) whose goods are entirely based around the Ampelmannchen – the distinctive (and funky) man who was once present in Berlin traffic lights and almost became extinct during the Cold War.

More expert advice on Berlin

For suggestions on where to stay in Berlin, see my Berlin Hotels – Award winning expert hotel reviews, from cheap to luxury hotels in Berlin page.

Read my overview on Shopping in Berlin.

Paul.Sullivan

I've been covering travel, music and culture as a freelance writer & photographer for a decade.

My articles and images have appeared in various international publications including The Guardian, The Independent, Sunday Times, Easyjet Magazine, Financial Times, Intelligent Life, Matador, and I've written, photographed and contributed to several high profile travel guides for publishers like Time Out, Cool Camping, A Hedonist's Guide To, Rough Guide...and more.

I first came to Berlin in 1999 to write about the city's incredible music scene. I fell immediately in love with its rawness, its history and its expansive, overwhelming sense of possibility. I returned over the years and finally got commissioned to write a guidebook (HG2 Berlin) in 2007, which was published in 2008. A year later I was living here, in leafy, laid-back Prenzlauer Berg.

I adore many European cities - Madrid, Paris and Amsterdam are among my favourites - but Berlin is the only place I've felt compelled to live. If anything, since I've been here my passion and respect for the city have grown exponentially.

My Berlin

Where I always grab a decent coffee: There are literally zillions of places to get decent coffee in Berlin. But for a truly outstanding cup I head to The Barn in Mitte, Bonanza Coffee Heroes in Prenzlauer Berg or No Fire No Glory in Friedrichshain.

My favourite stroll: In summer I really enjoy a walk along the section of the Spree where you can see the Reichstag and the Hauptbahnhof, and relax at one of the cafes on the embankment. In winter I like the atmosphere and relative emptiness of broad boulevards like Karl Marx Allee or Unter den Linden.

Where to be seen: Oh my, there are so many places to be seen in Berin. My favourite see-and-be-seen restaurant is Grill Royal, as it backs up the hyperbole with good views (if you can get a terrace seat) and excellent steaks and seafood dishes. Clubs like Tausend are good for showing out, but I prefer the more underground feel of Berghain and the Panorama Bar.

The most breathtaking view: Berlin has some great view points. You can take a lift up the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), ride to the top of the Kollhoff Tower on Potsdamer Platz or climb up to the memorial in Kreuzberg's Viktoriapark - Berlin's highest natural viewpoint.

The best spot for some peace and quiet: Berlin has many leafy parks in which you can easily get away from it all. My favourite is Volkspark Friedrichshain, which is vast and dotted with interesting historical monuments (as well as the gorgeous Märchenbrunnen fountain).

Shopaholics beware!: Both downtown Mitte and the side streets of Charlottenburg (between Kantstr. and Ku'damm) are full of amazing boutiques selling everything from underwear and jewellery to designer clothing and accessories. You'll need a lot of resolve to resist.

Don’t leave without...visiting the atmospheric Mauerpark flea market on a Sunday. In summer you'll also find the famous Bearpit Karaoke underway.