Practical Life in Berlin

Shopping in Berlin

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Berlin is "arm, aber sexy" (poor, but sexy) and much of the city's aesthetic revolves around this notion. From the trendy couture shops to the flea markets, Berliner's brilliant innovations can be observed and purchased.

Shops in Berlin are normally open Monday – Friday from 9:00 – 20:00. Smaller shops may close earlier, and grocery stores are often open until 22:00. Shops usually have shortened hours on Saturday and almost everywhere is closed on Sunday. In the build up to Christmas, from early November to mid-December, there are several "Shopping Weekends" with extended weekend hours and openings on Sundays. Some supermarkets located at train stations (Hauptbahnhof, Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten, Friedrichstrasse, Innsbrucker Platz and Ostbahnhof) are open also on Sundays. Spaetkaufs are usually open when other stores are not and offer basic groceries and cold beers for slightly higher prices than grocery stores.

Credit Cards

Most stores and supermarkets only accept local EC/Maestro Cards. Smaller shops may only deal in cash.

Main Shopping Areas

Kurfuerstendamm, more commonly known as Ku'Damm, is the main shopping street in the West. KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens) the biggest department store in Continental Europe, is a site in itself. Designer clothes bedeck the bottom floors with small international cafes and a find dining cafeteria in the uppermost floors. Around Savignyplatz there are many different shops.

Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse in East Berlin are becoming increasingly developed. There are still the tacky souvenir shops, but there are now many well-known and luxurious fashion houses as well.

Friedrichstrasse is the upmarket shopping street in former East Berlin. There are many well-known designer names in the stylish malls known as the Friedrichstasse Passagen as well as the well-known French department store, Galeries Lafayette.

Hackescher Markt and the area around Hackesche Hoefe offers funky and expensive boutiques, bookshops and antique shops.

Berlin Specialties

Some of the most popular things to buy are antiques from the 19th and early 20th centuries, books, and music. Porcelain such as the modern Rosenthal and the local Konigliche Porzellan Manufaktur is also desirable. What really shouldn't be missed are any one of the weird, wacky, and wonderful handicrafts. Whether it be artwork, clothing, or home accessories, a Berliner is sure to have made something interesting.

Flea Markets

Dozens of markets (Flohmarkt) happen everyday in Berlin with even more popping up for the weekend. Each market usually has a great selection of food as well.

  • Mauerpark - On Sundays, next to Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn Sportpark in Prenzlauer Berg. Many handicrafts, clothing, and bikes.
  • Arkonaplatz - On Sundays, close to Mauerpark. Stalls offering a range of clothing, furniture, and knick knacks.
  • Strasse des 17. Juni - On Saturday & Sunday, one of Berlin's biggest and most touristed market. Fancy buttons, records, and door knobs can all be found here.
  • Boxhagener Platz - On Saturday & Sunday, small flea market with bizarre finds. Mostly consists of locals selling their stuff. This may include older folk with communist remains and hipsters with not-quite-hip-enough personal effects
  • The Turkish Market (Tuerkenmarkt) - Open Tuesday and Friday, this is a great market for fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, and organic products.

Shopping Centers

  • Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) - The largest store in continental Europe, KaDeWe has 8 floors of shopping. There are designer labels, a large food hall, and a cafeteria. It was the only department store in the city to escape destruction in World War II.
  • Galeria Kaufhof - Department store at Alexanderplatz
  • Galeries Lafayette - On Franzoesische Strasse 23, this is a large and stylish department store. The interior features two large glass cones that are five floors high.
  • Potsdamer Platz Arcades - Just off Potsdamer Platz is the "Arkaden". This mall has over 130 shops.

Update 6/06/2011


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