BerlinTo give Berlin a fair shake, you’ll need at least three full days. The following list of things to see is far from complete; we've left out dozens worthy of your time: Charlottenburg Palace, the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, the Gendarmenmarkt, the Tiergarten, the Zoo, the Transport and Technical Museum, Olympic Stadium, the Airlift Memorial, the Dahlem Museums, Berlin’s rivers and lakes, and more.

  • Potsdamer Platz: In the futuristic outdoor atrium, beneath the Sony building’s lofty dome, it’s hard to imagine that early in the 20th century this ground was Berlin’s Times Square, and just a few years ago was a vacant lot in no-mans-land between the two Berlins.
  • Kurfürstendamm: This wide, tree-shaded boulevard is a fascinating stroll day or night and Berlin’s best shopping street.
  • KaDeWe’s Food Floor: Europe’s largest food hall: 400 kinds of bread; 1,200 varieties of sausage, bacon, and ham; 1,300 cheeses, and dozens of places to have lunch. A magnificent display of food and drink. Tauentzienstrasse 21-24
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe: On the site of Hitler’s chancellery, a block south of the Brandenburg Gate, this unique monument effectively communicates, without explanatory signage, a sense of unease and loss.
  • Topography of Terror: There are only remnants of the foundation of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters. Powerful, nonetheless. Niederkirchnerstrasse 8
  • Soviet Memorial: Dedicated to the Soviet soldiers lost in the 1945 Battle of Berlin. Before 1989, every Western tour bus was required to stop at this outlandish but moving monument in Treptow Park. The soldiers’ remains rest in mass graves around the principal monument. Under terms of the unification, Germany continues to maintain this and other Soviet memorials on German soil.
  • Mercedes Welt am Salzufer: Yes, it’s a new car showroom, but probably unlike any you've ever seen. The five-story, steel and glass, atrium-style building encloses two restaurants, a private club with indoor climbing wall and racquetball courts, and, of course, all those gleaming Mercedes Benz cars, new and rare vintage models; some suspended by long cables from overhead steel girders. Enjoy a wurst and a beer while watching CNN on high-definition TV in the informal main floor restaurant. Salzufer 1, off Strasse des 17. Juni, near the Tiergarten S-Bahn station.
  • Friedrichstadtpalast: This surprisingly spectacular Las Vegas-style revue in the Mitte is a pleasant leftover from communist times, when tickets rewarded favored party apparatchiks. There are acrobats, a full orchestra, singers, dancers, opulent costumes, and elaborate stagecraft that includes a retractable, mermaid-filled glass swimming pool arising from the center of the stage. Even the cheap seats have good sight lines. Friedrichstrasse 107, tel. +49/030/23 26 23 26, fax 23 26 23 23, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Ballhaus Mitte, an atmospheric, chandeliered ballroom in a prewar building in the Mitte, delivers the sort of entertainment Berlin is famous for. This off-beat restaurant/night club serves dinner with a variety of live music. Depending on when you’re there, it could be Argentine Tango, American Swing, or Vienna lieder (songs). The Pasta Opera, scheduled about once a month (more frequently in summer), combines a multi-course Italian dinner with popular operatic arias sung by costumed performers (see video clips at www.pastaopera.de). Ballhaus Mitte, Auguststr. 24
  • Jewish Museum The focus here is not on the Holocaust, as one might assume, but on Jewish life in Germany. Plan for at least half a day and don’t, as we did, spend too much time on the early exhibits. There is much to see and you can wear yourself out before you've been through half of it. Museum personnel are extraordinarily helpful. Expect security measures upon entry. There is an excellent, reasonably-priced restaurant. Admission is inexpensive: €5 for adults and €2.5 for seniors. Lindenstrasse 9-14, +49/030/25993 300, fax 25993 409, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Checkpoint Charlie Museum: Not-to-be-missed documentation of the history of the Berlin Wall and the many East-to-West escape attempts. One of the few sections of the Wall still standing can be reached from here via Zimmerstrasse. Checkpoint Charlie Museum, 43-44 Friedrichstrasse. Admission E9.5, students €5.5 (25 percent discount with WelcomeCard), www.mauermuseum.de.
  • More Museums: No one should miss the Pergamon and its thousands-of-years-old antiquities, the most spectacular being the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate. See Raphaels and Vermeers at the Gemäldegalerie and then go next door on the same entrance ticket to view far-out modern stuff in the Neue Nationalgalerie. Movie-goers will enjoy the Berlin Film Museum in the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz. The Marlene Dietrich exhibit, which changes every six months, is part of the larger Dietrich collection of some 3,500 items.