Living in Pankow has its upsides and its downsides. On the one hand, the neighbourhood is peaceful; on the other, it often feels far-removed from “the rest of Berlin”. Personally, I firmly believe in the untapped energy of the M1 line: Along the tram tracks are some real gems, one could even say jewels, that are often ignored in favor of venues elsewhere in the city that require long, complicated transport routes. In this piece, I’d like to introduce you to some such M1 Jewels, a few of which I have personally visited for you. Starting in the north end of this great transit line, here are some recommendations for eats, sights and delights that are close to an M1 stop, simple to reach, and worth your time.
In today’s installment, we eat (a lot) and then roll ourselves around an antique market.
Hackescher Markt – Flakes Corner, Litfaß Denkmal
Though unfortunately a little overpriced, Flakes Corner at Hackescher Markt is every BCBer’s inner child’s dream. This cafe boasts every kind and combination of cereal under the sun. Besides cereal, you can also add flavoured milks (mint, chocolate, BUBBLEGUM?) and toppings (Maltesers, fruit, peanut butter, ROOT BEER?) to your dish. Definitely a spot to hit up for all you home-sick Americans out there.
I also cannot stop myself from mentioning the Litfaß Denkmal, which commemorates the inventor of those advertising pillars that are all around Berlin (and elsewhere): Ernst Theodor Amandus Litfaß. It may be visually plain, but I really think a lot of thought went into this statue. It appropriated an object of pure utility for its design, transforming it into a piece of art and, most importantly, a symbol for the power of the simplistic, the invisible. Honestly, it makes me swoon a little: It’s one of my favourite places in Berlin, so I hope you can at least try to understand my feelings towards it.
Monbijouplatz – MAGICUM – Berlin Magic Museum
The Magicum is a small museum near Hackescher Markt detailing all things myth, mystery and magic. The permanent exhibition is really fun, though it’s a little bit of a tourist trap, so beware if they try to upsell you. The museum is open every day from 10am to 8pm.
Oranienburger Straße – Hummus & Friends
Hummus and Friends is a good place for a quick bite of Israeli-Arab food. I recommend just getting a plate of Hummus and Tahini and digging in. Don’t order too many extra pita, though, as that will get pricey.
Oranienburger Tor – House of Small Wonder
House of Small Wonder’s first location is in Williamsburg, NYC. Now this hipster wet dream has found its way to Berlin. This favourite brunch spot serves delicate sandwiches, eggs of all sorts, and homemade granola alongside tex-mex inspired Japanese lunch (yes, I am serious). Don’t come here when you’re already starved — you will absolutely have to wait for a table.
Universitätsstraße – Wonderpots frozen yogurt, Denkmal zur Bücherverbrennung am 10. Mai 1933
I find Wonderpots to be the best chain for frozen yoghurt in Germany. Definitely put some Kalte Schnauze/ Kalter Hund (German dessert made of biscuits and chocolate) on your fill.
With your cup, walk past the pittoresque Humboldt University, the Kronprinzenpalais and the stunning state opera to visit the Denkmal zur Bücherverbrennung am 10. Mai 1933.
I first saw this art piece/memorial on my very first Berlin Weekend. It seeks to remind us of the nearly 20,000 books by Jewish, liberal and communist authors that were burned in this very place on the 10th of May 1933. It is simply striking.
Georgenstraße/Am Kupfergraben and Am Kupfergraben – Flea Market at the Bode Museum
Finally, how would this series be complete without a flea market? We are in Berlin, after all. This spot sells mainly antiques and books every weekend and on public holidays from 10am to 5pm. With the beautiful Bode Museum as backdrop, this is a great place to be on a warm Sunday morning.
I do hope you enjoyed this final ride of the M1 Jewels! I had an incredible time picking out and visiting spots for this series, and I hope you did too. Do consider some of these recommendations, and make sure to never forgot your school ID for those sweet discounts and trouble-free travel.