Bustling & Genteel West Berlin
If 'downtown' to you means wide, traffic-filled streets, crowds of shoppers, five-star hotels and tall buildings, then Charlottenburg comes closest to fitting the bill in Berlin. The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche church, left as a ruin after the war, is the nexus of activity; between it and Zoologischer Garten station, over a billion euros is being invested in impressive highrises, hotels and offices. Follow what becomes an increasingly silken ribbon down Kurfürstendamm (Ku’damm) and the setting becomes more genteel. West Berliners meet in the bars and cafés branching off Savignyplatz, even if the Szene has moved east. Nearby but isolated from the hoi polloi is Schloss Charlottenburg, the residence of King Friedrich I. This chapter also covers other parts of western Berlin: leafy Wilmersdorf and Schöneberg, the centre of gay Berlin since the days of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories. We've also included some nearby venues in Tiergarten (officially part of Mitte) here.
Charlottenburg's nerve centre is Zoologischer Bahnhof station, along the main west-east raised city railway and easily reached from Hauptbahnhof or Spandau. From here's it's a short walk to many hotels and sights, or else hop on the M29 bus, going east along Tauentzienstraße or west down Kurfürstendamm.
Pocket Walk: Charlottenburg
Explore Charlottenburg from Zoologischer Garten station. Walk east past the Zoo to Breitscheidplatz for the ruins and modern reincarnation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Stroll further east down Tauentzienstraße for the KaDeWe department store and other shops, or head west along Kantstraße to leafy Savignyplatz for calm cafés and refined dining, or southwest down grand old Kurfürstendamm for more upmarket shopping.