How to relive the days of East Berlin (without it sucking)

Published On 10/23/2013 Published On 10/23/2013

Reliving the days of East Germany is easy -- all you have to do is bug your own apartment, throw out the better half of your stuff, then call the cops and tell them your neighbor is making jokes about East Germany. Or to save on your phone bill, you could sate your Ostalgie (the very real nostalgia for certain aspects of life under the East regime) by doing this cool stuff...

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Walk along the Wall
Although most of the more than 100-mile Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, there are still remnants scattered throughout the city left as a memorial. For a historic look, head to PÔÇÖBergÔÇÖs Bernauer Strasse & check out exactly how terrifying the border fortifications were. The longest intact stretch of the wall is the East Side Gallery, which was painted in 1990 by numerous international artists & the ultimate hunk David Hasselhoff has become an honorary mascot for it. ItÔÇÖs a (disturbingly) popular #selfie spot even without a Hoff-spotting.


Spot the green man
Take a second look at the crosswalks in Berlin. While locals tend to favor the old-school Monopoly man style of the East Ampelmann, many of the traffic lights are being replaced with way more boring, way less hilariously phallic-looking Western versions. Catch a glimpse and pick up souvenirs w/ the old man at a Mitte shop in Hackesche H├Âfe, which slaps him on everything from bags to shirts to ice-cube trays, and, unlike most things in Germany, is open on Sundays.

DDR Museum, Berlin 2013

Live like an East Berliner
Get a peek at what life looked like when the city was divided w/ a walk through Alexanderplatz, where many of the buildings feature GDR architecture and murals. The DDR Museum houses extensive artifacts on former Eastern life, from toys to potty training figurines to models of nude beaches, b/c the State controlled when babies peed and what you wore for an afternoon swim. And at the Ostel Hostel you can bunk in commie style w/ ultra retro furnishings and hidden cameras.

Trabi Safari

Drive a Trabi
Drive into the past w/ the Cold War-era Trabant, aka the Trabi, aka the death trap, which very often lacked brake lights or turn signals. Rent a tricked out version from Trabi Safari -- convertible or leopard print -- and get your own Trabi license, giving you real GDR street cred.

DDR Museum, Berlin 2013

GDR treats
Take a strangely nourishing & flavorful bite out of the East at one of the cityÔÇÖs cult Ossi restaurants. Osseria serves up dishes like the spicy sour soup Soljanka and J├Ągerschnitzel, while DDR-Restaurant Domklause is headed by a former GDR chef who sticks to traditional hearty Eastern recipes. At Bei Muttern/Ostalgie youÔÇÖll find home cooking at its finest & Caf├ę Sibylle is both an ice cream parlor and an exhibit of GDR memorabilia.

Dr. Kochan Schnapskultur

East drinks
No trip down East German memory lane is complete without a healthy prost! to the State. Pick up a few bottles of GDR-style schnapps at the Dr. Kochan Schnapskultur liquor store, or relax at VErkehrsBeruhigte OstZone, where Eastern relics cover every inch of space. Mauerbl├╝mchen -- decorated w/ portraits of commie leaders & settings -- even has a beer garden in the back & does brunch on the weekends.

Dederon-Design Shop

Pick up some East duds & housewares
Although those living under the stateÔÇÖs tight control were denied the glossy products of the West, today, for some reason, there is still demand for some of ÔÇťMade in the GDRÔÇŁ stamped goods. For a trippy shopping experience, check out shops like Dederon Design, Ostpaket & Ostkost, where youÔÇÖll find shelves stocked w/ everything from cosmetics and wine to chocolate bars.

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1. East Side Gallery M├╝hlenstr., Berlin, 10243 (Kreuzberg)

The East Side Gallery is the longest intact stretch of the Berlin wall, which was painted in 1990 by a number of artists from around the world.

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2. Ampelmann Rosenthaler Str. 40 - 41, Berlin, 10178 (Mitte)

This Mitte shop slaps the East German Ampelmann green logo on everything from bags to shirts to ice-cube trays.

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3. Alexanderplatz Alexanderplatz, Berlin, 10179 (Mitte)

Named in honor of the Russian Emperor Alexander I, the Alexanderplatz is a large public square and transportation hub in the central Mitte district of Berlin.

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4. DDR Museum Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, Berlin, 10178 (Mitte)

Opened on July 15th, 2006, the DDR Museum is fully interactive and is the 11th most visited museum in Berlin.

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5. Ostel Hostel Wriezener Karree 5, Berlin, 10243 (Freidrichshain)

This Berlin hostel offers an authentic DDR ambience and retro furnishings so that guests feel like they're going back in time to divided Berlin.

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6. Osseria Langhansstr. 103, Berlin, 13086

This Wei├čensee resto serves up DDR-style home cooking, with the interior representing the feel of the time with plenty of of Ostalgie.

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7. DDR-Restaurant Domklause Karl-Liebknecht-Stra├če 1, Berlin, 10178 (Mitte)

If you're looking for some East German spins on your schnitzel, check out the DDR resto, which prepares one version of it with pork sausage and is served on pasta with red sauce.

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8. Bei Muttern/Ostalgie Greifenhagener Stra├če 27, Berlin, 10437 (Prenzlauerberg)

This Prenzlauer Berg resto plates quality home cooking at affordable prices, while also featuring an extensive list of wines and cocktails.

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9. Caf├ę Sibylle Karl-Marx-Allee 72, Berlin, 10243

Not only does this cafe/resto serve up drinks, ice cream, fresh-baked pastries and Mediterranean food, but it's also an an exhibit of GDR memorabilia.

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10. Dr. Kochan Schnapskultur Immanuelkirchstr. 4, Berlin, 10405 (Prenzlauerberg)

From whisky to rum & vodka, Dr. Kochan's liquor store has a wide variety of booze to cure what ails ya.

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11. VErkehrsBeruhigte OstZone Kleine Pr├Ąsidentenstra├če 4a, Berlin, 10117 (Mitte)

This Mitte bar is absolutely filled with East Germany relics, with a standard collection of adult beverages at quality prices.

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12. Mauerbl├╝mchen Wisbyer Strasse 4, Berlin, 10439 (Prenzlauerberg)

This Prenzlauer Berg dive bar has a back beer garden and runs a brunch special every weekend.

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13. Dederon Design Muskauer Stra├če 45, Berlin, 10997 (Kreuzberg)

This Kreuzberg shop is filled with numerous nick-nacks and other housewares and clothes.

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14. Ostpaket Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 13, Berlin, 10178

Ostpaket is truly a miscellaneous shop, selling everything from food to housewares to toys.

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15. Ostkost Lychener Str. 54, Berlin, 10437

Ostkost is a farmers market, grocery store, and miscellaneous shop in Berlin.