The Unparalleled 10 Best Guide to Berlin's Trendiest Shopping Centers

Berlin in the Cold War Era may evoke images of functional – even bleak – fashion styles, but the city’s modern incarnation has gone a long way toward remedying that misconception. On par with London, Milan, and Paris, Berlin has emerged as one of the world’s most stylish cities, successfully juxtaposing a tendency for the avant-garde with contemporary cuts by big-name designers. Most stores are open from 9am to 6:30pm except on Thursdays, when many stay open past 8pm, and on Saturdays, when doors usually close around 5pm. The city’s main shopping drag is Kurfürstendamm (known as Ku’Damm) and its Tauentzienstrasse extension, which offer a dizzying mix of exclusive shops, the enormous KaDeWe department store, and shopping centers like Europa-Center or Neues Kanzler Eck. Side streets like Bleibtreustrasse and Fasanenstrasse, meanwhile, provide chic boutiques, many of which carry signature styles you’ll find nowhere else. Other hubs for trendy apparel include Friedrichstrasse in Mitte, Kantstrasse in Charlottenburg, and Kreuzberg’s major arteries Oranienstrasse in the East (36) and Bergmannstraße in the West (61). Major centers like Galeries Lafayette and Departmentstore Quartier 206 give Mitte added appeal. Whatever your particular prince range or type of style, Berlin and its various shopping areas and centers are sure to have something catering to everyone's taste. 



Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf

When Hamburg businessman Bernhard Garbe completed the first Stilwerk in Hamburg in 1996, the event marked far more than the opening of a new property: it marked the birth of a visionary concept transformed into reality. The "stilwerk" idea united an array of premium brands representing innovation, modernity, future, partnership and lifestyle under one roof. Stilwerk designates itself as a one-stop-shopping for "interior decor, design, and lifestyle all under one roof." This is indeed an appropriate label, with premium brands located in over 150 stores. Stilwerk offers the best and brightest and most chic brands in contemporary European design; some of the stores located within Stilwerk are Bang & Olufsen, bulthaup, BoConcept, designforum, Francesco Molon, Möve, Nyhues, Siedle, Trollhus, and Zeitlos. The Berlin Stilwerk is located on Kantstraße and is there housed in West Berlin.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Stilwerk is a veritable paradise for anyone interested in interior decor and design.

Local Expert tip: Unlike most stores and shopping centers, Stilwerk is even open on Sundays from 11am to 10pm!

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Located in the Southwestern portion of the city, Kreuzberg was the military crossing point to and from East and West Berlin. The number 36 derives from its former postal code and serves to differentiate it from its Western counterpart, Bergmannstraße Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, it has become prime real estate and has seen an economic boom. Kreuzberg boasts historic appeal, picturesque parks, quaint streets, and a renowned Turkish community - the fifth-largest in the world. Along the main artery of this eastern portion of Kreuzberg - the Oranienstrasse - you'll find an eclectic mix of local-designer shops, bookstores, singular boutiques, and a plethora of Turkish second-hand shops full of gems. The closest U-Bahn stops are Kottbusser Tor and Görlitzer Bahnhof along the U1 line.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Kreuzberg 36 is my hometown - and full of some of my favorite places to shop.

Local Expert tip: Ensure to stop in one of Kreuzberg 36's welcoming cafes to refuel during shopping.

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Crossing over the Spree River, home to Checkpoint Charlie, and within walking distance of many of Berlin's best sights, including galleries and museums, Friedrichstrasse is a buzzing hive of activity for a number of reasons. In more recent years it has developed into a thriving shopping strip, with a number of high-end boutiques, department stores, and restaurants gracing its sides. Appealing to all tastes and budgets, here you'll find stores ranging from the likes of Gucci and Louis Vuitton to Ralph Lauren and Lacoste down to Zara and H&M and everything in between. There is also the Galeries Lafayette for those who prefer large department store shopping with end-end merchandise.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Friedrichstraße is without a doubt one of Berlin's most famous strips.

Local Expert tip: A quick stroll along Freidrichstrasse is easy to work into any itinerary given its proximity to all of the most popular tourist sights.

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Located on the western side of Kreuzberg (which has a very refined reputation, nothing like that of its eastern counterpart), is Bergmannstrasse neighborhood. Known as an ideal spot to come for fine cuisine from a variety of cultural influences, this strip also boasts an wide array of shopping options, with a real focus on the pre-loved. Particularly popular here are antique stores selling treasures from foreign lands of long ago. There are a number of these antique basements along the strip and no doubt, countless trinkets and treasures to be discovered. Here too, you'll find some really fantastic second hand and vintage clothing stores, such as Colours, selling well maintained items at bargain prices.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Bergmannstraße is a hip area of Kreuzberg known for its excellent, unique shopping and dining.

Local Expert tip: Start along Bergmannstrasse from Mehringdamm, and grab a Mustafa's kebab (Mehringdamm 32) on the way! Kreuzberg is known for having incredible Turkish food and Mustafa's Gemüsekebap is a Berlin culinary experience not to be missed!

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Emblematic of the commercial and economic rebirth of modern Berlin, Potsdamer Platz Arkaden is a multi-purpose architectural gem that's home to myriad shops, cafes, movie theaters, bars, and even a casino. Billed as the "center in the center," the busy, 180-meter-long passage and its sleek, glass roof give Berliners a place to shop and play in an open-air, urban environment, no matter the weather. If you are tired from shopping, take a break in one of the many different restaurants which offer German and international food. Among the brand-name shops you'll find within this three-story structure you'll find are Esprit, H & M, Swarovski, and Benetton. The closest U-Bahn and S-Bahn are located at Potsdamer Platz.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Potsdamer Platz Arkaden is part of the hub of Berlin's new futuristic downtown.

Local Expert tip: Visit the Panoramapunkt at Potsdamer Platz for an unparalleled view of the city.

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Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf

Kurfürstendamm 23, fondly abbreviated as Ku'Damm 23, is home to the New Kranzler-Eck. Ku'Damm has already been one of Charlottenburg's hottest addresses for shoppers, who are attracted by the center's bold style and high-end specialty shops. New Kranzler Eck only adds to this West end Berlin's fashionista appeal. Indeed, the 16-level building's architecture, conceived by Helmut Jahn, is marked by sharp geometrical elements, and its glass-and-steel facade gives it the illusion of transparency on clear days. Among the more popular shop you'll find within New Kranzler Eck's halls is Karstadt Sport. The closest U-Bahn stops are either Kurfürstendamm or Uhlandstrasse, both along the U1 line.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Neues Kranzler Eck's architecture alone makes it worth a visit - stay for the speciality retailers!

Local Expert tip: If you can't get enough, go visit KaDeWe afterwards for a more high-end

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Despite its close quarters, Departmentstore Quartier 206 holds the distinction of being one of Berlin's most distinguished collections of various name-brand merchandise. High-end fashions for women and men take top billing, but the store also manages to fit in a dizzying array of top-of-the-line personal and home accessories. While being one of the smallest and yet most luxurious shopping centers in town, Department Store Quartier 206 offers primarily the international fashion elite: Yves Saint Laurent, Rive Gauche, Etro, Moschino, Louis Vuitton, Strenesse, and Bottega Venetta are all housed here under one magnificent roof. The closest S-Bahn and U-Bahn are located at Friedrichstrasse.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Departmentstore Quartier 206's cosmpolitan architecture, with an art deco flair of glass and black and white marble is not to be missed.

Local Expert tip: From here, take a boat ride along the River Spree and enjoy those Berlin panoramas!

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Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf
Photo courtesy of Andrea Schulte-Peevers

Kaufhaus Des Westens, otherwise known as KaDeWe, is Berlin's - and perhaps even Western Europe's - largest and most famous department store. The legendary Kaufhaus des Westens in Charlottenburg is revered for its wide variety - an amazing seven floors worth - of high-end merchandise, ranging from contemporary fashions and cosmetics to best-selling media and kitschy kitchen wares. In addition to great shopping, the store has a delicacies department on the sixth floor that features champagne, wine, and beer bars; a deli; a creperie; and even a sushi bar. The closest U-Bahn stop is at Wittenbergplatz on the U2 line.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: A visit to Berlin is not complete without a stop at Kaufhaus Des Westens.

Local Expert tip: Make sure to visit Le Buffet on the seventh floor for a bite to eat. Fromage!

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In keeping with Berlin's justly-earned rep as a city with a keen sense of style, Galeries Lafayette in Mitte carries elegant, brand-name French designers, as well as expensive perfumes, colognes, shoes, and accessories. They even carry the boutique ones such as agnes b., Sonia Rykiel, and Cacharel. They have a great handbag department, and the gourmet section in the basement never disappoints when it comes to French cuisine. In addition, the department store is known for its fabulous basement floor features gourmet delights like exotic produce, imported wines, premium meats, and other delicacies. The closest U-Bahn is Französische Straße on the U6 line.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Galeries Lafayette is not as big as its Parisian sister, but still the go-to-place for all things French in Berlin.

Local Expert tip: Afterwards enjoy the boutique shopping in the Mitte area of Berlin.

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Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf

"Ku'Damm" as it is affectionately (and far more conveniently) referred to, is an 'all under the one roof' merchandise haven. From your everyday brands all the way up to high-fashion labels and even small boutique designers, this place is ideal for those looking to do some serious damage to the credit card. Tautentzienstrasse is the eastern extension of Ku'Damm and is really the cherry on top of this already extravagant shopping experience. It is home to a Europa Center containing brands like H&M and Zara, as well as having its very own KaDeWe department store, worth a visit to browse through the delicious food halls and luxury designer stores.

Recommended for Shopping Centers because: Kurfürstendamm and Tautzienstraße comprise Berlin's go-to-shopping streets. Head there.

Local Expert tip: Here, the whole family is sure to find literally everything they could possibly want.

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Originally from NYC, Ryan completed his BA at New York University and then promptly abdicated in 2007. Since then, he hasn't looked back. After an inspiring, year-long tour through Southeast...  More About Ryan