As the Final Four approaches, BallinEurope gives you a few interesting tips how to spend the time between games and how to best use your time in one of the most exciting cities in the world. We talked to an ex-Berliner, but still a Berliner at heart, to give us his favorite spots in the city.
How to get around
The easiest way to get around in Berlin is using public transportation. A network of trains, underground, trams and buses goes to nearly every part of the city and can be used with one ticket. These tickets can be bought at automatic machines in nearly every station that give instructions in several languages.
To get to O2 World, you should get out at the Warschauer Strasse station, which is served by suburban trains, the underground line U1, or tram lines M10 and M13. The Nike International Junior Tournament can be reached by tram lines M5, M6, M8 and M10 or the suburban train. The station to get out is called Landsberger Allee.
You’d better buy a ticket because checks are very frequent and ticket inspectors don’t really look like you may imagine; be prepared to see a two-meter tall punk coming at you to check your ticket. The good thing, though, is that public transport works 24 hours on weekends.
Get additional info in English at the official website of BVG.
Click for an excellent program for your mobile phone if you use public transportation: Metro.
Where to eat
Berlin is known as an Imbiss City: Snacks are available everywhere and all day at proper prices, and portions are generally basketball-compatible. You can get a Döner Kebab or a Currywurst (Hello, Marcus Slaughter!) at nearly every street corner and you should definitely taste one of these Berlin specialties. Generally, Konopke Imbiss at the Eberswalder Strasse underground station is known citywide for its Currywurst, and if you want to get a tasty Kebab, just head over to the Kottbusser Tor station in the heart of the Turkish areas of Berlin. If you are an amateur in French fries, I can suggest Beckers Fritten in Oranienburger Strasse, which has the biggest choice of extravagant sauces served with homemade fries.
Besides these different snacks, you can also get serious food in Berlin; and what goes for snacks is also true of the restaurants: high quality at proper prices with good-sized portions. Around O2 World Arena are a lot of small restaurants in the Kreuzberg and Frierichshain areas. Cafe Vianova on Revaler Strasse, just a quick walk from the arena, offers a nice choice of Italian food. The Sunday morning brunch is particularly appreciated by the people from the neighborhood.
Another nice eatery is the Restaurant Rote Harfe at Heinrichplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg. If you are more into Asian food, we have never been disappointed at Ho Vang between Alexanderplatz and Hackesche-Höfe in the Rosa-Luxemburg Strasse. In the same area, you can find the best burritos in town at Dolores California Gourmet Burritos: The portions are huge and even Big Sofo should not get out of this being still hungry.
If you are staying in the western part of Berlin and you like pizza, just head to 12 Apostel at the Savignyplatz train station. Next to the restaurant, you will also find a tiny souvenir shop where you can buy the famous George W. Bush (among others) Jumping Jack figures.
You can get additional info in this excellent English-language Berlin City guide.
Where to drink and party
Drinking in Berlin is probably as important as snacking. You can get a multitude of various beer brands at nearly every kiosk and walking the streets with your half-liter beer bottle it is absolutely tolerated. The train and underground stations around the O2 World are heavily frequented by partying people at night; as the arena is located between two nightlife districts, you will never be thirsty when coming or leaving the arena.
However, if you’d like to do some bar-hopping in the O2 area, just head to Simon-Dach-Strasse on the Friedrichshain side or to Schlesische and Wiener Strasse in the Kreuzberg area. Here you can find a multitude of bars to get a few drinks and meet some interesting people. During the day, a whole range of beach clubs is located between Warschauer Strasse and Ostbahnhof.
The club scene of Berlin is known worldwide, and those of any musical taste can find a place to have fun 24/7. If you like techno music, Berlin is the place to be, as people from all around the globe come to the German capital to enjoy the best techno clubs; we can suggest Watergate or Maria only a few meters away from the O2 World.
If you’re more into alternative music, Lido may be the place for you; for reggae fans, YAAM is the right address. Additionally, the YAAM Beach Club also features one of the best basketball playgrounds in the city where you always find enough people for some nice pickup games.
Get additional info on where to drink and party in English at Unlike.
Besides the huge shopping galleries like Alexa or department stores like Galeria Kaufhof at Alexanderplatz, there are several smaller shops that we can recommend. Overkill specializes in exclusive sneakers and trendy streetwear, while Depot2 has one of the best choices in local brand Irie Daily. In the Mitte area, you find all the flagship stores of the big sports brands like Adidas, Puma, Converse, and our friends from K1X. Just head to the Hackesche Höfe train station and walk around the area to find what you need.
The Berlin feeling
To get into the right feeling for Berlin, we suggest checking out the following videos by musical artists from Berlin to get the vibe of the city. BallinEurope will be present from Thursday through Monday, so see you in Berlin!