SHOPPING IN BERLIN
The seven-story KaDeWe department store on Wittenbergpl. at Tauentzienstr. 21-24, is the largest department store on the continent. The name is an abbreviation of Kaufhaus des Westens (Department Store of the West); for product-starved East Germans who flooded Berlin in the days following the opening of the Wall, KaDeWe was the West. (212 10. Open M-F 9:30am-8pm, Sa 9am-4pm.) The Kurfurstendamm, near Bahnhof Zoo, has almost every kind of shop imaginable. The classified Zweite Hand (second-hand; ‚2), appears Tu, Th and Sa, and has ads for anything anyone wants to re-sell: plane tickets, silk dresses, cats, and teriffic deals on bikes. Kreuzberg’s strip for used clothing and cheap antiques is on Bergmannstrafte. (U7: Gneisenaustr.)
The flea market on Strafie des 17. Juni has the best selection, but the prices are higher. (S3: Tiergarten. Open Sa-Su 10am-5pm.) The Trodelmarkt on Nos-titzstr. 6 in Kreuzberg aims to help the homeless of Berlin. (U6: Mehringdamm. Open Tu 5-7pm, Th llam-lpm and 3-6pm, Sa llam-3pm.) Other markets are located near Ostbahnhof in Friedrichshain (by Erich-Stein-furth-Str.; S3: Ostbahnhof; open Sa 9am-3pm, Su 10am-5pm) and on Am Wei-dendamm in Mitte (U2: Friedrichstr; open Sa-Su llam-5pm). If you’re looking for used CDs or LPs, snoop around the streets near Schlesischesstr. (Ul: Schle-sisches Tor.)
THE LOVE PARADE
Every year on the 3rd weekend in July, the Love Parade brings Berlin to its knees-trains run late, streets fill with litter, and German teenagers dye their hair, drop ecstasy, and get down en masse. What started in 1988 as a DJ’s birthday party of 150 people has mutated into an annual corporate-techno-Woodstock-half a million attended in 2004. A huge parade” takes place on Saturday, involving a procession of tractor-trailers loaded with blasting speakers and topped by gyrating bodies that slowly works it from Ernst-Reu-ter-PI. to the Brandenburg Gate. The city-wide party turns the Str. des 17. Juni into a riotous dance floor and the Tiergarten into a den of iniquity. To celebrate the licentious atmosphere, the BVG offers a No-Limit-Ticket, useful for getting from venue to venue during the weekend’s 54hr. of nonstop partying (‚5, condom included). Club prices skyrocket as the best DJs are imported for the frantic, beat-thumping weekend.
Some have proclaimed that the Love Parade is dying, down to barely a third of the attendence it enjoyed in the late-90s. But tell that to anyone who’s ever been there, they’ll tell you it’s an experience they’ll never forget. Unless they partied too hard, of course.
(The 16th Love Parade will take place the weekend of July 10, 2004.)
Berlin’s nightlife is absolute madness. Bars typically open around 6pm and get going around midnight, just as the clubs are opening their doors. Bar scenes wind down anywhere between lam and 6am; meanwhile, dance floors fill up at clubs that groove until dawn, when a variety of after-parties and 24hr. cafes keep up the perpetual motion. From Mam, take advantage of the night buses and U-Bahn 9 and 12, which run all night on F-Sa. The best sources of info about bands and dance venues are Tip (‚2.50) and the superior Zitty (‚2.30), available at all newsstands, or the free 030, distributed in hostels, cafes and bars.
Kreuzberg’s reputation as the dance capital of Germany is challenged by clubs sprouting up in Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, southern Friedrichshain, and near Potsdamer Platz in East Berlin. The largest bar scene sprawls down pricey Oranienburger Strafie in Mitte. Prenzlauer Berg, originally the edgy alternative to trendy Mitte, has become more expensive, especially around Kollwit-zplatz and Kastanianallee. Still, areas around Schon-hauser Allee and Danziger Str. keep the dream alive, such as the LSD zone of Lychener Str. Schlie-mannstr. and Dunckerstr. Friedrichshain has edgier venues and a lively bar scene along Simon-Dach-Str. and Gabriel-Max-Str. Raging dance venues aimed at the young are scattered between the car dealerships and empty lots of Miihlenstr. In western Berlin, gay life centers around Nollendorfplatz. The Ku’damm is where businessmen and middle-aged tourists drink.
Try to hit the techno Love Parade, usually held in the third weekend of July, when over a million ravers ecstatically converge. Prices are astronomical during this weekend of hedonism and insanity. Counter-movements such as the Hate Parade and the Fuck Parade can provide interesting, cheap party alternatives ask around.