Charlottenburg: A Neighborhood Guide - Home wherever you go.

Our resident's guide to getting to know Charlottenburg, Berlin

May 27, 2024
entrance of charlottenburg palaceentrance of charlottenburg palace

Berlin is one of the most popular cities in Europe. Like most major cities, the vibe of each area can differ significantly, and which one you choose to live in can really affect your time in the city. First timers to Berlin will often choose Mitte- the historical center, or uber-cool Kreuzberg. If you’re living in Berlin for a few months though, you may want somewhere away from the center, but close enough to dip in and out as you please. In this guide, we tell you why Charlottenburg is the perfect choice.

Charlottenburg was an independent city until its incorporation into Berlin in 1920. The classy shopping malls, clubs, and restaurants that adorned the district in the “golden twenties” were an idea of Otto von Bismarck’s- who wanted to create Berlin’s version of the Champs Elysées. After the war, it wasn’t until the 60s that the area returned to its former glory, and started to become the Charlottenburg we know today.

These days, it is clean, green, and elegant. The luxury shopping streets and historical charm are still evident. Modern day Charlottenbug combines the trendy side of Berlin with a family-friendly, residential neighborhood. For a district only 25 minutes by train from the city center, Charlottenburg is remarkably green. It sits aside Berlin city zoo, and Tiergarten- Europe’s largest urban park. On the other side you have Grunewald forest- the largest green space in Berlin.

What to do in Charlottenburg

Charlottenburg is not the tourist hotspot that Mitte is, good news for longer-term residents. There is plenty to do though, and people staying in the area should definitely tick these things off their list while they’re here:

Charlottenburg Palace

The district’s leading light. Schloss Charlottenburg is a baroque style castle inspired by the Palace of Versailles. The oldest palace in Berlin, it was restored after the war and attracts huge numbers numbers of tourists, not just to the palace itself but also its beautiful gardens. To really experience the aristocratic life, you can book a 3-course meal in the palace, complete with a concert from the Berlin Residence Orchestra.

Museums and Galleries

There are several in the area, some of the highlights are:

The Berggruen Museum- Named after a dealer of Picassos, Heinz Berggruen, who sold his collection to the city Berlin when he left. Also features work from Cezanne, among many others.

The Story of Berlin- Interactive, multimedia exhibits take you through the history of Berlin, from the original settlement up to the fall of the wall. An especially engaging museum, you can even bring the kids through it without complaints.

Camera Work- The nearby Mueseum fur Fotografie holds the largest photographic exhibition in the city, but most of it is work from the same artist, and it lacks a little in variation. Camera Work is a much smaller, niche museum that holds some delightful little exhibits. You’ll also find some works on sale, but they’re not cheap.

Deutsche Oper

This fantastic concert venue hosts more than just opera. From classical to jazz, there are great shows, and in the summer and autumn they hold some events outdoors. Has a great atmosphere, very typical of Berlin.


As mentioned, Charlottenburg is surrounded by green areas, and contains a few itself. The palace gardens may be the best place for a picturesque stroll, but to go for a jog or relax with friends head to Lietzenseepark, named after the adjoining lake. The north bank and cafe is the most popular spot. For a more tranquil time- approach from Dernburgplatz. Here you’ll find a much more secluded, flowery spot, with lovely views of the waterfall.

Where to eat and drink in Charlottenburg

Charlottenburg is an excellent neighborhood for restaurants. It mixes sophisticated, more upmarket places with fantastic cuisines from around the world, which are often at equally fantastic prices. You can find especially wonderful food from Vietnam, India, Turkey, and many more Asian and African countries.

Kantstraβe is known as Berlin’s Chinatown but has restaurants from all over east Asia. We recommend Minakami for Japanese fusion, Moon Thai for Thai, and Saigon Cuisine for Vietnamese. For more of a middle-eastern flavor, Prism serves food from Israel, Syria, and Lebanon, as well as Greece.

If you’re looking to sample the local food, you have to visit Thomas Eck. A classic local pub, they serve all the German classics, as well as a great beer selection. If you’re feeling adventurous, take on the XXL schnitzel. It’s only €8, but is a serious challenge even for the biggest eaters. For something a little more sophisticated try Lubitsch, which serves traditional German food, and dishes from around Europe. Finally, if you want the best fish in all of Berlin, Rogacki is the place for you.

In terms of nightlife, Charlottenburg is a nice middle ground. The mega-techno raves are across town, but the neighborhood has a nice selection of bars and jazz clubs to keep you entertained without having to stray far from home. Quasimodo is one of the best jazz clubs, with a really lively atmosphere. A-Trane is another, and often hosts free events.

For a cocktail, check out Monkey Bar, which as well as great drinks, offers spectacular views over Tiergarten. A unique experience awaits you at Klo, where the decor and sense of humor divide opinion, but will certainly give you something to talk about the next day. If you’re feeling homesick, The Harp Irish pub has all those home comforts, and a great whiskey selection.

Where to go shopping in Charlottenburg

Berlin’s answer to the Champs Elysées is right here. Kurfürstendamm, or Ku’damm for short, is the city’s most elegant boulevard, and where to go for designer brands.

Another place to check out is the Europa-Center, right next to the zoo. A landmark in itself, this complex hosts various cultural events, and is full of restaurants, shops, and a theater. For more of a hipster experience, Bikini Berlin describes itself as a “concept shopping mall”, and combines modern design with restaurants, showrooms, and of course shops.

Where to stay in Charlottenburg

There are numerous hotels in the area, and several of the city’s 5-star hotels are found in Charlottenburg. If you’re staying a little longer though, you’ll want to rent an apartment. There are many ways to find apartments, but you’ll have to deal with German public administration. Good apartments here are also in incredibly high demand, so you’ll have to act quickly when you find the right one.

If you’re only staying for a few months and want to skip the legwork, then consider a monthly rental with us. We have some great apartments in Charlottenburg, and you can book in minutes.

Once you’ve found the right place to stay then you can get on with enjoying the city. We hope our guide helps, and that you have a wonderful time in Charlottenburg.