I was hesitant to call this article “Escape”, Grunewald obviously belongs to Berlin, yet everyone I know needs at least 30mins on bike, train or in car to get there. And I definitely go there to escape the city, to enjoy the forest, the lakes and all the oddities this richest of all Berlin districts has to offer. And when I was asked by Heineken to name my favorite five places in one of my favorite districts for their new “Open Your City” campaign and brand new heatmap, I immediately knew it was this.
Grunewald is about recreation, may it be a weekend getaway or a spontaneous weekday escape, we travel South-West to enjoy the rich nature. Which wouldn’t exist anymore hadn’t a first environmental movement protested against the increasing speculation with the land and destruction of the woods in the beginning of the 20th century. By then, Berlin’s upper class had discovered this area as an attractive site for living which led to the development of mansion colonies, an influence that is still noticeable today.
Today, it’s the mix of trees and lakes, luxurious mansion residents and visitors from all of Berlin looking for recreation that makes this district interesting and exciting, which is why I want to recommend my five favorite places South West.
It’s actually hard to choose only five places, Grunewald is not only full of money and nature, but also of history. Ultra-nationalists assassinated foreign minister Walther Rathenau in 1922 in the hopes of provoking a civil war, from the train station Nazis deported more than 50.000 Jews to extermination camps, and after World War II the forest itself was extensively used by the US Army for military purposes. All these events left traces, and even if you don’t visit the memorial sites, you’ll still feel how “loaded” this part of Berlin is.
This might also be why some people like it here because it feels like “the old Berlin”, it certainly is the old Berlin if you consider the former Berlin to be wealthy and expensive. Apart from that, it’s just nice to hang out here, to me it feels like another city.
If you got time on your hands, start your Grunewald escape with a visit to the Wiener Conditorei and Caffeehaus at Roseneck. It’s THE place to see and be seen, on a sunny Saturday the front row of small round tables is always taken by people enjoying iced coffee with loads of whipped cream and a choice of sky-high cakes or fruity tarts from the big display inside. Just sitting there and watch the people coming and going will tell you loads about Grunewald. I went for a pice of Bienenstich (but was a little sad it wasn’t filled with pudding) and a cappuccino (which, of course, had a generous cacao powder sprinkling…), my friend had a sorrel soup. We both enjoyed the food as much as we enjoyed the view.
Being the wealthiest district with the highest share of forest brings one thing with it: spoiled, or very well treated dogs. And thus, shops for those very lucky little ones like this: Pet’s Deli specialized in raw feeding for dogs and cats, but doesn’t only offer raw meat and bones to take-away, a variety of dried meat specialities as well as supplements and oils, but also the possibility to feed your dog a freshly prepared meal on the spot in the back of the shop. Which triggered some press attention calling this one Berlin’s first dog restaurant. It definitely has a much more refined and luxurious style than your usual raw dog meat store in Friedrichshain or Kreuzberg. But if in Grunewald with your furry friend, why not spoil him?
After pampering your dog with treats at the deli, take him to Grunewaldsee, a designated dog’s lake in the middle of a dog running area. Which means you probably shouldn’t go there if you can’t deal with dogs, because there are a lot of dogs. From small to big, furry to hairless, well behaved to wild, they’re racing through the sandy beach, into the water, out of it and back in again. If you enjoy watching dogs having a blast, this is your place.
Grunewald is all about the Wald, obviously. And in this beautiful, wild forest there are loads of lakes – one of the most popular being the Schlachtensee, not only because it has a S-Bahn station just next to it, but because of the continuous surrounding path, which you can either walk easy or run. And you can swim in it, too! After handling all your sporty activities, get a Weissweinschorle at the restaurant and enjoy the sun.
Located just next to Schlachtensee is Haus am Waldsee, one of the most important institutions for contemporary art, which might be small, but certainly influential. They are currently showing a Michael Sailstorfer exhibition (who also made the little hut in front of it, called Wohnen mit Verkehrsanbindung). Not only is the building a beautiful 1920s mansion with stunning rooms, it also has a huge garden space with even more installations and sculptures.
Post sponsored by Heineken