Shake off the work stress with visits to as many of the following as your weary legs can handle: the Egyptian (Aegyptisches) Museum (Bodesstrasse 1-3; +49-30-2090-5544), featuring the bust of Queen Nefertiti; the enormous classical collection in the Charlottenburg Palace (Spandauer Damm 10-12; +49-30-320-911); the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery, Bodesstrasse 1-3; +49-30-2090-5801), housing 19th century masters; the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery, Potsdamer Strasse 50; +49-30-266-42-4510), a stunning modernist glass block with 20th-century art; and the world-famous Pergamon Museum (Bodesstrasse 1-3; +49-30-2090-5577), with its unsurpassed collection of European antiquities and Islamic and Near Eastern art. Most of the above museums share a website at Smb.Spk-Berlin.de.
Make sure to allocate time to visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (1 Cora-Berliner-Strasse; +49-30-200-76-60; Stiftung-Denkmal.de). Little can prepare you for the impact of this powerful memorial, designed by American architect Peter Eisenman and opened in May 2005. Intentionally situated in the heart of Berlin, this grid of 2,711 concrete slabs powerfully evokes emotion as it references the horror of the Holocaust and the interplay between the living and the dead, the past and the present. The excellent underground Information Center (located beneath the southeast corner of the memorial) surveys the Nazis' extermination policy and tells the story of the Holocaust through a powerful focus on the victims, the places of extermination, and today's memorial sites worldwide. Leave yourself time to experience the memorial in an unhurried manner.
For a rather different take on the aftermath of war -- from buttoned-down German business types -- a short trip on the S-Bahn to Oranienburger Strasse brings you to an exciting stretch of hip stores, cafes, and eateries and to Tacheles (Oranienburger Strasse 54-56; +49-30-282-6185), a bombed (and only semi-restored) Jewish department store turned cafe/arts center. Ogle industrial art over coffee.
For a final reminder of what this city was like during some of its darker days, Checkpoint Charlie (Friedrichstrasse 43-45; +49-30-253-7250; Mauer-Museum.com), once a gate between East and West Berlin, is where people were shot attempting to cross the wall.
A unique addition near Kreuzberg is the tiny Schwules Museum (Mehringdamm 61; +49-30-6959-9050; SchwulesMuseum.de), Germany's only gay museum with temporary exhibits of famous gay Germans and local gay artists. The only drawback is the lack of English translations.
Video Report: Berlin