Besides being an architectural gem, Potsdamer Platz is also known for its very lively scene of cultural attractions, fancy hotels, gourmet and other good restaurants, and shopping opportunities.
I already raved about the Sony Store, but there is also the Arkaden, our favorite mall in the city of Berlin. It is stacked with food joints of all kinds – Chinese, Sushi, Wurst, Pizza, Australian food, fish, bagels and even Macdonald’s. You can also find there many known brands of clothing, such as Zara, H&M, Mango, Benetton, Bonita and many others. I especially liked the Design Forum store (very good for original gifts).
You can find many other restaurants, bistros and bars in the area, including two of the most expansive restaurants in the city, Facil in the Mandala Hotel (Potsdamer Strasse 3), and Vox in the Grand Hyatt (Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 2).
I happened to dine in both, dinner in Facil and breakfast at the Vox, when I was there in December on some kind of a business trip. I am very much not impressed by really expansive restaurants that give you very small portions for a very high price, and after you finish dinner you have to go out and have a wurst or something. It is a real shame I didn’t have a camera to capture the absurdity of the courses (and the food was not really the kind of food you can measure in orgasms. Good, not divine). But the service was exceptional, and the atmosphere very prestigious indeed. The breakfast buffet at the Vox was excellent, both the selection and the quality, but it costs some 27 euros.
When we were there on holiday, last August, we had an excellent dinner at a place called Maredo Steakhouse, on Potsdamer Platz 1, where I ate a very reasonably priced (around 10 euros) and very delicious steak.
For entertainment, you can go to the theaters, casino, cinemas and nightclubs scattered all around the place. Inside the Sony Center, there is the Filmhaus and Film Museum, two cinemas and an IMAX film theater.
Around Marlene Dietrich Platz, there’s the Bluemax Theater, featuring the Blue Man Group, known for their theatrical shows and concerts which combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics. I must say I was not very impressed, since it was all in German, so I couldn’t understand the jokes, and I don’t like people throwing toilet paper at me (and also, it is so damn long). But I’m pretty much alone in this, since they are very popular all over the world.
There is also the Theater am Potsdamer Platz, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, which is one of the largest theaters in Germany.
The casino is on Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 1. We don’t gamble, so I cannot really say anything about it. There’s also a theater in the casino, featuring the erotic show “Belle et Fou – Das Spiel mit der Lust”.
Outside the Arkaden Mall we found a very relaxing place, with huge swings, a large patch of grass, and a nice view of the Daimler complex. Pure bliss, free of charge.