There were originally 14 covered municipal markets opened in the late 19th century to replace the traditional outdoor varieties and increase hygiene standards. Most disappeared and this listed building was going to be sold to developers in 2009 when a trio of local residents decided to launch a campaign to save it. A few years later, the Markthalle reopened to much fanfare, with stalls serving up beautiful heritage vegetables and locally sourced meats. It’s also home to the excellent Heidenpeters microbrewery, with its changing selection of hoppy pale ales, and the traditional Sironi bakery from Milan. Closely aligned with the Slow Food movement, they host regular themed events like Cheese Berlin, which sells a multitude of artisan European cheeses, as well as the popular Street Food Thursday evenings (Thursdays 5pm-10pm).
In Berlin, shopping is a jumble of wildly diverse elements: the traditional, with classic department stores like KaDeWe; the local, with lively markets offering up the best regional produce; and a love of craft and art fanzines galore at shops like Motto.
The best thing to do is just start walking: Berlin has no distinctive shopping neighbourhood, and some of its treasures can be found in the least expected places – a hidden inner courtyard like Kreuzberg fashionista favourite Voo – with many popping up for only weeks at a time. Berlin, with relatively cheap overheads and a massive DJ population, also has a thriving record shop scene centred around places like Oye and Hard Wax. More conventional shopping can be found on Kurfürstendamm in the west, with an Apple store and flagship Uniqlo. In the east, Friedrichstrasse offers a similarly upmarket selection, but with slightly younger fashions at places like the Quartier206 store. For cutting-edge designers, head to the area around Mulackstrasse in Mitte, where many have opened interesting boutiques or try Das Neue Schwarz, for haute-couture at knock-down prices. A word of warning, don't expect to do much shopping on a Sunday; laws still remain in place from a more religious age limiting trade on the day of rest. This even extends to supermarkets, with only the major train stations like Hauptbanhof allowed to keep them open.