Berlin and Los Angeles are sister cities that each have a special place in my heart. Part of the reason I moved from Los Angeles to Berlin was that these cities are similar in surprising ways. Both boast international and diverse communities, eclectic art scenes, vibrant music scenes, strong street food culture, and film and TV industries; all elements that might appeal to hipsters and yuppies alike.
They both offer large amounts of wide open spaces for their inhabitants, which is a nice way to break up the pace of urban life. Both sister cities are tech hubs and home a numerous startups.
What Los Angeles calls Silicon Beach, Berlin calls Silicon Allee.
There are strong differences between these two sister cities too. Berlin’s aesthetic, especially on the Eastside is one part post-war industrial mixed with two parts refurbished repurposed chic, while LA goes for a more polished, laid-back Hollywood look. But those differences are what make each city unique. While Angelenos are ambitious to a fault and will push for high salaries and big promotions, Berliners are fine to get by on low wages thanks to the low cost of living and an appreciation for the simpler things in life.
Twin Molecule Man Statues
Though it’s one of the most recognizable Berlin monuments, the first Molecule Man statue was actually created in 1977 in Los Angeles by American artist, Jonathan Borofsky. So the next time you gaze out across the Spree River as you cross the Oberbaumbrücke to get from Friedrichshain to Kreuzberg, remember that there’s another Molecule Man in Los Angeles standing outside of the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters. Berlin and Los Angeles, sister cities with brother statues.
Walks of Fame
Both Berlin and Los Angeles share walk of fames celebrating Hollywood stars from film and television. Granted, Los Angeles’ Hollywood Walk of Fame is much longer with bigger names, but the Boulevard der Stars in Berlin is worth a visit too if you’re into German film or happen to be a fan of stars such as Christoph Waltz, Daniel Bruhl, or Diane Kruger.
Street Art Love
Both Los Angeles and Berlin have love affairs with street art. Granted, that love runs very deep in Berlin, which makes Berlin street art a lifestyle and part of the cultural fabric of the city rather than simply street art. Nevertheless, famous street artists like Banksy frequent LA spots to throw up their own pieces in urban areas.
Berlin Forest in Griffith Park
As sister cities, Berlin and Los Angeles are home to parks that provide wide open spaces for city dwellers to take nature breaks. And in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, there’s a shady picnic area called the Berlin Forest, that’s mere steps away from the Griffith Observatory parking lot and a trail leading up to one of the best 360 degree views of Los Angeles.
Berlin Wall in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is home to the largest section of the Berlin wall standing outside of Germany. Wende’s Wall Project was installed in 2009 on the famed Wilshire Blvd. as part of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. The 10 segments of the wall are situated in front of the Variety building and across from the LACMA museum. The area is also near the LA location of the Goethe Institut, a German international cultural center. If you’re making the rounds near Miracle Mile, Los Angeles’ Berlin Wall is a great place for an outdoor lunch as there are lots of food trucks lining Wilshire at lunchtime.
Berlin Food Truck
Fittingly, the Berlin Food truck can often be found in front of Los Angeles’ Berlin Wall on Wilshire Blvd. Run by a native Berliner turned Angeleno, the Berlin food truck serves it’s own brand of German-American fusion cuisine. There’s curry chicken, schnitzel, bratwurst, and fries combined with mac & cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Berlin Currywurst in Los Angeles
If you’re ever craving currywurst in Los Angeles, you don’t have look any farther than Berlin Currywurst. With two locations, one in Hollywood and one in Silver Lake, you can get your currywurst fix along with frites and German beers. Each serving also comes with bread and choice of how spicy you’d like your curry powder. Some of the people behind the counter and in the kitchen are Berliners who’ve decided to switch cities. What ever you get, it might be a bit pricier than a currywurst in Berlin, but it will be delicious.