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Berlin’s largest urban park, the popular Tiergarten (literally, “animal garden”) is a favorite spot for Berliners to stroll and enjoy a number of attractions. (Tiergarten also is the name of Berlin’s smallest neighborhood.) With lawns, canals, trees, and miles of meandering paths, the Tiergarten park was originally laid out by Peter Josef Lenné, one of the great landscape architects of the early 19th century, as a private park for the electors of Prussia. The Zoologischer Garten (Berlin Zoo) and Aquarium occupy the park’s southwestern corner. In the northwestern corner is the Hansaviertel (Hansa Quarter), a residential area where architects were invited to build projects in the 1950s, and dignified Schloss Bellevue, the palatial residence of Germany’s president. Erected in 1873 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Prussian-Danish war, the Siegessäule (Victory Column) is the most famous of the Tiergarten’s many monuments. A golden goddess of victory (dubbed “Golden Elsie by Berliners) perches high atop the red-granite column that stands in the center of the Grosser Stern traffic circle on the Strasse des 17 Juni, a wide boulevard that bisects the Tiergarten and is the western extension of Unter den Linden. The column’s observation platform, reached by climbing up 290 stairs in a spiral staircase, offers memorable views of the park and city and is open daily (Apr–Oct Mon–Fri 9:30am–6:30pm, Sat–Sun 9:30am–7pm; Nov–Mar Mon–Fri 10am–5pm, Sat–Sun 10am–5:30pm; 3€ adults, 2.50€ students and children).

Winded? Head to the perpetually packed beer garden/boathouse Café am Neuen See, by the lake in the middle of the park, for a restorative drink and sausage (or curling, in winter).