1) You can get a table for four at the last minute at a chic little restaurant like Schneeweiss in hip Friedrichshain, and linger for hours over a couple of bottles of wine and a slew of simple, deliciously rich German dishes like cheese spaetzle and juicy roast pork with crisp, buttery scalloped potatoes—for less than $40 per person.

2) Since real estate is plentiful and still relatively cheap, fun hangouts tend to crop up in unexpected places—like an abandoned school, or an old decrepit movie theater in Mitte that, thanks to Berlin nightlife icon Cookie (aka Heinz Gindullis), is now the city's latest über-cool lounge.

3) If it's late at night and you don't feel like walking the few blocks home or back to your hotel—say, from Cookie's new bar to the Hotel de Rome in Mitte, where I've been staying this week—you can hail a cab and say "Kurzstrecke," which means you're only going a short distance. As long as it's less than two kilometers, you pay just 3 euros (less than $4).