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Checkpoint Charlie

Once a point of tension and dramatic escape attempts, this Cold War relic is now one of Berlin's biggest tourist attractions.

Checkpoint Charlie was the main crossing point of the Berlin Wall for soldiers, foreigners and diplomats on the Allied side. The famous sign, “You are now leaving the American sector,” still stands, a relic of the Cold War that divided Berlin between 1961 and 1989. There is also a replica guardhouse, a sobering reminder of the fear and anxiety Berliners lived with on a daily basis. The site is on Friedrichstrasse, a major street in central Berlin.    

In 1961, to stem the massive exodus of its citizens, a desperate East German government built the Berlin Wall. At first it was a basic barbed wire fence, but later became a 96-mile (155-kilometer) long, solid wall of concrete. Checkpoint Charlie was a main crossing and the focal point for a tense stand-off involving Russian and American tanks in 1961. The guards at Checkpoint Charlie today, however, are not checking passports, and they're not soldiers, but actors, posing for photographs.

Pick up imitation Russian military caps and other Cold War souvenirs at the nearby stalls. To learn more about the checkpoint and the wall, visit the Museum Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie. Opened just a year after the wall was erected, it’s been documenting the stories and social implications of the “great divider” ever since. Through personal stories and evocative photographs it documents the many escape attempts over the wall. There are artifacts from some of the more daring plans, including cars with secret compartments and a hollowed-out surfboard.

The museum includes a café, though given Checkpoint Charlie sits on Friedrichstrasse, one of Berlin's main thoroughfares, finding a bite to eat nearby is not difficult. There’s also a museum shop that sells every Cold War-themed souvenir imaginable, including small chunks of the wall.

Checkpoint Charlie is easily reached via the Kochstrasse U-Bahn station.


Guide to Exploring around Checkpoint Charlie Museum


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Best Lodging Options Near Checkpoint Charlie Museum

See all 1,560 Properties near Checkpoint Charlie Museum
Select Hotel Berlin Gendarmenmarkt $54
Select Hotel Berlin Gendarmenmarkt

Select Hotel Berlin Gendarmenmarkt

Charlottenstrasse 66, Berlin, BE
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Mitte, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Friedrichstrasse, Gendarmenmarkt, and Konzerthaus Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie and Checkpoint Charlie Museum are also within 10 minutes. City Center U-Bahn and Stadtmitte Stationn are within a 5-minute walk.

    Select Hotel Berlin The Wall $59
    Select Hotel Berlin The Wall

    Select Hotel Berlin The Wall

    Zimmerstrasse 88, Berlin, BE
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Mitte, this hotel is steps from Checkpoint Charlie, Friedrichstrasse, and Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Gendarmenmarkt and Potsdamer Platz are also within 15 minutes. City Center U-Bahn and Kochstrasse U-Bahn are within a 5-minute walk.

      Select Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie $53
      Select Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie

      Select Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie

      Hedemannstraße 11-12, Berlin, BE
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Kreuzberg, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Friedrichstrasse, Checkpoint Charlie Museum, and Checkpoint Charlie. Gendarmenmarkt and Potsdamer Platz are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kochstrasse U-Bahn is only a 4-minute walk and Hallesches Tor U-Bahn is 9 minutes.

        TITANIC Comfort Berlin Mitte $63
        TITANIC Comfort Berlin Mitte

        TITANIC Comfort Berlin Mitte

        Elisabeth-Mara-Strasse 4, Berlin
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Mitte, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Gendarmenmarkt, Nikolaikirche, and Checkpoint Charlie. Museum Island (Museumsinsel) and Berlin TV Tower are also within 1 mi (2 km). Spittelmarkt U-Bahn is only a 3-minute walk and Markisches Museum U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

          Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity Berlin Checkpoint Charlie $100
          Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity Berlin Checkpoint Charlie

          Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity Berlin Checkpoint Charlie

          Zimmerstrasse 91, Berlin
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Mitte, this aparthotel is steps from Checkpoint Charlie, Friedrichstrasse, and Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Gendarmenmarkt and Potsdamer Platz are also within 15 minutes. City Center U-Bahn is only a 5-minute walk and Kochstrasse U-Bahn is 5 minutes.

            NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie $95
            NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie

            NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie

            Leipziger Str. 106-111, Berlin, BE
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Mitte, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Friedrichstrasse, Checkpoint Charlie, and Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Gendarmenmarkt and Konzerthaus Berlin are also within 10 minutes. City Center U-Bahn is only a 2-minute walk and Stadtmitte Stationn is 4 minutes.

              Hotel Gat Point Charlie Berlin $63
              Hotel Gat Point Charlie Berlin

              Hotel Gat Point Charlie Berlin

              Mauerstr. 81-82, Berlin, BE
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Mitte, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Friedrichstrasse, Checkpoint Charlie, and Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Gendarmenmarkt and Mall of Berlin are also within 10 minutes. City Center U-Bahn is only a 2-minute walk and Kochstrasse U-Bahn is 6 minutes.

                Exclusive Penthouse With Panoramic Terrace on the Historic Checkpoint Charlie
                Exclusive Penthouse With Panoramic Terrace on the Historic Checkpoint Charlie

                Exclusive Penthouse With Panoramic Terrace on the Historic Checkpoint Charlie

                Berlin
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Mitte, this historic apartment building is steps from Checkpoint Charlie, Friedrichstrasse, and Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Gendarmenmarkt and Konzerthaus Berlin are also within 10 minutes. City Center U-Bahn is only a 3-minute walk and Kochstrasse U-Bahn is 5 minutes.