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Berlin's Brandenburg Gate 29 decked out for the festive season.

JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

'Poor but sexy." That's what Berlin's mayor calls the city. But grab an electric cab and get to the shopping districts to see that Berlin is actually rich in high design and arty accessories. The Mitte shopping district is known for its concept stores (Wood Wood on Rochstrasse sets the standard for urban chic). Or grab a pair of high tops from Solebox Berlin and window-shop along the inspirational Augustrasse, which is lined with art galleries (such as the mind-boggling KW Institute for Contemporary Art). For the latest in designer fashion, beauty spas, a champagne bar and a glass dome resto called the Winter Garden, hop on down to the Kaufhaus des Westens ("KaDeWe" to locals) in Charlottenburg. This seven-storey shopping haven is the Disneyland of all department stores. Berlin may leave you poor, but at least you'll look sexy.

SHOP

Black Forest scarves, $110

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Add a splash to your Christmas garb this winter with silk scarves by Little Red Riding Hood, which riffs on German fairy tales for points of inspiration. They just released limited-edition scarves by artists, one a 100-per-cent satin cartoon Red Riding Hood. 68 Skalitzer Strasse; www.littleredridinghood.de.

Ice Princess, $264

Fashioned after actual ice skates, these new ankle boots are the hot topic in Berlin this winter - with a wedge where a blade would be. Go with snowflake silver, which will make your toes look like the only slippers on city sidewalks. flip*flop Store; Alte Schonhauser Strasse 41; 49 (0) 30-200542-1995; www.flip-flop.de.

Revolver $119

The Stiletto Design Hospital is stacked with bright ideas, especially this one. This innovative ceiling chandelier marries simplicity with high German design. It comes in clear and matte bulbs. Manufactum; Hardenbergstrasse 4-5; 49 (0) 30-2630-0346; www.manufactum.de.

EAT

It may be parked in an alley behind the Westin Grand hotel, but the vegetarian hotspot Cookies Cream is surely worth the hunt - if not for the weekly rotating menus (where you can get couscous rolls stuffed with blue cheese) then for the electro nightclub upstairs called Cookies to dance off your calories. Wicked Bunny, a Berlin she-jay, struts her stuff here. Behrenstrasse 55; (49) 30-2749-2940; www.cookiescream.com.

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SLEEP

The Carsten Holler exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum is all the hype - and it's not just because REM's Michael Stipe and Peaches were at the gala. Holler has teamed up with the InterContinental Berlin to transform the museum into a hotel. That's right. Two guests can spend a night in a "floating bed" atop a set of revolving disks that give a constantly change the view of the exhibit, which includes 12 reindeer and prosthetic mushrooms. The show is called SOMA. With breakfast and private bath included, plus private museum tours of the Warhols and Rauschenbergs in the middle of the night, it doesn't get any better than this. Invalidenstrasse 50-51; 49 (0) 30-3978-3411; www.somaberlin.org; $1,397.

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