Where to Stay
Stay at Wombats City Hostel, Baxpax Downtown or St. Christopher’s Inn. If you want to stay in the Kreutzberg area, which is cheaper, near more clubs and more student/hipster-oriented, I would recommend Baxpax Kreutzberg. The hostels here aren’t great at organizing big nights out but they are definitely good launch pads for the evening and places you can round up a good party crew.
Where to Party
Most partiers come to Berlin to check out Berghain/Panorama. While this is certainly one of the best clubs in the world, it is also by far the hardest to get into. To keep their club authentic, they don’t allow too many tourists in. It definitely helps to speak German, know the names of all DJs playing that night and look homosexual. My theory is that they don’t want to let in people that are going to judge all of the gay and weirdly-dressed people inside, as they want all types of people to feel comfortable in the club.
I would recommend reading online forums beforehand to see how other people have gotten in. Berghain is only open Saturday nights (but the party goes till Sunday evening, so you could go there at noon on Sunday if you want). Panorama, which is a section of the complex, is also open Friday night. Watergate is another popular option. It is easier to get into this club but you still need to know DJ names, as they only want to let in girls or guys that are there for the music. Tresor, Suicide Circus, Maria and Weekend are also great clubs, and much easier to get into as a tourist. All of these clubs expect you to dress-down, which means don’t wear nice jeans or collared shirts! There is a good pub crawl here to, so ask your hostel where to sign up if you are interested. Keep in mind, however, that the pub crawl won’t bring you into any of the aforementioned legendary clubs – they will take you to some pubs and end up at a Top 40 tourist club. Berlin is much better if you have local friends to guide you.
Berlin is famous for minimal and techno. Expect to hear this in your hostel, in the club and at some restaurants. There is no other city that loves techno as much and even non-electronic fans will gain a strong appreciation for it after their Berlin visit. In Kreutzberg, there are some really unique clubs that play indie-pop/rock music.
During the Day
Check out the Berlin Wall, the Kunsthaus Tacheles, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, Checkpoint Charlie and Topography of Terror. They also have a good free walking tour, which is good for those interested in the cities rich history.