Capitol cool.

Skillfully combining neoclassical architecture and contemporary high design, Berlin is Germany's aesthetic trendsetter. Her 150+ first-class and 26 five-star hotels are cutting-edge and intriguing. Dancing and schmoozing are not distractions here. They are in the city's fiber. Astonishing beers, techno warehouse clubs and bars fueled by an alternative youth culture make Berlin the international hub of cool.

Beyond the iconic Brandenberg Gate and tucked between great museums, surprises await. Art patrons exit via a slide from the second story window at KW, a margarine-factory-turned-gallery. Tacheles, a department store damaged in the war and taken over by artists in 1990, features galleries, a theatre, a nightclub and interesting customers. If a public display of ping-pong appeals, you are in the right place—many Berliners are devotees. Dr. Pong is not a physician but a bar dedicated to the game. In the mood for live Creole jazz at 4:00 a.m.? No worries. When it comes to imaginative options, Berlin delivers. Germany's capitol is unique down to its infrastructure: there are more canals here than in Amsterdam, Stockholm and Venice combined.