10 Best Things to do in Berlin

Is Berlin one of the cities you’ve always wanted to visit, but never got the chance to make your dream come true? Get ready, because today’s post is all about this wonderful place. Discover our ten best things to do in Berlin and tick them off your list once you’re there!

When we say Berlin, we say bratwurst, the Berlin Wall, and lederhosen. The city is so much more than that, and there’s no end of experiences to discover in Germany’s capital. If you plan on visiting it, we made a list of top 10 best things to do in Berlin. Take your pick and enjoy your time in this vibrant place.

Discover the Brandenburg Gate

 things to do in berlin brandenburg

Berlin is one of Europe’s most iconic cities. The various landmarks scattered throughout the capital tell a lot about its rich history. The Brandenburg Gate, or Brandenburger Tor in German, is in top 3 attractions on TripAdvisor. This must-see destination can be reached by bike if you consider a guided tour. Visit it in the winter, marvel at its grandeur at night, just make sure you don’t forget to put it on your list. One of Berlin’s signature attractions, the gate was built in the 18th century. The Pariser Platz, which sits at its feet, is home to the Academy of Arts and Hotel Adlon.

Delight in the Many Food Markets

 things to do in berlin food

You’ll get hungry after walking around the Brandenburg Gate and learning about its history. Not to worry: Berlin invites you to savor its many farmers markets. One of the most popular spots is the Kollwitzplatz. Located in Prenzlauer Berg, this delightful place lets you sample local and international foods. You can visit and try their dishes every Thursday and Saturday. Another recommendation is the Markthalle Neun which takes place Fridays and Saturdays.

Visit Museum Island

 things to do in berlin museum

This museum is a must for culture lovers everywhere. Museum Island is part of the UNESCO world heritage sites. Apart from this honorable quality, the building houses many essential exhibition centers. You have the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum, for one. Then there are these attractions: the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Bode Museum. Buy a ticket for each of them and make some time to discover both old and new things about Berlin.

The Berlin Cathedral can also be found here, so don’t miss this site when visiting the Museum Island.

Play with the Photoautomaten

 things to do in berlin selfies

Give up on selfies for a day and discover a cool and very fun machine in Berlin. The Photoautomaten, because that’s what we’re talking about, snaps photos in black and white. You’ll find them open 24/7 and they make for great souvenirs. Once the photo booth has done its job, take your friends or family and share the fun. Photos are printed in a few minutes, so don’t forget to try this machine out the first time you arrive in Berlin.

Make New Friends at Berlin Zoo

 things to do in berlin zoo

If you’re not a fan of visiting buildings or eating local food, maybe nature is more of your thing. If that’s the case, you’ll never get bored at the Berlin Zoo. Take your kids along to see some of the most exotic birds at Germany’s oldest zoo. Opened in 1841, this place is the most popular one in Europe. When you want to rest from all that walking, you can have a picnic in the beautiful gardens. There are more than 14,000 animal species, each with an exciting story. The aquarium is the place to be in case the weather’s bad.

Spot Unusual Things at Flea Markets

 things to do in berlin vintage

Flea markets are some of the best places to discover cheap and interesting objects. Berlin has three significant spots to go to. There’s the Mauerpark, the Nowkoelln Flowmarkt, and the Arkonaplatz. The first flea market is a haven for lovers of things eclectic. When you’re done rummaging for treasure, you can relax with a few beers in the gardens near it. The second flea market has a great selection of designs and fashion made in Berlin. The Arkonaplatz is where you’ll find delightful vintage lighting or GDR kitchen utensils.

Romantic Charlottenburg

 things to do in berlin palace

Want to get lost in one of Berlin’s most beautiful palaces? The Charlottenburg is an architectural marvel for lovers of art and history. The palace itself has an exquisite collection of paintings and China. Its garden is next to the Spree, one of the city’s main rivers. Want to learn more about the Charlottenburg Palace? The Charlottenburg museum is waiting for you just opposite the building.

Visit Gendarmenmarkt

 things to do in berlin shopping

When you’re done shopping in the Mitte, you have to discover Berlin’s beautiful squares. The Gendarmenmarkt is one of them and it houses the German and French Cathedrals. Another stunning architecture gem there is the Concert House.

Swim in a Lake

 things to do in berlin swim

If you’re visiting the German capital in July, one of the best things to do in Berlin is to escape to one of its many lakes. Take your swimsuit, pack beer, and do like the locals. They like to make the most of the summer by going to Schlachtensee, which is 20-30 minutes away from Berlin. You’ll enjoy some of the clearest water and plenty of green spaces perfect for a picnic. Bernsteinsee is another fine example. It’s located 40 km northeast and the only way to get there is by car. Tegeler See is perfect if you prefer hiring a boat and rowing with your girlfriend or wife.

See the Magical Christmas Market

 things to do in berlin christmas

December is one of the loveliest months and a great way to spend it is to go to a German Christmas market. We have 5 options for you. The first 3 picks are:

  • the Wintertraum am Alexa;
  • the Berliner Weihnachtszeit at Roten Rathaus;
  • the Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt.

The other two options are the Weihnachtsmarkt am Gedachtniskirche and the Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz. You’ll find everything there, from handmade products to traditional Christmas food.

Best Things to Do in Berlin: Alternative Destinations

Apart from our top ten picks, we’ve also decided to come with a list of alternative destinations that are just as worthy of your time as the above tourist attractions.

Things to Do in Berlin Germany: For History Buffs

East Side Gallery

What was once part of the infamous Berlin Wall that ideologically and physically separated West Berlin and East Berlin during the Cold War, is now an artistic backdrop filled with murals. This 1.3-kilometer open-air art gallery is the longest continuous remnant of the wall.

Thanks to the works of over a hundred artists from different countries, it is now a protected memorial that serves as a reminder to the world of what happened in the city and the entire nation during the Cold War.

TV Tower

TV Tower or Fernsehturm is not just any tower. Aside from being the only city TV tower in Europe and the tallest building in the city, it also serves as a symbol of Berlin and of the once Communist power that dominated the area. It also features a bar and a rotating restaurant in case you get hungry during your city trip.

Reichstag Building

The Reichstag Building is an iconic and historical landmark in the city that was initially meant to house the country’s Imperial Diet or Reichstag. Although the building was set on fire in 1933, it was fully restored by 1999 which made it possible for the German Parliament to, once again, convene in the building.

Today, the glass dome that sits right on top of the building is one of its greatest attractions. It gives visitors a breathtaking 360-degree view of Berlin’s cityscape while commemorating the fact that the dome is a symbol of the country’s reunification.

Hackescher Höfe

Located right next to the Hackescher Markt, Hackescher Höfe is the country’s largest enclosed courtyard complex and one of the city’s most interesting places for pedestrians to tour around.

Having a history that dates back to 1906, the place can be considered as a historical landmark. Visitors can expect to see the clear distinction between the cultural, residential, and commercial areas in the complex. At one point, one will see some local designer shops, an art gallery on the next, then some gold memorial squares on the other.

One courtyard can be entirely different from the next, so you can expect to see another set of attractions just around the bend.

Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church

Locally known as Gedächtniskirche, this Protestant church on Kurfürstendamm is both a historical landmark and a memorial. Aside from hosting one of the city’s biggest Christmas markets, the church is also a tourist-magnet on regular days, thanks to the rich history behind it.

While it remains to be a place of worship and contemplation, it is also one of Berlin’s greatest reminders of the war that destroyed part of the church and torn the country. Today, the ruins of the church serve as a memorial of peace and resilience of Berlin.

Checkpoint Charlie

This historical landmark got its name primarily from the NATO phonetic alphabet. As the third checkpoint in and around Berlin during the Cold War, it is strategically named after the third phonetic alphabet, Charlie.

The checkpoint soon became the most popular crossing point from East to West Germany and vice versa. In fact, many have dared to escape from East Germany through Checkpoint Charlie–some made it while the rest have failed.

Berlin Unterwelten Museum

If you want to learn more about Berlin from a different yet exciting perspective, this location is the best way to do it. Take an underground tour and discover the city’s history through different bunkers, tunnel systems, and abandoned metro stations. This excursion is perhaps one of the best things that any history buff can experience while in Berlin.

Holocaust Memorial

A trip to Berlin can’t be complete without stopping by and paying respects at the Holocaust Memorial. This place serves as a reminder of what the Jews went through during World War II. The Holocaust was one of the most historical events in the world, and this memorial has perfectly captured a glimpse of that.

Things to Do in Berlin Germany: Shop, Eat, Relax, Repeat

Kaufhaus des Westens

If you have the time and the money–lots of it–to spare for a shopping spree, you can spend them at the largest department store in Europe. It is located in the major shopping street of Tauentzienstraße near the former center of West Berlin.

KaDeWe, as abbreviated by Berliners, is filled with people every day. So, if you don’t mind shopping with 50,000 other visitors, then feel free to come by. Also, if you don’t want to spend a hefty amount of money, a quick window shopping wouldn’t hurt.

Treptower Park

Sitting right next to the River Spree, the Treptower Park makes a great destination for various activities near the city center. For one, this public park is 88-hectares big, so that should give you a lot of space for almost anything you’d like to do in the area–you can jog, ride a canoe, stroll, eat, drink, and visit the different attractions.

Kreuzberg

If you’re up for some killer views of Berlin, Kreuzberg is the place to be. It is located in  Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough and is considered as one of the most prominent areas in the city. Its center, Kottbusser Tor, also has a lot to offer to its visitors–from a relaxing stroll by the Landwehrkanal and a quick visit to the 24-hour florist all the way to a late-night adventure of finding some hidden pubs and bars in the area.

Tiergarten

The literal translation of Tiergarten is Animal Garden. A fun fact about this place: this 520-acre landscape is located within the city. The size of the park makes enough room for various facilities that visitors can enjoy. You can go on a picnic, jog, play soccer, visit monuments, and a lot more. One can even go ice skating on some of the ponds inside the park during the winter.

Mauerpark

Mauerpark is another popular public park in Berlin that’s worth paying a visit. It is a linear park with a moniker that literally means Wall Park. The park has a lot to offer, but the Bearpit Karaoke at the amphitheater is yet its most interesting attraction. Every Sunday, visitors can sing their heart out in the amphitheater in front of about a hundred people or so. If you’re up for that, feel free to come by.

Mitte

Berlin seems to never run out of street art. In Mitte, for example, one can go on a free walking tour on Dircksenstrasse to witness one of Berlin’s famous collection of street art. The Hackescher Markt S-bahn Station can be your starting point. From there, head to Dircksenstrasse where you can marvel at the graffitis, sticker arts, sculptures, paste-ups, and many others, all the way to Alexanderplatz.

Unter den Linden is another attraction in Mitte that will take your breath away. Many people don’t always get the chance to pass by a boulevard with towering trees above you. The English translation of its name, “under the linden trees,” says it all. This 1.5 km road will lead you to a great number of landmarks and attractions within the city. Hence, it is regarded as the ideal starting point for tourists who wish to explore Berlin.

After your self-guided excursions, you can also go to Rosenthaler Platz where numerous bars and restaurants are waiting for you.

Boxhagener Platz

The Boxi, as referred to by Berliners, is a grassy square in Friedrichshain that features a farmers’ market every Saturday and a flea market every Sunday.

The Wochenmarkt or weekly market has been in operation for over 110 years, so it’s a great event to take part in when you visit Berlin. You can enjoy some interesting food choices like tofu from German soybeans, Turkish olives, Italian sausages, smoked fish, and a lot more.

Flohmarkt, on the other hand, proudly displays some local handicrafts and antiques. It is also the perfect place to find some artistic works by the young bohemians in Friedrichshain.

Strandbad Wannsee

Berlin is not like one of those primary beach destinations. In fact, the closest thing you get to the usual white-sand beach is through the city’s lakes, and Strandbad Wannsee is one those. It is also one of the largest lido of its kind in the whole of Europe.

One thing that visitors love about this place is the fact that there’s a public transport that can take you to the area straight from the various main stations in the city. Aside from swimming, one can also go sunbathing under the strandkorbs, enjoy at the park or hang out at the boardwalk.

Krumme Lanke

This is another popular lake in Berlin that’s located southwest of the city and within the vicinity of Grunewald forest. The lake’s water is one of the cleanest ones in the entire city. In fact, it is occasionally drained and closely monitored to maintain its quality. The water and the overall ambiance in the area is the perfect escape for anyone who wants a break from the busy life in the city.

Salon Zur Wilden Renate

Salon Zur Wilden Renate is a popular nightclub in East Berlin that is set in an old apartment building. The place is known for having a psychedelic ambiance and multiple rooms. That said, it is possible to hear different music and experience different vibes in each room.

However, underneath this nightclub was once an even more interesting attraction. Although permanently closed years ago, the Peristal Singum labyrinth remains to be one of the most intriguing places in the city.

Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in Berlin

Berlin could be one of the most interesting destinations you can go to. With its rich history and unique culture, one can easily gain a lot from a few days of vacation in the city.

Is Berlin one of the cities you’ve always wanted to visit, but never got the chance to make your dream come true? Get ready, because today’s post is all about this wonderful place. Discover our ten best things to do in Berlin and tick them off your list once you’re there!

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