From flea markets to museums to the graffiti around every corner, Berlin is home to a unique culture of people. Whether you are taking in the history, the sites or the beer, there is plenty to experience in Berlin. Here are 16 things to do in Germany’s capital city:
1. Visit the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall
You can see sections of the Berlin Wall in different areas of the city; however, the most popular is the East Side Gallery—famously painted on by artists and graffiti artists. Afterwards, head to Pirates restaurant where you can sit outside with a view of the Oberbaum Bridge (which was a crossover checkpoint) and have a Pirate Bubble cocktail, one of the most refreshing cocktails EVER.
2. See Checkpoint Charlie
During the Cold War, the most well known crossing point between the East and West sides of Berlin was Checkpoint Charlie. Today, you can get your picture taken with part of the wall and learn about stories of people who tried to cross the wall at that time. You can also buy a piece of the Berlin Wall (whether it’s real or not, I’ll never know!)
3. Visit Reichstag
The Reichstag Building is where the German Parliament is held. You can visit the rooftop terrace or the dome, which gives you 360° views of the city. Just make sure to register in advance—the spots fill up quickly!
4. Eat currywurst
The staple food item in Berlin seems to be the currywurst: a mouth-watering sausage with a blend of ketchup and curry drizzled on top. You can find this on street corners, nice restaurants or you can even visit the Currywurst Museum.
5. Visit the Fernsehturm
The Fernsehturm, or TV tower, is Germany’s tallest structure and is a prominent asset to the Berlin skyline. Atop the tower is a revolving restaurant and bar where you can take in the views of Berlin from the sky.
6. Go to the Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is a little bit different than others I have been to. It is located entirely outside and takes up quite a large portion of space, which is covered in rectangular concrete slabs of varying heights. They are laid out in a grid lock pattern and the ground slopes in different areas.
7. Visit the Charlottenburg Palace
Built in the late 17th century by Elector Friederich III, the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin was built as a summer home for his wife, Sophie Charlotte. The palace is vast with gardens in the back and is said to resemble a miniature Versailles.
8. Visit the Berlin Zoological Garden (or admire it from above)
If you’re into zoos, Berlin is home to Germany’s oldest zoo and it happens to be the most popular zoo in Europe. If the weather isn’t on your side (or you happen to have a mild distaste for zoos…guilty) try going to the Monkey Bar at 25Hours Hotel for a cozy atmosphere and an aerial view of the monkeys.
9. Hang out at Mauerpark
Every Sunday afternoon, you can head to Mauerpark for a relaxed afternoon of open-air karaoke, flea market shopping or to just meet up with friends at a café around the corner.
10. Eat sausages/drink beer
Yes, the currywurst is a prominent option anywhere you go in Berlin, but don’t forget about the others! You can try all different kinds of sausage delights and of course, pair it with some German beer!
11. Shop at KaDeWe
For all you shopping enthusiasts, KaDeWe happens to be the biggest department store in Europe. If you don’t want to be lost inside for hours, you can traverse across the never-ending streets of shops nearby and spend money till your heart’s content.
12. See the Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is located near the Reichstag building and is one of Germany’s best-known landmarks. The Berlin Wall was built right next to the Brandenburg Gate and was often featured when the wall was being torn down.
13. Go to an underground bar or club
Most of Berlin’s nightlife is kept underground. Unless you are ‘in the know’ or happen to stumble upon a nice local with some advice, you may not have any clue on where to go when the sun goes down. Chances are, if you do find out where to go, you will find yourself in an old railway station, in a warehouse or at a door in an alleyway that is only illuminated with a small purple light, in which you have to knock, get permission to go inside and end up somewhere underground to drink your gin and tonic.
14. Take your picture in a Photoautomat
Scattered across Berlin are Photoautomats, which are old-fashioned photo booths where you can duck in to capture the moment for just a few Euros.
15. Visit any of Berlin’s 175 museums
Yes, Berlin has a lot of museums. So much so that it even has a special part of the city called ‘Museum Island’. You can basically choose what you want to learn about and make your way there, whether it’s about Hitler’s reign during World War II at the Topography of Terror museum or life in East Germany at the interactive DDR Museum.
16. Go to Alexanderplatz
Alexanderplatz is one of Berlin’s central squares and a major traffic hub of the city. The open area is where you will find a close-up view of the TV tower as well as the famous revolving world clock, which features each of the 24 time zones and has a model of the solar system on top.