Berlin Berlin Things to Do

 

Things To Do

There’s much to do in Berlin: history, culture, nightlife and easy excursions out of the city.
 
Historical Berlin:
 
Despite being obliterated by allied bombing throughout WWII and then obliterated once more during the final Soviet siege in 1945, Berlin has somehow managed to retain much of its historical interest. Painstaking effort and research has restored many of the most important buildings to their former glory and reconstruction continues to this day. Despite the lack of historical consistency, there is still a certain kind of beauty in the continual juxtaposition of historical architecture. Where else can you see Imperial, interwar, Nazi, communist, and contemporary architecture all in one place, and sometimes all next to each other?
Zoomdojo Berlin City Guide Berlin Things To Do
Cultural Berlin:
 
Museum Island, in former East Berlin, is where the city’s greatest cultural offerings are found. The Pergamonmuseum is the most popular museum in Berlin, for good reason: this purpose-built edifice houses several monolithic ancient artifacts from the near east. The Bode Museum specializes in Byzantine art, while the Neues Museum displays Egyptian and prehistoric relics. Greek and Roman art can be found in the neoclassical Altes Museum, while the Alte Nationalgalerie houses more recent works from romantic to modern.
 
In the days of the division, West Berlin decided it needed a cultural enclave of its own and constructed a new district near Potsdamerplatz for its own modern art museums and the philharmonic. These two districts, the old Museum Island and the new Kulturforum, still maintain their separate identities today, but coexist peacefully, fulfilling different niches. Modern art fans will have to head north of Mitte to the old train station, the Hamburger Bahnhof, which has been converted into a vast space for modern and contemporary art.
 
For a look at a more bucolic vision of the Prussian empire than Berlin offers, take the train half an hour to Potsdam, the capital of Brandenburg. Numerous intact palaces and administrative buildings remain there from the halcyon days of German imperialism, some of which are original and some of which reconstructions. One of the top destinations is the magnificent Prussian summer palace Sanssoucci.
 
In Berlin itself, Charlottenburg Palace, which also serves as popular public park among residents of the upscale neighborhood surrounding it, shows you a glimpse of German court life. Across the street is the site of the Brohan Museum, which exhibits art nouveau, a style that flourished in Berlin in the early 20th century.
 
For fans of more recent history, there are many ways to get your Cold War fix in Berlin, from the DDR Museum to “drive your own Trabant” city tours. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum is also loaded with information about the period, as is the exhibit “The Topography of Terror,” which considers the Holocaust and the communist period together. There are quite a few remnants of the Wall scattered about the city as well, but probably the best place to see it is the section along the Spree in Friedrichschain called the East Side Gallery. Here artists have been allowed to express their vision using the wall as their canvas.
 
If you’re looking for Hitler’s bunker, you won’t find it: it was blown up by the Soviets in an extremely costly, but crucially symbolic effort at the end of the war. Now there is nothing but a parking lot on top of it and a small sign marking the spot, which, not coincidentally, is right next to the expansive Holocaust memorial.
 
Green Berlin:
 
Despite its gritty, urban reputation, Berlin is a surprisingly green city with many opportunities to experience nature within the city limits. The massive Tempelhof Airport, once the largest airport in the world, is now closed and serves as a public park, runways and all. Berlin also contains several lakes, which are popular places to cool off during the summers. On the Schlachten See you can rent rowboats and for those seeking a truly natural experience, Teufelsee (“devil lake”) is fully nudist. For an alternative water-based adventure you can go kayaking or rafting on Berlin’s canals and in the river Spree itself. The Spreewald, an expansive forest with hiking trails, is readily accessible from the city as well.
 
Berlin at Night:
 
Berlin is a night owl’s paradise. Berliners give Spaniards a run for their money when it comes to nonstop partying at all hours of the day and night. In fact some clubs never close at all, running all night, all morning, into the afternoon, and into the night again, even serving breakfast for the intoxicated the next day. Kreuzberg and Friedrichschain, and especially around the bridge where the two meet (Oberbaumbrücke), are hotspots for late-night activities. Places like Berghain and Watergate are notorious premises in this area. These clubs have no formal dress code but have an arbitrary “face control” policy that will deny you if you don’t seem cool enough. Leading up to the bridge that crosses into Friedrichschain are also many smaller bars and pubs, like Dr. Pong, which specializes in table tennis, and White Trash, where people stay until around 2 am before heading out into murkier territory. If you see a bar with furniture on the ceiling, no, you haven’t drunk too much… that’s just how things are done in Berlin!

 


Berlin at Night:
 
Berlin is a night owl’s paradise. Berliners give Spaniards a run for their money when it comes to nonstop partying at all hours of the day and night. In fact some clubs never close at all, running all night, all morning, into the afternoon, and into the night again, even serving breakfast for the intoxicated the next day. Kreuzberg and Friedrichschain, and especially around the bridge where the two meet (Oberbaumbrücke), are hotspots for late-night activities. Places like Berghain and Watergate are notorious premises in this area. These clubs have no formal dress code but have an arbitrary “face control” policy that will deny you if you don’t seem cool enough. Leading up to the bridge that crosses into Friedrichschain are also many smaller bars and pubs, like Dr. Pong, which specializes in table tennis, and White Trash, where people stay until around 2 am before heading out into murkier territory. If you see a bar with furniture on the ceiling, no, you haven’t drunk too much… that’s just how things are done in Berlin!