The ultimate guide to your summer in Berlin
Summer is just around the corner, and Berliners are trading in their parkas for T-shirts, leisurely lying in the grass, and covering every square meter of available lawn with portable grills and friends on blankets. It’s finally time to leave your favorite spot (and hot chocolate) at St. Oberholtz Café and venture out into the new city that Berlin is under the sun! Grab the sunscreen and plan your favorite activities that let you discover the city’s hidden gems while making sure you get the most out of every available ray of sunshine.
Berlin may not spring to mind as the ultimate beach city, but it still has a lot to offer to water-lovers and sunbathers. As all the cool people know: lakes are the new beaches. Lounge by the floating pool at Badeschiff, feel the sand between your toes on the shores of Wannsee, go canoeing in the sea-green woods of Spreewald, or take stand-up paddle lessons on Müggelsee. If you are craving for something more exotic, drive out to Tropical Islands, Europe’s largest indoor waterpark that’s just one hour away from Berlin.
If you enjoy biking, you will find Berlin with its wide streets and cycling culture a marvelous place to stretch your legs. Hire a bike from a Call a Bike stand (run by the Deutsche Bahn) or a Flat Tire Bike (your bike will come with fully inflate tires, don’t worry!), and go on an exploratory bike trip through Berlin’s eclectic neighborhoods. If you are feeling adventurous, set off for a day trip and cycle all the way to Potsdam, a World Heritage Site just 30 kilometers outside of Berlin. If you are staying in Berlin for some weeks, hone your negotiating skills and buy yourself a second-hand bike at the Mauerpark flea market (for as little as 30 euros) or get a custom fixie bike at one of Berlin’s many upscale bicycle stores.
Although shopping is not a season-dependent activity, Berlin’s flea markets and outdoor shopping arcades are better enjoyed in the summer: Rummage around Mauerpark’s many stalls in search of vintage clothing, shoes, or records (or any kinds of treasures, really) while enjoying live music and snacks from around the world. If you are looking for souvenirs or handmade fashion items, stroll around the maze of shops in the cool courtyards of Hackesche Höfe.
PARTY- AND FESTIVAL-GOERS
Berlin never sleeps, but in the summer, it is even more awake: You will see that the city is synonymous with festivals. From open-air music festivals to beach parties, rooftop parties, boat parties, and museum parties – there really is a shindig for every taste, location, and time of the day. Look up the Museumsinsel Festival, Volksfeste or the Karneval der Kulturen and monitor residentadvisor.net regularly to not miss out on the best parties of the summer.
Berlin is basically an open-air museum: Wherever you go, you are bound to fall upon a historical monument, a work of art, or a memorial. Perhaps one of the most obvious landmarks you can visit is the Berliner Mauer (the Berlin Wall). Stroll or bike along the East Side Gallery and visit the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Straß_e_, in the western part of the city. If you are a fanatic museum-goer, live out your passion during the Lange Nacht der Museen (Long night of the museums) held at the end of August, or visit the one-of-a-kind Boros Collection, a contemporary art exhibit housed in a converted World War II bunker.
MOVIE- AND MUSIC-FANS
In the summer months, Freiluftkino is the word for movie-fans in Berlin. Enjoy charming outdoor cinemas in Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain or Rehberge where wooden armchairs, blankets, savory snacks, and a selection of independent films and blockbuster movies are waiting for you. Looking for a unique and alternative experience? Enjoy a silent movie, accompanied by live music, at the Stummfilm Konzerte. If you are a fan of live music, join the hundreds of people playing music on the streets of Berlin during the Fête de la Musique, at the end of June!
There are some spots in Berlin that are so quirky, timeless, and clandestine that you’d swear they were invented for Berliners only: Relax by the water, beneath a weeping willow, on the sun terrace of Club der Visionaere; admire Berlin’s skyline from Klunkerkranich, a concrete car park turned into a rooftop-garden-bar, or hang out by the Landwehr Canal in Kreuzberg while munching on an exotic snack bought in the backstreets of the canal. (Ron Telesky’s Canadian pizzas are a must!)