Berlin is one of those cities where you can do the conventional tourist sightseeing trips, or you can explore entirely differently. As the weather picks up in spring, Berliners spend a lot of time outside, eating, drinking, filling up the park, celebrating music and culture.
With advice from new friends, other online tips and observing the city in general, I have found many unique and quirky things to do in Berlin which are often free, or cost little money.
10 things to do in Berlin in spring
Below are some things which I think are nice to do when the weather is nice. The weather can reach comfortable mid 20s, there are lots of people around doing the same thing – making the most of the weather.
1. Visit a lake
Surrounding Berlin are many lakes which have man-made beaches, areas to play sports and also bars. There are always open-minded and friendly people here, including families or locals who live nearby. Some are FKK (Frei-Körper-Kultur) areas which mean there will be lots of naked older men swimming past your in the lake. It’s normal.
Take your pick of lakes within Berlin and on the outskirts:
– Krumme Lanke
2. Go to an open air
I recently went to Strandbad Grünau, Jungfernheide, Gesundbrunnen, Viktoriapark and some places in the middle of nowhere to enjoy music, food, dancing in the ‘wild’. The best bet is to check Facebook open air groups. Lots of people organise them.
3. Get an ice cream
Germans love ice cream. I have never seen queues to get ice cream as much as I have in Berlin in spring. No wonder really, with the italians, new pop-ups and family-run businesses who are focusing of fresh fruit, yoghurt-based ice creams (without E-numbers) paving the way for a new demand in higher quality ice creams.
Fraulein Frost is fresh, creamy, generous and has a cute outdoor area. They do great coffee, fresh fruit ice cream with strange flavours including prosecco, pomegranite sorbet, Appel-grieß. Try the mango / chocolate / raspberry.
Vanilla Marilla is equally as good, homegrown from Berlin and they have lots of stores all around the city. They have super cute designs and there seem to be queues out the door here, too. Now they are even doing Ben & Jerry style pots ‘Zum Mitnehmen’. Perfect to bring to a picnic. I like the way the honey-vanilla ice cream includes honey originating from Kreuzberg.
4. Go to a market
Each Kiez has its own food market, with fresh local produce being served as well as hot food to taste, a glass of wine to sip and watch the world go by. A popular market for antiques is Boxhagener Platz, Tiergarten – Bellevue, or Mauerpark (a lot bigger) – even if you just end up buying pomegranite juice and watching some of the local musicians, its a nice Sunday out in the sun.
They used to have ‘Sonntagskareoke’ at 2pm on Sundays run by an irish guy; it is highly entertaining and the crowd are sympathetic.
My personal favourite has to be the food hall market in Kreuzberg, near Görlitzer Bahnhof. Markthalle 9 has something for everyone from fresh grocery baskets overflowing with fruit and vegetables, fine wines and italian antipasti. I met a really nice Italian man who let me taste a selection of the antipasti cured meats he had, he even recommended a restaurant to me and advised me on good wines to get for a birthday. Super friendly.
There are even food parks such as the Thai Park in Wilmersdorf which celebrate thai food in a relaxed setting.
5. Go to an open air cinema
Going to the cinema tends to be a winter thing, especially with the weather getting up to minus 15 Celcius during those months. Independent cinemas such a Yorck Kinos, Rollberg, Babylon, Zoo Palast and Cinema Paris offer a charming, more intimate experience; I love the red chairs and cosy atmosphere.
They tend to primarily show independent films which is very popular amongst those interested in more thought-provoking films. Between 5th May and 3rd September there are a collection of Freiluftkinos which are brilliant for warm summer evenings.
6. Go to a gallery opening
Often there are new exhibition openings where you can get free entry to the exhibition, around Neukölln and Kreuzberg. Most tend to find these events on Facebook or through word-of-mouth. C/O Berlin is a popular one due to its location being easy to get to and the exhibitions are fantastic.
7. Go to some rooftop bars
Although there arent many in Berlin, my favourite has to be house of weekend due to the incredible view you get of the TV tower and Park Inn etc. The TV Tower has a great observation deck.
8. Cycle around Berlin
Go get the equivalent of a Boris Bike and cyle around Tierpark, along the river. Lots of places in Kreuzberg rent bikes, including hotels. Lidl has just started its own Boris Bike called the Lidl-Bike. It’s a nice way to explore the city in spring – you’ll be able to get a lot more done without taking the u-bahn.
9. Join in on street parties
On 1st May, otherwise known as May Day or Labour day, there were demonstrations which historically took place on 1st May 1987 in SO36, organised by leftist and extreme -leftish groups which continued for two days. It has repeated every year ever since, however the demonstration and street festival is now largely separate. Violence or aggression towards police is not encouraged.
There is a high police presence but generally there are hundreds of open airs, street food and the mood is usually friendly, bar the demonstrations.
Another fun street party is the Zug der Liebe know as the Techno Truck; this year it will be on 1st July, join the facebook event here. Starting from 14:00, there are hundreds of floats from sponsors, djs and labels from Berlin, including ASB and Techno Türken.
10. Picnics and parks
Mauer park, Tempelhofer Feld, Tiergarten, Görlitzer Park, Park and Gleisdreieck, Viktoriapark, Volkspark Friedrichshain, Treptower Park, Schlosspark Charlottenburg… Can this city get any greener? For a city as large as Berlin, its’ wide roads, vast acres of green, wildlife found within the city make it a playground for summer. Combined with the lakes and good weather – you won’t even need to take a holiday away abroad. They combine music, food, culture, art and relaxation.