Ten things you need to do in Berlin 22

Berlin has a reputation for being one of Europe’s coolest cities. From culture to nightlife, food to historical sites, Germany’s capital really does have something for everything so here’s ten things you need to do in Berlin.

Learn about the city’s history

St Nicholas Church, Berlin

Berlin is a city that’s seen much change over the last century and a half, and you can’t visit without taking some time to learn about it. Explore the oldest part of the city (Alt-Berlin) in the Mitte area which is home to the beautiful St Nicholas Church/Nikolaikirch and see the pretty cobbled streets to learn about the past, take a trip to the Brandenburg Gate/Brandenburger Tor (Pariser Platz) and visit the Hohenzollern Crypt in the basement of Berlin Cathedral (Am Lustgarten – berlinerdom.de) to see the final resting place of members of Prussia’s ruling dynasty.

Learning about the city’s more recent history is also something you should do including visiting the the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Cora-Berliner-Straße 1 –stiftung-denkmal.de) and the Topography of Terror (Niederkirchnerstraße 8 – topographie.de), a museum built on the former headquarters of the SS.

See remnants of the Berlin Wall

A section of the Berlin Wall at the Topography of Terror

A section of the Berlin Wall at the Topography of Terror

The most well-known symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, tore Berlin in two for almost 30 years until demolition began in late 1989. Plaques signifying where the wall once stood can be found across the city as a reminder of the structure that dominated the lives of residents – even within my lifetime, which can be a hard concept to fathom.

A plaque commemorating the location of the Berlin Wall

You can see a section of the wall next to the Topography of Terror, or a larger section can be found at the East Side Gallery (Mühlenstraße – eastsidegallery-berlin.de) which now acts as an outdoor art gallery.

The East Side Gallery

A section of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery

Take in some culture

Kulturbrauerei, Berlin

Inside Kulturbrauerei’s courtyard

Culture vultures can find plenty to enjoy in Berlin with its wide range of museums and art galleries. My highlights include Kulturbrauerei (Schönhauser Allee 36 – kulturbrauerei.de), a large complex with theatres, event spaces and a museum about life in East Germany as well as a weekly street food market, and Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien (Mariannenplatz 2 – kunstraumkreuzberg.de), which is an exhibition space for contemporary art within a former hospital.

The East German life museum in Kulturbrauerei

The East German life museum in Kulturbrauerei

Hospital turned art gallery Kunstraum Kreuzberg

Kunstraum Kreuzberg

Hospital turned art gallery Kunstraum Kreuzberg

Kunstraum Kreuzberg

Admire the U-bahn station signs

U-Bahn signs

Forget the bland and generic signs you find on some cities’ public transport systems, Berlin’s underground stations each have their own unique identity.

There’s also a great gallery on The Guardian showcasing more of the stations.

Get your photo taken in one of the photobooths

A photobooth in Berlin

Throughout Berlin you’ll spot photobooths where, for the bargain price of €2, you can get four black and white passport style photos taken. They take a few minutes to develop but it’s definitely worth the wait.

Eat street food at Markthalle Neun

Markthalle Neun

Markhalle Neun is a great place for foodies to visit – in particular on a Thursday when they have their weekly street food evening. Food from all over the globe is available and almost every stall has a vegetarian or vegan option (although these do seem to sell out faster than the meat alternatives) and there is also a craft beer bar and two wine shops to wash down your grub with.

The market is open during the day throughout the week where there are a smaller number of traders, but Thursday evening is where it truly comes alive.

Plus, if you’ve not managed to spot a photobooth while out and about, you can find one in the markethall.

Eisenbahnstraße 42-43 – markthalleneun.de

Try vegan doughnuts from Brammibal’s

Doughnuts from Brammibal's

Whether you’re vegan or not, the doughnuts from Brammibal’s are a must when in Berlin. They come in a range of regularly changing flavours and are perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. Doughnuts can be eaten in or taken away and coffee with non-dairy milk is also available.

Brammibal's Doughnuts in Berlin


Maybachufer 8 – brammibalsdonuts.com

Explore the Sunday morning Mauerpark flea market

A view of Mauerpark flea market

One of the most popular things to do on a Sunday in Berlin seems to be a visit to the flea market held at Mauerpark. It attracts large numbers of locals and tourists, and also features street food traders and performers alongside plenty of stalls to explore. Some of the stalls at the front of full of cheesy touristy items, but if you keep walking through you’ll find stalls selling all sorts of bric a brac and second hand items.

Food traders at Mauerpark flea market

Bernauer Strasse 63-64

See the city from above

View of Berlin from Victory Column

It’s not all about what you can see at ground level; get see much more of the city by heading up high and having a good old gander. See my guide to the best places to see Berlin from up high.

Experience the city’s legendary nightlife

Stone Berlin

Stone Berlin

I can’t post about things to do in Berlin without mentioning the nightlife! Berlin truly is a party city with something going on pretty much every night of the week. Weekends are the busiest times (the U-bahn runs 24 hours to accommodate this) and there’s a huge range of drinking spots from traditional bars to smoke-filled dive bars to trendy cocktail bars and bustling nightclubs. My personal bar highlights were Hopfenreich (Sorauer Strasse 31 – hopfenreich.de), Salt n Bone (Schliemannstraße 31 –saltnbone.de) and Stone Berlin (Im Marienpark 23 – stonebrewing.eu).

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22 thoughts on “Ten things you need to do in Berlin

  • Lene

    The highlight of my trip to Berlin was probably going to The Stone Brewery. Lovely food, a great selection of drinks and the staff were all fantastic. Took us a long time to get there though,.. although admittedly the mile walk back to the train station probably helped walk off some of my beer and dinner!

  • Isadora Koller

    Berlin is sooo rich in history and cultur, you can spend the month in this city and you wont be tired, you always find something amazing that teaches you a little bit more. I can’t wait to go back there!

  • Natasha

    My oldest son just came back from Germany, and I’m all excited to see that lots of his stops included quite a few of yours. Of course, given that he’s 16 and traveling with his school, he didn’t get to experience too much night life. 😉 We’re still pulling information from him as his body regulates back to our time zone. Now I KNOW I must go and visit.

  • Lacey

    Oooooo take me back! I visited 10 years ago and this post brought back so many great memories! I loved this city! Thank you for new ideas and wonderful memories. 🙂

  • Barbara

    It s a very good and comprehensive guide to Berlin. The city is so big, I feel like the best way to see it all is by riding the double decker bus.

  • Marguerite

    Haha, I also posted about Berlin this week – the top 10 reasons to move to the city! Thanks for your list of suggestions, there is so much I still need to see! I’m especially interested in the vegan doughnuts and will now go read your post on the best places to see Berlin from up high! Great post!!

  • Rebecca

    I haven’t been to Berlin yet but it looks like a fascinating city with a nice mix of good food, historical sites and museums. The street food looks really good there. What was your favorite dish and/or restaurant?

    • Kaleigh Post author

      I had these amazing Nepalese dumplings at Markthalle Neun – they were definitely one of my highlights. The food at Stone was also fantastic, I’d highly recommend it.

  • babyfoote

    Ten great things to do in Berlin listed here, but so many missed off – I bet you could have written 50 things to do in Berlin and there’d STILL be places missing – what a wonderful place 🙂

  • Lisa Valentine

    We’ve been talking about visiting Berlin for so long now, I’m hoping that 2017 may well be the year! The photo booth reminds me of ‘Amelie’! I’ll be noting down this post for when we do start planning our trip 🙂

  • Becky

    Wow this is great, I keep saying I want to go to Berlin but no idea why I haven’t been yet. I am going to pin this as well so when I do go I have all your great tips. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • HodgePodgeDays

    Thank you for sharing this post. I have very recently been thinking that we must visit Germany in the next few years. There’s so much history and the food looks pretty darn good to. I’ll be saving this post for future reference. Thank you.

  • Katharina

    I have been to Berlin a few times and I really like it. The city gives you a feeling of home so quickly. I love the flee market at the Mauer Park. You can find a lot of cool thing there 🙂