10 Things To Do In A Berlin Summer

by Sara · 18.07.2013 · Kiez Life, Places · 6 comments

As most of you have prob­ably noticed by the nasty smell in the U8: it’s sum­mer. For at least another two days we are spared from thun­der­storms and ice bliz­zards. But since this (and by this I mean GODDAMNIT IT’S SO HOT AND MY T-SHIRT IS SOAKED IN SWEAT) is also a very rare occa­sion, most of you have prob­ably for­got­ten what to do with all that mag­ni­fi­cent weather.

Trust me. I’ve only just passed my last exam at uni­ver­sity and I’m already bored to death. I have three more months of lazy­ing around! (I don’t know why I wrote that, it’s just not true. I work and I have essays to write. Maybe I’m just try­ing to identify with you lazy lot). What to do in a Ber­lin sum­mer when it’s actu­ally sum­mer and everybody’s over­whelmed? I’ve tried to sum­mon a couple of ideas. If you have other ideas, let us know in the comments!

1. Rave

A go-to option for any Ber­liner. People love to rave, but it’s basic­ally too freak­ing hot to even con­sider a closed club. There a few options that might not be too bad (the Ren­ate Garden or the Water­gate bal­cony are wel­com­ing and fresh), but most of them (Club der Vis­ionäre, Badeschiff — sorry, you’re dis­missed) have become the Ber­lin equi­val­ent to whatever bad club you can find in Rimini. Here’s a secret: rav­ing should not be cheap. Also, rav­ing should not imply get­ting so shit­faced that you throw up all over the dance­floor. Rav­ing, espe­cially dur­ing day­time, is a beau­ti­ful thing. Music, cold drinks, sun­shine and amaz­ing people (some­times). If you’re look­ing for the next open air, check out our Events Cal­en­dar. There are a couple of new options to chose from such as Else and Rum­mels­burg which you can trust to have a mas­ter­ful sound­sys­tem and a good vibe altogether.

There is also a pleth­ora of “under­ground” spots which we decide not to share on here, because, obvi­ously, uh, it would cease to be under­ground and and effect­ively I’ll be lynched with pitch­forks by the out­raged people who organ­ize the secret open airs just to be closed down in five minutes by police. That’s why we can’t have nice things. But if you look around I’m sure you’ll find them.

2. Swim­ming

I love the Columbiabad in Neuk­ölln. It’s my go-to choice: large and with lush green lawns. The pools are clean and you can either jump from a 10 meter rank or slide down the exor­bit­ant waters­lide (that is, if you care to wait in line for hours and hours and have all those little kids over­take you in the queue). If you’d rather go fur­ther, check out the lakes around Ber­lin. Not all of them are per­fect. Don’t go to Müggelsee. Just– don’t. I’ve seen more dead fish in there than at my local Sushi joint. Plötzensee seems to be a fair option, but I def­in­itely feel in love with Liepn­itz­see. The water is crys­tal clear and refresh­ing. You’ll prob­ably need a car unless you love bik­ing (it will take you at least one hour depend­ing on where you start).

Here’s a bonus point: Pommes with Ketchup. Every Ger­mans child­hood memory starts with Pommes with Ketchup at the Freibad mixed with plenty of sun­cream topped with a stu­pid fris­bee injury.

3. Rooftop­ping

Okay, now this is tricky because not every­body has an access­ible rooftop, but bear with me. If you have any friends who live in glor­i­ous Alt­bauten or have access to their rooftop or even your own: do it. Do it RIGHT NOW. Climb up those stairs and enter a new sum­mer life with a view over the city. When I still lived in Wed­ding I’d throw parties up there (not really though)! I’d pick­nick up there (also not really)! I’d have friends over and watch the sun go down and have a drink and be too tipsy to get down (that did hap­pen)! If you don’t have a rooftop, there are a couple of pub­lic options, the latest being on top of the Neuk­ölln Arkaden in a rooftop bar that’s called Klunkerkranich (only open on weekends).

If you’re look­ing for another kind of excite­ment, go north, back to Wed­ding: at Kurt Schu­macher Platz there’s a mall with a park­ing deck. From there, you’ll be able to watch the planes land at Tegel from really close. Not really a good place to make out or any­thing, but an amaz­ing spec­tacle if you’re a nerd about planes.

Pro-tip: there’s rarely a reason why one should go to Week­end. It’s just not worth it. Ber­lin might not be Bar­celona but we have deserved better.

4. Pick­nicks & BBQs

The best advice is not to try pick­nick­ing in Görl­itzer Park. You WILL feel like a cheapskate loser next to the super large Turk­ish fam­ily that brought a whole truck load of meat, chairs and chil­dren. Also chances are you’ll suf­foc­ate in dense smoke. Bet­ter options are Tem­pel­hof and Tier­garten for BBQs. I love pick­nick­ing at Hasen­heide though — without the grill and the BBQ. Hasen­heide, as opposed to its bleak repu­ta­tion, is a won­der­ful exile. It’s large but doesn’t feel like that vast desert that Tem­pel­hof is. It’s also intim­ate, so you won’t have to sit on top of someone else just to get a good spot like in Görl­itzer Park. Not being able to see or hear the street or even look bey­ond those tall trees gives the impres­sion of being some­where far away from the city. Same goes for Tier­garten, except here you can take boat rides, too, and have even more space to play hide and seek.

If you belong to that kind of group that is espe­cially lazy (hello, my name is Sara and I am the founder of this group), please go ahead and visit the ready-made culin­ary fest­ivals of the city. The Thai Park is a per­fect excuse to not pack any­thing and still eat out as if it’s a proper picknick.

5. Urban Exploring

pic­ture by Stefan Kaz

Hop on your bike and see what the city has to offer. And I don’t mean the occa­sional shitty graf­fiti phrase, I mean the real deal. Have you been to the Eis­fab­rik (in fact, I haven’t — it’s on my list though)? Have you been to the Aban­doned Hos­pital? To Spreep­ark? To Teufels­berg? While all those places aren’t new, they still tend to impress and they’re a good waste of time if you’re try­ing out your pho­to­graphy skills or look­ing to get inspired in an urban way. While you’re at it, see if you can find your own objects of interests — court­yards, build­ings, shops. For­get the map and go and get lost!

6. Sell your stuff

It’s flea mar­ket sea­son. I hate flea mar­kets unless I’m selling my own redund­ant stuff. Those who have a base­ment where they can lock up their trash prob­ably know what I mean when I say SPRIIING CLEAAAAANING. After hav­ing col­lec­ted the least usable stuff down there, it’s time to pack up and sell. Mauer­park is still one of the most pop­u­lar and eco­nom­ic­ally sound flea mar­kets to sell, but if that’s too stress­ful for you (I can totally feel you), try the RAW flea mar­ket in Friedrich­shain or the Nowkölln Flow­markt. Not to say that they are less crowded, but come on, Mauer­park is a hor­rible night­mare for every per­son on this planet.

Not only does that earn you a couple of bucks (hope­fully), but also you’ll spend the day out­side, meet people and prob­ably (because it’s sum­mer and why not) get wasted with your friends. After­wards the 60 Euro you earned for a spe­cial edi­tion Jute­beutel and an old ana­log cam­era will be inves­ted in another night of hanging around the Späti.

7. Hang around the Späti

pic­ture by Stefan Kaz

Bars are totally over­rated. In mild sum­mer nights, nobody wants to squeeze them­selves into a crowded room filled with smoke and sweat. Half an hour of stand­ing in line for a cool beer? Shout­ing over each oth­ers heads to com­mu­nic­ate over the obnox­iously loud music? Here’s a big fat NOPE for you, dear bars! Why spend jew­els on drinks if you can just head to your next Späti of trust, buy a cheap Sterni, a pack of sun­flower seeds and have the time of your life in front of the store? Most Spätis in Kreuzberg now have benches that offer com­fort­able space for groups of people. And don’t even think about for­get­ting the sun­flower seeds, it’s just not the same without it.

8. Enjoy the sum­mer rain

pic­ture by Stefan Kaz

It’s bound to hap­pen any­way, let’s not pre­tend this will last forever. We’ve come to point 8 of this list and if you’ve done all the lis­ted activ­it­ies it’s prob­ably rain­ing again. But the tem­per­at­ure might still be in our favor, so don’t hide away from the refresh­ing thun­der­storm. Stand right in the middle of it! Let the rain clean your soul and watch how the fra­gile losers are try­ing to run away. YOU CAN’T RUN AWAY FROM RAIN (that is espe­cially true in the Ber­lin rain sea­son which usu­ally lasts from Octo­ber til August. All jokes aside, I have once read in a Chinese guide­book — which was trans­lated to me obvi­ously– that tour­ists shouldn’t visit Ber­lin unless in July because it’s rain­ing sea­son in the rest of the year. They are prob­ably right)! But you might just enjoy it for a little while before you dry your­self off, crawl up into your cozy bed and listen to those fat drops against your win­dow. My romantic side might be tak­ing over a little bit, excuse me.

9. Visit the Baltic Sea

pic­ture by Nico Niermann

What the Hamp­tons are to New York is prob­ably the Baltic Sea to Ber­lin (or whatever). Every­body escapes to the sea at some point, but it doesn’t feel like escap­ing Ber­lin. In fact, it’s just the exten­sion of the city, except it’s a two hour train trip away and it’s got an ocean! Be spon­tan­eous about it, though. If you book ahead with too much time in advance you’ll prob­ably end up in rainy weather. Just pitch your tent, for Gods sake, and see what hap­pens. Sleep­ing in the sand, listen­ing to the waves, that will take the bur­den of the city away from you. I prom­ise. It’s not over­whelm­ingly expens­ive to do this trip (if you’re one of those act­ive people that allegedly exist, you might even want to do a bike trip up there). Enjoy the typ­ical Ger­man archi­tec­ture or the quirky local hot spots.

10. Get involved — Give Some­thing Back To Berlin

Get off your lazy ass and stop whin­ing about the heat. Give some­thing back — and we’re not (exclus­ively) talk­ing about Pfand here. There’s a won­der­ful new web­site that will give you an over­view about which local ini­ti­at­ives need sup­port and help with their pro­jects. Give­Something­Back­To­Ber­lin is a new approach to get­ting your com­munity mixed up and involved. Don’t be that kinda dude that only uses the citys frame­work without con­sid­er­a­tion. You love Ber­lin, now make sure Ber­lin loves you back.

On the other hand, please don’t get cocky about it. This should be a MUST-DO for every­one who decides to live here.

pic­ture by Stefan Kaz

Bonus: Things you shouldn’t do in the Ber­lin summer

- Don’t swim in the Spree. (you will die from poi­s­ion­ing)
 – Don’t swim in the Kanal. (see above)
 – Dis­miss Kater Holzig unless there’s really no other boun­cer that lets you in (see you there!)
 – NEVER ride the U-Bahn.
 – I repeat: NEVER RIDE THE U-BAHN.
 – Never for­get your mos­quito repellant.

5 comments
  1. Hi, I’m curi­ous about “NEVER ride the U-Bahn”, what trauma is behind that advice ?

  2. Her­bert, this might be just a per­sonal thing, but it’s just way too hot. There’s lit­er­ally no oxy­gen. And you get to smell every­bodys most intim­ate sweat­spots.
    That said, I still ride the U-Bahn some­times. I shouldn’t be so cyn­ical. I love the Ubahn. <3

  3. nice

  4. Worth to check out is also the pool ‘Som­merbad Am Insu­laner’ in Steglitz. The pool isnt made out of tiles but (I guess) alu­minum which makes the water look extra tur­quois and sparkly. Also found it a bit less crowded then Columbiabad and if you go there by bike you most likely pass the great park ‘Schöne­ber­ger Südgelände’ on the way.…

  5. I know what you mean about the UBahn — I guess it depends which one you take. The U2 is almost always packed. I once fain­ted on there because it was so claus­tro­phobic :( Hanging around a Spaeti is good advice — espe­cially if you’re broke! My mate wrote a post on what to do in Ber­lin, which is quite inter­est­ing: http://​blog​.low​cos​th​ol​i​days​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​0​8​/​1​6​/​5​-​e​s​s​e​n​t​i​a​l​-​t​h​i​n​g​s​-​t​o​-​d​o​-​i​n​-​b​e​r​l​in/

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