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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.