To Do: Summer in Berlin

Explore the city while the sun is shining. Here are a few ideas that will get you going.
18 Jul ’13 by Sara Other

1. Dance Outdoors

Open Airs used to be a staple of Berlins community in the summer. Unfortunately, to actually find an open air that won’t be shut down within the first five minutes – due to the fact that most of those spontaneous raves are illegal – or way outside of the Ring, you have to resort to open air clubs. Thankfully, Berlins clubscene is prepared, and there are many locations to choose from when it comes to outdoor dancing (at night and day). Ipse, Club der Visionäre, Chalet, Hoppetosse and Watergate (which has an outdoor terrace) are good choices in the Kreuzberg / Treptow area and so close to each other that you can go club-hopping for the nicest garden, although Watergate is only open at night and through the mornings.

For a more intense club-experience, about://blank, sisyphus, Wilde Renate and Berghain are also open during the daytime on the weekends, although it’s harder to get in – as you likely have experienced first-hand. They’re also only open on the weekends. For outdoor exclusively,  Else is open in the summer, and the newest addition under the Elsenbrücke – Maria – is also an option, although I can’t attest for it personally.


2. Swim

Columbiabad  in Neukölln is 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 waterslide. IF you’re 12 years old. If you’d rather go further, check out the lakes around Berlin. Not all of them are perfect. 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). I’m not a fan of lakes, though, so maybe I’m not the authority on the subject. I visited Weißensee once and it seems like a fair option in terms of proximity, but it’s tiny and usually overcrowded. If you like crowd-watching, then this is your destination.

3. Enjoy the View

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. If you’re looking for another kind of excitement: 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.

4. Picknicks & BBQs

I love picknicking at Hasenheide – 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.

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

Berlin is the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m sure there’s still a lot for you to discover. Grab your bike and head out to a district you haven’t visited yet. Whether it’s Alt-Köpenick or Spandau, Wedding or Moabit: every district has a distinct and special atmosphere to it worth exploring. I can highly recommend getting involved, taking pictures, and just seeing where the road takes you. In Berlin, chances are high that you will end up discovering abandoned buildings and interesting urban art installations. And it’s usually better to see all those things by accident, and not because you’ve followed a road map. If it weren’t for the weather fluctuations in the city, I’d spend my whole life doing this, so embrace any sunny day and bike out!

6. Sell your stuff

Summertime is the perfect season to sell your stuff at the various flea markets of the city, as more people spend their time outdoors, strolling the boothes. Mauerpark is still one of the most popular and profitable flea markets to sell, but if that’s too stressful (it is), try the RAW flea market in Friedrichshain or the Nowkölln Flowmarkt.

7. Have drinks at your Späti

In mild summer nights, nobody wants to squeeze themselves into a crowded room filled with smoke and sweat. Most Spätis in Kreuzberg now have benches that offer comfortable space for groups of people. Add some sunflower seeds and you’re set for the night.

8. Rent A Boat

You can charter a boat easily with your friends in Berlin. The various canals of Berlin are destined to be explored. Some people also drift up and down the Landwehrkanal in a Schlauchboot. That wouldn’t be my thing – I need more comfort – but it’s the cheap variant. You don’t need a license for either option. My friends like to rent a small boat on Müggelsee, then travel up and down Little Venice – a super nice way to spend a summer day!


9. Visit a Foodmarket

I admit that food markets are not necessarily my thing. They are usually overpriced. But their vibe is good: on a summer night, the location of Bite Club is perfect to enjoy a “Feierabend-Drink” while watching the sun set. If you’re only visiting, a food market can give you also a taste of what the city has to offer in terms of street food.

10. Plan a Day-Trip

There’s a lot to discovery outside of Berlin. Weather it’s a day trip to the Polish market to the border of Germany, or a fully grown vacation to the Baltic Sea: for most destinations, you won’t even need a car. Busses and trains are perfectly connected. I personally enjoyed a short stay in the Spreewald. Two days are enough to have you enjoy a sweet summer escape.

Spreewald Berlin Trip Bleiche Landhotel Burg-0233

Nineteen 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. 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….

  4. 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:

  5. Oh shit, are there mosquitoes in Berlin in summer? Why didn’t someone tell me before I uprooted my whole life and moved here?

    Yeah, thank the gods I have my personal jetpack to get around this vast city amazingly quick and without hassle.
    Kind of a stupid advice if you ask me.

  7. Show me your Pommes or I call you on your Handy with my Beamer! ;) Und demnächst dann gerne mal zusammen ins Columbiabad, is ja um die Ecke!

  8. come across as spoiled little 23 y.o. brat hipster advice. thanks for all the enlightenment.

  9. I wonder if people think I’m funny at all… let me continue my list of doing things in the summer:

    – avoid reading this website if you’re looking for actual advice!

  10. I know everyone’s into bikes, but having a scooter is the golden ticket!
    It’s hugs all the way if you take someone, the liberty of bike (never no parkplatzproblems) with the motorized comfort of a car (though cabrioletishly enhanced and with a more bikergang gone homo-vibe that’s entirely diggable).
    Only downside is noone can admire your lovely soulglo perm in the wind.

  11. 10. Book your Fest­ival tickets: ufAir Festival Berlin/Tempelhof| on stage: Okta Logue, Jonathan Kluth, Trümmer, Elenka & Combings. Learn more:

  12. amazing. your cynicism is fun and refreshing. love this post and many of the links to your others. i like how you said that mother nature is digesting the old hospital.

  13. what is a good hostel to stay at?

  14. Well, it’s certainly an honest post, hahaha! That’s refreshing… although some specific details and recommendations would also be helpful to the tourists reading it. I also like to pass on tips about Berlin’s non-commercial, free and underground events on my blog:

    Be sure to check it out during your next visit / night out on the town!

  15. Except U1 I don’t see an issue with U-Bahns. At U2 you will always bump into French pupils singing the French anthem or Spanish groups, that is fun. U5 and U6 are my favourite.

Other opinions

  1. […] we’ve already covered our ideas for the to-do list of a Ber­lin sum­mer. What’s on the list for this fall sea­son? Here are our ten sug­ges­tions (and if you’ve got […]

  2. […] more inform­a­tion about what to do in Ber­lin, see our indi­vidual posts: 10 Things to Do In A Ber­lin Sum­mer, 10 Things To Do In A Ber­lin Autumn, 10 Things To Do When Your Par­ents Visit You […]

  3. […] art and anecdotes. Among all the great content, we like the 10 things to do series they did for summer and autumn. Read more […]