Most (German) parents remember Berlin as an exile for outlaws, punks and prostitutes because it IS an exile for outlaws, punks and prostitutes. But obviously, you want them to believe that you’re safe, responsible and living an adult life out here on your own. So what to do? You can’t take them to a sex party and show them all the queer people you fell in love with, right?
Don’t panic, darling. I’ve prepared the perfect guide for you. [1. Take everything with a grain of salt. My parents may be a little different from yours. Mine definitely do not want to dive deeply into Berlin history or eat Falafel on the sidewalks in Kreuzberg (“Why do you always have to sit in the STREETS?! IN THE STREETS AT THE KIOSK?! IT IS DIRTY!”), but if that’s your family thing, by all means, go ahead and create your own list.]
Visit an impressive castle
Ease your parents into the dirt and grime of Berlin. Take them immediately to Potsdam, the boring neighbor city. The castle of Sanssouci is beautiful and can be combined with boat trips across the Havel or an excursion to the Pfaueninsel (where there’s also a castle, albeit an old one).
If y’all too lazy and want to pretend Berlin is pretty, you shall let them see Schloss Charlottenburg. The entrance might be hilariously expensive but that’s why your parents are paying.
Take them to a culturally relevant museum
Look. If you’re taking your parents to a museum, then you will be stuck with your parents in a museum, so choose wisely.
In the summertime, Haus am Waldsee is a great option for a little bit of contemporary art and lounging in the garden area. Mothers and fathers love eating cake and drinking coffee in a sophisticated setting, even if they don’t get the post-modern art. A newer addition to the contemporary art scene (including a gorgeous café in an old industrial brewery) is the KINDL Zentrum, perfect for when it’s raining and you’re based in Neukölln.
You could also take them to the Boros Collection, but if your folks are dusty farmers like mine and show no interest whatsoever in contemporary art, maybe it’s time to get the flak out and take them to the Natural History museum. I mean, it’s dinosaurs. Everybody gets dinosaurs.
Go on a sightseeing trip (on a boat)
If you’d like to simply sit around and get wasted while your parents take 2,5 terrabyte of tourist pictures, you should opt for a boat tour across the Spree and the Landwehrkanal. The tours are usually on a daily schedule; some of them last around 2 hours, others up to 4. It’s a nice change of perspective for yourself and you won’t have to be dragged into every boutique store (or, in case of my mother, may she rest in peace, fucking PRIMARK) or pose at every landmark for awkward family pictures taken by amateur strangers.
Enjoy a fine dining experience
While some parents can be swayed with a classic Köfte sandwich after visiting the theater, most would like to be wined and dined properly, then generously pay the bill. This is your chance to try Berlins finest restaurants without having to sacrifice your daily coke budget!
My favorite restaurants for an upscale (but not ridiculously expensive) experience are Panama, Horvath and Cecconi’s. For a more cozy but high quality dinner, take them to Goldener Hahn, Jolesch or Einstein Unter den Linden, which is conveniently located in the middle of the otherwise desolated ‘Upper East Side’ of Berlin.
For a very special treat and a one-of-a-kind dining experience, your foodie parents will definitely love CODA, the first and only dessert bar in Berlin.
Show them Prenzlauer Berg
Your parents love Paris, Barcelona, London and New York, but they hate Berlin because all you’ve ever showed them was the bunkers and the graffitis. Look baby, your folks don’t give a fuck about riots, revolutions and raves, so get over it and show them the bougie side of the city.
Become a flaneur, take them for a spin on Kastanienallee, Kollwitzplatz and Akazienkiez in Prenzlauer Berg. They’ll love the little boutiques and handicraft shops, the local manufacturers and the loving detail of the Altbau architecture.
Take them to the Bundestag
Combine politics, sightseeing, architecture and coffee with this “all in one” package deal. A trip to the Reichstag might be on everyone’s number 1 tourist list and doesn’t exactly count as a secret tip, but let’s be honest, your parents actually like this kind of stuff. There’s contemporary modern art, a ton of history, modern politics and a nice little rooftop café.
Come prepared by booking a tour beforehand, as the queues can get pretty shitty and are usually full of high schoolers. Actually, I do have a secret tip: try to book a guided tour through the Bundestag, as you’ll be able to spontaneously (meaning 1 or 2 days notice) visit & skip the queues.
Get them drunk at BRLO brewhouse
An orderly park, a little bit of food and plenty of beer: The new BRLO Biergarten in Gleisdreickpark will make your dad’s dreams come true. If he’s ever wanted to try a good old Pale Ale (not from the Späti, from the brewer) while sitting in a post-industrial park, then this is the place to be.
The BRLO Brewhouse is cool, but not too cool for parents. In my experience, old people don’t like Görlitzer Park, and Tiergarten is often too big and too remote to be really relaxing. Gleisdreieck Park makes for a great alternative. The Brewhouse is a great addition and not yet as crowded as Haus am Neuen See or other popular park locations.