Updated just in time for Valentine’s Day 2018
Germans don’t date. I know for a fact that they either magically fall in love at school or at their workplace, or they get drunk, randomly hook up and simply end up staying together. That’s why for expats (other than Norwegians, who seem to consider Germans outgoing), dating in Berlin can be quite disappointing.
But the more foreigners (read: Americans) end up in Berlin, the more the concept of dating has actually spread. I personally really like the idea of getting to know someone over a special activity, especially because choosing something to do is already part of getting to know each other.
However, Berlin is not an easy turf to navigate. Bars are usually filled with smoke and will overspill with annoying people, and most of the time, the weather is way too crappy to rely on it. But still, there are a few things that I’d consider a good date in Berlin – so here’s how you get laid on your next Tinder encounter.
The KaDeWe foodcourt date
The KaDeWe, the most luxurious warehouse of Berlin, is a maze. It’s easy to get lost in the abundance of hyper-expensive consumer products if you don’t know the place. I am especially fascinated with the top floor – the grocery store – which is a very well-stocked paradise for people who hate German supermarkets (a great topic to bond over with fresh arrivals).
KaDeWe, Tauentzienstraße 21-24, 10789 Berlin
A fun date idea is to set a limit (something like 10 Euro) and ask your date to find the most interesting product in the grocery store. The last time I went, I found a pickle in a can (when they were still a novelty), it costs something like 5 bucks. A goddamn pickle. But I still bought it for my SO because I’m hilarious like that.
The Dating Spree
There’s a three hour (!) long boat trip, starting from Jannowitzbrücke, that goes on the Spree.
This is a perfect date for a weekday, as you better believe the boats are overcrowded on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m not usually fond of those tourist activities, but if you (or your date) have never done the long trip, I can tell you it’s nice to see the city from another perspective. The changing scenery gives you the opportunity to talk about your environment and because of the restaurant service on the boat, you might even get tipsy together. Negative points for being stuck with a bad date for 3 hours and jumping into the Spree is not an option.
Sightseeing Cruises, Website
This may seem oddly specific, but I thoroughly enjoy a trip to the little Spielhallen that are scattered across the city. They may seem dodgy – and they usually are – but if you’ve got some change to spare and want to experience something that can be both fun and nerve-wrecking, then why not gamble? It can be a little bit of a dare for both if you’ve never been in one of those Casino. Couple that with some street food afterwards to stick with the theme and you’ve got yourself a cool date.
I recommend you skip the slot machines, by the way, and get the best bang for your buck at Black Jack. On a side note: my favorite is the Spielbank Hasenheide. Since it’s a state-legislated Casino, it also has the better winning opportunities.
If all of that sounds as if I spend most of my day gambling, then that’s because I do.
Spielbank Hermannplatz, Hasenheide 107, 10967 Berlin
Gamificate your date
I remember, back when I was young, almost every big city would have a proper American Arcade hall. Entire mall levels were dedicated to computer games like Street Fighter or, later, Dance Dance Revolution. Unfortunately, arcades have become a nostalgic thing of the past. Maybe because of the Casinos, but who knows.
If your date is also a 90’s kid, take them to the bowling place on Hermannplatz. There is an air-hockey table, and we all know that Air-hockey is the best game.
If Arcades are not your thing and you’re just too lazy to actually do something sportive, I recommend a game of ping pong. There are so many public tables around the city that you’ll be spoiled for choices. If you’re new around here, find your nearest ping pong table on this nifty little map.
Neue City Bowling, Hasenheide 108, 10967 Berlin
Light the fire at Feuerle Collection
If you really want to impress your date, and/or don’t feel like talking too much, take them out on the weekend to the amazing Feuerle Collection. This private art gallery, built into a former Berlin bunker, is not just a cultural space – it’s truly an experience.
On two floors, visitors will be immersed in a sensual experience of Asian art, but also delighted with a very erotic collection of contemporary pieces. This date needs some prep-time, as you have to book a spot in advance, but I promise you will not regret it (keep in mind that you will have to whisper most of the time, so it’s not exactly ideal for getting to know someone, which may or may not be ideal for your situation get me bro)
The Feuerle Collection, Hallesches Ufer 70, 10963 Berlin – Book tickets on website
Busk in the sun
If you happen to catch a fleeting summer moment, you should visit one of the lively Berlin bridges in the afternoon. When the sun lowers over the Landwehrkanal in Kreuzberg, or over the Warschauer Straße in Friedrichshain, many beer drinking people, buskers and passersby unite and enjoy the frivolous atmosphere that Berlin is so good at. My top spot for a lively atmosphere is the Admiralsbrücke, and if you’re looking for a killer sunset, make sure to stroll across Oberbaumbrücke.
Read more about the Berlin ‘Bridge’ Culture
Dwell in the Darkroom
If you and your date are outgoing people, you should dive into Berlins lively party scene – where it can get quite illustrious, to say the least. GEGEN at Kitkat and Pornceptual are two large institutions that come to mind for sexy and crazy nights out. Both events have visitors strip off (not everything, but to the minimum) at the door, and the vibe is generally queer, exciting and probably the closest to the Golden Twenties Berlin that you can find.
For raunchier (and usually gay-exklusive) parties, there are other options – but if you’re already considering taking your date to a place like this, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you more about it.
GEGEN BERLIN, every two months – Website
Berlin doesn’t have a skyline to offer, but once you get on a rooftop, that usually makes you the King or Queen of the world. It would be careless of me to write my favorite accessible rooftops on this blog, but you can usually pretty easily find one through friends or simply by being aware of your surroundings. I can still remember climbing from roof to roof on warm summer nights, as the building blocks are connected throughout the old quarters (in Kreuzberg, Wedding, Moabit, Prenzlauer Berg and Neukölln, for example).
Picnic at Pfaueninsel
The Pfaueninsel in the West of Berlin is destined to be a romantic stop for a picnic. The castle on it was once built by the Kaiser for his secret mistress and can be literally translated to “lust castle”, which should also be the motto of your date. Today, peacocks roam the little island freely.
Take a blanket, some wine and a couple of snacks and kidnap your date to one of the most beautiful spots in the city – no cars, few people and definitely a good idea for dreamy souls.
See a movie at Il Kino
My favorite cinema is a little arthouse theater in Kreuzberg called Il Kino. It’s got everything you need: good movies (screened in their original language with subtitles) and a gloomy bar with an almost kind of “jazz noir” atmosphere for date nights that can get really long. The theme of the cinema is Italian, so expect to find anti-pasti and good wine instead of expensive junk food.
Having them run movies late into the night is one of the things that make Il Kino such a fantastic spot, as sometimes dates can be super spontaneous, or you simply love the graveyard shift as a dating lifestyle.
Il Kino Berlin, Nansenstraße 22, 12047 Berlin – Book tickets on website