Welcome to the hottest week of Berlin! Although I’ve written a list of summer before, I needed to start from scratch. Alas, if you were looking for advice on where to for a refreshing bath without standing in line: I’m sorry, I don’t think Berlin harbors any more secrets.
Read on to find out how to “summer in Berlin” like a pro.
Dip into Berlins pools and lakes
Columbiabad in Neukölln is my go-to choice: a public pool, large and with lush green lawns. The pools are (usually) clean, there’s a waterslide and jumping ranks. During school holidays, it can get pretty crowded. Grown ups should go around 9 AM to avoid the queues and enjoy a morning swim. Forget going on a Sunday if you’re not ready to wait in line for a while. Badeschiff can be an option if you go as early as 8 AM, for example after an early morning jog.
Notable lakes around Berlin are Liepnitzsee, Bernsteinsee (Ruhlsdorf) and some corners of Scharmützelsee (read more about that further down). As a general rule: the closer you are to the city center, the earlier you should get there to spend the day. Closer alternatives are Wannsee or Falkensee, although both are rather bleh and crowded.
If you don’t mind longer trips by car, just travel further out in the direction of Uckermark and you’ll find plenty of pristine, refreshing, clear and beautiful lakes flanking the roads.
Brunch at Annelies
Berlin Food Stories called it “the best brunch in Berlin” and I have to agree: the menu is light and refreshing and left me drooling for more. I recommend the egg and asparagus, the Romana with cheese and the roasted carrots with salad. Watch Kreuzberg wake up or enjoy the seasoned heat with a soothing Bloody Mary or a spritzy Cremant to go along with the refined meals.
- Annelies, Görlitzer Straße 68, 10997 Berlin
Celebrate Pride in Berlin
LGBTQ+ rights, gay parties and PRIDE are essential to Berlins DNA, but 2019 is an especially important year, it being the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
For whatever reasons, Berlins pride festivals and protests are never in June (which is globally known and accepted as official Pride Month) but instead in July. This gives Berliners ample chance to travel to other prides of the world without missing out on their local festivities. My favorite moments of the year are the Lesbisch-Schwules Stadtfest in Schöneberg and the Dyke March in Kreuzberg. They are independent of the big “Christopher Street Day” parade, but around the same time.
Pride Week is from 19 to 28 July 2019.
Get fit at Gleisdreieckpark
Gleisdreieckpark is not only my favorite park in Berlin in 2019, it’s also the Venice Beach of Berlin: skating bowls, fitness classes, trampolines, ping pong, beergardens, dancing crews, bodyweight acrobats, beach volleyball, and a good topping of crazy people unite in this park to entertain bystanders and picnic-makers. Grab yourself a refreshing beer and snacks at BRLO if it gets unbearably hot or prepare yourself a picnic with friends and enjoy this peculiar mix of urban flavors and wild styles.
Boatride Little Venice (Müggelsee)
By far my favorite summer activity for a heatwave: rent a boat with friends and cruise casually along the widespread canals of the Müggelspree. Choose between ample lakes, anchor wherever you want and self-drive into the sunset. You are your own skipper, bring your own drinks, and enjoy the luxury version of a staycation. At around 200 Euro per day for a boat that packs 5-7 people, it’s not too expensive to consider. Be quick about the reservations, though, as this is a popular off-shore activity in Berlin.
- Rent a motorized boat at Schlossboote in Köpenick, easy to reach from Kreuzberg / Treptow on public bus, and cross from lake to lake along the channels
Cold Brew & Champagne at La Maison
Newly opened Maison offers plenty of tables in the shade right at the Landwehrkanal with their elegant cold brews and fresh pressed juices. Open every day from 7 AM for those who start their day early. Most wonderfully, Maison isn’t just a daytime café but hosts the wine shop Club du Rhône on weekend evenings to combine two of my favorite past-times right in my neighborhood: coffee, cake, and drinking wine.
- La Maison, Paul-Lincke-Ufer 17, 10999 Berlin
Escape to Sacred Ground Festival
There are sooo many festivals in and around the city, and it’s obviously impossible to list them all. But I do have a favorite festival that I like to plug every year: Sacred Ground in the Uckermark region of Brandenburg. This small and intimate music festival focuses on an exquisite line up for Connaisseurs of music, food and glamping and has nothing in common with the muddy wasteland of a typical music festival. With Axel Bomann, Gudrun Gut (Live), Mathew Johnson & Frank Wiedemann in the line up for 2019, you can already get a sense of what the idyllic and magical experience will sound like. Tickets are still available!
Escape to Uckermark
Forget Brandenburg – Uckermark is where it’s at! If you couldn’t make it to the festival, you can still make it to the most beautiful region of the no mans land that is Brandenburg. “The Hamptons of Berlin”, as they are playfully called sometimes, have become an exile for artists and creatives, resulting in a beautiful landscape of architectonic masterworks (compared to regular holiday homes) and a solid food scene.
Visit Collection Night Berlin
In order to give visibility to the artworks beyond the public eye, 15 private collections in Berlin are organising the Collection Night on 23 August: between 5 p.m. and midnight, the participating collections will create individual formats and open their programs and houses to those interested in art. This seems to be an incredible opportunity of immersion into a scene that is usually closed off to the layman. Participants are: Sammlung Bergmeier, Boros Collection, me Collectors Room, The Feuerle Collection, Sammlung Haubrok, Kienzle Art Foundation, Rocca Stiftung, Sammlung Ulrich Seibert, Julia Stoschek Collection, Sammlung Wemhöner, Sammlung Ivo Wessel, Wurlitzer Berlin – Pied-à-terre Collection.
Swim or surf Scharmützelsee at Freilich Restaurant
Okay, you can’t really surf Scharmützelsee. But you can rent boats, stand up paddleboards or simply waste away at the generous sunbathing area (or Liegewiese, as the modest German calls it). There are various food and drink trucks and a proper infrastructure in case you have to go number #2. There is also the restaurant and Biergarten Freilich, which is just good enough for an evening Spritz and a Bavarian meal. If you stick to the charcuterie and bretzen, you’ll be totally fine.
Watch outdoor Movies with Mobile Kino
Dinner and the movie but it’s 36° outside? Mobile Kino comes to the rescue: visiting many different venues across the city, this years’ cinematic program is quite captivating: Berlin Bouncer, Call Me By Your Name, Pulp Fiction and other (new and old) cult flicks.
Run through the sprinklers at Görlitzer Park
I’m not sure what the point or the schedule of this particular irrigation plant is, but if you get the chance (or if you’ve just woken up from your hangover slumber and have missed the train to the lake while its 40°C outside), run through Görlitzer Park and enjoy the shower with your kids, dogs or friends. You’ll need it!