Of all the incredible things Berlin has going for it, consistent lovely weather is not one of them. Spend an entire winter in the German capital (sometimes as long as November through March) and the concept of sunshine will seem so far removed from reality that referencing photos or video footage will be necessary just to remember what it even looks like. What does it feel like? Only God knows.
But like many things in life, the beauty is in the contrast. And to describe the stark contrast between Berlin’s winters and summers as anything other than glorious would be a laughable understatement. When winter goes, it really goes. And as of now, it’s gone, gone, gone. Summer sun is here and the few months we have to enjoy it are not to be wasted. Here’s our list of essential summertime activities in Berlin. Get ‘em while the gettin’s good.
Some would say it’s not about how you start something, it’s how you finish it. And as much as we like finishing well, we’re equally stoked about great starts. To get any day in Berlin off on the right foot, we recommend brunch – and since it’s summer that means breakfast is served on the patio. Browse our Best Brunch in Berlin guide to scope out some great spots for enjoying an even greater start to the day.
Since air-conditioning is anything but standard, swimming becomes a tempting proposition – especially on rare days when temps climb upwards of thirty degrees (roughly eighty-five Fahrenheit). To cool off, take a dip in one of the many lakes around the city, visit the Statdbäder (public pools), or opt for the novel only-in-Berlin opportunity to swim in a shipping container inside the Spree.
Ganghoferstraße 3, 12043 Berlin
Sportpromenade 9, 12527 Berlin
Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin
In Berlin, warm summer days are best enjoyed with a beer in hand. Where’s the prime spot for securing a nice cold brew? Beer gardens. If there’s one thing the Europeans have figured out, it’s how to enjoy drinking outside, and the German Biergärten provide the perfect example.
Prater Garten (pictured)
Kastanienallee 7-9, 10435 Berlin
Café am neuen See
Lichtensteinallee 2, 10787 Berlin
Rüdersdorfer Str. 70, 10243 Berlin
Hop into a Photo booth
There are some charmingly dingy Photo booths all over Berlin. The resurgence is owed to the efforts of a few Berliners who began buying up and restoring old Photoautomaten and then installing them throughout the city in hopes of bringing a bit of nostalgia to each neighbourhood. Mission: accomplished. Not really a matter of if, but when you come across one, jump in, pay a few euro and leave with analog proof of your time spent in the German Hauptstadt.
What do you do with a commercial airport after it shuts its doors? Berlin says turn it into a public park. Tempelhofer Feld’s landmass of over seven hundred acres attracts thousands of locals every day from bikers utilizing the miles of decommissioned runways to picnickers making use of the wide open spaces for cookouts and sunbathing. A visit to the park on a sunny day is an absolute summertime necessity.
It doesn’t seem to matter where you go, cold sweet-treats are a universal remedy for beating the heat. Berlin’s many delicious ice cream parlours are serving up homemade flavors salty and sweet to ensure a perfectly frosty refreshment on even the most sizzling days.
Graefestraße 80, 10967 Berlin
Gelateria Mos Eisly
Herrfurthpl. 6, 12049 Berlin
Stargarder Str. 73, 10437 Berlin
Located in Prenzlauer Berg, Mauerpark draws crowds typical of a small music festival each and every Sunday. Weekends see locals and tourists alike flocking here to grill out, catch the acts of local street musicians, or hit up the popular flea market. If you’re feeling brave, head to the eastern side of the park and jump in at Bearpit Karaoke – you’ll hear the sounds emanating from the stone amphitheater on the hill.
Wolliner Str. 31, 13355 Berlin
Visit a Späti
The affectionate local abbreviation for Spätverkaufsstelle, Spätis are the ubiquitous corner stores found all over Berlin. What’s so special about a convenience store? Well, in light of Germany’s policies on the enjoyment of alcohol in public, there’s nothing stopping you from grabbing a beer for less than 2 Euro and enjoying it sitting in a nearby park. They’re literally everywhere, and most offer a solid selection of standard German beers. There are a few golden goose locations that stock local and international craft bottles, but save the craft beer for another time (work through our Berlin craft beer list!). Visiting the Späti is all about a quick refreshing brew while out and about.
Berlin is a city with a longtime love for cinema. There are tons of small arthouse Kinos playing eclectic indie films as well as big-time Multiplexes with all the latest offerings from Hollywood. But this is summertime, and that means movie night has been moved outdoors. Head to one of the many Freiluftkinos (open-air cinemas) for a novel evening of beer, popcorn and film in the great outdoors.
Landsberger Allee 15, 10249 Berlin
Hasenheide 1, 10967 Berlin
Mariannenpl. 2, 10997 Berlin
Berlin’s long summer days mean there’s plenty of time for exploring, but we recommend wrapping up daytime activities with enough time to get to a rooftop bar to enjoy the incredible sunset. Summer in Berlin is a time like none other, and there’s nothing like sipping a drink above the city while the sun goes down.
Neukölln Arcaden, Karl-Marx-Straße 66, 12043 Berlin
Budapester Str. 40, 10787 Berlin
Soho House – Rooftop
Torstraße 1, 10119 Berlin