Parks! Art! Parties! Summertime in Berlin is a magical occasion, the kind that has you considering upping your life and permanently relocating to the "City That Trees Built". It’s a tale as old as (Central European) time: thousands of people flock here each year to lose themselves within the city’s infamous club and art scenes.
Last weekend, after almost two years entirely closed down, Berlin’s iconic clubs opened back up for good. It was the final cog in the wheel to get the city back up and operating like normal — though not completely, as revellers will still need to show vaccination or recovery status and a negative test to enter most vicinities whether it be nightclubs, restaurants or bars. There are plenty of ways to experience Berlin now that things are largely back to normal, and we’re talking you through just a few of them.
So, if you’re considering jetting out this summer, we’ve got the perfect 24-hour itinerary whether you're a first-timer or a bonafide Berliner.
1:PM —Bike down the River Spree
Every good day in peak-summertime Berlin should be spent exploring the city, particularly if you’re a newcomer, and what better way to put that into practice than by zipping along the riverside at 15 miles an hour. Depending on your preferred mode of transport there’s a healthy selection of rentable bikes to pick up around the city or, if you’re craving an adrenalin rush, electric scooters. Heading along the River Spree is a good way to do a quick pit-stop tour of the sights if you’ve only got a day in Berlin and should score you a few good cafés, restaurants and markets along the way.
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2:PM —Have a beer at Tempelhof
Plummet south on your trusty steed and you’ll hit Tempelhofer Feld - an abandoned airport-turned-park still flaunting the same landing strips as it did when the airport was last operating through World War II. On a summer day, you can expect hundreds of Berliners flocking here to cycle, rollerskate, windsurf and jog around the tracks, do a spot of gardening in the park’s eclectic allotment space, and play games on the expansive green. So, take a couple of Sterni’s, join in a game, and make use of the park’s colossal runways.
3: PM — Bar hop in Neukölln
The surrounding area of Tempelhof rides into Neukölln, one of the more animated districts brimming with art students, locals, and a comical number of punks who never left their 80s heyday behind. Here you can find some great bars serving as a respite after your inevitably tiresome afternoon. Whether you prefer the alfresco experience or dodgy dive bars littered with graffiti and old beardy men, Neukölln is always the spot — and a pint of Hefeweißen is a must!
5:PM —Head up to Klunkerkranich
One of Neukölln’s most recognised watering holes is Klunkerkranich, a colourful rooftop bar with absolutely undisputed Berlin energy. You’ll have to venture to the top of a car park to get to it, but once you’re up there, the views are worth it. Aim for 5:PM just after the bar first opens to avoid long queues and hope that you might just catch some live music once you make it to the open-air decks. Do as the locals do and grab yourself a shot of disgustingly green mint liquor or simply ride out the evening with a Club Mate and some stunning views of East Berlin.
7:PM — Walk along the East Side Gallery
A must-do for any tourists itinerary, your next spot should be the East Side Gallery. The last remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall string together over 1000 metres featuring some iconic murals and paintings made after reunification of Germany. It’s a must-see sight before it gets dark and makes for a nice evening walk before you head out on the town.
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8:PM — Food in Friedrichshain
Now might be the time to line your stomach ahead of your big night. Friedrichshain is notorious for its array of bars serving up 2-for-1 cocktails, Turkish takeaways, vegan eats and Thai restaurants. Do some rummaging around Boxhagener Platz for the best street food and boutique eateries, and head down the strip toward the Urban Spree if you’re more partial to a dimly lit bar. If you’re feeling extra naughty, the late-night tattoo shop might even provide you with a not-so regrettable permanent marking to remember your adventures.
9:PM — Sunset at Flak Tower
Another viewpoint couldn’t go amiss - this one is more commonly known by the locals but overlooked by a lot of first-timers. Flak Tower Humboldthain is a World War II anti-aircraft gun tower now turned into a viewpoint where you can find Berliners sipping beer and watching the sunset on the weekend. It requires a bit of a steep uphill trek, but once at the top, there’s no better spot to catch the summertime sunset.
11:PM — Explore Holzmarkt & Kater Blau
Just a stone’s throw away you’ll find Holzmarkt, the cosy outdoor riverside spot urging you to check out its quirky hidden crevices. With an added BYOB attitude, Holzmarkt also hosts a whole load of bars, cafes and food spots with mini nightclubs such as Kater Blau setting up along the riverside encouraging a bit of late-night boat spotting. DJs play here until late, so stock up on the tinnies and have a mingle.
1:AM — Head over to Sisyphos
Sisyphos gets our honourable mention as far as summertime clubs go in Berlin, and with a little bit of something for everyone, it’s hard to dislike this Spree-side haunt. During warmer months this venue opens up outdoors with firepits, food spots, and much-needed adult play areas for the tanked ravers. Indoors, Sisyphos has multiple rooms for the less 4/4 techno-inclined with everything from disco and funk to more bass-heavy offerings begging you to stay until the following afternoon. There are plenty more incredible clubs to choose from, but if you don’t fancy being stuck in a sweatbox mid-summer, Sisy might be your best bet.
6:AM — Make the pilgrimage to Berghain
You know what time it is. And don’t kid yourself, you’re not going to be here for just a couple of hours. Make your way over to the Berghain post-6:AM for a better chance of getting in, avoid looking Sven in the eyes and make sure he doesn’t spot your how-to-get-inside-the-Berghain guidebook. We’re not going to tell you how things go once you’re in there - that would be breaking the rules, duh - but we'll see you when the sun's up.
If you don't manage to sneak past Sven, here are a few good alternatives:
://aboutblank - A little bit of everything. Half indoor, half outdoor club housing some of the city's best parties.
Club der Visionäre - Riverside club serving up everything from disco to techno - a fun summertime spot for whatever journey you're on.
Tresor - One for the heavier stuff. Dark, anarchic techno with that gritty Berlin energy and a mammoth-sized dancefloor to match.
Revier Südost - A hotspot for outdoor clubbing, expansive beer garden and the same industrial style setting from the team behind Berlin's iconic Greissmuehle.
11:AM — Chill out at Mauerpark
Need some fresh air? There are better places to spend your post-Berghain wind-down than a sweaty Airbnb, one of them being the glorious sprawling greenery of Mauerpark. With a bit of everything to chose from, you can join in with some graffiti, watch live music, or peruse through market stalls selling food and handmade goods. If you’re understandably void of human interaction at this point, fear not, there’s plenty of places to chill out with a beer and some shades. Mauerpark is famous for its Sunday spread of activities with a historic "bearpit", or amphitheatre, gathering hundreds of people watching dance performances, taking part in karaoke, and other unusual gigs.
1:PM — Detox at Liquidrom
You’ve made it! The end of your 24-hour expedition is finally in sight, and now might be a better time than any to take a detox. Berliners are hard partygoers who very rarely see a full night’s sleep on the weekend, so if you’re not quite as sturdy, maybe it’s time to head to the spa. For a more unusual experience, Liquidrom in Berlin’s Mitte grabs Berlin’s party ethos and throws it at its sensory spa hosting an "underwater techno" experience where you can float weightlessly and listen to a bit of trance or dip in and out of the sauna. If you’re still going, that is.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter