Berlin is everybody’s new favorite spot. It is a lovely city with a tremendous history behind it. Berlin is not an easy city to love and her (yes, HER! Berlin is a girl!) beauty sometimes is not easy on the eyes. To truly love Berlin you need to know the history that happened here and most important, keep your eyes open to suck in all the culture you’ll find in the little cracks, in that secret door or in that amazing park you loved so much.
Berlin is a city full of life, culture, history and color that has a distinct and unique nightlife and daytime version. And most people cannot manage to experience both sides of Berlin in just one trip. In this post, I will show you some of the best things to do in Berlin during the daytime for people visiting for the first time, if you need a more in-depth view of what Berlin has to offer, check out my blog, Fotostrasse.com
Insider Tip: If you plan on exploring all that Berlin has to offer, look into getting the Berlin WelcomeCard. With this card you get up to 50% off on over 200 attractions throughout Berlin as well as free access to public transportation.
1. Museum Island
We all know about this island, but I still have to insist that it’s a place you need to spend at least 2 days of your life. This UNESCO World Heritage site can save you from a boring rainy day with its amazing museums and exhibitions, but also can amaze you just by walking around it. The architecture of those museums, cathedrals and more are outstanding. And it is a great place to spot some scars Berlin still has from the Berlin Battle in 1945. When you’re there, try to see all the holes in the columns and walls, those are all bullet holes.
Insider Tip: If you are a museum buff make sure to get the Museum Pass. The pass gives you access to over 30 museums for 3 full days. You can buy your pass here.
2. East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall)
The East Side Gallery is one of the longest and coolest open-air exhibitions of street art in Europe. All that, together with the history behind it makes it one of the best things to do in Berlin. It is one of the longest parts of the Berlin Wall that still remains in its original place.
This gallery was painted by 118 artists from over 20 countries and portrays different views of what the wall was, political criticism and love messages. All of the paintings comment on the political events that took place during 1989 and 1990, the rest are mainly done by visitors leaving their mark in such a historic place.
If you want to learn more about the history of graffiti in Berlin make sure to check out this awesome street art tour here.
3. Giant Penis Near Checkpoint Charlie
I guess you weren’t expecting this one, right? It is a bit of a secret to most of the tourists, but since I’m really into exploring the city, let me give you this one.
So, after you get really disappointed with Checkpoint Charlie (and you will!) you can walk a little bit to the side on Rudi Dutschke Strasse and look at the TAZ building. You’ll find the Axel Springer’s newspaper’s editor, Kai Diekmann, showing off his huge penis. If you want to know the full story behind this, I have a complete article about it here.
4. TV Tower
The Fernsehturm, or just TV Tower in plain English, is how you can find yourself in Berlin. You’ll most probably spot the tower from anywhere in the city and you’ll know where you are.
If you decide you want to pay to go up, I strongly suggest you take the brunch option. You will have a table by the window and see the whole city at once since the tower rotates, and the food is delicious.
Of course, it is a bit overpriced, but still, it is a nice thing to do in Berlin if you’re here for a few days. You can book your skip-the-line ticket to the TV Tower here.
5. YAAM Beach
Looking to soak up the Berlin sun or chill with a nice cold beer in your hand? Well, head to YAAM Beach. For over 20 years YAAM (Young African Art Markets) has been the best spot in Berlin to chill, meet people, listen to awesome reggae and even eat delicious African dishes. It’s difficult to describe YAAM Beach without underselling it, you just have to go there to experience it. Oh and I promise, once you’re there you’ll understand why it made our list of best things to do in Berlin.
6. Street Art Alley in Hackescher Markt
Tucked away unseeingly in an alley on Rosenthaler Strasse you will find a street art lover’s paradise. Every inch of space is literally covered with art. With styles ranging from graffiti to stickers and pieces from famous graffiti artists such as Jimmy C, this attraction is definitely a highlight of the best things to do in Berlin. Be sure to visit the Anne Frank Zentrum, Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt as well as the graffiti-covered staircase, as they too will provide a unique addition to your Berlin visit.
7. Reichstag Building
One of the highlights of any Berlin trip is going up the Reichstag Dome. It is the glass, round-shaped structure on top of the Reichstag Building.
Try to make it there to catch the sunset at the end of your tour. When I went there, I did the historical tour where they showed the history of the building, explained the fire in the 30s and much more.
Please keep in mind that you need to book in advance online, and do it before you even reach Berlin, ok? Everybody wants to do this and sometimes it is full. The entrance is free, but please remember to bring your passport with you for security reasons, after all, you are entering a government building.
Alternatively, you can join this guided tour of the Parliament Quarter and the Reichstag Building. It’s a great way to learn more about the history of Berlin and skip the lines. You can you book your ticket here.
8. Free Concert in Berlin Philharmonie
Who would have thought it would be possible to enjoy a concert at the famous Berlin Philharmonie for free? Definitely not me. Featuring some of the city’s best musicians, you can fall into musical bliss for 30-45 minutes every Tuesday at 1pm from September to June. It’s about time you do something a little different during lunchtime! Note: The place fills up fast, so it’s recommended you come early if you want a seat, or even a good spot to stand.
9. Brandenburg Gate
Besides the TV Tower that we’ve previously talked about , this is for sure one of the best things to do in Berlin.
Brandenburg Gate, what would we do without you?
But besides looking at this powerful 18th century imperial arch that was the place for some of the most important moments in Berlin’s history, such as Hitler’s claim to power in 1933 and the iconic scene where people started to tear down the Berlin Wall in 1989 just to name a few, this place is important for something else that most don’t realize. It is just a few meters from where Michael Jackson shook the baby outside the hotel’s balcony!!! Cool, huh? The name of the hotel is Hotel Adlon Kempinski and it is right over there! Take a photo and show me later if you found it!
10. Kreuzberg’s Turkish Market
Get a small taste of Istanbul in Berlin by visiting the largest Turkish market in Berlin. Every Tuesday and Friday between 11am and 6:30pm, the street of Maybachufer Strasse is lined with stalls for half a mile selling everything from fresh produce to electronics. If you are interested in what food you can stuff your face with, Kreuzberg’s Turkish Market will not disappoint. As you stroll through the market, sample some of Berlin’s street food or indulge in some traditional Turkish dishes like jalapeño börek or the gözleme.
11. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Mostly known for the favorite place for selfies, this memorial is much more than that. (Really people, stop with the selfies! And if you must, don’t post it on Tinder! It is disrespectful, to say the least!)
This amazing work of art has a super cool and sad museum underneath telling the stories of some of the families who were killed during WWII.
It is one of those things that is hard to do but you must, you know? You need to remember the past to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Oh, and the place where this memorial is located, used to be where Joseph Goebbels had his house. I think it is a nice touch to build a memorial where this awful human being used to live in comfort.
12. Ramones Museum
Yes! You heard me (read me) right! The Ramones Museum is in Berlin and not NYC! And it is a must go place if you like the Ramones (duh!), are interested in music in general, or if you’re looking for a nice place for a coffee or a beer after walking so much.
The Ramones Museum has a ridiculously huge collection of memorabilia dedicated to the greatest punk band in the world. The collection is so big that it cost the owner his soon-to-be-wife.
Besides the area dedicated to the museum, which is paid, the Ramones Museum has a somewhat living room where you can order cake, coffee, beer or whatever and enjoy an afternoon with your friends and good music. The museum is located in Mitte, and it is close to the Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, and TV Tower. So make this place your pit stop between those attractions.
13. BBI (Berlinburger International)
Yes, I will have to add a burger joint to my list for one simple reason: it is the best burger place I’ve tried in my entire life. And as a travel blogger, you know I travel a lot. I’m still yet to discover a better burger.
14. Explore David Bowie’s Life
One of the things that drew my attention to Berlin was the fact that Bowie spent 3 years in the city and produced 3 albums. The city was so inspiring to him that he had to move here.
He lived in Schöneberg with Iggy Pop, and there’s so much of Bowie and Iggy around the city that you’ll love it. Check out my complete guide to Bowie, and if you have any questions, please shoot me a message.
Besides the places you can visit, the Photoautomats are the most Berliner souvenirs anyone can have!
Spread around all over the city, you can get 4 photos for 2 euros. Gang up with your friends or have one with your loved one. Be creative, be bold, be naked, be whatever you want! Anything is possible as long as you can fit in a 3×4 frame!
I lost count of how many strips of photos like this I have with my friends. And remember that most people will not share the photos, so you’ll have to take a second or a third round. But it is all fun!
Have you ever been to Berlin before? I’m leaving out so many places to avoid having a long and boring list, but make sure you check out Tempelhofer Park, Charlottenburg Palace, Mauerpark Flea Market on Sundays, Görlitzer Park and much more.
Berlin is also a great base to explore the surroundings. Here are some of the most popular day trips from Berlin to get you started. If you need more ideas, please talk to me and I’ll try to help the best way I can.
Where to Stay in Berlin
Here are our top recommendations of hostels and hotels in Berlin. All are centrally located, highly rated and have excellent facilities.
- Best Hostel: EastSeven Hostel
- Best Budget Hotel: Leonardo Hotel Berlin
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz
- Best Luxury Hotel: Hotel Adlon Kempinski
Don’t forget to also take a look at Airbnb. They have many accommodation options available in Berlin, and many of them are cheaper than your average hotel. Click here to get $40 off your next booking with Airbnb.
Tours You Might Enjoy
Below are some popular tours in Berlin that you might enjoy doing. For a more comprehensive list of the best tours in Berlin click here.
- 1-Hour City Tour of Berlin by Boat
- 3.5-Hour Bike Tour of Berlin
- Berlin City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
- Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Tour