You maybe heard the phrase The best things in life are free and you probably think that Berlin is the best city in the world, right? Well, we thought it would be fun to combine the two in one post. This is a compilation of free things to do in Berlin that you can do at any time, any day and during any season! Well, most of the activities are available 365 days/year, but a few are seasonal.
It makes most sense to visit Berlin at least 4 times: one time for the free things to do in the Spring, another time for the free things to do in the Winter, a third time for the Summer and finally, a fourth and final time for the free things to do in the Fall.
Do your own art gallery tour through Mitte
Auguststrasse is famous for the amount of art galleries on its street. Some charge entrance fees, but most are free. A few months ago, we did a post about Martin Schoeller at CWC Gallery, one of the many galleries on Auguststrasse.
Please make sure to venture beyond Auguststrasse, because Mitte is full small, adorable galleries and art shops! Explore!
The past, the future and the history of Treptower Park
I don’t know how many times we have to say it, but please, go to Treptower Park and the largest Soviet Memorial outside of the former URSS! Read all the posts we did about this wonderful site here.
Check out the Holocaust Memorial
And there’s a free museum there too, but please get there early or you’ll have to endure the long lines. The bad vibe is at a level 10, but seeing the amount of youngsters taking selfies to post on Grindr and/ or Tinder profiles will transform your bad vibe into anger and hate.
Go listen to some free street music
Warschauer Brücke, Admiral Brücke, Mauerpark, several Ubahn stations, Alexanderplatz and the Turkish Market at Maybachufer are the best options for you to find a really nice and impressive street show. Don’t forget to tip if you like the performance and have the extra change.
Spend some time at Art und Weise
Art und Weise is a cool and hip bar in Neukölln and they offer free complimentary tapas every Tuesday! Check them out on facebook.
Like the name suggests, the free tapas comes with paid drinks, of course. But if you’re really broke, just come along with some friends and let them buy you alcohol.
Experience Thailand without leaving Berlin
During the summer, every weekend you can do to Preußenpark and find the amazing food stands. Preußenpark is often referred to as “Thai Park”.
The park is filled with little Thai mamas cooking on blankets in the grass, it’s like a taste of Bangkok without the beautiful temples.
Read more: Where to stay in Berlin
Support the local street art scene
Berlin is known by for its street art. Fact: In Berlin you can find street art created by everyone from Blu to Gemeos, Banksy to Shepard Fairey… Berlin has it all! And it includes several street art meetups like this one we went in the Winter of 2014.
You can see it on these city buildings, you can touch it on the city walls. Check out neighborhoods like Mitte, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Neukölln. Go out, explore the city. Pay attention to the light poles, to the building walls, up, down, left and right. Berlin is full of it!
Climb one of Berlin’s highest “mountains”
Like we mentioned here, the Flakturm (or Flak Tower in English) is a must-see place during your Berlin visit. You can choose to do the paid tour that will take you inside and explain everything or you can just go to the top of it and have one of the most amazing views of the city! Totally worth it!
Read more: Over 1000 hotels in Berlin for you
Now go and climb a real mountain
Just Kidding, Berlin has no mountains! Are you crazy?!?! Well, Arkenberge may be a garbage disposal site, but it’s Berlin’s highest point! And trust me, the smell is completely tolerable! But please hurry up! There are money-hungry real estate capitalists trying to turn it into a fancy ski run. But if you don’t care about this you can just wait until they actually turn it into a fancy ski run and pay to go there!
Walk through the Topography of Terror
This place may be located in one of the most boring areas of Berlin (around Checkpoint Charlie), but it provides lots of fun. We recommend the Topography of Terror far more than Checkpoint Charlie. Here’s why: Checkpoint Charlie is a big NO NO. The Topography of Terror is a great history museum of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters. If you want to learn more about the Third Reich and WWII, this is the place to go!
Free things to do in Berlin: Get your free beer
If you find an empty beer bottle you can return it to many supermarkets or kiosks and get 8 cents in return for it. You can buy beer in supermarkets for as little as 20 cents. Do the math!
Hackescher Markt’s street art alley
A bit full of tourists; nevertheless, cool as hell! And if you go, do not forget to pop into the Otto Weidt Museum. It is the former workshop of a citizen hero who helped protect deaf and blind people during WWII. The Museum helps you restore faith in humankind.
Lose yourself on the timeless beauty and the stunning architecture of Museum Island
At the end of Spree Island, sits the world famous Museum Island which is comprised of five amazing museums – Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Pergamonmuseum, Bodemuseum and Altes Museum.
The island is one of the many Unesco World Heritage sites. It is a must see. While you’ll need to pay to enjoy the museums and see the incredible artefacts within, strolling around the island to take in the magnificent architecture costs you nothing. Go for it!
66 Lakes Trail
Attention: The entire hike is over 400km long, so you will not be able to do it quickly. But, it is so pretty and worth at least a handful of kilometers. All the info you need is here.
Go out and explore an alternative Berlin
Alternative Berlin tours will take you to see a different side of Berlin. One which normal postcards and tourguides don’t expose. The tour guides are connected to many local organizations and artists and bring you closer to the alternative and artsy side of Berlin without lacking respect for the places you are shown.
Kunstquartier Bethanien is now one of the most important cultural centers in the city. Several artists and music studios are part of it today, but several years ago the place was a hospital and for a few years even a squatted building!
Relax and do some Yoga
Every week on Thurday is Yoga day!!! English Yoga Berlin offers a 90-minute, pay-what-you-can session. Please leave some money for the teacher. Don’t be an assh*le.
Free museums for everybody!
Almost all of Berlin’s regional museums, memorial sites, historical museums and some other art collections offer free entry for everyone! Education is free in Berlin! Click here to see which of the museums are kostenlos.
SPOILER: The German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst is free! And you’ve already read on our blog how amazing it is.
Besides that, the paid museums sometimes offers a free admission option.
- Akademie der Künste (Pariser Platz and Hanseatenweg): First Sunday of the month.
- Nikolaikirche – Stadtmuseum Berlin: First Wednesday of the month.
- Bröhan-Museum: First Wednesday of the month.
- Märkisches Museum – Stadtmuseum Berlin: First Wednesday of the month.
- Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin: On Monday.
- Domäne Dahlem: First Wednesday of the Month (Museum).
Free things in Berlin now online
One of the coolest Facebook groups for people living in Berlin. People announce what they have to give away for free and/ or what they need. You will find everything from shoes to mattresses. You may get a coffee machine or a cool bike kostenlos! Check it out: Free your Stuff Berlin
Have a bite at Bite Club
Entry to the block party is $free$, but you’ll most likely end up succumbing to an artisanal treat or two (don’t say we didn’t warn you!). Bite club is an award-winning street food party on the Spree. Booze, food trucks, BBQ, live music & DJs. What else do you need?
Deutsch für Dich is one of the most amazing ideas ever! It is basically free german classes… in a bar. Brilliant! On the link you can find the timetables and you just need to join the level you think you belong to! If you want to learn German for free, we have some tips for you here.
Be a good person: help the homeless
Homeless Veggie Dinner is a facebook group full of awesome people that get together and cook every month for the less fortunate. It is a great way to meet good people and become one at the same time.
Check out Berlin’s cheap as f*ck Vietnamese mall
As a Brazilian from São Paulo, I have to use this reference: It is the Berlin version of 25 de Março. If you’re not Brazilian or have never been to Brazil, allow me to explain it in a different way: The Dong Xuan Center is a massive warehouse compound filled with Asian gadgets, comical (sometimes shabby) products, food and much more. All that with the delightful smell of pho. Insiders tip: go with one of those big Ikea bags if you’re planning to buy useless stuff and weird food!
Go and check out the East Side Gallery
A memorial full of colors and art to celebrate freedom! The East Side Gallery sits along the Berlin’s most famous river (the Spree), and it is the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall at its original location. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, 100+ artists from all over the world turned it into an open-air gallery covered in declarations of peace and other, often politically minded murals. In my humble opinion this is the best mural:
Spend a few minutes staring at the grandiose Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is without a doubt Berlin’s most iconic landmark! It is on most postcards and in more than 50% of any Google image search about Berlin. The Brandenburg Gate is a site you must stand in front of in real life.
It was built in 1791 as the royal city gate, but spent the Cold War years really close to the Berlin Wall limits, becoming a symbol of the divided nation. Adorned by a detailed sculpture of the winged goddess of victory piloting a chariot, it is now the symbol of a reunified Germany.
Chill out at Tempelhofer Feld or any of the wonderful parks
BBQ, flying kites, swimming, jogging, sleeping, tanning, community gardening… Berlin park’s have it all. Read about our favorite parks and choose the best one for you!
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Oranienburg
Sachsenhausen is a bit outside Berlin , but not too far for an enriching and free activity. It is fairly easy to reach by S-bahn and they offer guided tours in German and English. If you are there, you can even try to visit the infamous SS Brotfabrik close by.
Free things to do in Berlin: Reichstag’s glass dome
It is 100% free of charge to enter the glass dome of the Reichstag, but you will need to present your passport upon entry and book your visit days in advance. Or, you can wait in the 1000km line which snakes across the street. Your call.
Slide away in Viktoriapark
Viktoriapark is located in Kreuzberg. Kreuzberg is the Cross Mountain in German. There is a cross on the top of the ~mountain~ inside the park. Coincidence? I don’t think so…
But back to the fun fun fun: in the winter time, when Berlin is covered in snow, you can slide downhill from the top of Viktoriapark all the way to the end! It is amazing!
If you don’t have snow, just go there for the view in the Summer
Viktoriapark from April to October (sometimes November) has a waterfall with many reachable places to sit and relax by the water and, at its highest point, you can see the whole city!
Play some Ping-Pong
There are plenty of public table tennis spots all over Berlin. I’ve never seen a nation more in love with ping pong than Germany. I might even risk saying that Asian countries are losing on this one. There’s a whole website dedicated to that!
Bike through Spreewald
After you find your free bike on Free Your Stuff Berlin, head to Berlin’s surrounding countryside. It’s relaxing, pleasant and amazing. It is one of my favorite free things to do in Berlin.
Go Swimming in a Lake
I’m not going to post a map here showing you the 1928392 lakes you can visit. The work would be too extensive. This is why we are glad that Visit Berlin did this for us. Berlin is full of lakes and several of them are easily reachable by U or S Bahn! Some of the lakes here even have sand beaches!
The ultra famous Berlin flea markets
You must have heard about Mauerpark Flohmarkt. But fear no more, Berlin has more options than the most touristy and expensive flohmarkt ever! Please check this link for other locations, time schedules, and general information.
Karaoke in the Bearpit
Probably the best free entertainment on a Sunday
if you like gigantic amounts of hipsters touching you every second of the day. This is the ultra-mega-master famous karaoke spot in Berlin and everybody that comes to Berlin wants to see it and be part of it. The idea is super nice, but crowds of people ruin the vibe a bit. Nevertheless, it is one of the few options for free things to do in Berlin on a Sunday. Enjoy it!
Go listen to some classical music for free
Every Tuesday at 1pm the famous Berliner Philharmoniker gets packed with people that are either in love with classical music or just very curious about it, for their free lunchtime chamber music concerts. The wonderful students of the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler also show off their artistry and expertise at free concerts many times weekly.
Idolize the Berliner Dom
Lay down in the sun or just stare at it during the night. The Berliner Dom will take your breath away with its Italian Renaissance-style architecture.
Bonus point for reading all the way to the end
If you can read German, check this awesome website out: www.gratis-in-berlin.de
You can find many free things to do in Berlin including dates and locations. And if you don’t speak German, do not worry! We’re in 2015 and Google Translator is your friend! Use it!