Free things to do in Berlin

How to enjoy the German capital on a budget!

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? 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.

As a tourist, 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. But, if you are based in Berlin, as we are, you should try to explore the city, one place per week. 

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! This is one hell of a surprising thing here in Berlin. It is massive and impressive. And usually, it is not even in the covered area of most tourist maps.

The Soviet Memorial in Treptow is a massive war memorial and military cemetery in Berlin’s Treptower Park. It was built to commemorate 5,000 of the 80,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle of Berlin in April–May 1945. Soviet War Memorial Treptow is on Puschkinallee, just take this avenue direct from the exit of Treptower Park Sbahn Station.

And since one of our mottos is “Yes, there is life beyond the RingBahn”, I will extend myself and recommend a stroll around Treptow as a neighbourhood. It is a quiet East-Berlin neighbourhood filled with life and impressive mansions and houses.

 

Check out the Holocaust Memorial

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is one of the many memorials in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. And it is for sure a must-see when in Berlin.

According to the artist responsible for the project, the concrete stelae were designed to produce a confusing and unsettling atmosphere. The whole sculpture represents an ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. Walking around and inside this Memorial gives you an uneasy feeling of hopelessness and loss, not knowing where you are and how to get out. It’s hard for us to believe, but this monument was only open to the public in 2005. Today is one of the important places to visit in town and understand more of history. And there’s a free museum there too, but please get there early, or you’ll have to endure the long lines.

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!

Free thing to do in Berlin - Auguststrasse is a famous for the amount of art galleries. Some are payed but most are not. A few months ago we did a post about Martin Schoeller at CWC Gallery, one of the many galleries in Auguststrasse. But please, do not stay only in Auguststrasse, Mitte is full of little and adorable galleries and art shops!

Experience Thailand without leaving Berlin

Every weekend, you can go to Preußenpark and find the unique food stands during the summer. 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. You can find everything over there, from fried grasshoppers, fried squid and other unusual foods to the usual summer rolls and sticky mango rice.
A massive chunk of the park gets filled with several vendors selling foods and drinks while Berliners enjoy the lazy Sundays laying down on the grass with friends.

In the past, you could only find Thai and Vietnamese delicacies. Still, nowadays, you can enjoy your Pho Bo with a colossal strawberry caipirinha made by a Portuguese person that has never been to Brazil. It is great!




Read more: Where to stay in Berlin
free things to do in berlin - thai park
free things to do in berlin - thai park 3
free things to do in berlin - thai park 3
free things to do in berlin - thai park

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!

Here’s a great start: The Ultimate Guide to Street Art in Berlin. But if you want to read more, you can check it out what we wrote about the Tegel Murals, The Haus and the Street Art Museum.

If you are a walk along where the Berlin Wall used to be around Bernauer Strasse, you will see a meat mural that might be our favorite street art piece in Berlin. This enormous painting shows the side of buildings being cut by a large knife with the shape of the city being represented in some white tissue. For us, this shows how the Berlin Wall was a scar running along the city.
Free things to do in Berlin Berlin is known by its street art. Fact. Here you can find everything from Blu to Gemeos, Banksy to Shepard Fairey...Berlin has it all!
Free things to do in Berlin Berlin is known by its street art. Fact. Here you can find everything from Blu to Gemeos, Banksy to Shepard Fairey...Berlin has it all!

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.

street musicians - free things to do in berlin
Free things to do in Berlin Berlin is known by its street art. Fact. Here you can find everything from Blu to Gemeos, Banksy to Shepard Fairey...Berlin has it all!

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!

And if you have no idea if what a Flakturm is, here is a brief intro: Flak towers (or in German: Flaktürme) were 8 complexes of gigantic, above-ground, anti-aircraft gun blockhouse towers constructed in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg and in Vienna from 1940 onwards. Of those 8, 3 towers were here in Berlin, 2 in Hamburg and Vienna had the last 3.

Those towers were mainly used by the Luftwaffe, or the German Air Force if you want in English, to defend the cities against Allied air raids during the war. They also served as air-raid shelters for tens of thousands of people and to coordinate air defence. A fun fact about the Flak Towers in Berlin is that they were so huge and strong, that they could not destroy all 3 towers.

 

If you’re curious to climb more debris mountains in Berlin, you need to try Teufelsberg and Dörferblick.

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!
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!

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 entirely tolerable! But please hurry up! Money-hungry real estate capitalists are trying to turn it into a fancy ski run. But if you don’t care about this, you can wait until they turn it into a fancy ski run and pay to go there!

 

 

Read more: Over 1000 hotels in Berlin for you
Dörferblick: One of the Tallest Mountains in Berlin that you never heard of

Walkthrough 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 to the timeless beauty and the stunning architecture of Museum Island

At the end of Spree Island sits the world-famous Museum Island, which comprises five unique museums – Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Pergamonmuseum, Bodemuseum and Altes Museum.

The island is one of the many Unesco World Heritage sites. Go for it! It is a must see. At the same time, 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.

Also, you should try to find the empty pedestal for Jenny Holzer’s Men Don’t Protect You Anymore that we wrote about.

Lose yourself on the timeless beauty and the stunning architecture of Museum Island

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 kilometres. All the info you need is here.




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.

Kunstquartier Bethanien

Kunstquartier Bethanien is now one of the most important cultural centres 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!

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! 

Learn German

Deutsch für Dich is one of the most unique ideas ever! It is free german classes in a bar. Brilliant! On the link, you can find the timetables, and you 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.

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 offer 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).

Go and check out the East Side Gallery

A memorial full of colors and art to celebrate freedom! The East Side Gallery sits along 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:

free things to do in berlin Go and check it 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 known river, the Spree and it is the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall on its original place. Shortly after its 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.

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.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Oranienburg

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.

Spend a few minutes staring at the grandiose Brandenburg Gate
Chill out at Tempelhofer Feld or any of the wonderful parks BBQ, flying kites, swimming, jogging, sleeping, tanning, community gardening... Berlin park's got it all. Read about our favorite parks and choose the best one for you! free things to do in berlin

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!

Chill out at Tempelhofer Feld or any of the wonderful parks BBQ, flying kites, swimming, jogging, sleeping, tanning, community gardening... Berlin park's got it all. Read about our favorite parks and choose the best one for you! free things to do in berlin

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.

Free things to do in Berlin: Reichstag's glass dome
Free things to do in Berlin Berlin

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!

going downhill

If you don’t have snow, just go there for the view in the Summer

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, on the its highest point, you can see the whole city! free things to do in berlin 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, on the its highest point, you can see the whole city! free things to do in berlin

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!

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!

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 go, ok? Berlin is full of lakes and several of them are easily reachable by U or S Bahn! And the lakes here sometimes have sand just like a beach!

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.

Be a good person: help the homeless

Homeless Veggie Dinner and Sharing is Caring are Facebook groups 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.

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.

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. free things to do in berlin

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. Flohmarkt am Mauerpark

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. Bearpit Karaoke in Mauerpark BerlinThe 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!

Check out some abandoned places

Berlin is full of abandoned buildings. If you visit these buildings, please do not to trash them, steal anything, burn anything, or leave garbage laying around. Fotostrasse always supports Urban Exploration in a responsible way. Check out our posts about it here.

Berlin has a vast transport network composed of S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines that cover almost 500 km of tracks across the city. And the town used to have even more tracks, but due to political divisions, world wars and economic problems, some of those tracks were abandoned. One of those is known as Friedhofsbahn, and it used to connect Berlin-Wannsee to Stahnsdorf.
My goal for Easter Sunday was to fly my drone over Blub and capture how it looks like from the sky. But, once I got closer to the building, I realized that it would be better to just enter the place. The holes on the fences are more prominent than before, and there were lots of people inside, taking pictures of the abandoned buildings and sunbathing during that lazy afternoon.

CWC Gallery

Holocaust Memorial

The Soviet Memorial in Treptow

Thai Park

Street Art Museum

Flakturm

Museum Island

Kunstquartier Bethanien

Dong Xuan Center

East Side Gallery

Brandenburg Gate

Sachsenhausen

Reichstag

Viktoriapark

Mauerpark Flohmarkt

Berliner Dom


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