TRAVEL & CULTURE

10 Things to Do in Berlin This Summer

Based in the German capital for more than seven years, AHL Editorial Director Yasha Wallin shares her favorite activities for the brighter days ahead (and they are mostly lockdown-proof, just in case)

Yasha Wallin at Alexanderplatz
Yasha Wallin at Alexanderplatz

During the months of stay-at-home in Berlin, taking a walk became the new clubbing and long lines at Berghain were replaced by those at Instagrammable sourdough bakeries. But that doesn’t mean pleasure in the German capital has come to a complete halt. With lockdown has come a new appreciation for different aspects of the city, and this summer will offer plenty of experiences that I’ll happily change out of my sweatpants and mask up for.

Michelberger Hotel’s Sauna Room

German hotels are currently only open for business travelers. But when we’re able to book a room again, you’ll find me staycationing at Michelberger Hotel, and if all goes well, overstaying my welcome in their “hideout room” which has its own personal sauna inside.

© Michelberger Hotel
© Michelberger Hotel

Reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie

This famous glass building by Mies van der Roh — a Modernist icon, and one of my favorite art spaces in Berlin — has been closed for renovation since 2015. Its highly anticipated reopening this summer will include exhibitions by Alexander Calder and the Berlin-based artist Rosa Barba.

© BBR / Thomas Bruns
© BBR / Thomas Bruns

Yayoi Kusama at Gropius Bau

At 92 years old, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is as relevant as ever. When her first retrospective in Germany opens next month (pending lockdown regulations), visitors to the Gropius Bau Museum will have a chance to experience work from her seven-decade career, including her much-photographed Infinity Mirror Room, as well as some lesser known pieces she created in Germany and Europe.

© YAYOI KUSAMA
© YAYOI KUSAMA

Wolkenhain Observation Deck

For the altitude-inclined, this observation platform 120 meters above sea level — in the expansive green park Garden of the World — offers pretty amazing panoramic views of Berlin. Plus, it lights up at night and there’s a cafe to quench your thirst.

Wolkenhain Observation Deck

Refugee Voices Walking Tour

The best way to experience Berlin is on foot, and the best walking tour we know is led by a group of refugees who were among the more than 1 million Syrians who fled their war-torn country for Europe in 2015. The tour winds through Berlin’s historical sites, drawing parallels between what has happened here and what’s currently happening in Syria.

© Refugee Voices Tours
© Refugee Voices Tours

71st Berlin International Film Festival

Remember…. movie theaters? I don’t, but if all goes well, the very postponed Berlin Berlinale will finally take place from June 9-20, as a summer festival with a full schedule of open-air and possibly in-theater film screenings.

 

© Yorck Kinos
© Yorck Kinos

Lake Life

It wouldn’t be summer in Berlin without biking, train-ing or driving to one of the 3,000 lakes that surround the capital. The adventurous can go sans suits at Wannsee’s 1920s-style nude beach, boating at the woodsy Schlachtensee, or dive head first Berlin’s largest lake Müggelsee.

krumme lanke

Neapolitan Pizza Craze

A pizza frenzy has taken over Berlin with Neapolitan other possibilities opening on every corner faster than there’s time to taste them all. With ingredients like horseradish and fava beans at Estelle or asparagus and saffron creme at Sironi they offer a twist on classics. Otto, Nea 1889, Tiny‘s are just a few newbies to join the city’s doughy staples like Gazzo, Standard and Zola. This means a pizza picnic in the park will be easier than ever.

 

© Estelle Dining
© Estelle Dining

Bier Gartens Galore

Who knew this wine-inclined, raised-vegetarian would embrace the beer garden so fiercely. But I can’t wait for the reopening of these outdoor waterholes, like the city’s oldest beer garden Prater (with even tons of vegan options), the newly refurbished Café am Neuen See in Tiergarten, and Weltwirtschaft at contemporary art space HKW, for those who like their bratwurst with a side of culture.

© Café am Neuen See
© Café am Neuen See

Brandenburg Escape

Brandenburg is like Berlin’s “upstate New York” and the best place to breath a little country air when temperatures climb and the city’s too stifling. A day in the nature is enough for a reset, but there are also tons of overnight options like the incredibly cozy but stylish Studio Zempow.

© Studio Zempow
© Studio Zempow
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