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Berlin is an amazing weekend destination! But with so much history and culture to experience, are you wondering what to do in Berlin so that you don’t miss a thing? Keep reading for everything you need to know about what to do, where to eat and drink, where to stay, and how to get around this amazing European city. Plus, check out my FREE suggested weekend itinerary below to make sure you see and experience the best of Berlin with bonus suggested sights to see and LIFETIME ACCESS to my custom-made interactive maps for Berlin!
Related: See where Berlin falls on my list of the top 7 safest places to travel alone in Europe!
Home to one of the most iconic symbols of Berlin, Alexanderplatz is a great place to start your trip. When you’re wondering what to do in Berlin, admire “The Alex,” as the TV tower is fondly known by locals. There are also often small festivals at Alexanderplatz that you can enjoy on weekends.
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Known as “Berliner Dom” in German, the Berlin Cathedral is situated along the Spree river in between Alexanderplatz and Pariserplatz. The architecture is stunning. Relax in the park in front of the cathedral with some würst (German sausage) from a nearby stand and a cold beer.
Pariser Platz/Brandenburg Gate
Just a short walk from Berlin Cathedral is Pariserplatz. This is another iconic location in Berlin with Brandenburg Gate, built in the 18th century. Take in the sight of the large plaza and this historical site where Ronald Reagan gave the famous “Tear Down This Wall” speech.
Constructed in 2004, the Holocaust Memorial is a can’t-miss for what to do in Berlin. It’s a sobering experience to walk amongst the thousands of stones inscribed with the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims. It’s important to really take in the weight of this memorial. One can’t help but be reminded here of what happens when we let fear and hate control us.
Though the site itself isn’t much to see, for history buffs seeing Checkpoint Charlie is one of the top things to do in Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie was one of the best known Berlin Wall crossing points between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. It quickly became a symbol of the divide between East and West.
The massive Tiergarten Park is the perfect answer for what to do in Berlin. Just beyond Brandenburg Gate, this expansive greenspace is the perfect place to walk or cycle through trails. Enjoy the forests, ponds, and historic statues here. And if you feel so inclined, it’s also the perfect place to enjoy a 1€ beer as you stroll.
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Potsdamer Platz was one of the busiest European transportation and entertainment hubs before it was reduced to ruins during World War II. After, it became a no-man’s land between the American, British, and Russian sectors. Most recently it was completely flattened and rebuilt with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Potsdamer Platz now hosts a few well known commercial holdings as well as the Sony Center.
The Reichstag is an impressive structure home to the German parliament. Built in 1871 after the founding of the German Empire, the building now features modern renovations such as a striking glass dome. This was added in the 1990s after German reunification.
The Reichstag is just perfect to admire from the outside. However, for history geeks wondering what to do in Berlin, you might also be interested in registering for a free guided tour on the inside here.
Related: Wondering what to pack for your amazing trip to Berlin?! Check out these 13 amazing travel essentials that will seriously change your life – I know they changed mine!
This river meanders through Berlin and is lovely to walk along on a nice day. The section of the Spree by the Reichstag also has an open-air cinema. Every night, the government plays a short film about the history of the Reichstag within the context of German political history. This is coupled with a multi-colored light show that illuminates the side of one of the other government buildings. Take a seat and enjoy the film before walking along the Spree towards the center of the city (Mitte). Here, you’ll find plenty of “beach” bars complete with folding chairs in the sand where you can sit and enjoy a cocktail along the river.
Kreuzberg and Admiral Bridge
Kreuzberg is a neighborhood of Berlin filled with a diverse population of students, artists, and immigrants. It’s a lively place to visit for a good taste of Berlin’s counterculture and something I would definitely recommend for what to do in Berlin. Visit the “Admiralbrücke,” or Admiral Bridge, on a warm evening along the Landwehr Canal. You will see the bridge filled with young people talking, drinking, and playing games.
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When wondering what to do in Berlin, you can’t miss the East Side Gallery. This long section of the Berlin Wall, now displayed along part of the Spree as an art gallery, is covered in beautiful paintings and graffiti. It’s not only one of the most historically significant parts of Berlin, but also the most Instagrammable. ?
This canal on the south side of the Spree is home to plenty of parks and cozy cafes. Walk along it for hours when you’re wondering what to do in Berlin on a nice day. You can even go for a canal cruise! For this, I suggest the combined Spree and Landwehr Canal boat tour with GetYourGuide. It’s affordable and will help you make the most of your time during your 2 days in Berlin! It will also give you a unique view of the city.
Mauerpark & Sunday Karaoke
Mauerpark is yet another wonderful Berlin park where you can sit with your friends and chat with a beer. However, what makes this park special is the open-air karaoke on Sundays! Sing your heart out with your girlfriends in this free-for-all to close out the perfect 2 days in Berlin.
Related: Traveling alone for the first time? Congrats on taking the plunge!! Read everything there is to know about how to solo travel for the first time here.
This park has the perfect view of the Landwehr Canal. There’s nothing like spreading out on a blanket along the canal and listening to music with your friends here. Enjoy a lazy Sunday here with – you guessed it – a cold beer in hand.
Okay, maybe it’s not the most German food. But this restaurant makes some bomb Mexican food! Top off your meal with the restaurant’s namesake. Then you’ll be in business for the start of your 2 day trip in Berlin.
Best Brunch: Plusminusnull Restaurant Bar Lounge
In my opinion, Plusminusnull has the best value Sunday brunch in Berlin. For about $12 you can have an excellent quality, all-you-can-eat brunch buffet with meats, pastries, breads, jams, juices and more. Plusminusnull is also located near the Sunday Flohmarkt, which you can visit after brunch to walk off all that delicious food!
Nola’s am Weinberg
For a more typical regional meal, head to Nola’s in the center of Berlin. Here, they serve traditional Swiss-alpine cuisine. They change the menu daily to provide some variety, and in addition to the standard menu they also offer a great value “business lunch” for around $11.
Booze Bar Berlin
Wondering what to do in Berlin? At Booze Bar, you’ve come to the right place. With a dimly lit ambience and super interesting handcrafted cocktails, Booze Bar is one of the best bars in Berlin. For some extra entertainment, sit directly at the bar and watch the master bartenders work their magic.
Best City View: AMANO Rooftop Bar
If you’re wondering what to do in Berlin for the most magical view in the whole city, look no further! Amano Rooftop Bar is perched atop the Hotel Amano and is absolutely for enjoying a summer evening with a panoramic view and a drink in your hand. The string lights hung overhead give this rooftop terrace an extra special feeling!
Best Nightclub: Wilden Renate Nightclub
If you’re wondering what to do in Berlin for clubs and partying, Wilden Renate is the place to be. Of all the amazing clubs in Berlin, Wilden Renate is my absolute favorite. With three or four different dance floors with different types of electronic and house music, you can’t go wrong. If you need a break from the constant party, take a breather in a hammock in the lovely outdoor area.
Kater Blau Nightclub
When you’re ready to really get the party started, grab a few beers for the road and line up to enter Kater Blau. The line is well worth the wait – trust me. When you finally get inside, you’ll be greeted by an amazing atmosphere along the Spree river. The outdoor area is a great place to hang out and chat with others. When you go inside to one of the dance floors though, get ready – you’ll be transported. The dazzling light shows paired with the electronic house music will put you in a trance, completely sober. Behind Wilden Renate, Kater Blau is my top club in Berlin and one of the top choices for what to do in Berlin on a night out.
Where to Stay in Berlin: Best Luxury Hotels
Are you ready for the bourgeoisiest hotel in all of Berlin, located right next to Brandenburg Gate with a regal swimming pool fit for a queen just like you? Look no further! Hotel Adlon Kempinski is a legendary 5-star hotel located in the center of Berlin featuring a double Michelin-star restaurant and shopping arcade. While this hotel offers all of the modern conveniences you could ever need, it doesn’t forget its traditional European roots with its neoclassical decor and furnishings.
Stay in the heart of Berlin and get ready to enjoy ALL the plushy free bathrobes in this uber luxurious, contemporary hotel. Located less than half a mile away from the famous Ku’damm boulevard in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Hotel am Steinplatz has all sorts of neat-o features. Enjoy free WiFi, air conditioning, and a top floor spa and panoramic gym. And if that wasn’t enough to make you start drooling, you can also treat yourself to a complimentary breakfast in bed! What I love about Hotel am Steinplatz is that it’s super close to the U-Bahn, making getting around in Berlin a breeze!
Related: Wondering what to pack for your trip to Berlin? Click here to download my FREE ultimate packing list!
Where to Stay in Berlin: Best Mid-Range Hotels
Located in Charlottenburg just off the Tiergarten, this boutique hotel is housed inside the cutest characteristic old Berlin apartment house. Each room is individually furnished and the property even provides free on-street parking nearby (jackpot!)! Enjoy the breakfast here at one long table with all of the other guests. Don’t forget to ask the wonderfully friendly host, Sabine, for recommendations for Berlin, too!
This hidden gem is located conveniently just steps away from the U-Bahn and really close to the center of Berlin, giving you some great bang for your buck! Guests at the NH Berlin in Kreuzberg report that it’s a great quiet place to stay, ensuring that you catch those all-important zzz’s. During the day, explore the historic Nikolaiviertel district or Fischerinsel island, both just 10 minutes away!
Where to Stay in Berlin: Best Budget Hotels & Hostels
Located just steps away from the U-Bahn, Pension Brinn is a great, cozy budget option for where to stay in Berlin. One of my favorite things about Pension Brinn is that it’s family-run. This is something I always love to support of course because you’ll usually get a more authentic local experience that way!
Have you been dreaming your whole life about spending the night on the site of a former brewery in the center of Berlin? Me neither, but doesn’t it sound awesome?! At Pfefferbett Hostel in one of Berlin’s trendiest districts, Prenzlauer Berg, you can do just that. Enjoy the friendly staff, modern industrial architecture, and free walking tours every day! This is for sure the best budget hostel option you will find in the center of Berlin.
Stay outside the city center in this self-described “eco-friendly backpacker’s retreat imbued with a unique, community spirit.” You know it’s cool there because they used the word imbued – nice word choice, my friends. My favorite part about this hostel is its eco-friendly focus. Unlike most hostels you’ll find in and around Berlin, Sandino offers spacious outdoor areas including an organic herb garden, a grassy backyard camping area, and a few friendly pet rescue chickens! Talk about a peaceful city getaway to use as a base to explore the rest of Berlin during your 48 hours in the city.
Where to Stay in Berlin: Interactive Map
Especially if you’ll be spending more time elsewhere in Germany or Europe, renting a car is a good option for getting around Berlin. The city is really spread out and a car might be a good option if you’re really pressed for time. Click here for this exclusive deal and save up to 30% on car rentals with Auto Europe!
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The U-Bahn (pronounced oo-bon) is the underground metro system of Berlin. This expansive network will get you almost anywhere you need to go in the greater Berlin metro area. Just buy tickets at one of the kiosks at one of the stations. If you’ll be seeing a lot during your 2 days in Berlin, I suggest getting a multi-day U-Bahn pass for worry-free, unlimited riding!
A word of caution: You may notice that there are no turnstiles on the U-Bahn system. Don’t use this as an excuse not to buy tickets – at a minimum of 60 Euros, the penalty fine for riding without a ticket is mega high! I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of mula hangin’ around. Or, maybe I do, but that money is set aside strictly for priorities like ice cream.
Where the U-Bahn doesn’t go, the bus will! Buy your ticket from the driver on-board if you don’t already have a transportation pass and you’re good to go. It’s sightseeing time!
Biking is a great alternative option to the U-Bahn for a day. Rent one from the many rental shops in Berlin and see the city from a unique perspective!
If you’re simply exploring within a neighborhood, walking is a great option. However, because Berlin is so large and spread out, I wouldn’t recommend it as your primary mode of transport for your 2 days in Berlin unless you’re an absolute power-walking superstar.
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