It’s a well-known fact that anything is possible in Berlin, and in the summer you can do it all outdoors! From the Arena to the Citadel – right from the very first days of summer, Berlin is full of great places to party, eat, drink and enjoy the open air.
Summer in Berlin Enjoy the Open Air!
Whether it’s football or a festival, cinema or classical music, dance or theatre, Berlin does it all outdoors. There are public sports screenings and open-air theatres, boating and bathing, dancing in the streets, picnics in the parks and open air movies. That’s summer 2016 in Berlin: summer.visitBerlin.com.
Celebrate the Summer
When the first rays of summer sunshine come, Berlin starts to party. It starts on 4/5 June at the Torstraßen Festival and the legendary Bergmannstraßenfest from 24-26 June, with cooking, music and dancing in the streets. For a whole month, from 23 June to 24 July, you can enjoy the summer with crêpes and baguettes at the annual German-French Fair, and on 23 July, thousands of LGBT people take over the streets of Berlin for Christopher Street Day, with colourful parades and events to demonstrate for equality and against discrimination.
Berlin has been famous for its football viewing parties since the 2006 World Cup. And with Euro 2016 taking place this summer, fans from all nations will be following the matches live in the open air! Germany’s biggest fan party takes place in front of the Brandenburg Gate along Straße des 17. Juni, and this year it kicks off on 12 June with Germany’s opening match. All Germany’s first round matches and every game from the quarter-finals onwards will be broadcast here on the big screens, accompanied by live acts and hundreds of thousands of cheering fans. You can also enjoy the football outdoors at many bars and cafés, parks and gardens around the city.
I Can Hear Music: Berlin Sounds Even Better in the Open Air!
As well as festivals and football, throughout the summer there are outdoor concerts and music events everywhere in the city.
Rock Music and Dancing in Berlin: The annual Fête de la Musique is a very special free festival: on 21 June, choirs, DJs, bands and soloists play all over the city long into the night. Rock fans can look forward to the Rock im Grünen free festival on 29/30 July at the Parkbühne Biesdorf. The East Side Music Days from 26-28 August turn the streets to a stage, inviting anyone who makes music to sing and play on the streets between the East Side Park and Oberbaumbrücke. Music fever returns to the city for the Pop-Kultur festival from 31 August to 2 September, which combines concerts, performance, readings and talks with music industry insiders. The Lollapalooza Festival at Treptower Park on 10/11 September rounds off the summer with music, art and North and South American-style street food.
Totally Classical: With the spectacular Deutscher Dom and Französischer Dom as backdrops, you can enjoy classical music at the Classic Open Air on Gendarmenmarkt from 21 to 26 July. And if that’s not enough, the Berlin Philharmonic Open Air on 27 August and the Feuerblumen und Klassik Open Air on 3 September mean that the air in Berlin is filled with classical sounds until late in the summer.
Something Special: Whether it’s in the woods, on the waterside or in a renaissance fortress – you can enjoy music in many unusual places in Berlin. The open air highlights of 2016 include the concerts at the Waldbühne as well as the events at the Citadel Music Festival from 27 May to 28 August. At Jazz am Hafen from 1-3 July, CSD on the Spree on 21 July and the festival Berlin Beats & Boats on 9 July, there will be music at the capital city’s attractive waterfronts.
Summertime Arts, Culture, and Cinema
At the Open Air Gallery on 5 June and 3 July, the Oberbaumbrücke between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg will be a meeting place for artists and art enthusiasts. The open air exhibition gives artists from all over the world a platform for their creative works. From 15 June, the new open air exhibition “Revolution und Mauerfall” in the courtyard of the Stasi headquarters will be a magnet for anyone with an interest in history. At the summer arts festival “48 Stunden Neukölln” from 24-26 June, the motto this year is “FED UP”, and visitors can experience an artistic look at hunger and excess. Then, on 16 July, the Pop Up Art Festival at the Open Air Club IPSE takes a cultural, musical and culinary trip across Iceland.
The Berlin art and flea markets are also popular open-air meeting places for small arts and crafts. In fine weather, every Sunday, the Mauerpark and its large flea market in Prenzlauer Berg transform into a show stage for karaoke stars, street performers, and acrobats. A real tip for art lovers is the weekend art and flea market on the Straße des 17. Juni. Apart from new handy crafts, visitors will find a great wealth of antique treasures here. The Stoffmarkt am Maybachufer (fabric market at Maybachufer) is a must-see for fashion artists and decorators. Every Saturday, it has everything for sewing and also something to snack on. Every second Sunday, this location also offers a cheerful summer atmosphere with knickknacks, art, and music at the nowkoelln flea market.
In the evenings from May to September, Berlin’s open air cinemas will also provide cinema and outdoor entertainment. On 4 and 5 September, the Berlin sky itself will become a screen, when the fabulous Pyronale firework show will light up the night sky over the Maifeld at the Olympiastadion.
A Trip Outside the City
Berlin is an urban island surrounded by nature. Why not take a summer trip to enjoy culture in the beautiful countryside of Brandenburg? One of the highlights of the year is the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg from 24 June to 13 August. In a picturesque setting, singers from more than 40 countries perform at the world’s most famous open air festival for young opera talent. Visitors to the Potsdamer Schlössernacht on 20 August will be enchanted by the sight of the beautiful royal Prussian residences on a balmy summer night. Every two years, the UM Festival invites you to villages in the Uckermark where you can enjoy music, literature and art. This special meeting of culture and nature takes place this year from 9-11 September.
Picnicking in the Parks and Gardens
Berlin has more than 2,500 public parks and gardens where you can take a breather on a hot summer day, get some fresh air and lay out your cloth for a nice long picnic.
The biggest of these is the Tempelhofer Feld – the second-largest urban green space in Germany – where a gentle breeze blows across the wide open green field and the sunset is just like at sea. Barbecues are allowed in designated areas and there is also plenty of room for skateboarders, inline skaters and kite surfers to go up and down the runway of the 380-hectare airfield.
If you prefer a picnic among majestic flower beds, rippling fish ponds and shady hedges, the beautiful baroque garden of Schloss Charlottenburg is the place for you. The Britzer Garten, which held Germany’s national garden show in 1985 is another ideal place to take a break among topiary, rose beds and flower shows. Chosen in 2002 as one of Germany’s best gardens, it is a place where children can play creatively, and there are exhibitions on flora and fauna.
For three years now, the Mörchenpark has counted among the most-loved popular oases in Berlin’s creative scene: A sustainable community garden has grown directly at the former site of the legendary Bar 25 on the River Spree. This former party area allures with freshly squeezed wheatgrass juice at the MörchenTheke, and demonstrates in garden projects and workshops that vegetables can grow in places other than the country.
Visitors smell international air in the twenty hectare area of the Gardens of the World in Erholungspark Marzahn. Gardens in Japanese, Italian, and even Balinese style await visitors with their blooming flowers. An outstanding monument is the beautiful teahouse, within the largest Chinese garden in Europe. Visitors can wander in nine differently themed gardens up until dark. Outlook: When the IGA international garden show takes place in 2017, enthusiasts can look forward to the opening of an English garden. Another place to picnic is the English garden in the Tiergarten, where the Teehaus restaurant is an inviting place to spend some time in the middle of the green lungs of the city.
The Park am Gleisdreieck is available to businessmen from Potsdamer Platz for a picnic during lunch break, and to Berlin visitors, skaters, cyclists, and locals seeking recreation. One of the most important parks in the city centre has grown up on one of Berlin’s last fallow land areas, between the central subway lines U1, U2, and the ICE line. The skyline of Potsdamer Platz is always in view from here. There is another place to escape from the urban bustle just 500 metres away from Berlin’s central station: In the middle of the Fritz-Schloss-Park the luxury Vabali spa resort with its large outdoor sauna facilities, venerable old trees and Balinese charm transport you to a different world.
There are still more oases hidden between the large parks and wide green areas of the city, that make Berlin into the greenest metropolis in Europe: In wild back courtyards, on rooftops, or in inaccessible nature reserves, the urban beekeepers, birdwatchers, and naturalists know how to appreciate the city’s unique flora and fauna. 161 square kilometres of city centre forest, expansive water areas, roof gardens, and the chirping between overgrown tracks, all serve to ease the big city stress. The Langer Tag der StadtNatur on 18/19 June features around 500 events at more than 150 locations, where visitors can get to know the green side of Berlin over a period of 26 hours.
Down by the Water
Whether it’s cool drinks down by the Landwehrkanal, sailing an old-time cutter on the Spree, swimming at Wannsee or a barbecue at Müggelsee, summer in Berlin is all about its rivers and lakes. Luckily, with the Berlin Swimming Map, the nearest place to take a dip is never more than a few train stops away.
If you’d rather be on the water than in it, why not try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) on the Spree, the Schlachtensee, or any other of Berlin’s lakes, enjoying the sights of the city from your SUP board.
If you prefer to paddle sitting down, Berlin has many places where you can hire canoes. Either alone or on a guided tour in a two-man kayak, you can get to know Berlin’s city centre, its green spaces or its surroundings in the most relaxed way possible. Romantics and real canoe lovers can take what are probably Berlin’s most beautiful boats around the Insel der Jugend. Here in Treptow there is everything that belongs to a waterside city like Berlin: bridges, islands, bays, peaceful waterways and a unique panorama of the city at sunset.
A tour with the Hauptstadtfloß (capital city boat) also offers a special experience on the water. The boat comfortably cruises on a three-hour trip through the centre of Berlin. The tour includes small snacks and a beautiful view of Berlin from the water. Whoever would like to combine a boat trip with an evening of barbecuing, can rent barbecuing boats with real charcoal barbecues at Treptower Park, Müggelsee, and at the Kladower Promenadenhafen.
Whether it’s a party boat or a canoe – Berlin’s waterways have everything. For example, it is one of the few cities in Germany that still has a seaman’s chaplain sailing the city’s rivers in his church boat. Tourists love to take pictures of the white cross on the boat. Another popular subject is the fleet parade of the ships in the historic port at the start of each summer season. The long-serving and lovingly maintained ships then weigh anchor in the port, directly by the Fischerinsel in Mitte. Historical tug steamers, a passenger ship from 1906 and a more than 100-year-old steam-powered icebreaker are anchored here. From 16-17 July, you can go on board the vintage vessels at the Port Festival.
For those who prefer to be in the water themselves, the Badeschiff (floating pool) is the right address, complete with sandy beach and open-air bar. A converted tanker in the middle of the Spree is ideal for swimming and sunbathing with big city flair. The numerous outdoor pools in the city offer a quick refresher after work or during the lunch break. At the weekend, Berliners and tourists head for the lakes in and around Berlin. The biggest and most famous of these are Wannsee and Müggelsee. Other bathing beaches can be found on the Berlin Swimming Map.
Visitors can receive the best overview of the Berlin water landscape on a trip by seaplane. The « runway » is the Spree in Treptow harbour. High in the sky, up to four passengers can be treated to a bird’s eye view of the summery capital.
The Summer Melts on the Tongue
The Berlin summer reveals its culinary side with street food and ice cream, in accordance with the motto: It tastes best outside!
One of the most summery open air eating experiences is the Berlin Bite Club. On two Fridays each month, the finest international food stalls set up on board the venerable MS Hoppetosse on the bank of the Spree, accompanied by DJs and cocktails. Every Sunday, you can sample the delights at the “Street Food auf Achse” market in the KulturBrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg, among the bubbling pots and delicious smells of regional specialities.
Whatever the weather, you can take a delicious culinary tour of the world with the street food in Berlin’s market halls, whether it’s at “Street Food Thursday” in Markthalle Neun, with Korean street food culture at “Pojangmacha” in the Platoon Kunsthalle or at the “Foodmarket Berlin” in the Neue Heimat.
The best ideas for home cooking arise during a sunny stroll at the Berlin weekly markets. There are Turkish specialities in a Mediterranean atmosphere every Tuesday and Friday at the Turkish market at Berlin Maybachufer in Kreuzberg. Visitors will especially find fresh organic produce and goods from the Berlin area in the organic market at Kollwitzplatz, or in the country market « Dicke Linda » in Berlin Neukölln.
And what would summer in Berlin be without an ice cream? The city’s cafés and ice cream parlours offer as much refreshment as you could desire, and there is no limit to their creativity. Ice cream shops like Fräulein Frost, Eismanufaktur Berlin, Vanille & Marille and Rosa Canina produce creations such as cucumber, lemon and mint, pear with Parmesan or black sesame. Summer in Berlin reaches its ice-cold high points with two ice cream feasts: Eleven German ice manufacturers create new delicious types for Gelato Festival from 7-10 July at Arena. And America’s popular Ice Cream Festival comes to Berlin for the first time from 6-7 August.
The Perfect Location for Summer
Where are warm summer evenings best spent? Outside! On roof terraces above the city, at beach bars, on a boat on the water, or in the Berlin beer gardens. This where a fresh breeze is blowing for a perfect evening in the open air.
High Above the City:
Overlooking the urban jungle, on its tenth floor roof terrace, the restaurant Neni not only offers up summer on a plate, but also an animal soundscape from the Berlin Zoo. With the TV tower in sight, listening to DJ music, with a refreshing cocktail in hand, visitors can also enjoy life at Klunkerkranich. The unique garden oasis has been created on the roof of a parking garage, which is a must for summer evenings in Neukölln. At the Haubentaucher in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg you can sip a cool drink and take a refreshing dip in the pool high up on the rooftop sun deck.
Deck5 is probably the highest beach bar in the city: Huge amounts of sand cover the 400-square-foot parking area of a shopping centre; evocative sunsets guaranteed.
At the Water:
Lovers and romantics like to meet on the restaurant-ships of the River Spree metropolis, or in a secluded cove by the water: During the sunset over the River Spree, you can enjoy light summer dishes on the Van Loon in Urbanhafen, on board the Patio, or in the Hafenküche.
The Freischwimmer water restaurant in Kreuzberg also offers a particularly refreshing atmosphere. Visitors can refresh their souls and dangle their feet in the water at the hundred metre-long ridge plateau in the Landwehr Canal. It is also very summery to sit near the water at the Café am Neuen See, or at Schleusenkrug in the Tiergarten.
On the Beach:
Toes curled in the sand, a cool cocktail in hand, and the sun on your face – it doesn’t get much better than this. Strandbar Mitte opened more than ten years ago directly on the shore of the River Spree, as one of the first beach bars in Germany. With stunning views of the Museum Island, this idyllic location in the middle of the city offers all city explorers the perfect location to relax in a deck chair, including with a gravel floor instead of a sandy beach.
Reggae sounds, the beach, and exotic food: In the Yaam, guests from around the world can relax their souls on the sand by the Schillingbrücke. « Playa del Rummelsburgo » is the name of another beach pearl at the Rummelsburger Bucht. A fine white sand beach, palm shadows, barbecues, music over the water, and cool drinks in the Rummelsburg generate a feeling like the « Playas » of the South. The Ku’damm Beach at Halensee is among the more elegant beach bars in the city. Relax in the lounge furniture on floating pontoons, along with a magnificent view over the lake – you can comfortably round off a summer day in the capital here.
In the Beer Garden:
A veritable institution where summer locations are concerned, the Pratergarten in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg is one of the most famous beer gardens in the city. Not far from there is the next stop for a refreshing drink: A relaxed atmosphere prevails in the Mauersegler, along with a beer garden atmosphere in a historic location, right on the former border between East and West Berlin. In the Brachvogel’s Kreuzberg summer garden the cool freshness can be equally combined with a game of mini golf. The Golgatha has also been attracting people to Kreuzberg for over 30 years, to relax, drink, and sunbathe in the Viktoriapark.
A “beer moustache” is guaranteed at the Berlin Beer Festival from
5-7 August, where you can sample beers from all over the world.
Hot Days, Long Nights
Make the night into day or the day into night: Berlin’s club scene offers a variety of options for dancing under the stars. The Berghain Panoramabar still counts among the most renowned locations in the city. In the summer months, the Bierhof is open right next door in the garden with bar and DJ music, every Sunday from 12 pm on.
Equally popular and quite different is the Sage Club, which offers a pool and a chill-out area. The Kreuzberg club restaurant, Spindler & Klatt – a restaurant, bar, lounge, and club all at the same time – offers a huge pontoon on the River Spree. Good food, bar, and dance floor on the River Spree all in one – this is what awaits guests of the FluxBau, the perfect summer dance venue with atmosphere in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
Party guests enjoy the best view while celebrating in the House of Weekend at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. The Roof Garden on the roof terrace has room for over 300 guests to dance outside under the stars. Those who prefer to remain on the floor while dancing, while at the same time celebrating without bounds outdoors, will be right at home at the Chalet in Kreuzberg: Here, the beats of the club are booming around a pond and into the open-air bar in the back courtyard.
Dancing from dusk until dawn to chilled-out electronic music – that’s not a vision, but the “Club of Visionaries”. Directly on the waterfront, the old wooden planks shake to the beat of the summer. Right next door at the IPSE you can dance outdoors by the water, and the Lichtpark is a beach bar and dance bar at the same time. When other bars turn off the lights, that’s when the Lichtpark is just getting started. And it goes like this: feet in the sand, look out at the Spree, enjoy the “Licht und Liebe” open air experience.
Find the right club for hot summer nights – at www.clubmatcher.de.
For more information go to summer.visitBerlin.com.