A Quick Guide to the Best Things to Do in Berlin this Summer

7 months ago — 6 min read — 1 Comment
By Sam Wood

Berlin is a fantastic city to experience in summer. With long days, warm weather and lots of open space, much of life is lived outdoors. The city has so much to offer at any time of year, but in summer, it really comes alive and the true spirit of Berlin can be experienced. Here’s a quick guide to the best things to do in Berlin this summer.

Berlin is a fantastic city to experience in summer. With long days, warm weather and lots of open space, much of life is lived outdoors. The city has so much to offer at any time of year, but in summer, it really comes alive and the true spirit of Berlin can be experienced. Here’s a quick guide to the best things to do in Berlin this summer.

Get outdoors

City parks

While the nearby Tempelhofer Feld (a former airfield that was converted to a public park in 2008) gets all the attention, the smaller Hasenheide is a worthwhile alternative city park for soaking up some rays. The main advantage of Hasenheide over Tempelhofer Feld is that it has trees and wooded areas, so on scorching hot days you can find shade when you want it. There is also a mostly gay and very laid back nudist area, next to a pleasant gay cruising spot. Come evening, the park also boasts an open air cinema which shows classic films, usually with English subtitles.

Nearby lakes

Berlin is built on a swamp, and so is surrounded by lakes to the east and west. Many have beaches and are pleasant places to cool off on hot days, making for perfect summer day or afternoon trips. Some of the best lakes include the forested Tegler See to the north-west, the small but picturesque Krumme Lanke to the south-west and the massive Muggelsee to the east.

Take part in pride

CSD

The biggest pride parade in Germany takes place in Berlin every July and takes participants past many recognisable landmarks in the city including the Siegesäule, Tiergarten and ends at the iconic Brandenburg Gate. It’s an event of celebration and inclusivity, with thousands of people turning up from all over Germany and Europe to take part.

Transgenialer CSD

Because Berlin likes to be contrary, there are in fact two pride events that take place on the same day each year. The smaller, more alternative pride is much more political and ernest in nature and has a strong sense of community that goes along with it, which can be a wonderful thing to experience. It takes place in Kreuzberg, and after the parade is over, the surrounding streets turn into an all night party.

Party naked

Schlagernackt, Schwuz 

Every couple of months, the popular and perhaps most laid-back gay club in Berlin, hosts a naked party featuring cheesy German pop music. You are presented a trash bag upon entry, into which you place all your belongings and clothes (except socks and shoes – keep those on as the floor is not exactly clean) and you’re given a wristband with a number that is your tab. The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and a little bit flirty and though it is not exclusively men-only, most of the patrons will be cismen. There’s a makeshift darkroom and certainly there will be a few people having sex on the edges of the dance floor, but in general it’s very easy place to just let your hair down and embrace the absurdity of dancing naked to German covers of ABBA songs.

Gegen, Kit Kat 

Famous for its wild, no-holds-barred kink, fetish and sex parties, Kit Kat attracts a mostly heteroflexible audience. Every couple of months though, it hosts Gegen, a queer party which draws a hugely diverse crowd. You may wear as much or as little as you like, whether it is fetish gear or regular clothing, but the less you wear, the more likely you are to be let in. Inside, there are spaces for sex and others for dancing, meaning you can easily choose what kind of night you want to have. There are also some rather unique features including a pool, sauna and fresh fruit buffet to round things off.

Eat

Ice cream

Summer in Berlin is incomplete without some good ice cream. Luckily, there are multiple locations with an excellent range of ice creams to satisfy every craving. Near Tempelhofer Feld, drop in at Mos Eisley and grab a scoop or two to enjoy while watching the sunset. The peanut crunch is especially good. In Prenzlauerberg, try Kontor Eismanufaktur for a nice variety of all vegan ice creams including white chocolate and raspberry and other delightful concoctions. For a much less touristy option, try Berlin Homemade Icecream in Schöneberg with an amazing black sesame ice cream as well as many others with no artificial flavours or additives.

Food markets

There are some fantastic food markets in Berlin, many with outdoor spaces making them ideal for enjoying in summer. Every Tuesday and Friday, head to the Turkish Market at Maybachufer which overlooks the Landwehrkanal for some high quality Turkish food, as well as freshly baked goods, falafel and a changing assortment of other goodies to take away and enjoy by the canal. Markthalle IX, a more traditional covered market, has a great range of permanent food options including traditional German, Italian and Egyptian but also hosts a popular event once a week: Street Food Thursday, where other vendors set up shop to serve some of their best street food options.

Drink

Klunkerkranich

Though its location on top of a shopping mall might not seem so special, this rooftop bar amidst a jungle of plants and repurposed wooden pallets, is a real treat in summer. Come just before sunset to enjoy the spectacular views over Berlin as the sun goes down, turning the summer sky a rainbow of pinks, oranges and reds while sipping wine or beer surrounded by beautiful people.

Silver Future

This quirky queer bar in Neukölln is the perfect place to come for an intimate evening with friends or to make some new ones. Drinks are cheap, the music is laid back and the atmosphere is generally open and welcoming. Bear in mind that like many bars in Berlin, people are allowed to smoke inside, so if you stay inside, you won’t leave smelling pretty. Sit outside at one of the tables on the street instead!

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