I am First Generation American, after my mother and grandparents moved to Maryland from Germany. I was very lucky to visit Bavaria all through my childhood. During that time, Germany was still divided – and for various reasons, I have never been to Berlin.
Hopefully that will change in the next few years! But until then, I have been scouting the web and the German tourism site, compiling my wish list for places to see when we do go.
Have you traveled to Berlin?
What are your favorite spots to visit?
Here is my checklist for when we finally visit Berlin.
To me, this is the number one thing I would see in Berlin if I could pick just one. Modeled after Greek architecture, the Brandenburg Gate used to divide the city, and now stands as a symbol of unity.
Berlin Wall (East Side Gallery)
I was a teen in the 80’s – of course I would want to see the Berlin Wall! At the East Side Gallery, a segment of the wall has been turned into the longest open air gallery in the world.
Even if we only get to see the outside of the buildings, I will be happy. However, Museum Island is a collection of five museums: Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum.
What once was the political seat for Nazi Germany is now an modern architectural wonder.
We are lucky to have Red Rocks Amphitheater here in Colorado, which many of us consider the best place on earth to see a concert. These guys may give us a run for our money, though, either at Waldbühne or their main concert hall. (PS: you can watch live streams in their “digital concert hall,” too!)
Jewish Museum Berlin
As one of the largest Jewish museums in Europe, with both incredible architecture and history, the Jüdisches Museum Berlin is a must-visit for us.
Berlin Television Tower (Fernsehturm)
At 365 meters high, you can go up inside this huge structure and get 360 degree panoramic views of Berlin. A separate TV tower was needed for East Berlin when the city was divided!
I love finding an oasis in the city, but Treptower also has some massive sculptures, like like Soviet War Memorial.
The oldest zoo in Germany is located in another popular park, the Tiergarten.
A really famous street in Berlin with lots of shopping!
Topography of Terror
An outdoor and indoor museum, built on the bombed-out site of Gestapo and SS headquarters. I tend to be fascinated with World War II, for the simple reason that I feel that it’s imperative to understand history in order to not repeat it.
Berlin obviously has a multitude of amazing places to eat and drink, but who wouldn’t want to visit a ballroom that has survived two world wars?
Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg)
The largest castle in Berlin and former home to Prussian kinds and German emperors. In addition to the baroque and rococo architecture, there are extensive formal gardens.
Oberbaum Bridge (Oberbaumbrücke)
This double-decked bridge has car traffic running below and trains on the upper level!
Badeschiff (Bathing Ship)
I did a double take on this one: a river barge turned into a swimming pool that transforms into a club at night. In the winter, it gets covered by a bubble and… party on!
Prater Beer Garden
This is Berlin’s oldest biergarten, so I know we would stop here (and pretty much any other one we found along the way). There are a ton of picnic tables nestled in the trees with a huge variety of beer, which sounds just perfect.
An interactive museum that shows what life was really like when parts of Germany were socialist.
People say this is just a quick stop, but how can you not get a selfie with the most famous border crossing during the Cold War?
Berlin Boat Tour
I know it’s sooooo touristy, but we really do love checking a city out with a overview tour. Even better that Berlin has a river like the Spree which can take us over water instead of asphalt. This actually would most likely be a starting point for us!
Bonus: Berlin Concert Venues?
I watch all the cities we want to visit for the best places to see a concert, and I know the Berlin music scene is vibrant. Suggestions for bands and venues?