Last updated on April 6th, 2018 at 11:54 am
Since the fall of its famous wall, Berlin has become one the most creative cultural centers in the world and according to a travel study conducted by Savills, Berlin is Europe's best place to live, work and buy real estate! Today Berlin caters to many types of travelers, known as a haven for party goers, a mecca for history buffs and as a draw for family fun thanks to its wealth of parks and kid-friendly attractions. Here are some reasons why I think Berlin is best in the world for fun for families.
There Are Parks Aplenty
Summer is the best time to visit Berlin. People take to the streets to partake in an endless list of things to do in the city including flocking to one of many green spaces.
Tiergarten, a 500 acre park right in the heart of Berlin, once a former hunting ground, today it's Berlins most popular park. This forested park has winding, tree lined paths and is perfect for running, biking or just to relax in the sun.
There are many attractions within the park including the Berlin Zoo, various statues such as the 1880 Statue of Queen Luise and an 1849 Monument to Frederick Wilhelm III, the Victory Column a massive 70 meter monument topped with an eight-meter-high gold statue of Victoria. and even a Palace. There is an awesome photo op with views over the Tiergarten when you climb the 285 steps to the top of this magnificent monument.
Volkspark Friedrichshain is Berlin’s oldest park, founded in 1840. Here you can check out the Fairy-Tale Fountain, featuring stone fairy-tale characters or relax on the grass and watch an outdoor movie.
The Märchenbrunnen was completed in 1913 this fountain of fairy tales has statues from Grimm’s fairy tales including Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella, Puss and Boots and more!
An open air stage was built in 1950, where on a warm summer night you can take in a classic film or a Hollywood blockbuster.
Barbecuing, bouldering, rock climbing jogging, playing Frisbee and rollerblading are all activities that can keep you busy in this 49 hectare park.
There are also many memorials and sculptures. Friedhof der Märzgefallenen is a cemetery for more than 200 civilians who died fighting on the barricades in the March revolution of 1848. After the November revolution of 1918, the fallen were also buried on the site.
There is also a memorial commemorating the struggle of the German resistance and Polish soldiers who died in World War II, as well as a Japanese Peace bell and a bronze bust of Friedrich II. Making this park an authentic part of Berlin’s history.
There is a popular summer pastime for Berliners, beers and grillen (BBQ). It is easy to buy portable barbecues and you can drink beer in public Berlin! Some parks allow the outdoor grilling tradition in the summer, so grab a grill, some bratwurst, and a cooler, "grillen" is definitely a fun cultural activity worth doing.
Urban Adventure Awaits
Berlin has some very unusual urban adventures for families to enjoy.
Berlin is home to Germany's oldest Zoo, built in 1844 this popular attraction is one of the most modern and respected zoos in the world.
The Berlin Zoo has the worlds largest variety of species (1400) housing almost 20000 animals on 33-hectares, including sea lions, hippos, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, Tapirs, and Germany’s only giant pandas.
Make sure you and the kids go with plenty of time to see the animals and visit the idyllic petting zoo and the large adventure playground.
Species conservation efforts are extremely important to Zoo Berlin they also participate in various European and international endangered species programs.
Another mind-blowing attraction is MountMitte, an aerial adventure garden for kids. There are tons of cool things to explore on this surreal climbing apparatus, where cars and canoes hang suspended high above the ground! There are 6 climbing courses named after famous mountains such as Kilimanjaro, the Matterhorn, and the Zugspitze. MountMitte offers nearly 90 exciting climbing activities ranging from three to 15 meters high .
It is important to know before you go that the minimum height is 130 cm. As well children between 7 - 13 years old may only climb under the active supervision of an adult! Kids over the age of 13 can climb alone with a signed parent wavier form.
Go for a picnic at an abandoned airport! Tempelhofer Feld used to be a functioning airport and is one of the largest public spaces in Europe. The Nazis used the airport during the Second World War. However since May 2010 Tempelhofer Feld has been used as a recreational space, and makes a unique day-trip for picnickers (you can order a pre-made lunch if you don't want to make you own), kite-surfers, cyclists and rollerblade fans alike. Bikes (for adults and children) can be rented from the park’s Mobilcenter, as well as pedal cars, GoKarts and rollerblades.
History is All Around
Berlin is brimming with history and reminders of yesteryear are everywhere!
Museum Island (Spree Island)
Designated a UNESCO world heritage Site in 1999, Museum Island is a cultural monument with five of the city's oldest and most important museums.
- The Pergamon, city's most popular museum, features Islamic Art, the Ishtar Gate, and reconstructed historic buildings from the Middle East.
- The Old Museum (Altes Museum) was built in 1830 to house the Crown Jewels and other royal treasures.
- The New Museum (Neues Museum) was destroyed during WWII but completely rebuilt and re-opened again in 2009 it is the home of extensive collections from the Egyptian Museum, the Papyrus Collection, and the Collection of Classical Antiquities.
- Opened in 1876, The Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie) displays Impressionist and early Modernist pieces as well as Neoclassical sculptures and paintings from 1815-1848 .
- The Bode Museum houses a collection of Byzantine art and has a large sculpture collection spanning from medieval times to the late 1700s.
Perhaps Berlin's most famous historic landmark is the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), was commissioned by King Frederick Wilhelm II in 1788. This massive sandstone monument, in the Mitte district's Pariser Platz stands 26 meters tall, and during the Cold War was a blocked gate along the Berlin Wall.
The East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is various painted murals that stretch over a kilometer on the former Berlin Wall. It is the largest outdoor gallery in the world and is definitely a “must see” attraction in Berlin. Book a walking tour; it is a fun and economical way to the get the inside scoop on the most important historical sites in Berlin.
The picturesque 17th-century Gendarmenmarkt is one of Berlin's largest squares and is a must see. It is dominated by three historic landmark buildings.
- The Concert House (Konzerthaus) home to the country's most popular symphony orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin.
- The French Cathedral (Französischer Dom) is the home to the Huguenot Museum.
- German Cathedral (Deutscher Dom) exhibits the history of the German Parliament.
There are many public events held in the square, including concerts, theater productions and in the winter the entire plaza becomes the city's most famous Christmas Market.
Great Food Found Everywhere
With the barbecue in the parks, delicious fresh fare in the markets and a litany of food carts cooking up everything you can imagine, you will not go hungry in Berlin!
Perhaps the most well known Berlin street food is Currywurst, a steamed then fried German-style curry sausage, bathing in tomato sauce and sprinkled with curry powder. But with literally thousands of Currywurst stands throughout Berlin, it can be tough finding a good one. If you are near either of Curry 36's locations do take the time to stop and try their Currywurst, Curry 36 has been consistently rated one of Berlin's best Currywurst vendors.
Döner kebab's are another Berlin favorite and you will find stands on almost every street corner.
Many people think that a döner kebab is a Berlin original. A Turkish immigrant invented the snack in Berlin in 1971. Although many in Canada maintain that it was actually invented in Halifax a year earlier. No matter where is was first made the döner kebab is a very, very tasty treat. Döner kebab's are a combination of juicy grilled meat from the spit, fresh salad and spicy sauce in a crisp flat bread.
Imren Grill would be a great place to start, they are highly recommended by locals and they have multiple locations and they make their own skewers.
Street Food Thursdays
Berlin also has more to offer than currywurst and döner kebab.
Every Thursday since April 2013, Germany's first international street food market, can be found in the heart of Kreuzberg at Markthalle Neun. The cavernous hall is filled with independent, local food stands, all creating their own unique dishes and sumptuous flavors to the food market.
Sample fresh pastas, British pies, Thai dumplings, Brazilian tapioca, Mexican tacos, Allgäu Kässpatzen, Peruvian ceviche, Nigerian FuFu, American barbecue, Korean buns and much more! Street Food Thursdays offers a mouth-watering local German and international selections. All of this wonderful is paired with a range of local and international craft beers, wine, and fresh juices or soft drinks. And the best part is every Thursday you will find something new!
Family Friendly Berlin Hotels
There are many family-friendly hotels in Berlin, great choices to fit every budget!
The Hilton Berlin
The Hilton Berlin is surprisingly kid friendly. This 5-star hotel offers a great location close to major attractions such as Aqua Dom & Sea Life Museum, Natural History Museum, LEGOLAND Discovery Center and the German Museum of Technology.
Berlin's most popular inner city park, The Tiergarten, is also close by. The park is home to the Berlin zoo, the Victory Column with its winged statue and the lakeside Café am Neuen See. There are playgrounds to help your kids burn off exccess energy and plenty of opportunites for a picnic.
The Berlin Hiton allows up to 2 children can stay for free in a family room, and interconnecting rooms for children are charged at half price. Families can swim in the hotel pool free of charge.
Kids under ten eat for free from the children's menu, and if you try out the Sunday lunch buffet at the Beletage restaurant kids under 9 eat for free and older kids 9-15 get a 50% discount.
Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Mitte
Adina Apartment Hotel Mitte is in the heart of Berlin. It is a great choice for families interested in history, museums and architecture.
This 4-star hotel is in an excellent location, it is just a 10-minute walk from the shops and theatres of Friedrichstrabe. Naturkundemuseum Underground Station is a 4-minute walk away, providing a direct connection to Checkpoint Charlie and it is a 10-minute walk from Berlin Central Station.
The Adina Apartment Hotel is within easy walking distance of the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The Museum of Natural History is right across the road, the Hamburger Bahnhof modern art museum is a ten minute walk away, and you can also stroll to the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate in 20 minutes.
There are one and two bedroom apartments perfect for families. A nearby supermarket provides supplies so you can make use of the kitchette.
There is also a babysitter service, special menus for children at the on-site restaurant where kids under 12 get breakfast for free, toy boxes and Wii games and WiFi is available free of charge.
Motel One Berlin-Potsdamer Platz
Although Motel One is not specifically family oriented it is one of our favorite hotel chains in Europe. We had the pleasure of staying at a Motel One in Brussels, Belgium and in Manchester, UK. Both experiences confirmed that when we had a choice we would choose Motel One.
The modern 2 star Motel One Berlin-Potsdamer Platz is centrally located in the Mitte district and only 200 m from the famous Potsdamer Platz and directly across from the German Bundesrat. The bright rooms decorated with contemporary furnishings are soundproofed with a flat-screen TV. Motel One Berlin-Potsdamer Platz has a garden, terrace and free WiFi access.
We have had the buffet breakfast at the other Motel One's that we have stayed at and it was very good, so do take advantage of the breakfast served in the motel’s dining room.
If you prefer to go out there are numerous cafés, bars and restaurants within a 5-minute walk. There are several nearby attractions within walking distance: the famous Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Tiergarten Park and the futuristic Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz.
Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn Train Station provides excellent connections around Berlin and is less than a 2 minute walk from the hotel.
There are 10 Motel One's in central Berlin. If there is another location in Berlin that you think you might like to stay, check to see if there is a Motel One nearby.
Best Value in Berlin: The WelcomeCard!
We have made use of city cards in many of the European cities that we have visited. We have always been impressed this the value of using these cards and Berlin is no exception. When visiting Berlin be sure to check out the WelcomeCard to save on best attractions, restaurants and Museums in Berlin. With the WelcomeCard you can explore Berlin at your own pace, it is available in 48-hour, 72-hour, 4-day, 5-day, or 6-day options. It offers a great, cost-effective way to explore Berlin with exclusive 25-50% rebates at over 200 sights and attractions.
Riding public transportation in zone AB and ABC is also included and each WelcomeCard includes free admission for children under the age of 6 and free transport for up to 3 children between 6 and 14 years old.
Find your way around with a pocket-size travel guide with lots of tour suggestions and insider tips.
Visit sights and attractions like the following:
- AquaDom & SEA LIFE Berlin
- Madame Tussauds Berlin
- Legoland Discovery Centre Berlin
- Tierpark Berlin
- Anne Frank Center
- Charlottenburg Palace
- Comedy tour Berlin
- German Opera
- Unsicht-Bar Berlin
- TV Tower
- Botanical Garden
- German Historical Museum, German Museum of Technology
- Berliner Underground
- Asisi Panorama "Die Mauer"
- Berlin Dungeon
- DDR Museum
- Zoological Garden
- and many more!
You can enjoy discounted rates for the following activities and locations:
- Sightseeing tours
- Guided city tours
- Bike tours
- Boat rides
- Various attractions
- Theater/stage performances
- Restaurants, including hotel restaurants
No visit to Berlin could be complete without these free sights:
- Potsdamer Platz & Alexanderplatz
- Berlin Wall Memorial
- Brandenburg Gate & Unter den Linden
- Reichstag & German Parliament
- Checkpoint Charlie
- East Side Gallery
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