Best Summer Parks in Berlin (Besides Templehof)
August 10 2016
Summertime in Berlin is the best time — there’s little question about it. The green spaces of the city flourish with sexy crowds, nice dogs, lots of activities, and the (relative) warmth of the sun. It’s also the season for lakes and for day trips to the beach; but if you’re in the city for the short-term, Berlin has great parks to enjoy during a summer day. Not all parks offer the same activities or attract the same people, so I’ve put together this guide of how to understand where to go and when. My personal favorite is Tempelhofer Feld on the southern end of the city, but there are many more great ones to visit.
The big green escape is an all-time favorite, partially because of its proximity to landmarks like Brandenburger Tor, the Jewish Memorial, and, on the other side, the Zoologischer Garten and West Berlin. The park is perfect for a stroll, a picnic, or even for observing the many sculptures, including the ones memorializing Wagner and Goethe. With small lakes and nice shady areas, you can easily find a quiet spot for writing or reading. Near the popular Siegessäule (Column of Victory), FKK (nude sunbathing) is allowed and even encouraged. There are even a few public showers to wash away that extra sunscreen you’ll need. A couple of cafés and restaurants are located inside the park, and if you like, you can even stroll along the River Spree, which runs behind the museum Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Picnics are great in Tiergarten, but don’t dare to grill. No grilling. Seriously. Police will fine you.
Park am Gleisdreieck
This renovated park is actually quite eclectic, even if it looks stale from the U1 line which runs above and through the grounds. With playgrounds and ping pong tables, it’s a family-friendly area between Schöneberg and Kreuzberg. You’ll also find a track for jogging or skating, beach volleyball, a skatepark, and even areas for basketball. Small, makeshift music festivals or parties are common, especially around sunset. There’s also a really great panoramic view of Potsdamer Platz’s skyscrapers, and some areas covered with friendly graffiti and street murals.
Considered the highest natural hill in Berlin, this park in Schöneberg is a perfect place for a short walk around the area of Mehringdamm. It’s also only a few blocks from Park am Gleisdreick. Locals come here to enjoy the sunset, drink beer, play some music, and talk. It includes a little waterfall and some small tracks for walking, but the whole park is rather small in comparison with what Berlin has to offer. Anyway, nothing can beat a park with a view — and this one’s got a great view of the Berlin skyline.
Park am Friedrichshain
Yes — it has an area for grilling. Yes — it’s family-friendly. But the secrets of Park am Friedrichshain are manifold: It includes an area where people sit, and grill, and drink beer while watching both amateurs and professionals playing beach volleyball. It has two large hills with some interesting but basic views of Berlin. It includes a couple of memorials, including one for Polish WWII soldiers and another for the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It has a small garden with a fountain sculpture inspired by classic children tales, the Märchenbrunnen. It has a fully equipped, open-air cinema that shows mostly movies in German, but some international hits are included with subtitles or in their original language. And if that’s not enough to seduce you, the park has become a meeting point for people who love Pokemon Go.
A classic in Berlin, both loved and hated. During the week, it’s a nice flat area for meeting friends to have a picnic, grill, drink beers, practice your juggling, or cultivate your garden (with an annual fee). But on Sundays, Mauerpark is chaotic and original. The popular Bearpit Karaoke takes place every summer Sunday afternoon, where people drink beer while others sing — a true Berlin tradition. You can buy some gifts and other knickknacks (most imported from Thailand’s street markets) in the adjacent flea market. Try new culinary mysteries in the improvised tents or the regular food trucks. There’s live music buskers, children, grills, and beers. There are loud dogs, people smoking weed, and groups of friends chatting casually enjoying the sun.
Have you ever been to any of these parks in Berlin? If so, do you have a favorite? If not, would you like to visit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!