Berlin is something of a cultural gem that is all too often overlooked by visitors choosing a European city to explore. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it opened an entirely new aspect to the city. An abundance of cheap buildings to rent soon attracted artists, not only from Germany, but from many other parts of the world.
That influx of creativity gradually spread throughout the city leaving visitors with a wealth of exciting cultural opportunities to explore. The city already had a rich history, an abundance of markets, and some great architectural offerings. This new dynamic simply built on that. Modern Berlin is a city with a wealth of different neighborhoods, all with their own unique vibe, and you can get to know them better in our guide on where to stay in Berlin.
Today, any visit to Berlin is bound to offer wonderful new discoveries in everything from cuisine to culture. Although public transport options are plentiful, you need to be aware that if you’re carrying heavy bags your visit will be severely restricted. Berlin luggage storage services have been strategically placed both in this city and many others throughout the world. You may want to consider storing your bags and only carrying with you the luggage that you will need during your stay.
Discovering a new city can sometimes be a slightly intimidating process, especially if you're doing so by night. One comfortable way to get a feel for this magical city is by taking a walking tour. Berlin offers a wide variety of guided night tours, most of which take place on foot. Walking through a city with a tour guide offers a perfect opportunity to really get a feel for Berlin.
As far as a walking tour is concerned, you will soon find that there are a plethora of options from which to choose. Berlin will always be associated with beer and a guided brewery tour is a great way to take advantage of local knowledge. Whether you opt for a craft beer tour or prefer something more in the way of the pub crawl, there is bound to be something that will match your desires.
If you would prefer your guided tour to offer more insight into the city’s history, there are a number of tours that you might want to consider. They range from free tours with a local guide through to private personalized tours, and even tours by cycle rickshaw. Some of the sites you will be taken to may not be open, but even those that are not tend to be illuminated at night so that you can still get a sense of them.
Most of these tours will take in more iconic Berlin landmarks such as Alexanderplatz, the TV tower and the Berlin Cathedral. You might also want to consider a dedicated culinary tour or, if you're there in September, a tour of Kurfurstendamm's famous spectacle of lights.
Like much of Germany, the city is rich in museums. Most of these close at around 6 PM and so make for an ideal early evening visit. One notable exception to this rule is the German Spy Museum whose doors remain open until 8 PM. The only spy museum in Germany, this visit offers an interesting and often eye-opening insight into the world of espionage. Tickets cost seven euros although discounted prices can be attained by online booking.
If you are a museum fan then one cool thing about any Berlin trip is a visit to Museum Island. This UNESCO World Heritage site is built on the North of Spree Island and is home to half a dozen of the best museums in the city. This includes noteworthy sites such as the Neues Museum and the Pergamon Museum. Even if you are unable to visit all of them, Museum Island makes for an ideal nighttime stroll during which you can take in the fabulous architecture within which these museums are housed.
For decades, live music and live concerts have been synonymous with Berlin. Many new indie bands cut their teeth here and Berlin offers some great music venues, no matter what genre of music you are into. In this unique city, you can experience classical genius at the Berlin Phiharmonic or one of several other opera houses or you could take in something very different listening to music by international artists at one of the regular open air concerts that take place around the city or in its large concert halls.
One of the must-do things you can do in Berlin by night is head for Silent Green. Here, in the rather unusual setting of what was once Berlin's first crematorium, you can listen to a wide variety of different genres. The domed ceiling provides not only a unique setting, but some amazing acoustics. Today, Silent Green is also the base for renowned K7 records.
Boxhaugener Platz is a popular eating district and while you are there you are likely to feel the beat of music bouncing at you. It will almost definitely be emanating from Astra Kulturehaus where any night of the week you will be able to listen to pop music and indie rock. Concerts cost anything from eight euros to forty euros depending on who is performing.
Jazz is one genre of music one might not at first associate with Germany but, in fact, Berlin is home to some hidden gems of the international jazz scene. Both classical and experimental jazz venues have become established in the city.
The jazz connoisseur can experience great music at one of several popular jazz clubs scattered throughout the city. Look out for B Flat, A-Trane, Quazimodo and The Zig Zag Club. All play host to an interesting array of both local and international artists, so check to see what grabs you most.
If a long night of clubbing, bars, and music is more to your taste, Berlin offers a wide array of options to choose from. You won't need to go far to take advantage of the vibrant nightlife. The main nightlife party hotspots are City West, Hackescher Markt, and Orienbrunger Strasse in the city center, and Wranglestrake along the Spree River.
Each of these districts comes with its own unique atmosphere, but you will have numerous bars and clubs to explore. Bear in mind that Berlin clubs tend to adhere to a strict door policy so check in advance to ensure that you will be dressed appropriately. The good news is that public transport runs all night in Berlin so you shouldn't have any trouble getting home after a long night out.
Berghain is situated in an abandoned power station and is one of the best-known clubs, not only in Germany, but also internationally. The building actually contains not just the Berghain Club, with its passion for techno music, but also the Panorama Bar with an altogether different atmosphere and a leaning more towards house music.
Any visit to Berlin will not be complete unless you take in some of the significant landmarks that the city has to offer. Even if all you do is walk past some of these iconic sites and snap a selfie as you do so, you will regret it if you don't take the opportunity while you have it.
The Brandenburg Gate is possibly the most iconic site in the city. It was built in 1791 and sits right above Pariser Platz which is a square that is home to many important buildings in Berlin. Another must-see that can be impressive at night is the Reichstag which houses the federal government and is covered in a glass dome that is lit up by night making for great photos. It is just a short hop from both the Brandenburg Gate and the Bundskanzleramt.
One obvious landmark, and one you will spot immediately, is the TV Tower. This 368-meter high needle dominates the skyline and affords spectacular 360° views of the city. It is the perfect place from which to get your bearings as you gaze down toward the concrete jungle at your feet. It is open from ten until ten and there is a restaurant where you can enjoy fine dining. If you prefer to keep your visit a little more modest then you can visit the viewing deck which includes a bar.
When you visit Museum Island, one building that is bound to catch your eye will be the Humbold Forum opposite. This 30 000 square meter building of five floors is home to the city's forum for art, science, and culture, and was once a baroque palace that was recently converted.
Another building that will catch your attention is the Reichstag Building which today houses the Bundestag and is situated in Platz der Republik. It was originally opened in 1894 but despite its opulence, it fell into disrepair and was mothballed until it was reopened after the cold war and became home to the lower house of the German Government.
Eating Out in Berlin
Along with the artists who migrated to this city after the fall of the wall, came the chefs. This city offers a very varied culinary palette. Whether it's just Bratwurst in a beer garden or a sit-down classic meal taken in the revolving restaurant of the TV Tower, you will not run short of eating options.
Some of the dishes to look out for include currywurst, of which Berliners are exceptionally proud. Maultaschen is a pasta stuffed with different meat options, while Spatzle is similar to pasta and is a dish that vegetarians may want to consider. In addition to meatballs, schnitzels, and bockwurst, you will find plenty of more exotic options such as Thai, Vietnamese and Turkish.
Restaurants abound throughout the city but a couple of areas you might like to try include Mitte, Savignyplatz, Potsdamer Platz, and Hackersche Markt where you can find reasonably priced dishes. One fun alternative is the rooftop restaurant at Hotel de Rome in Behrenstrabe which offers an island of tranquility from which to escape the city for a moment and offers gorgeous views. And if you're looking for the best things to eat in the city, look no further than our guide to the best street food in Berlin.
The Berlin Wall
Finally, no visit to Berlin at night would be complete without at least paying a brief visit to the infamous Berlin Wall. Originally built to prevent dissidents fleeing the East, this wall was arguably one of the most iconic features of the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie is a name that will forever be associated with both Berlin and the Cold War.
The wall was up for twenty-eight years and ran for a total of 155 kilometers (96 miles). Today just two kilometers (1.2miles) of the wall is still standing but it attracts tourists in their thousands as they come to pay homage to this historical landmark and all that it represented.
The best place to visit is the 1.3 kilometers known today as the East Side Gallery. The name comes from the fact that it was painted on by international artists in 1990 and again in 2009. The East Side Gallery is a must-see visit and one that will provide you with lasting memories and some great photos.
Berlin, Germany is a unique city that is packed with cool things to do. Nightlife here is both varied and dynamic, and in addition to the many well-known sites, Berlin is awash with secret places just waiting for you to discover them. Whether you fancy a pub crawl, live concerts, or a refined evening of dining followed by a visit to one of the opera houses, there are plenty of things to do in Berlin at night. Public transportation is cheap and there are many free things to enjoy there after dark.
You will have the choice of diving into the party hotspots or making new friends as you enjoy the famous landmarks from a different angle on a night cruise along the Spree River. In short, Berlin is definitely a city that should go onto any traveler's bucket list.
One travel tip that applies to Berlin as much as any other big city is to free yourself from having to drag your bags around. Bounce luggage services offers convenient and reliable locker facilities both in Berlin and around the world.