Berlin, in comparison to other European capitals, is cheap. A bottle of beer will cost you €1 at some corner stores while hotels are at a reasonable rate – the same can be said of nightclub entry fees. Berlin is the place where other Europeans come to cut themselves some slack and poke into the city’s carefree cool cred. As the warm weather approaches, most Berliners will be outdoors. Here are a few local hotspots you’ll find the locals roaming, for no cost at all.
Ride a bike through Tempelhofer Feld, a former pre-WWII airport built in 1927 with a runway converted into a public park with a do-it-yourself neighbourhood garden crafted from recycled furniture. Don’t miss the skateboarders, rollerbladers, cyclists and runners. A beer garden hides off to one corner. On the grass, people picnic all day long.
Street art in Kreuzberg
From Gorlitzer Park to Warschauer nightclubs like Urban Spree, check out the abundance of street art in the boho district of Kreuzberg, which has seen a lively cultural revival over the past decade. Most of the street art is not your run-of-the-mill graffiti tags on doors, this is large-scale paintings that span the entire blank walls of buildings. Astronauts, fishes, hourglasses and even the sea monster Leviathan have made their way into public space.
Food markets in Friedrichshain
If you get hungry, sniff around the Neue Heimat, which opened this summer on Friedrichshain’s club-friendly Revaler Straße. They not only have street food markets where wooden food stalls are set up on Sundays at noon, but they also have their popular “Bar & Food Nights” on Friday and Saturdays starting at 6 p.m.. Don’t miss the ice skating, an indoor theatre, live concerts and, of course, the street food. Just look for the food trucks outside. The smoothies are worth a try.
Bearpit Karaoke in Mauerpark
Feel like a star? Belt it out on the weekend, as Bearpit Karaoke has been hosted by Joe Hatchiban almost every Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. since 2009. This bizarre city tradition has hundreds of locals all together in a stone amphitheatre with battery-powered amps, screaming with applause or even rapping out an old Will Smith track. All you have to do is follow your ears. In the winter, find Hatchiban working the karaoke mic at Kaptains Karaoke Berlin at the Hafenbar.
Best bridge photo at the Oberbaum Bridge
The Oberbaum Bridge, wedged between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, is an ideal spot for photos. Built in 1732, it was the former gate to the city with a wooden drawbridge. Later, it was the border between East and West Berlin. Oberbaum Bridge is where an annual water battle takes place between the two neighbourhoods. One of the best spots you can shoot the TV Tower across the River Spree, the best time to shoot is at sundown.