13 Fascinating Things to Do in Berlin with Teenagers

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After years of travel with my son as a child, we have now entered the teen years. Creating an itinerary for travel with teens takes a bit of skill. They are in the in between phase where they still enjoy a bit of carefree fun and hands on activities, but can also handle a bit of direct learning and history. Luckily Berlin is the perfect city to visit with teens as there is so much to experience you can’t go wrong. Berlin with teenagers offers a dynamically layered city with a long history and a vibrant present. 

The German capital is filled with creativity, energy and an edginess that is difficult to replicate elsewhere in Europe. Berlin continues to be one of my favorite destinations in Europe with its gritty and turbulent history set as the backbone to a melting pot of cultures of today.

Below I share some of our favorite things to do in Berlin when visiting with teenagers.

Things to Know Before You Go: Our Top Tips

Before you head to Berlin with teenagers, there are a few things to know to enhance your stay. Berlin is unlike many other major European cities in that the major tourist sights are spread out all over town. Due to this, it doesn’t actually matter that much where you stay. But, you will need to get comfortable taking public transportation to really get the most out of your trip.

Also, a good thing to know when visiting Berlin is that cash is still quite common although that is slowly changing. If you are visiting in winter for the Christmas markets (which I highly recommend), cash is very common at market stalls.  

One of the things I love most about travel in Germany and Berlin is that children 14 and younger are free on public transportation. This means it is a cost efficient way to get around.

If you don’t have a good international phone plan or have an e-SIM, you are in luck as Berlin has public WIFI with more than 650 hotspots in the city. This means you won’t ever have to worry about being disconnected when you are out and about exploring.

Where to Stay in Berlin

Like I mentioned above, Berlin is a unique city in that it doesn’t *really* have a city center. Tourist sights are scattered throughout the massive city connected by both the underground and the S-bahn trains making it easy to get around no matter where you settle.

That said, there are a few favorite areas that we prefer when visiting Berlin. For many tourists, they stay in the “business” area of town near the Brandenburg Gate as that is where many of the major top end hotels are located. While this is super convenient to the top sights of town, it is, dare I say it, a bit boring. It lacks the feel of a real neighborhood, and the sense of everyday life, which for me is one of the best parts of any visit here. A few of our suggestions are below.

Top Tips on Choosing Accommodation in Berlin

  1. Choose a place that is within walking distance to either an underground or tram station. My recommendation is to be no more than a 5 minute walk from a station as you will most likely be going back and forth often and with luggage.
  2. For visitors in Berlin in the summer months, you need to look specifically for air conditioning. Most apartment style hotels do not offer AC and even some hotels do not. It can get very hot in summer and you will want AC!
  3. Many AirBnB or apartment type hotels do not have elevators in the building. Be mindful of this if you have a lot of luggage or have mobility issues. 

Mitte / Prenzlauer Berg

My favorite part of the city has to be Mitte (often called the heart of Berlin) and Prenzlauer Berg. When we were looking to move to Berlin a decade ago, this is the area that I had my sights set on. It continues to be one of my favorite areas to stay in when we visit as well. The biggest negative for tourists is that it at times is not always super convenient to the main touristy sights, but if you plan to take the train anyway, you will find your way around pretty quickly.

Our top picks for this area include: Casa Camper, Motel One, Gorki Apartments and Circus Hotel/Apartments.

For the more budget conscious there are several Ibis and AMANO hotels that are worth checking out. Additionally, The Circus Hostel is the best place for budget travelers, however it books out well in advance.

While in Prenzlauer Berg don’t miss the  Schoenhauser Allee and Kastanienallee streets as they offer a great place to stroll around, grab a coffee or ice cream and explore. 

Ku’Damn Area

While the Ku”damn area doesn’t have the neighborhood vibe I enjoy so much about Berlin, I actually really enjoyed our stay here during a winter Christmas Market visit. During winter, you are right by one of the most vibrant Christmas Markets in a town of more than 80, there is a ton of shopping in the area and it is very well connected transport hub.

We stayed at the Double Tree Hotel by Hilton, which was less than a year old at that point and it was great. This hotel offered a good price point in a convenient location with tons of things around.

Kreuzberg

My second favorite area to stay is Kreuzberg, however for some visitors to Berlin it can feel a bit too gritty. The area is technically split in two, West Kreuzberg and East Kreuzberg. The east feels a bit grittier, more punk rock with lots of clubs and people milling about. On the Western side you will find more families, kids playing in the fountains, and a bit more chilled out. If you are in the area, check out Oranienstrasse for restaurants and cafes, Paul-Lincke-Ufer for walks along the canal, and smaller yet lovely side streets like Graefestrasse.

The best known hotel in this area is Hotel The Yard which does come with AC which is very important in summer!

Getting Around Berlin with Teenagers

Do you know what is amazing about Germany and Berlin in regards to train travel? Kids 14 years old and below travel free. Yep! Free! What a great incentive for families to use public transport as much as possible while in Berlin.

These days with cell phones and Google maps, it is very easy to use the local train lines and even buses in Berlin. My top recommendation is to get the Berlin Welcome Card before you arrive so that you do not need to worry about purchasing tickets every time you want to get on. You can just hop on and off the transport as you wish.

The Berlin Welcome Card includes a ticket for public transportation, whether buses, trains, or ferries, and gives discounts at more than 180 restaurants, activities, and attractions.  Keep it handy with you in case someone asks for your transport tickets as Berlin relies on the honor system.

If you are flying into or out of the city, you will need to get the ABC ticket, however if you are taking the train or bus into/out of the city, you can easily manage on the AB ticket only. 

My son and I got so much use out of  our Welcome card – we could hop on for one stop or 20 to easily explore as much of the city as we could. Plus it was winter, which meant it was a great way to warm up when we needed to. 

Did you know that I am a travel advisor and can help you design the perfect itinerary based on your family’s ages and interests? I have local connections and the travel know how to ensure you get the best accommodations and a great combination of independent exploration, hands on experiences and guided tours. Discover why we are the top pick for families looking for an adventurous holiday!

Top Things to Do in Berlin with Teens

There are so many things to do in Berlin as it is a major cosmopolitan city, that it would take many webpages to offer up all of the suggestions. Below I have outlined our tried and tested favorites that we have done in Berlin. I also do not often suggest things like an aquarium or even the Berlin Zoo that can be visited in any major city, instead I always prefer to focus on things that are unique about the destination and that you cannot do elsewhere. Without further ado, these are our top things to do in Berlin with teens to have a great time. 

East Side Gallery

One of my all time favorite areas in Berlin continues to be the east side of the city, which is where the East Side Gallery resides. The East Side Gallery is a must-see, especially when traveling with teens. It includes a nearly mile-long, open-air collection of murals along the former Berlin Wall. This infamous piece of history now is the platform for more than 100 artists from 21 nations. These iconic images officially became an open-air gallery in 1990 and has continued on since. 

The East Side also represents a great avenue for traveling back in time to 1989 when the Berlin Wall officially fell. The wall gave East Berliners one of their first forums to publicly express themselves following the collapse of the Iron Curtain in East Germany, which is significant that it continues to be a form of public expression through these amazing street art murals. 

Consider this Berlin East Side Bike Tour

Teens will be fascinated by the colorful and imaginative murals that they may have seen play out on Instagram or films through the years. It’s an eye-opening gallery that provides the perfect background for creating their own social media images.  My son’s ode to the East Side Gallery.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Street Art Tour & Graffiti Workshop

The city’s walls and open spaces are frequently adorned with images from talented street artists. Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain are both renowned for their vibrant street art scene. One of the best ways to enjoy this is to take a walking tour with teens to explore colorful murals, graffiti, and alternative art spaces. The area also boasts trendy shops, cafes, and food markets that offer a taste of Berlin’s eclectic culture. If you are visiting in summer, I highly recommend checking out this cool Berlin Street art tour that includes a hands on workshop so you can make your own graffiti art. A great way to learn and engage for teens and adults!

I highly recommend taking some type of street art tour as the graffiti and street art sene is ubiquitous in Berlin and in such interesting ways. You can learn about “paste-ups”, photography placed on walls, etc. So many cool, edgy art happenings here to discover. If you are out for a walk, Haus Schwarzenberg’s street art alley in Berlin Mitte and the East Side Art Gallery on the Berlin Wall are some of the most popular locations. I also love to wander around near the RAW Gelande area where you can often see people putting up fresh paint as you watch. 

Checkpoint Charlie

A trip to Berlin with teenagers can inspire curiosity and engagement while teaching vital lessons about recent history. It is here on my first visit in 2000 that history really came alive for me. 

While much of Germany’s history often focuses on WWII, another fascinating aspect took over the city post the war with the division of Berlin. The main gateway for foreigners and diplomats traveling between East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1990, was Checkpoint Charlie.

This area has changed a lot since my first visit 24 years ago, however I greatly admire the new addition of the outdoor museum that tells the story of this part of town. My teen son was enthralled with the idea that the area surrounding Berlin was all Soviet, but that the city itself was divided. Seeing the large maps helped bring all of this in focus for the both of us.

Besides the actual checkpoint, you’ll also see fragments of the Berlin Wall and mid-20th-century warning signs. Teens can also dive deeper to learn about  the fall of the Berlin Wall, espionage, escape attempts, and the division of the city during the Cold War era at the nearby Checkpoint Charlie Museum.

Brandenburg Gate

No visit to Berlin would be complete without seeing the city’s most important monument, Brandenburg Gate. There’s also no better spot to load up on selfies. Not only is the sandstone gate located in the heart of the city, but it’s spectacular, especially at sunrise and sunset.

The Brandenburg Gate has a rich and multi-layered history, that punctuates the end of boulevard Unter den Linden. The gate took three years to build (1788-1791) and is considered by many to be one of the most picturesque structures of Neoclassicism in Europe.

While this is often a quick stop, it is one that is important to visit as you and your teens will continue to recognize it throughout your time in Berlin and in movies and TV for years to come! This is often a stop on a private tour/ guided tour itinerary.

The German Spy Museum

To continue delving into the Cold War, another fascinating place to explore 20th-century history is the German Spy Museum. Berlin represented the meeting point of East and West during the Cold War, thus making it the perfect place for the launching of spies from both sides. 

Not only is spy craft a juicy subject your teens will enjoy digging into, but the museum’s exhibitions are highly engaging and innovative. On a tour, you’ll navigate a laser maze. And you’ll use the latest technology to suss out hidden cameras and bugs.

Explore cutting-edge multi-media-based technology to learn about the sneaky and bizarre ways secret service agents and spies have worked over the years. And enjoy chances to decipher secret codes. Secure your favorite password, or hack into websites. The museum includes more than 1,000 exhibits and explores everything from biblical espionage to Julius Caesar’s cipher technique, Oliver Cromwell’s secret service to how spies operated during the World Wars.

My son’s favorite area was the Laser Maze room where you have to beat the clock in getting through the room full of green laser beams acting as obstacles. We spent a LONG time here until he could master all levels of this fun game!

Tiergarden Park

If you are visiting Berlin in the summer months, you cannot miss visiting Berlin’s expansive Tiergarten park. This is the life and breathe of Berliners during warm weather. We recommend renting bikes to cycle through it’s many wandering paths. There are 600 acres of meandering streams, lush paths, open-air cafes, and emerald lawns waiting to be discovered on your visit.In summer, the park also hosts outdoor concerts and events that add to its lively atmosphere.

Note: If you have an aviation enthusiast like me, your better bet might be to head to Tempelhof, the abandoned airport, now park! Tempelhof has been turned into an immense open space, with cycling, urban gardens, and the long runway left over from its airport days. It’s a cool Berlin fixture that the locals have taken over as their own green space.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

While this may not be the most interesting stop on a Berlin visit, it remains one of my favorite places and brings to life so clearly that the war was right here in Berlin. Located in the bustling famous shopping district of Kurfürstendamm, the most famous landmark in the western city centre stands tall even in ruins.  The burnt out remains of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church offer beautiful photo opportunities as well as a quick history lesson inside. Besides the Berlin Wall, this is what I most remember about my very first visit to Berlin more than 24 years ago. It is also where I tried my first curry wurst! It is well worth making a visit if you are on the western side of town.

Deep Dive into Berlin Culture & History with a Guided Tour

Berlin is one of the best cities in my opinion to do a guided tour. There is so much history here from past and present that it is really hard to know what all you are looking at or experiencing when you just wonder on your own. While I also believe it’s wonderful to just wander around, we found that after doing a few guided tours, we knew so much more about the city and could get much more out of our wanderings! There are so many amazing tours in Berlin, that it would be difficult to mention them all, but I will point out a few that are well worth checking out.

Fork & Walk Food Tour

One of my favorite ways to sample any city is through the food. During our visit over the winter, we took a Christmas market food tour with Fork & Walk Tours which we LOVED. Even though we had been to 20+ markets by the time we did this tour, we still learned so much about the various foods on offer at the different markets and what to watch out for! Our guide also told us a ton about his East meets West tour, which runs year round and is next on our wish list. If you have time to delve into the food scene in Berlin, I highly recommend doing one of these tours. Either way, you need to try some falafel, doner kebab and of course curry wurst while in town. 

WWII Sights & Tour

If you want to get the most bang for your buck with time, you can easily dive deep into the rich history of WWII by doing a World War II focused tour. There are many from Viator to Context offering a wide range of sights to visit. This is a great way to see many of the historical sights in town, while getting perspective and often even personal stories from a guide. Friends have recommended the Third Reich Berlin Walking Tour, which sounds like a great way to really understand the history you are seeing in town.

Underground Bunker Visit

One of the most interesting things we did in Berlin with teenagers was the Dark Worlds Underground Bunker Tour with Berliner Unterwelten. Unfortunately you cannot take photos when you are in the bunkers, which might be part of the reason that it is not often heard of as one of the top things to do in Berlin with teens. But trust me when I say it was very interesting and super cool to escape through a secret door in the middle of a underground train station!

Holocaust Memorial

A sobering but essential experience when visiting Berlin is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This stunning memorial offers a powerful educational opportunity, as you walk through the stark concrete slabs on an entire corner block of the city. This is another site that is often included on private and guided city tours. I have seen this memorial every single time I visit Berlin and it never stops being breathtaking. A really somber exhibit that is appropriate for all ages of kids to young adults and beyond. 

Go Geocaching

This was the site of one of the toughest Geocaches we have ever encountered! Took us a long while and a second visit to figure it out!

Germany is a top country for Geocachers and they have some really cool caches located throughout the country. If you are at all interested in Geocaching, it is well worth taking the time to seek out some of the cool caches. My son did several when we were in town, even running into an older German couple who were also looking for the same cache as he was. We spent AGES at one geocache behind the Berlin Cathedral that had us stumped, but we finally figured it out. 

Download the Geocaching app or Cachly before your arrival and check out the options near your hotel, major tourist sights and more.  Its a fun way to uniquely experience Berlin through locals eyes. 

Visit Markets & Food Halls

Another great thing to do in Berlin is pop into a few markets and food halls while you are out exploring. There are too many to list as almost every single neighborhood has a flea market or cool market hall to check out. Some of our favorites include these below:

Hackescher Markt

This architectural gem will undoubtedly delight you with its array of trendy boutiques, unique concept stores, and local handmade crafts and vintage treasures. The market offers an abundance of choices for every taste and budget. It is well worth making time to visit. 

Holzmarkt 25

This cooperative urban market space is on the banks of the Spree River. It all started with just a few tents, but now houses a colorful array of shops, restaurants and artisan stalls. This eastern Berlin market is the perfect vibe for those creative teens looking for urban culture. 

Markethalle Neun

If you are looking for something to eat in Kreuzberg, this is where you need to head! This beautiful food hall offers small-scale food and craft businesses a place to call home. On Thursday evenings, they host a Food Truck night, which brings even more delicious food offerings to the scene. 

Mauer Flea Market 

The flea market in Mauerpark in the Prenzlauer Berg district is a popular Sunday destination for both Berliners and tourists alike. Its numerous stalls offer fashion, jewelry, bags, furniture, home decorations and vinyl records as well as snacks and drinks. If you have teens who love thrifting this is where you need to be!

KulturBrauerei

The sprawling complex in Prenzlauer Berg consists of six courtyards with 20 buildings which is home to clubs, restaurants, culture space and so much more.

This is also the home of the Berlin Bike Tour which is a great way to explore Berlin with teens! Highly recommend the Alternative Berlin Bike Tour or any of their tours!

Other Things to Do in Berlin with Teenagers

Visiting the East side of Berlin with Teenagers means taking lots of photosIf your teen is particularly interested in the history associated with the city, we highly recommend checking out the Topography of Terror. This museum is free, offering a free audio tour as well as many signboards with photos and text detailing the rise of the Nazi party to power. Other sites we enjoyed include the DDR Museum which showcases what life was like on the Eastern side of Berlin during the Cold War which is quite interesting for the whole family.

Another fun outing is to go to the top of the Berlin TV tower. This iconic tower is a fun way to to get a different perspective and views of Berlin.

Potsdamer Platz is a lively new neighborhood that used to only have the Berlin Wall running through it. However, it is home to restaurants, cinemas, shopping and exciting modern architecture.

Conclusion

Berlin, continues to be one of my favorite cities in the world and one I recommend for a family vacation with kids of all ages. However, the vibrant capital of Germany, truly offers a plethora of exciting activities that cater perfectly to teenagers. Whether they’re into history, culture, adventure, or simply exploring cool spots, Berlin has something to captivate every teen’s interest. Berlin offers an array of activities that promise to engage and entertain teenagers and parents alike while creating lasting memories of their visit to this remarkable city. Can you tell how much I love this city?

 

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