update: august 2016
After my sixth visit to Berlin, it’s time to finally write a page about the city that starts to become a pilgrimage for the new generation. I do know about the popularity of Berlin and also about the tons of blogs and websites about the place, that’s why I will try to hand in a useful and short summery for you, party and underground-berlin seeker.
Berlin is like a funpark for grown-ups. With her colourful clubs and the most attractive street art on every corner… You simply have to enjoy yourself here. The city is very spacious and unregulated; creative initiatives can pop up everywhere – and will! Especially in east Berlin you find so many new bars, clubs and creative startups every month, it will never get boring. In summertime there are also open air parties everywhere. Not only hosted by clubs, but also just randomly on a bridge or in a park. It’s the ‘wild and free’ Yolo – thing every young person is looking for nowadays. No wonder Berlin is getting more and more popular each season.
Where to go – party
If you want to enjoy the parties of Berlin, I will recommend to visit the city in summer season. The gardens of clubs, small festivals and random initiatives outdoors are with good weather at their best. Especially places like Ipse, RummelsBucht and Badeschiff focus on daytime parties and they are better than your average festival elsewhere in Europe! Other places like Chalet, About Blanc, RitterButzke, Sisyphos, Club der Visionaire, GriessMuhle, Wilde Renate and KaterBlau go on all weekend. Here, the outdoor area serves as a nice chill-out between all the dancing (indoors). The places mentioned have a very unique and creative atmosphere like you will find nowhere else on the planet. Picture fantasylike decorations, wooden huts and platforms, colourful lights, street art and a nice river aside to hang out. There are some small places also worth having a look like Kosmonaut, Suicide Circus, Birgit und Bier and go find some more yourself!
Of course there’s the legendary Berghain. Honestly, it’s not really my cup of tea. Great for music and dancing, but no happy arty stuff or cute garden. A complete different venue than the places mentioned before. There are also some other clubs that are mainly indoors and focus on music and dancing like Watergate, Golden Gate, Arena, Weekend and Tresor.
Check Residentadvisor for the events calendar for each club! Prices range from 5-15 euro entree.
Where to go – other
Berlin is great for urban exploring. Walking through the streets there’s some special vibe with the almost threatening blocks of sad looking apartments alternated by children playgrounds and parks. Around every corner there can be another surprise, maybe it’s a club, a streetart wall, nice vintage shops, terrace with hammocks or even a whole abandoned building. Especially with the latter you can have fun; breaking in, exploring and taking pictures. Some of my favourites are The Teufelsberg Tower (€7), Spreepark, Barenquell BierBrauerei, Children Hospital and the mother of all: Beelitz Heilstatten.
I always stay in neighbourhood Friedrichshain or Neukoln because it’s central and there are many nice restaurants, bars and shops. Although they are a bit scattered around. Don’t forget to check the area ‘RAW’, an industrial space next to Revalerstrasse with streetart, café’s, markets and some clubs. Another nice (touristy) thing is the Hackescherhof, a little oasis in the busy and grey city. Below you find my google maps Berlin map.
Like said before, the special feeling Berlin brings, doesn’t stay unnoticed. Not everybody is happy with this though; when doing research for my last trip, I could taste disapproval on presented lists of ‘hidden clubs and places to go’. Comments state that with inviting the whole lot of tourists into the special locations of Berlin, they will not stay special anymore. Of course, I can understand where they are coming from. When people go somewhere just ‘to see the place’ instead of wanting to be part of it, atmospheres will change. I’m sure that this attitude is the whole reason behind Amsterdam’s bad party-scene, anyhow. Not something we want for our party mekka Berlin… But how to avoid having visitors with selfie-sticks getting into a special club? Right, you refuse entrée. And this strict doorpolicy is what’s getting more and more a brandmark for Berlin lately. Unfortunately sometimes stretching to simple remarks as: only local people are welcome. If you want to avoid being bounced of, go early in the evening and ‘act like a local’ (so no selfie-making in front of the entrée). The more popular clubs like Berghain, Kater, Renate and Sisy are the hardest to get in.
Below you find my google Berlin Map. It’s still in Dutch, but it can be helpful anyway. Purple is for clubs/bars, cuttery for foodplaces, yellow for abandoned buildings, green for all other nice to visit-sites. Click on the balloon for more information.