Almost as immeasurable as the other great European capitals and somewhat less hackneyed, Berlin has a lot to offer the curious and observant traveller.
Its peculiar recent history makes it infinitely attractive. What to do in Berlin in terms of culture is among the main objectives of anyone visiting the German capital.
Not long ago I had a discussion with a lady about what culture is. She talked to me about great literary and pictorial works. I was talking about fashion and jeans.
I’ m saying this because there are several ways of understanding culture (look at the RAE Dictionary if you don’t believe me); today we will refer to both high culture and popular culture.
So that’s it, let’s dive into Berlin with four ideas to soak up all the culture the city has to offer. Everyday plans, “hardcore”, alternative and foreign. I’m sure you’ll like some of them.
4 cultural plans to do in Berlin
Daily: from neighbourhood to neighbourhood
It is said that the only way to know a culture is to experience it and to know a city, to travel through it. I couldn’t agree more.
To get to know the real Berlin culture, all you have to do is walk down its main avenues, its forgotten alleys, its parks and its squares. Walk, eat, feel and stand.
So among the best things to do in Berlin, there is no doubt that walking through some of its most emblematic neighbourhoods is a must.
It is not an easy task, because this is a truly multifaceted and multicultural city, with very different atmospheres and all equally authentic. But if you have to choose…
In that case, take these three neighbourhoods, each very different from the others:
- Kurfürstendamm. Ku’damm is the most “normal”, the perfect exponent of West Berlin, with its lights and shadows, its Prussian heritage and its decidedly capitalist flair. You will recognise it by its Kaiser Wilhelm Church.
- Friedrichshain. The cross of Ku’damm is better than any other place that maintains a kind of Soviet aura (the example, Frankfurter Tor). Halfway between Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg, it does not suffer so much from the price of their fame.
- Wedding. This is what the aforementioned Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg were ten years ago, before gentrification: a “normal” place, with its peculiarities of a working class neighbourhood (small commerce, brauereis artesanas and a multiethnic present).
Hardcore: of museums in Berlin
Visiting some of the rich museums of Berlin is one of those must-do things in the city. Take note, we are saying some of them in full knowledge of the facts. Check out how many museums depend on the public institution (half federal, half state) Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
You have to choose, unless you’re going to settle down here. Can we help you? Well, it depends on your preferences…
If you like painting, go to the Alte Nationalgalerie. If you are interested in the so-called decorative arts, the Schloss Köpenick is the best place. For Byzantine art or numismatics, the Bode. In any case, the Museum Island is the place for you.
Probably the most famous of them all is the Pergamon Museum, one of those mastodons like the British Museum or the Louvre that remind us more of an unscrupulous antique dealer’s warehouse. In any case and since it is undergoing an intense renovation, we suggest the Pergamon, Das Panorama (Am Kupfergraben 2; from 10 am to 6 pm, 3-6 euros), a lighter, more didactic and enjoyable version.
Alternative: urban and street art
Berlin happens to be the European Mecca of street art. Graffiti acquires all the features of art here, with its own history, style and significance.
Its ephemeral character fits perfectly with the spirit of a city in constant metamorphosis. What’s more, even if you wanted to avoid it, you can’t, it”s so strongly rooted.
It is easy to find out where to find the masterpieces of Berlin’s urban art; there are even numerous tourist routes specifically designed to get to know the most famous places.
In any case, the reality exceeds any expectation, so any tour is bound to bring pleasant surprises to the attentive eye.
If you have a lot to do in Berlin and you can’t spend all day hunting for graffiti, surely the most famous and really essential is the so-called East Side Gallery. More than 1,300 metres of the famous Berlin Wall that has become the privileged space where more than 100 artists have shaped their work. More information on the “official” website.
Foreigners: Latin America in Berlin
We all know that the main immigrant colony in Berlin is the Turkish one. But we also know that Berlin (halfway between Madrid and Stockholm) has that open nature towards foreigners that has made it a refuge for many different identities. It is a city also made by and for foreigners.
Tracking the presence of foreign cultures in the city, escaping from the Spanish one (which we know too much about) but without giving up the advantage of the language, we came across the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, a centre oriented to the research and promotion of Latin American cultures. You didn’t expect to enjoy Latin America in Berlin, did you?
Despite its academic roots, it offers much more than an impressive library. If you don’t know what to do in Berlin, its program of events can resolve your afternoon: concerts, talks, exhibitions, cinema, workshops… Almost always free. Besides, it is (Potsdamer Str. 37) near Postdamer Platz, one of the many attractions of the city, in case you get bored.
We hope we have resolved the question of what to do in Berlin from a cultural perspective (or several, depending on how you look at it). That was the idea.
If you like different plans, don’t miss our post: 7 places to see in Alternative London.
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Especialista en escapadas
Viajar, compartir, aprovechar cada minuto. El tiempo vuela, y la vida está esperando a ser vivida con la energía y la pasión que merece.
Por esto, me esfuerzo en aprovechar cada oportunidad haciéndole una trampa al calendario y encontrando la forma de llenar mi vida de las mil aventuras que aún están por llegar.
Quédate y déjame enseñarte los trucos que sólo una experta viajera sabe.
Specialist in escapades
Travel, share, take advantage of every minute. Time flies, and life is waiting to be lived with the energy and passion it deserves.
For this, I strive to take advantage of every opportunity by making a trap of the calendar and finding a way to fill my life with the thousand adventures that are still to arrive.
Stay and let me show you the tricks that only an expert traveler knows