Berlin with Kids – What to do in the capital of Germany
Working as a familytravelblogger based in Cologne, I have already visited many capital cities all around the world with kids. London, Washington DC or Oslo. But our own, Berlin, was missing on this list! That needed to be changed, and so we traveled to Berlin for a long weekend. During our trip we stayed at the MEININGER Hotel Berlin Mitte, called the ‘Humboldthaus’, which offers not only great options for family rooms but is also very well-connected to public transport, which is key when you are traveling with kids to major cities.
#1 Taking the suburban trains
Taking the underground train in Berlin is exciting! Not only when you are just 8 years old. There is so much to see although your are only traveling from A to B. The trains, the different stations, the beautiful and old signs, exhibitions in the hallways – or you can just watch Berlin life go by. You could easily spend a whole day just zick-zacking Berlin like this.
#2 The Berlin Wall Memorial
When you are visiting Berlin, it is very likely that the history of this formerly divided city will be part of your trip. The best way to start learning about this is the Berlin Wall Memorial. It is situated at the historic site on Bernauer Strasse, extending 1.4 kilometers along the former border strip. Start your visit at the visitor center where you will be shown a film that will also help kids to understand what was going on. Don’t miss the viewing tower that will give you an overview of the area.
#3 Ghost Stations Exhibitions
From the outside, Nordbahnhof S-Bahn station may look like a ruin lost in time. Which it, in fact, is. But this historic site is also a still functioning and active underground station! Located next to the Berlin Wall Memorial it hides something very interesting: an exhibition about the Border Stations and Ghost Stations in divided Berlin! „It recalls a special chapter in Berlin’s history of division: the closed-down and heavily guarded train stations of the U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines in East Berlin.“ The absurdity of the division, living with the border fortifications – this is what the exhibition adresses.
#4 Eating a Currywurst
You might be up for a well deserved snack after going for a long walk down history lane and taking in a lot of information. We stopped for a ‘Currywurst’ at the ‘Bude’ located at the extremely busy Checkpoint Charlie. There are of course numberless snack bars, but it might be worth your time to head to one of the iconic ones. Those of you who are interested in learning more about the famous Currywurst, head to the Currywurstmuseum!
#5 German Spy Museum Berlin
Berlin – the Capitol of espionage! At least that is what the Website of the ‘German Spy Museum Berlin‘ says. This museum might be a big hit on your visit to Berlin with Kids. Although it is quite tough to get all the information about the pieces that are exhibited – you need to read everything and you need to read it fast as the text is shown on a monitor – it is a great place to explore not only for kids. You’ll learn about the work of spies and all the gadgets they used in the early days, from poisoned umbrellas to coins that hid small knives.
But the most fun part in the Spy Museum might be the Laser Course where you feel like James Bond managing to escape unnoticed. Level 4 is really tough!
#6 Museum of Technology Berlin
The Museum of Technology is perfect for a visit with kids. Vintage trains, old ships and many personal stories captured in audio records you can listen to all over the place.
But make sure you do not miss the outdoor area! The huge area offers a great mix of industrial sights, nature and lost places as it has been part of an old train station till the end of war. Since then, nature did with it what it wanted, overgrew tracks and left trains to themselves transforming them it into a fantastic yet safe place to explore.
#7 Park am Gleisdreieck
‘Park am Gleisdreieck’ is a peaceful oasis and a space for activities for all ages. It is located next to the Museum of Technology so it is convenient to plan the visits back to back. Being from Cologne I peered with envy on this park as it just has everything you need for a perfect day outside: great and yet challenging playgrounds, a cool skatepark and enough space to play football, have barbeque or just go for run for ages. Kids could go on a treasure hunt to look for all the hidden tracks mother nature hides now.
#8 Legoland Berlin at the Sony Center am Potsdamer Platz
The highlight for the kids? The ghost train through which you ride in small cars and where you are sprayed with water. Especially nice if grandma gets some in the process. Or the 4D cinema, where you are exposed to snow, cold and wind? Or the carousel, which has to be operated with muscle power – and is of course made of Lego bricks? We don’t want to have to commit ourselves here. Legoland is fun, but it’s also crowded, especially on weekends. For the younger kids, there’s a Duplo village with a princess or dragon castle.
#9 A visit to the Botanical Garden in Berlin-Dahlem.
The Berlin Botanical Garden, which is over 100 years old, has a huge stock of plants and wonderfully laid out gardens. For example, the medicinal plant garden, the fragrance and touch garden and the swamp and water garden with its bogs and ponds. 15 greenhouses house green jungle landscapes, tropical animals and humid-warm subtropical climate. A dream for cold winter noses!
#10 Monbijoupark in Berlin-Mitte: Oasis on the Spree with outdoor pool
Between the Spree and Oranienburger Strasse lies this gem of a Berlin park. If you want to take a breather after a tour of Berlin-Mitte, the Hackesche Höfe or Museum Island, you can do so particularly well here. A small playground with lots of sand for digging, slide, swing and climbing spider makes children happy, while the adults can enjoy beautiful views of the Spree. On the basketball court, you can let off steam yourself or watch the players. If anyone gets thirsty, the Strandbar Mitte is next door. Here there are loud beats, sand and cool drinks and people.
Right in front of the MEININGER Hotel at the Oranienburger Straße you will find a S-Bahn Station which connects you with the lines S1, S2 and S25. They take you to the most interesting sights in Berlin in no time.
Text and images by Heike Kaufhold