The most livable urban centers are those that have successfully integrated enough green spaces for their inhabitants to enjoy nature and escape the noise of metropolitan life, without actually having to leave the city proper. Berlin has done an excellent job at this with its many canals, small squares, riverside spots and tree planting initiatives. Nothing beats an expansive city park, however, and Berlin has its fair share of those too. One of the most pleasant among them is Treptower Park. It contains a large promenade along the Spree and plenty of paths for biking and running. Plus, it is totally dog friendly. For the history buffs among you, Treptower Park also holds a fascinating Soviet War Memorial, which alone makes this place worth visiting.
Bezirk Treptow-Köpenick, Alt-Treptow, 12435 Berlin, +49 030 25002333
Another unique and highly popular outdoor hangout is Tempelhof Field. Just about every Berliner has at least one Instagram or Facebook profile picture at this enormous airport turned public park. Tempelhof Field is a whopping 386 hectares in size. Today, thousands gather here for picnics, barbecues, outdoor activities or just to hang out with friends. Interestingly enough, this vast chunk of land was originally used as a parade ground before the military converted it into an airbase in the 1920s, and it was only opened to the public as a park in 2008. It is still possible to see many of the old airport structures.
Tempelhof Field, 12101 Berlin, +49 030 7009060
Located near Tempehlhof Field at the top of a parking garage in Neukölln, Klunkerkranich is a totally underrated rooftop bar with a fantastic view of the city. Plus, Klunkerkranich also serves as an urban garden and educational space for a variety of different topics, projects and events. Even though the vibes are incredibly cool, Klunkerkranich hasn’t been overrun by hipsters, and instead features a more diverse crowd of people across a fairly wide age spectrum. This makes sense considering that one of the owner’s goals in establishing Klunkerkranich is to engage the community and offset some of the effects of gentrification in this rapidly changing Neukölln neighborhood in Berlin.
There is nothing more German than gathering with friends at a biergarten, and Prater in Prenzlauer Berg is Berlin’s oldest. Since 1837, patrons have gathered under the garden’s leafy canopy of chestnut trees to enjoy some classic German brews. Nowadays, the beer garden’s aesthetic is supplemented with the help of string lights, red striped umbrellas and a pond. The large expanse of wooden tables and benches means that Prater is great for accommodating large groups, but it is also possible to find a cozy nook here and there for more intimate gatherings. Prater is open each year from April until September.
Bezirk Pankow, Kastanienallee 7-9, 10435 Berlin, +49 , 030 4485688
Feeling frazzled and stressed by the day job? Need a bit of ‘me’ time and a break from a busy social calendar? Let’s be honest, we could all use a day at the spa even if we don’t have this excuse. With its immaculate gardens, enormous outdoor terrace and pool, Vabali is the best place to get that much-deserved fresh air and a dose of R&R. The Balinese style interior is equally as stunning, and Vabali offers many different spa packages and services for affordable prices. Vabali also has a wonderful menu of healthy gourmet specialities.
Seydlitzstraße 6, 10557 Berlin, +49 030 9114860
Located in Tiergarten, Café am Neuen See is another wonderful café and beer garden located on the western side of town. As its name suggests, the café is situated right on the lake, Neuer See. It is possible to enjoy a beer on the elegant terrace poised at the lake’s edge, and there are rowboats available for rent. Café am Neuen See also has a restaurant specializing in wood-fired pizzas and other regional German dishes. This is the ideal spot for a romantic date or even a solo night out. And because the place is so crowded with so many happy people, it’s easy to make new friends.
Located in Kreuzberg, Prinzessinnengärten is one of Berlin’s most popular urban gardens. What began as a vast, abandoned run-down space has been utterly transformed into a lush haven where all sorts of vegetation grows with an emphasis on sustainable and organic farming. Today, Prinzessinnengärten serves as a hive of social activity where people of all walks of life come to enjoy nature. It is possible to rent a plot of land for a year or to purchase some of the produce from Prinzessinnengärten’s kiosk. Additionally, the garden doubles as a restaurant and café where daily menu selections are prepared using fresh herbs and vegetables harvested from the garden.
Prinzenstrasse 35 – 38, 10969 Berlin, +49 0176 24332297