Berlin has the whole conglomeration of antique and alternative markets you’d expect of a capital city, each laden with collectors, fashionistas, foodies and people-watchers alike. These shopping spots are in many ways a microcosm of the city’s multiculturalism and character, where creativity, meeting new people and bargain hunting go hand in hand. Here’s a selection of the 10 best markets where visitors can hit the stalls like a true Berliner!
Perfect for a weekend activity, Mauer Park is an explosion of creative souls in search of fun and al fresco entertainment. A magnet for singers and performers of all kinds, the park attracts crowds for ad hoc karaoke sessions on Sundays, all embellished by fanfares and circus jongleurs aplenty. And nearby to the talent shows, there are numerous white tents full of paraphernalia, books and furniture, not to mention the latest Berliner-style souvenirs.
The Neuköllner Market stretches far into the distance from the banks of the Maybach Shore of the River Spree on a good day; a long, vibrant dash of stalls and stages that gives the impression that the whole city has gathered for sun-gazing and singing. Vinyls, emerging art pieces, hand-made accessories and vintage clothes are just some of the things that adorn the tables, and if you decide to take a tour, make sure you’re prepared for some serious bazaar bargaining, as the Berliners here love a little haggle. Even if you can’t find something that draws your eye, why not just choose a drink, listen to some music and kick-back on the river banks? Address: Neukoelln Flohmarkt, Maybachufer 31, Berlin, Germany
Farmers and gourmet connoisseurs alike gather up at Markthalle Neun to taste the finest smoked fish and meat, sample freshly-picked veg, smell fragrant flowers and try various craft beer recipes, finished off with some of the sweetest pastries in all of Kreuzberg! Many of the sellers here celebrate ecological quality, locally-produced goods and the sustainability of animals and trade, which means their German foodstuffs are often of exceptional quality. What’s more, because any great market comes with a great atmosphere to match, the Markthalle is full of chatter and cheer!
Start a lazy Sunday in the heart of Friedrichshain at this open-air market where books meet green grass and acoustic street singers meet antiquities vendors by their hundreds; a mix of the finest things this chic neighborhood has to offer. Between the stalls here the likes of Camus rubs shoulders with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds on the shelves, New Orleans jazz vinyl clusters next to vintage clothes and furniture, and international food delights abound. Also, watch out for the fantastic late brunches in the surrounding area!
Fine arts and crafts trinkets, fur coats, elegant garments, ceramics, faded postcards, old cameras, historic board games, and vintage antiques can all be found at this little market just outside of the S-bahn station in Tiergarten. There’s simply no substitute for rummaging through the wealth of goodies that adorn the stalls here, finding your bargains and then heading off to relax on the lawns of Berlin’s largest park just across the way.
The sprawling Bode-Museum Market boasts not only an incredible range of antiquities and books, but also some breath-taking views over the River Spree and Berlin’s Museum Island. Unlike other markets around the city center, this one throbs with life right throughout the year. It is packed with literary rarities, military objects, clothing, art, stamps, tableware, postcards, and vinyl, not to mention a drool-worthy array of old-school comic books. Don’t forget the haggling skills either! Antik- und Buchmarkt am Bodemuseum Berlin, Am Kupfergraben, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Consumed by desire to find original pieces, the collectors that gather in Ostbahnhof, Berlin’s east-side train station, often know precisely what they’re searching for and where to find it. That means this bazaar is usually an explosive mix of vendors and collectors, haggling and bartering, where the genuine antiquarian allure of a classic flea-market is to be found. Expect oodles of retro gadgetry, coins, maps, Russian Babushka dolls and small furniture pieces galore! Antikmarkt Ostbahnhof, Erich-Steinfurth-Straße 1, Berlin, Germany
Nestled right near the Nazareth Church, this flea market in Leopoldplatz is celebrated for the vast and kaleidoscopic range of paraphernalia it has on offer. The area between the church and the metro station fills up with colors on the weekend, manifesting in stands of evocative clothing pieces, chic decorations, small furnitures, kitsch paintings and jewellery. So, whether you’re a die-hard connoisseur of antiquities or simply a wandering rambler looking to haggle under the German sun, you can rest assured you will find the adventurous flea spirit alive and kicking at Leopoldplatz.
Vividly green and remarkably picturesque, the food market in Domäne Dahlem is the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon with children, learning about ecological farming at the most significant open-air agricultural and horticultural museum in all of Berlin. Seasonal, freshly-harvested vegetables are on offer too, and the quality of the other products found in the market really is undeniable. And aside from being a great shopping spot, this one is also an open space for playing and enjoying the simple life – Berlin style!
A well-kept secret of Berlin locals is the Thai food market in Wilmersdorf. It not only brings the dazzling sensations of Asian cuisine to bear on native Berliners, but also offers an introduction to the secrets of Southeast Asian arts and crafts, courtesy of the Thai ladies managing the various trinket stalls. The market is more of an ad-hoc gathering than a designated event, which has given it a somewhat self-sustaining and mysterious air that’s difficult not to like.