The perfect day out in Prenzlauer Berg

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Prenzlauer Berg is about as cool as they come – so here's a visual guide for an action-packed day out.

Like all great cities, Berlin offers a dizzying amount of things to do. The best tactic is choosing a district that interests you and spending the day getting to know it inside out. If you’re a fan of bohemian, creative and diverse neighbourhoods then Prenzlauer Berg is the place for you. A former epicentre of the GDR’s counterculture, today it’s a place where you can do public karaoke, explore the universe, and enjoy some of Berlin’s best global cuisine. So here’s a little guide to a perfect Prenzlauer Berg day out with a map to help you plan your own. 




We started the day with a reasonable 10am breakfast at Generator Prenzlauer Berg. It runs until 11am so we got to sleep in and still had a good window to leisurely fill our trays with a very German breakfast of coffee, orange juice, cereal, toast, cheese and cured meats. We loaded up with food and chilled in the communal area for a while before starting our day out in Prenzlauer Berg.


Since it’s a 10-minute walk from the hostel, we started with a walk through Volkspark Friedrichshain, a really beautiful park bordering the Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain districts of Berlin. We came across these amazing artificial mountains made from the rubble of buildings destroyed in World War II. Apparently you can often catch an oddball with a metal detector trying to dig up a piece of history. The park also holds a load of really impressive monuments and statues. We stumbled upon a beautifully designed monument to Polish and German anti-fascists. Berlin is shot through with history; it’s everywhere you turn. 

We were lucky enough to score some bikes from some friends, which is definitely the best way to see the park and the city. Berlin is a very cycle-friendly place so we felt confident on the roads heading to our next spot. If you don't know anyone from whom you can borrow a bike, then Deutsche Bahn Call-A-Bike is a good service. You'll need a credit card and can download the app to make things easier. There's a €5 deposit and it costs no more than €9 a day. 

Destination number two is Mauerpark, home to Berlin’s largest flea market. It’s important to note that the market only opens on Sundays, but if you time it right it’s an absolute must-see. Mauerpark directly translates as “Wall Park”, referring to its status as a former part of the Berlin Wall. There are even a few dealers selling fragments of the “wall” for a quick buck – don’t do it, it’s a tourist trap! This market is a great place to try your hand at some heckling, and to get some tasty crisps on a stick for €2.50 if you need a snack.

But the most unique, hilarious feature of the park is karaoke in the bear pit. Whereas most places situate karaoke in dark bars so you can get drunk and no-one sees you embarrass yourself, for some reason Berliners like to do it completely sober in the bright autumn light with hundreds of people watching.

None of the gang were brave enough to take the stage but we enjoyed listening to the discordant sound of someone, who was clearly a regular, singing the German version of Sinatra’s ‘My Way’. Definitely saw some people in the audience wipe tears from their eyes.

After a few hours of shopping and walking we started getting hungry. Heading back east we met with our local friend Alina, who suggested eating at Umami – an Asian fusion restaurant with a really cosy interior and an affordable and innovative menu (basically a really good place if you’re on a budget but want to feel classy). 

Offering vegan and meat dishes, there was something for everyone – I had an amazing pho for €7.40 – and we took a low-table seated on cushions on the ground. Brandon’s leg fell asleep in five minutes and Baptiste decided to make himself at home by sprawling out over three cushions.

To get the blood flowing again we headed out onto Prenzlauer Berg’s autumnal streets and towards the next stop, the Zeiss Großplanetarium. The building is really imposing from the outside, a huge dome makes it one of Berlin’s architectural highlights. Sadly, when we arrived we discovered that the Planetarium is closed for ‘Kids’ Day’. They don’t seem to be sympathetic to our claims of being ‘big kids’ so we left a little disappointed but on the way out stumbled across a really weird looking children’s playground which we entertained ourselves with briefly.

Aliina suggested going to the Kulturbrauerei next, an ex-brewery that’s been re-established as a cultural centre. It’s home to everything from a cinema to dance studios. There’s also a small, free DDR exhibition in there which is really beautifully displayed and features lots of kitsch DDR paraphernalia as well as some fascinating stories about the history of Berlin.

Losing energy after the exhibition we took a pit-stop to the Photoautomat in the Kulturbrauerei to get some holiday snaps. Then we headed to the movies!

Lichtblick Kino is Prenzlauer Berg’s oldest cinema. It’s a really charming spot but we got in trouble for taking snaps inside! Worth visiting for the red seats and silent-era vibe, it really feels like it belongs to a different time. The programme is also excellently curated. Predictably, after the movie we were hungry again but low on cash, so we cycled over to Zia Maria, which has obscenely huge and really well-priced slices of pizza in all varieties. Delicious.

Almost ready for bed we took a detour on the way home to Wohnzimmer, the icing on the cake. I ordered a Velvet Underground, since I couldn’t resist the name, and we reclined in the chintz arm chairs and let ourselves feel like a million dollars. 

 

Good thing about this bar is that you really can feel that way without spending much money at all. Red-light floods the whole bar and each piece of furniture is meticulously placed. It’s definitely one of Berlin’s most beautiful bars, and the perfect way to end the day. The bar is smoke friendly, plays great music and is open till 4am. One turn drinks into two, which turns into three…

The Day’s Costs (For One)
Breakfast -- Included
Market crisps -- €2.50 
Umami Lunch -- €11 (Pho + Drink)
Planetarium -- €8.00 (Adult Entry)
Kulturbrauerei -- Free
Photobooth -- €2.00 
Lichtblick Cinema -- €6.50
Zia Maria Pizza Slice -- €3.50
Wohnzimmer Velvet Underground Cake + Beers -- €13.00
TOTAL: €46.50

Photography: Isabel O'Toole

Experience Prenzlauer Berg

If you’re a fan of bohemian, creative and diverse neighbourhoods then Prenzlauer Berg is the place for you. Perfect for groups and backpackers, our Prenzlauer Berg hostel is located in East Berlin's most laid-back neighbourhood.