25 Things to do in Berlin when it rains
Berlin is a huge, rich, cultural, lively, festive city. And yet, some mornings, watching the rain fall through the window, we don't know what to do. The city seems empty and abandoned (at least from our window). Winter can be long so it is better not to start complaining about the climate, it is a never-ending battle and lost in advance (lost until the end of April, in truth). So to avoid being depressed by the bad weather, and because, after watching all the available TV shows, it's time to get out, we've made you a list of the most exciting distractions you can do in Berlin when it rains or when the weather is bad.
Go to a Berlin old café or bar and play darts or Kegeln
In these timeless Berlin bars, which seem to have always existed (sometimes they seem older than the city), there are atmospheres from another age. But if you are not tempted by the Berliner Luft or the Berliner Kindl in the early morning, you can simply play the many sports (these are sports that rarely make you sweat) of coffee.
You will have the choice between the classics and very present, darts and table football. If you want to work on your throw, there is the Kegeln, a bowling game I told you about here. You can also challenge a partner of your choice (or chosen at random, if you are alone) to a shuffleboard (especially in Kaschk), a game of throwing wooden pucks on a long table covered with a light layer of sand. And then for the most table tennis players, there are a few bars in Berlin that have a table tennis table and long games are organized: each one hits in turn (it can go up to 40 players) and each missed shot eliminates the player and we turn around the table until there are only two left who compete in a final often high-pitched.
My advice: Many bars have board games available on request.
Go to a game in one of Berlin's stadiums
Well then not really athletic on the couch, since the goal here is to get out of the house. But let's say, a passive spectator (well, according to your enthusiasm) of one of the many leading sports clubs in the city.
If you were a fan of Jeanne and Serge or just like volleyball, you can watch the matches in the beautiful little stadium in Mauer Park.
If you are Lebron James or Jordan (question of generation), Alba Berlin and its seagull are one of the first basketball clubs in the German championship. They perform at the Mercedes Arena, next to the east side gallery. A stadium that they share with Eisbären Berlin's ice hockey players and their evil bear. The show is exciting.
The German capital now has two football clubs in the Bundesliga. Herta Berlin, which plays in the mythical Olympic stadium, which hosted the 1936 Olympic Games or, to a lesser extent, the 2006 World Cup. And now the FC Union Berlin club, which enjoys strong popular support, especially from Kopenick. His emblem? I'll let you guess.
Visit the underground and historical Berlin
When you are in Berlin, you often try to go to the most underground places possible. And in this case, your wishes will be granted because it is possible to dive literally into the city's historic underground passages.
Berliner Unterwelten organizes guided tours through the heart of the city. Their headquarters are located in a former air raid shelter dating from the Second World War. You will also pass through old bunkers or endless tunnels with the breath of history in your neck. Impressive and welcome when you want to walk and discover the city but the storm is raging outside.
Practice indoor sport in a rainy day
If for you, rain or no rain, the important thing is to move and sweat on break days, then there is the Magic Mountain complex where, surprisingly, you can climb. Berlin is, for a historical reason that I totally ignore, very oriented towards climbing (Bouldern in German) and so you will find your happiness.
You also have well-equipped covered rooms for climbers and skaters on the RAW Tempel in Friedrischhain. For the more moderate sportsmen, there are the covered mini-golfs, which are often played in the dark, only lit by ultraviolet neon lights. Beware if you think you're Tiger Woods, the greens are pretty confined and there's a good chance you'll make your unfortunate classmates lose a tooth.
Each district also has its own swimming pool, often in old, rather grandiose buildings. Well, after that, you certainly have to want to immerse yourself in water at 16 degrees when it's 2 degrees outside and a icy wind from the big east is blowing through your bones.
Visit a museum (Berlin has 175 museums)
Sometimes, at the back of some neighbourhoods, there are museums in which we could spend hours. We even have fun there. So of course, there are the city's best known and most famous museums on Museum Island, which are grandiose but rather classic and above all well informed everywhere. Here, what we offer you are rather unknown museums. For example?
The video game museum. Depending on your age, you will have a breath of intense nostalgia because you can play all the historical consoles with the most mythical games. They took the vice of nostalgia a step further by recreating the atmosphere of rooms or lounges for kids in the days of sega or Super Nintendo, with period magazines and all the objects associated with those years. It's like an episode of Stranger Things. Personally, they had to take me out at 7:15 p. m., Mario was holding me back, I couldn't stop until I smashed Bowser and saved the Princess.
Another interesting museum is the spy museum. A lot of information but also riddles, challenges and then, above all, at the end, a room full of lasers that must be carefully avoided to touch and a time to stop in a minimum of time. Suddenly, whether you're 6, 35 or 67, you forget what you look like and you all think you're James Bond or Jason Bourne (a question of generation, and style). They're not nice because there's an infrared video of our exploits waiting for us at the exit.
Berlin is full of museums of all kinds. There is also, for example, the magic museum. The National History Museum Naturkundemuseum, which has the largest dinosaur skeleton in the world and it always has an effect on anyone, even the most skeptical. Or, if you like, the David Hasseloff Museum. I'm dropping it like that, by the way.
Relax (naked) in a thermal bath, turkish bath or sauna
First of all, I am not telling you anything by telling you that Berlin was on the border between the former GDR and the former FRG. But what you need to know is that in communist Germany, people had no problem with nudity. We were exposing ourselves (and we are still exposing ourselves), without any modesty. After that, it's all a question of point of view. Some would say prudishness, others would say exhibitionism. Anyway, Berlin has kept some of its eastern DNA and nudity is mandatory in the places where I take you.
There are two well-known saunas or "wellness areas" in Berlin (in fact there are many more but I am here to help you make choices). First Vabali, grandiose and exotic. And then Liquidrom where there is a swimming pool that plays underwater music. In the pool, you can keep your jersey. But don't even try in the saunas or Turkish baths, it's a waste of time. The same in the small heated outdoor swimming pool, quite exhilarating when it snows.
A little further from Berlin, 40 minutes by train, there are the Tropical Islands, an impressive water park hidden under a huge dome. Here, we feel so far east that we feel like we have crossed three borders in one rail journey. And then, in the middle of these slides, fountains and wave pools where pirate ships are enthroned, like a hidden oasis, in the middle of this agitation, a forest. And in this forest where we get lost, where we meet pink flamingos, real flamingos, I touched them, they scared me, there are 8 different saunas, all in a very different style, each dedicated to a country. Obviously, there is no need to specify how to dress to access this immense space of very exotic well-being.
Go dancing in an electro club or a ballroom
The other Berlin, the underground Berlin, the Berlin which trembles, which moves, which vibrates, the hallucinated and hallucinating Berlin, the prominent heart of the city. Some, but not many, sometimes forget it, but in Berlin it is quite possible to get up at 8am on Sundays and decide to spend the day dancing in the middle of the day.
Many clubs open from Friday evening to Monday morning without interruption. The list of places to pinpoint is endless. I wouldn't talk about big clubs, but mythical clubs, in the mythical city of techno. So, quickly, for the novices, the Kater Blau, the Berghain, the Sysyphos, the Tresor, the Watergate and there are dozens of others.
If you are more of a ballet dancer, classes, especially tango or salsa, are organized all over the city, in all neighbourhoods. In the centre, you can dance on the rolling accent of an Argentinean teacher in the prestigious and outdated setting of the Clärchens Ballhaus.
Go to an event, an exhibition or a festival
Berlin is a city of events. There are a lot of them, everywhere, all the time, organized by anyone, for better or for worse. Berlin can surprise you at any time with the unexpected and the spontaneous.
Try to find out about specific events. There are them in all sizes. There are the important ones, such as the Film Festival, the Berlinale, in February or the Festival of Lights, there are the medium-sized ones such as the photography week or the very small events, all these micro-events that create links and allow meetings, all these events organised by a collective, a bar, a church, a school, whether it is a workshop, a workshop, a training course, a conference, a concert, a meal, a meeting, an evening, a night, a match, challenges without interest. In short, everything that makes a city. Everything that makes Berlin. For more information, there's no better way than the Berlin Poche Facebook page! It's worth it. Well, often. Original experience guaranteed.
Go to see a film in an independent cinema
Berlin is also a city like any other, with theatres, cinemas, including independent and original cinemas such as Delphi Lux or Odeon, operas, billiard halls, badminton courts, cafés, restaurants, all those places that are always the first refuges you think of when you think of rain or bad weather.
Go to a shopping centre and have a drink
This is probably not the city's strong point, but Berlin is a great capital that still has a few malls that will delight fans. The most original is without hesitation Bikini Berlin, from where you can see through large windows the monkeys of the zoo next door. If you go up to the top floor of the Bikini, you can even have a warm drink at the Monkey Bar and admire the exceptional panoramic view of the zoo and the city of Berlin. You also have the Mall of Berlin or Alexa. And the latest East side mall (they have a sense of humour these investors, don't they?) Don't forget to ask if it's a Sunday because Sunday, in Berlin, and in Germany in general, is a day off and almost all shops are closed.
Go for a walk when it's raining, why not?
And if you decide that rain is not a problem and that you can walk for hours because deep down you are not made of sugar and you are not going to melt, no matter how much water falls on your head, you will discover the city in the best way, on foot, from parks to avenues, tunnels, streets, boulevards, to stop at the call of a warm light. This is undoubtedly the best way to discover Berlin. So take your oilskin, your boots and the best way to walk in the rain or snow is to walk along the Landwehrkanal, on Maybachufer, in Kreuzberg. And send me the pictures, you will be celebrated as you should be.
I write novels, short stories, travel the world, take pictures, get drunk and scatter. I studied journalism and worked as a freelancer in Brussels before moving to Lisbon and now to Berlin.