If you’re like me, you might not realise that Berlin has a permanent place in the world of big cities. Berlin has more than 3.5 million inhabitants and is divided into 18 districts. It’s basically enormous and that can feel daunting – especially if you’re planning to sightsee in Berlin with kids.
Updated for 2020
Guest post by Anna & Oscar. You can follow their adventures on My Well Traveled Friend. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and commercial links. For more information see our disclosure policy.
After living here for several years, Oscar and I certainly haven’t discovered it all but we have enjoyed trying.
Berlin is a great city to discover for families with lots of activities for kids. And, despite its size, it’s an easy city to walk around. There are children’s café’s, museums, parks and even a shopping centre with a monkey gallery.
Here are our top activities, sights and ice cream to enjoy with kids in Berlin that we’ve discovered so far! If you’re visiting Berlin for a weekend of longer then take a look at this 3 day itinerary. If you’re looking for ways to save money during your European city break, then this post shares 5 ways families can save money in Berlin.
Things to do in Berlin with kids
Cycle the Streets
This is by far my Number 1 thing to do in Berlin. The city is perfect for biking with the whole family. Cycle lanes are everywhere and they are, believe it or not, filled with families. From babies in little tiny carriages to toddlers on balance bikes, cycling is BIG in Berlin.
There are plenty of bicycle rentals around and prices vary so do shop around. Most rentals have child seats like ours, but attachment buggies are also available. The other great thing about cycling around Berlin is that you really get to explore like a local by taking the roads least traveled or, like me, getting lost a few times… and finding Berlin’s best cheese cake at Five Elephants!
Cross a double-decker bridge
The Oberbaumbrücke is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, one of over a thousand bridges in the city. That’s more than Venice in Italy. You can cross it by foot or you can ride the public transport U-bahn train over it too. The bridge served as a border checkpoint during the East West German divide but now connects the Freidrichshain and Kreuzberg neighbourhoods.
Have lunch with a monkey
If you don’t have time for a full day at the zoo this is a great place to grab lunch and enjoy the primate entertainment. There’s a food court on the second floor with lots of great options. The centre itself is also home to some fantastic home grown design talent so if you like to shop local like me this is a great spot.
Discover one of Berlin’s excellent playgrounds
We have visited four continents so far and during that time we must have been to well over 100 parks. So I’m coming from a very informed place when I tell you that Germans do a good children’s park!
Climb a pirate ship or take off in a rocket; parks in Berlin are imaginative, clean and best of all, free. Every neighbourhood has a park with something special inside it. Bring a change of clothes too, the water pumps can get a bit messy!
See Berlin by Boat
It’s hard to believe that this city has more bridges then Venice but it does. Berlin has a total of 180 kilometres of waterways to discover and the views are so unique. From grand old homes to cool hipster bars, seeing Berlin from this unique perspective is very fun. Most tours run March to November but there are exceptions.
Drive a Trabant at the Berlin Technik Museum
The Trabant carries a lot of symbolism in Berlin. This old car was produced by the former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau and was the most common vehicle in East Germany; affordable and big enough for an entire family of four. The fact that you had to wait 10 years to get one made it all the more desirable!
The Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Technical Museum) is an incredible sprawling venue divided into numerous sections covering transport, technology, science and more. We loved all the hands on fun; you can climb inside a boat, rig sails and experiment with wave and noise machines. Rain or shine this is an incredible place, the gardens even have a windmill. There is something for all ages here and yes, you can drive a Trabant too.
Pet a goat at Kinderbauernhof
Berlin is home to a number of Kinderbauernhof better known as children’s’ farms. You can view a list of them here. Our favourite (so far) is in Goerlitzer park and includes chickens, donkeys, sheep, goats and rabbits as well as slides, swings and most importantly a great café. Be careful with your snacks though, Oscar was eating an apple here one day when a very hungry sheep leant over the fence and stole it right out of his hand!
Eat your way around the world at Markthalle Neun
Street Food Thursday runs from 5pm to 10pm weekly and gathers some of Berlin’s most exciting eateries as well as some unique independent food vendors. From Southern barbecue to mama’s own Chinese dumplings, there is something for everyone at Markthalle Neun, including an on site micro brewery.
The 120-year-old venue was one of Berlin’s 14 covered markets. Restored and run by local residents, this is a community project engages and employs many of Kreuzberg’s residents as well as offering fresh produce. It’s a great chance to both shop and eat local. The market is open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Discover Berlin’s best art
There are so many ways to seek out the best in Berlin’s street art with kids – download a Map or book a local expert. A trip to the East Side Gallery is a must. It’s actually a part of the former Berlin Wall and measures over one kilometre in length. It’s thought to be one of the biggest open air museums in the world. For teens, Alternative Berlin runs a street art tour.
Become an ice cream critic
It’s hard to believe that a city in Northern Europe not exactly famous for its hot weather is home to so many incredible ice cream parlours. Ice cream sandwiches from Zwei Dicke Baren (Two Fat Bears) that you can find at Markthalle Neun to Paletas to liquid nitrogen ice cream
The competition is real and starting your own top 10 guide to the best ice cream parlous in Berlin is a good way to spend your time in this city! I could dedicate a whole other guide to this topic. Thus far The Eismacher is still my favourite place for ice cream.
For more ideas on things to do in Berlin with kids, take a look at Anna’s post on why you should visit Berlin with Kids!