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
Bikini Berlin is a shopping centre but how many shopping centres offer this view? It’s located at the back of the Berlin Zoo and has this excellent viewing gallery of the baboon enclosure.
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!
35 thoughts on “10 reasons why you’ll love Berlin with kids”
I didn’t know there was so much to do in Berlin with toddlers – thank you for sharing this. It’s always hard to find the best things to do with toddlers in a large city, but there seems to be loads to do in Berlin. The playgrounds look great fun, and I need to try some of that ice cream!
Hi Jo, there are lots more suggestions on our site too and toddlers are so hard to please! I hear that! We just found an amazing indoor climbing centre that was an awesome experience and something totally different. A pirate climbing ship and a great cappuccino in one room. Who knew?!
Love this roundup! Berlin is on our list and it’s been recommended so many times. Thanks for the recommendations for when we do finally make it! 😀
Thanks Shelley! I’m working on some more guides soon so keep checking back. The Ice Cream special is almost done….just a few more gelatos to go. Come and visit soon!
Such fantastic ideas of things to do in Berlin! I had no idea there were so many bridges in the city and I love the idea of a shopping mall which looks over a zoo. #MondayEscapes
Thank you Clare, there is cocktail bar in the adjacent building too if that’s more your speed 🙂
This is great to read! I don’t have kids, but I have been based in Berlin for 2 months, so I’ll definitely check out some of these things (maybe not the playgrounds…) 😉 Oscar is the cutest <3
Hi Amelie, yes avoid the parks unless you need to cool off, the sprinklers and pumps are awesome plus it would liven up my day to see a grown up rushing through them! Hope to see you in Berlin soon xoxo
My favorites are definitely eat your way around the world and lunch with a monkey. My grown up husband would enjoy those as well. LOL Great tips and suggestions.
Thank you Melody! That really encouraging to hear. 🙂
What a great idea to sit by the monkeys and have lunch! Exploring by boat also looks like a great way to relax and see Berlin. Markets are always on my to-do list in a new city. Food is always a fantastic insight into the people and culture of a place.
hi Jackie, the monkeys are hilarious! I’m never sure who is looking at who though. ha ha
Those are some really great suggestions. Also make sure that you get started early in the day to avoid long lines at the most popular sights.
I see your family really enjoyed the activities. I have been to Berlin few times but I completely forgot how many waterways there are. Some years ago I even took the boat trip, but it was in winter and totally freezing. In spring or summer must be so much better!
Hi Veronika, I just found a spot that rents Kayaks on the Spree so if your an Instagram user some pics will be up I’m sure on our page. This has to be a whole new view of the city. Can’t wait!
Being an ice cream critic is definitely not something I knew you could be in Berlin! I love cycling around cities especially if the weather is good, especially if there’s street art to appreciate.
I’m just putting the finishing touches to my Ice Cream guide so you have to check it out! Honey Milk is my top pic so far. Happy cycling xx
My favorite would be Markthalle. If you have an adventurous eater, it would be fun to try some new foods together.
Love that place. Oscar had his first Gyozo there and loved it. Turns out I didn’t need to take him to Japan for great Japanese food! The barbecue is to die for!
Haha! become an ice cream critic! I love it! Berlin is such a great city. I’m glad you and your family are enjoying it so much. 🙂
Thanks! I feel like we are just scratching the surface so stay tuned for more news!
This is such a great post!! There is so much to do in Berlin!
For some reason I didn’t know that you were living in Berlin, I live in Munich 😀 and I will be in Berlin at the end of the month with hubby and dog Enzzo 😀
Thank you for linking up with #MondayEscapes
Berlin sounds like such an interesting and dynamic city! Lovely post and photos, thanks for sharing 🙂
Such a fun post! I’m going to Berlin in July and even though I’m not traveling with my kids, I already made a mental note about “Bikini Berlin”. Sounds like a great place. Thanks for sharing! #MondayEscapes
Berlin is one of my favorite cities and we’re hoping to move there next. I’ve not done most of the things you’ve mentioned, so I think i’ll be busy. Your post about the trabant reminds me that one of our good friends bought one and it’s what he used to show us his city when we visited him. He gave it to a mutual friend as a wedding gift.
Thanks for the wonderful ideas! Unfortunately most photos are not opening… hope it’s just me, maybe something to check. Are thinking of going to Berlin in february / March, hope it’s not too cold by then. 🙂
Hi Yvonne, many thanks for your comments and I’m so sorry you couldn’t get the photos to open. I’ve just checked on both Chrome and Safari and they appear to be working fine? February / March will be chilly but not too cold. I hope you have a fantastic time!
Oh I LOVE Berlin! We lived in Bremen, Germany for 14 years and just visited Berlin about 4 months ago! So glad we did! Our kids are a bit older, 11, 14 and 19. And even at that age, they get bored despite us traveling A LOT! So, it was a challenge keeping them interested. We decided to take a hop on hop off bus since our time was limited and it was fantastic! We could spend as much or as little time as we wanted in each destination. But I think the highlight of our trip was Checkpoint Charlie and The Story of Berlin. Great stuff to see! I’ve included a link to my blog with other great places to see in Germany 🙂
Thank you so much Robin! We’re always on the lookout for more suggestions so please do share your blog link. Thanks again!
I think Berlin has some of the craziest & amazing playgrounds! – It’s really incredible, so my daughter and I started exploring for several years now and finally made a website about it. Tell us what you think! We really think more people travelling to Berlin should know about this 😉
What a great resource, thanks for sharing!!
Are all the opcions easy at winter as well? We are planning to visit Berlin at December and I have stress about the kids. Ages 2 and 4!
Dear Ioanna, Anna Su here. Winters in Berlin can be harsh and I would recommend a healthy mix of indoor and outdoor activities with younger children. There is a ton of indoor stuff to do here too. Labyrinth and Machmit museum are great with younger kids as is the Natural History. We also have something called Kindercafe’s in Berlin. Cafe’s for kids. Make yourself a handy google map with pins of them all and you can always pop in after an outdoor activity. I would also recommend buying all in one snow suits and warm boots for your visit. Happy travel Anna Su @mywelltraveledfriend
My favorite is the DDR Museum with the Trabant you can drive virtually through old East-Berlin:-)
it’s brilliant isn’t it?! We visited recently and LOVED it!
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