Spring has officially sprung in the City! We regularly have shiny, 70 degree weather here now, and what a refreshing thing after what seems like 7 solid months of grey and rain. This sort of weather has had me on my bike literally everyday seeking more sunshine and adventure all over Berlin.
Berlin clocks in at about 15% green space which is pretty respectable for an urban metropolis (compared to ~7% in L.A. or ~10% in Paris) Source. Parks and green spaces started to mount on my bucketlist as the weather took a turn for the better.
A healthy hour-long bike ride from Lübars (15-20 km) gets me just about anywhere I want to go. Most main drags have pretty well-kept, safe bike paths clearly marked on the streets, up on the sidewalk, or between the parking strip and the side walk. Amazing! But where do I ride? I'm glad you asked - I'll share some of my favorite green spaces with you now!
Nelly-Sachs Park (Schöneberg)
This little gem of a park is tucked right next to the U-Bahn station in Schöneberg. It might seem like a really strange place to find a quality park, but it is one of my favorite accidental finds! This park packs a punch for its size - it offers sweet, winding paths for wandering, a PLETHORA of benches to resting and gabbing, an abundance of grass for picnicking, a playground for littles, and even a little pond with a seating area in the middle!
This park is always bustling with people. It is a bicyclists thoroughfare, an outdoor sports complex (Skate area, kinesthetics bars, basketball court, Table Tennis, etc.), and lots green space for picnicking, playing frisbee, and other shenanigans.
It also has a brewery on the Rand or on its edge called BRLO. A super Portland-style brewery, albeit a bit spendy if you ask me. I'd recommend grabbing some Brews or Radlers (beer mixed with sparkling lemonade - a refreshing, German summertime favorite!) on your way to the park.
A train periodically makes runs through the park which is always a spectacle as the train driver honks and waves at passers-by. Adults seem to be just as into it as the kiddos. Speaking of acting like a kid again - there are adult-sized swing sets at Park Gleisdreieck - and just like riding a bike, swinging comes riiiiight back to you and actually is tons of fun. Why don't more adults swing?
Bonus: If you can't take a good selfie, BRLO has a Fotokabine, or photo booth out front. 3€ will get you a memento with friends!
Volkspark Wilmersdorf (Wilmersdorf)
I admittedly found this public park using google one day looking for a spot that was central for friends to meet who were coming from every corner of the city. I honestly would not have guessed that this beautiful park was hiding in Wilmersdorf of all places - but it has been added to my list of favorites! This park merges with Rudolf-Wilde Park on the cusp of Schöneberg and offers a wide variety of park amenities including a fountain, a city toilet (rare!), several restaurants on the periphery, a pond, and basketball court. Also, there is a conveniently located U-Bahn station (Rathaus Schöneberg) right next to the park for easy transportation.
Volkspark Humbolthain (Gesundbrunnen)
Humbolthain is just across from the (very ugly) shopping and transportation center, Gesundbrunnen. Just across the street over a bridge is the lush, green foil to the concrete mammoth that is Gesundbrunnen. The history of this park is rather interesting because it houses one of the anti-aircraft bunker towers from WWII (tour to come from Unterwelten Berlin!).*
*But as with many controversial and historical things in Berlin, the city has done well to preserve the history and not just shove it under the rug. It serves as an educational tool and is a good reminder not to repeat the past.
Complete with many rolling lawns on which to picnic, this park also has a lovely rose garden and water garden. Come June, the Sommerbad, or summer pool, opens as well!
Böckler Park (Kreuzberg)
Kitty-corner from U-Bahn Prizenstraße is Böcklerpark. This park flanks both sides of the Landwehrkanal, a man-made canal that runs through Germany connecting the Spree River to the industrial Westhafen harbors.
This park has paved walkways along the canal, swan-sighting opportunities, an outdoor gym and sports places for working out and playing pick-up games, boat rentals, and a summer pool.
Volkspark Rehberge (Wedding) + Plötzensee
In order to ride my bike just about anywhere, I head through Wedding. No, not like the life event, but like the borough (pronounced vehd-ing). Complete with greenery, an out-door movie theater, cafe, ponds, and wildlife park it has just about everything!
AND right next door to this park is Plötzensee, in which you can swim and where you are also allowed to grill. Just know that if you plan a day here, then the bushes will be your friend *wink, wink*
This mini park is such a sweet sight for sore eyes while navigating the concrete jungle. It is perched on a busy corner in Kreuzberg and boasts the pinkest cherry blossom trees I've seen yet. A nice place to stop on your bike for a water break and a little shade with your bike.
Heinrich-Von-Kleist Park (Schöneberg)
This park is an ode to German poet and journalist, Heinrich von Kleist. It features a colonnade built in the late 1700s (which has since been restored multiple times), which offers a nice focal point to this klein aber fein (small, but nice) Park.
The Tiergarten spreads out behind the Brandenburger Tor in the middle of Berlin Mitte. Clocking in as the largest urban garden or park in Berlin, there are over 500 acres of area to explore. Regardless of this is my end goal for a bicycle adventure, I end up riding my bike through the Tiergarten in some fashion on my way to other portions of the city.
Monbijou Park (Mitte)
This modest park hugs the Spree River just across from the Bode Museum on Museum Island. The S-Bahn runs behind the park, under which are tucked several restaurants and bars that serve the park-goers.
Rent sling chairs or bring a blanket - you'll probably end up staying the whole afternoon, and even night! Stellar people-watching (on the boardwalk or on the boats that float by) here!
Come the warm, summer months the StrandBar sets up with its mini bar and dance floor. There are opportunities on every night of the week - whether you are partial to latin dancing or swing dancing. If your rhythm isn't that for dancing, you can still snag a table and do some people watching over a beer or glass of wine along the Spree regardless. It doesn't get much more romantic than a night along the river with the twinkling lights reflecting off the water.
Kollwitzplatz (Prenzlauer Berg)
This little park pays homage to Käthe Kollwitz, a beloved German Expressionist artist from the 20th century. It is great place to hang out after you've wandered your way through the weekly Wochenmarkt Kollwitzplatz organic market on Thursdays or if you need a quick little reprieve from shopping the cute little boutiques in the area.
Helmholtzplaz (Prenzlauer Berg)
Helmholtzplatz might be one of the smallest STATE parks I've been to at just two blocks in length and one block in width.
This park is superb though because a myriad of bars, restaurants, and shops ringing the periphery and within a couple block radius. In fact, one of my favorite still-undiscovered bars, Misirlou, is right here!
Am Nordhafen (Wedding)
I stumbled upon this park while riding my bike through Wedding in search of a place to stop for a water break. Looking down from the Fennbrücke, one spots the strip of green in the largely industrial scene of the Nordhafen (northern harbor) along the Spree. Find an open bench, or sit right on the edge of the river overlooking the action on the harbor.
Fritz-Schloß Park (Moabit)
If you are looking for a one-stop-shop park for ALL outdoor activities, this is the one for you! Fritz-Schloß Park is known as a Sportpark and includes a stadium, street workout park for kinesthetics, rowing hall, family-friendly park, skate park, climbing wall, tennis court, mini golf, dog park, wellness spa, a state swimming pool, toboggan run, AND an Imbiss for snacks. Phew!
Park Sanssouci (Potsdam)
Potsdam is about an hour's car drive or hour and a half Bahn ride outside of Berlin, but it is definitely worth a day trip! If you are there, check out the Park at Schloss Sanssouci. Even if you aren't interested in purchasing a ticket or going into the palace, you can explore the large gardens which is quite lovely in Spring and Summer. There is even a "free" golf cart shuttle service you can use to get from one side of the park to another, just make sure you give your volunteer driver a few cents as a thank you!
More to come!
As Spring is just getting started, I'm sure I'll be wanting to add new parks and swim spots to the list weekly. Stay tuned for more!