Staying in Berlin over Break? Here are some places to check out

You’ve made it through Exam Week! Yay!

Now it’s time to rest and enjoy 10 days in Berlin with no (or very few) responsibilities. Although the weather is getting a little colder and the days are getting a little shorter, there’s still countless things to do in the city.

Cozying up in a Bookstore

As winter approaches, one of my favorite ways to escape the cold is to enter a cozy bookshop. Whether you want to buy a new book, just look around, or curl up in a corner and read, Berlin has no shortage of great bookstores (with lots of English books too!).

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One of my favorites is Dussman, located right in Berlin Mitte on Freidrichstraße. This store is truly enormous, and refers to itself not just as a bookstore, but as a “Kulturkaufhaus.“ In addition to books, you can find vinyls, music merch, Berlin souvenirs, fancy office supplies, free bathrooms, and much more. Unlike many German stores, this shop is open until midnight (Saturdays until 23:30), to allow for all the book-shopping your heart desires.

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Other bookstores that are definitely worth a trip are St. Georges (an incredible second hand English bookstore in Prenzlauer Berg), Shakespeare and Sons (an independent English bookstore with a bagel café inside), and She said (a bookstore/Café dedicated to queer and women authors)

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Free Galleries and Exhibitions

There’s nothing I love more than a free activity! Thankfully, Berlin offers many (especially if you’re a student). With your Student ID and your museum card you have ample chances to explore all the culture that Berlin has to offer, without spending any money.

If I had a free week in Berlin, here are some exhibits that I’d visit

In Ethylene Arms – König Galerie

This is Zsófia Keresztes’ first solo exhibition. Her work consists of large colorful mosaic sculptures that immediately catch the viewers eyes. The exhibit has many themes, but among them is the sweet gas that is released from rotting fruit – ethylene—that causes surrounding fruit to rot as well.

Secessions: Klimt, Stuck, Lieberman – Alte Nationalgalerie

This exhibit was originally meant to end in October, but due to popular demand was extended until November 5th, 2023. This exhibit is dedicated to Gustav Klimt (from Vienna), Franz von Stuck (from Munich) and Max Liebermann (from Berlin). These artists took part in the Secession movements during the end of 19th century, which revolutionized the strict structures of the art world through its emphasis on artistic individuality.

After you’ve enjoyed a free day at an exhibit, use your saved money to treat yourself to a yummy drink somewhere 😊

Enjoying the Outdoors (even in Winter)

Grab something to eat and drink at the Holzmarkt!

Holzmarkt 25 is a small area located along the Spree that has a club, an event venue, restaurants, bars, small shops, and more. This is the perfect place to grab a drink with friends and enjoy the view of the Spree. The Holzmarkt project began in 2012 with just a few tents, but in past few years it has transformed into a popular Berlin destination.

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Hang out at Thaipark

If you’ve eaten one too many Döner Kebabs and are craving something new, then Thaipark is the perfect place to visit. Thaipark, like its name suggests, is a park with an open air Thai food market. The Thai food market is open Fridays-Sundays 10 am to 8 pm from April to October (so this may be your last chance!). With 60 Food stalls to choose from, there is no getting bored of the food here. You should come here with a large appetite, and also some cash, as many stalls do not take card.

Spicy Pad Thai from the Thai Park

Go to a Flea Market!

Berlin’s flea markets are world renowned, and I’m sure many of you have visited a few already, but there are always new flea market finds to be made. Personally, I will be spending my next free days scouring the flea markets for the perfect fall appropriate leather jacket. It can be hard to pick which flea market you want to visit, but I’ve written down a few that I think are worth checking out.

The Nowkoelln Fleamarket is located on the border between Neukölln and Kreuzberg, and sells everything from trendy clothes to snacks and drinks. This fleamarket is only open ever second Sunday, so be sure to check the date before you go!

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The Flea Market in Boxhagener Platz is also impressive, especially if you’re looking for unique antiques. This Fleamarket takes place every Sunday, and is surrounded by small cafes and restaurant you can visit once you’re done shopping.

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Other fleamarkets worth a visit include the Trödelmarkt Marheinekeplatz in Kreuzberg,  the antique and book market at the Bode Musuem, and the Flea Market at Rathaus Schöneberg

Regardless of wether you stay in Berlin or travel somewhere new, I know you will have an amazing week, full of new sights and experiences. Don’t forget to take sometime to relax and wind down – you deserve it!