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16 Things Only A Local From Berlin Would Do

Berlin-Kreuzberg © Sascha Kohlmann/Flickr
Berlin-Kreuzberg © Sascha Kohlmann/Flickr
Photo of Inês Cortez
9 February 2017

Berlin is a city like no other. The German capital offers the best of the best for both inhabitants and tourists, providing a good quality of life in a dynamic and multicultural environment. Berliners are a rare breed. They are hard to sum up, but adjectives like progressive, open-minded, boundary-pushing, night-owls seem to work quite well. It’s hard to definitely say what distinguishes Berliners from other metropolitan inhabitants, but there’s ostensibly some things only a Berliner would do.

BBQ In A Park

Berliners are social beings and every excuse to meet new people or their friends is a good one. Hence, when the weather is suitable for barbecuing, Berliners call their friends, decide who is buying what, and then gather around in parks, such as Mauerpark or the famous closed airport, Tempelhof, which is now one of the best green spots in the city. After eating and talking a lot, some of them even take a nap to enjoy the sun while it lasts.

Kite Festival, Tempelhofer Feld | © Axel Kuhlmann / Flickr

Enjoy A Weekend In Mauerpark

Speaking of Mauerpark, this is one of the liveliest zones in the city. More than just a place for barbecues, park-goers can find a flea market here on the weekend, play basketball or football, and watch standup comedy shows and musicians. This is also a popular destination at night during the summer.

Rockin Out, Bearpit Style | © Tim Lucas / Flickr

Run To The sun

When Ben Harper sings, ‘She’s only happy in the sun,’ he is probably thinking of a Berliner girl. As the sky is mostly grey or dark throughout the year, everybody in this city likes to enjoy every sunbeam they can get, so don’t be surprised if you see the whole city outdoors if you visit Berlin on a sunny day.

Use The Fernsehturm As A Guide

The famous Television Tower of Berlin is located right in the city center, in Alexanderplatz, and it is the tallest building in Berlin, so you see it from anywhere in the city. Whenever Berliners or visitors are lost or feel a bit disoriented, they look for the tower as a reference point. Sometimes they even follow it, as Alexanderplatz is a good connection point of transportation with its plethora of trams, U-Bahns, and buses. So, when lost, follow that giant marker in the sky.

© Pixabay | © Pixabay

Party Like Nowhere Else

People visit Berlin for its unique nightlife, and locals usually don’t occupy their time on the weekends with ‘Netflix and chill.’ Famous especially for its techno and electro clubs, there are establishments and entertainment options for every taste and sexual orientation, and Berliners take partying very seriously, starting sometimes in the morning and only coming back home the next day. Don’t come out if you can’t hang with the big kids.

Watergate | © Alex Griffioen / Flick r

Hunt For An ATM

Berlin is super unfriendly for card holders, most establishments do not accept credit cards as a form of payment, which is why most Berliners have cash in their wallet. Yet, to make it worse, the ATMs are few and far between, and if it’s not the designated bank of the cardholder, there will be a nefarious fee. Paper beats plastic in this city.

Take A Photo At A Photoautomat

The vintage photo booths of Berlin take black and white photos and make a perfect souvenir of the city. Take the challenge and fit inside with your friends, make funny faces and have fun with the photos.

Photoautomat, Berlin | © martin / Flickr

Have A Typical Berlin Drink

Berliners usually don’t drink coke, they drink Fritz-Kola. When it comes to energy drinks, their favorite is Club-Mate, and if it’s cocktail-o-clock, order a Moscow Mule. When on a night out or having a meal, or simply thirsty, try out one of these typical Berliner drinks. Ah, and don’t forget the delicious beers from local breweries.

Eat A Kebab

Although currywurst is a famous Berlin dish, what the locals really love is a good kebab. You can find kebab spots easily, the most famous one being Mustafa’s Gemüse (vegetable) Kebab, you’ll have to wait in line, but it will be totally worth it.

Döner Kebab | © Alex Kehr / Flickr

Have A Big Old-School Winter Jacket

Berliners understand what cold temperatures are, but they never go out of style because of it. Most of the locals have adopted an alternative fashion style and love vintage pieces of clothing, including the winter jackets. In second hand stores and in flea markets you can find several options, including lumberjack coats, completely warm and one of a kind.

Bike Everywhere

Berlin is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, and many locals use it as their main means of transport. It is flat and the traffic is not so dense, so it is super easy to get around with your bicycle.

© 8bar bikes | Flickr

Plan Sundays Ahead

Most useful establishments are closed on Sundays, such as supermarkets, cafés, and stores, and therefore Berliners and visitors have to plan what they are going to eat and where they want to go beforehand. If you are hosted in an Airbnb or in a hostel and you would like to cook, better buy something before Sunday. On the other hand, if you prefer to eat outside, there are still many restaurants open.

Wear A Blanket

Berliners do not stop doing their lives because it’s cold outside, so establishments all over Berlin, such as cafés, restaurants, or bars, provide blankets for those who choose to sit outside. Now there is no excuse not to be outside.

Drink Glühwein In A Christmas Market

Christmas time in Berlin is magical. So many lights, decorations, and traditional Christmas markets. Berliners love to visit them with their friends and have a cup of Glühwein, the famous hot mulled wine. It is delicious, and it will keep you warm.

Christmas 2011 | © Jana Reifegerste / Flickr

See Something That Would Make A Lesser Urbanite Weep

Yes, Berliners have seen a little bit of everything. The real challenge is to name what a Berliner has not seen. The truth is, Berlin is a city of freedom and this is one of the reasons why this is such an attractive city. It welcomes everyone irrespective of their race, sexual orientation, or even hair color, and therefore there are a lot of things going on, even during daylight. Hence, it is very hard to shock a Berliner. It’s difficult to prepare a non-Berliner for what they will have to visually endure. The best bit of advice to give is to just say ‘expect the unexpected.’

Very important: Wait For The Green Light To Cross!

If you don’t, you’ll clearly be the one who’s not from Berlin.

Berlin Green | © Håkan Dahlström / Flickr

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