The bust of Nefertiti, the Pergamon Altar, Schlieman’s (stolen) Troy collection. Yes, Museuminsel is an obvious choice, but with good reason! The island is itself heritage listed, and all of the museums on it participate in Museum Sunday. This means you can check out the Pergamon Museum, the Bode Museum, the Neues Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, and the Altes Museum all in one go.
- Museuminsel, Am Lustgarten, opening times vary between museums, see here for details
The kid-friendly version of the Jewish museum across the road, ANOHA’s centrepiece is the wooden ark, with 150 animal sculptures that children can touch and even feed. It’s insanely popular, so good luck getting a ticket – we spoke with museum director a while back.
- Anoha, Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohnplatz 1, website
Home to some of the most important modern art in Berlin, the Berlinerische Galerie regularly hosts some of the hottest temporary exhibitions in Europe. Originally founded in 1975, the gallery has moved several times, and does an excellent job of telling the story of art since 1840. The works cover photography, painting, installation, architecture, and digital artworks.
- Berlinische Galerie, Alte Jakobstraße 124-128, website
Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum for Film and Television
You can experience over 100 years of German film and TV at the Deutsche Kinemathek. Founded in 1963, you can see everything from the first grainy, jumpy footage ever made, through the silent era, into the ‘talkies’ and all the way to contemporary art house cinema. Don’t miss the draft versions of 1927’s Metropolis.
- Museum für Film & Fernsehen Berlin, Potsdamer Straße 2, website
An authentic look into the lived experience of gay lesbian and transgender scene, the Schwules Museum is definitely one of the world’s greatest institutions for the research, preservations and communication of the history and culture of queer communities. This museum will take you on a journey through the history of the LGBTQI+ community in Berlin. Don’t miss the archive of the 1990s university/lifestyle magazines.
- Schwules Museum, Lützowstraße 73, website
Originally opened in 1830, the ‘Painting Gallery’ hosts many masterpieces of European arts, from Botticelli to Rembrandt and even Dürer. Although it lost a lot of its collection during WWII and the division of Berlin, anyone wanting an overview of important works from the Middle Ages and the early modernist period should definitely check it out.
- Gemäldegalerie, Matthäikirchplatz 4-6, website
German Historical Museum
The architecture alone makes a visit worthwhile, as both the baroque Zeughaus and the modern Pei-Bau exhibition hall are stunning. Whilst the Zeughaus is currently undergoing renovations and won’t reopen until 2025, there is still a lot to see here. Currently only the Pei-Bau is open, where they are showing an ever changing roster of temporary exhibitions.
- Deutsches Historisches Museum, Unter den Linden 2, website
German Museum of Technology Berlin
The Technikmuseum is one of the biggest technological museums in Europe, with an area of 26,500 square metres. Visitors can expect exciting and interactive exhibitions here from ships, planes and trains, as well as communication technology. They even have a saloon that belonged to Kaiser Willhelm II. We don’t think they let you take it for a spin though.
- Deutsches Technikmuseum, Trebbiner Straße 9, website
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art
It’s a confusing name, but Hamburger Bahnhof is a must see for contemporary art in Berlin, if not the world. The former train station regularly hosts temporary exhibitions and also houses works by artists such as Andy Warhol or Joseph Beuys. Everything from the 1960s to the present day can be found here; Expressioninsm, Pop Art, Minimalism, Hamburger Bahnhof goes deep into the history of all of these styles. It’s not just paintings though there is also sculpture, video, installation and photography to be enjoyed and understood.
- Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstraße 50-51, website
Natural History Museum Berlin
The best way to get kids into science is dinosaurs and planets. Whilst they couldn’t cram anything extraterrestrial into the Naturkunde Museum, you can see Tristan, the fully reconstructed T-Rex skeleton (standing at an impressive 4 metres high and 12 metres long) at the now permanent ‘Dinosaurs! Age of the giant lizards’ exhibition. Also worth seeing are the Evolution in Action, Birds and Native animals and the ‘Wet collection’ exhibitions.
- Museum für Naturkunde, Invalidenstraße 43, website
The great artists of the 20th century are the centrepiece of the Neue Nationalgalerie. After six years of construction, the gallery finally reopened in 2021. The new permanent exhibition, The Art of Society, showcases 250 paintings from the first half of the 20th century from the likes of Otto Dix, Hannah Höch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Paula Modersohn-Becker. These are only a fraction of their collection of around 1,800 works though. The temporary exhibitions are always worth seeing too.
- Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Straße 50, website
Museum of Musical Instruments
Whether or not you’re musically inclined, it’s worth checking out the 800-strong collection of classical instruments on display at the Museum of Musical Instruments. Handily located next to the Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin’s flagship concert hall and classical mecca, the museum showcases everything from Baroque wind instruments to synthesiser precursors. Whatever you do, don’t miss Benjamin Franklin’s glass harmonica and Europe’s largest ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ theatre organ.
- Museum of Musical Instruments, Ben-Gurion-Straße, Tiergarten, website
None of these tickled your fancy? Check out a full list here. Fair warning, the list is extensive. We recommend using the map view, or searching for the specific museum.