You’ve been called a hipster and a yuki, but you can’t help it if you’re so ahead of the curve that you’re off the road entirely. You love Berlin’s dirt-cheap places not because they save you money (though that’s nice too) but because they’re the most interesting.
Naturally your favourite museum is the one nobody’s heard of. Literally: Schöneberg’s MUSEUM DER UNTERHÖRTEN DINGE (Museum of Unheard-of Things) is a freebie treasure trove of random objects with dubious origins. Is that really the tiny hide of a “bonsai deer”? Read the accompanying leaflet and decide for yourself.
Your fashion sense similarly skews toward the unconventional, so skip Mauerpark and get clothed at the NOWKOELLN FLOWMARKT, a twice-a-month Sunday bazaar by the Landwehrkanal that features bargains on used threads, crafts, records, and miscellaneous knick-knacks. It moves to the greener Kräuter-friendly quarters of Prinzessinnengarten on other Sundays during the summer. If you’re looking for first-hand Berlin-designed looks, 24 COLOURS in Mitte sells sharp streetwear at H&M prices.
Maybe you don’t have time for museums or shopping because things are finally picking up at that nebulous media job. Open your laptop and order a coffee (€1.50) at affordable Neukölln co-working space AGORA COLLECTIVE. The Anthropologie-chic café also dishes up restaurant-quality organic meals, like fusilli with amaranth pesto and pomegranate-walnut salad for a bargain €5.50.
To nourish both mind and body, hit up nearby vegetarian café/record store KUSSKUSS, which has a great €5 soup/soy ‘burger’ combo and holds free “bloody beginner” German classes on Mondays. Considering trading vegetarianism for sustainable pescetarianism? Turkish stand FISCH-GRILL-HAUS serves a top-notch mackerel kebab (fresh-grilled im Brot with veggies and a splash of lemon juice) for €3.50.
In the mood for something spicier? Two tortilla-swaddled options beckon: SANTA MARIA‘S famed “Taco Tuesdays” (€1 tacos and tequila shots all evening) or the VATOS TACOS truck, stationed Tuesday through Friday in Ritter Butzke’s parking lot. Heat-packed “chicano stewed” beef tacos cost €2, or €0 if you bring in a cassette for the owners to play at weekly “Tapes and Tacos” nights (check their Facebook page for details).
If mixtapes aren’t quirky enough for you, DIE TEILNAHMEREI, a cosy glorified living room in Kreuzberg, offers workshops in recycled design, welding, and banjo – all by donation. Weekend shows, Negroni-fuelled parties and Sunday movie screenings (everything from Bronson to old Soviet animation) round out the programme; details at teilnahmerei.noblogs.org.
Expand your brain further for a mere donation (€1-6) at EXPERIMONTAG, the concert series taking place every Monday at topsy-turvy ex-bordello Madame Claude. Kreuzberg’s pillow-strewn MULTILAYERLADEN is also impeccably booked and reliably free. Do remember that the musicians are just as skint as you are, and tip accordingly.
After-hours, riverside techno cabana CLUB DER VISIONÄRE puts on some of the city’s most buzzed-about summer parties for an entrance fee that’s rarely over €3 – quickly free if you plunder for empty cups and collect the Pfand.
Finally, consider signing up for CAR2GO, a service that boasts 1000 environmentally friendly cars in Berlin available for one-off use. After registration (€9.90) find the car nearest you and drive it for 29 cents a minute – insurance, petrol, and maintenance included. Use it to transport yourself to all of this budget-friendly goodness – or take a date on a summer day trip, free from the mainstream tyranny of the S-Bahn tracks.