As Berlin emerges from lockdown, it’s time to de-confine. You’ve been to the hairdresser, so now what? If you’ve spent the past two months streaming your life away, you might be happy to know about some of Berlin’s newly opened spots. Pick up your face mask and hand sanitiser and get outside – plenty of great cultural activities await. Just remember to keep your distance.
Berlin Zoo and Tierpark
Daily, 9am – 7pm
€16 / €8 and €14.50 / €7
Nothing will keep the brats entertained like a trip to the Zoo or Tierpark and tickets (you must buy them online) are still available for the 9am to 1pm time slots. All outdoor areas are open, and food and drinks can be purchased to go, while the Panda Garden (Zoo), Alfred-Brehm-Haus (Tiergarten) and other animal houses are closed. Shows and tours are cancelled, but who needs a guide to enjoy observing meerkats, mandrills and macaws?
Haus am Waldsee: Bernhard Martin Image Ballet
Tue-Sun, 11am – 6pm
€7 / €5
Take a trip to Zehlendorf where Haus am Waldsee has just reopened its exhibition of Berlin-based painter Bernhard Martin’s colourful canvases, drawings and collages. Up to 15 visitors at a time are admitted to the exhibition space. The café is still closed, of course, but you may explore the sculpture garden and hang out by the museum’s namesake lake.
Palais Populaire: Christo and Jeanne Claude: Projects 1963-2020
Tue-Mon, 11am – 6pm
Book yourself a free ticket for a time slot at Deutsche Bank’s Palais Populaire. As of this week, they are showing a retrospective of the iconic art couple Christo and Jeanne Claude which includes photography and original objects documenting some of the artists’ most spectacular large-scale pieces. Tickets are still available for this weekend, but as only 35 people can be inside at a time, you might want to hurry. If you go, take your mask, it’s mandatory!
Yadegar Asisi: The Wall Panorama
Daily, 10am – 6pm
€10 / €4
Yadegar Asisi’s stunning panorama at Checkpoint Charlie is the closest many readers will get to being under the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Punks, squats, trailers and a petting zoo swamp giant screens as voice recordings fill the exhibition space, making this the most immersive Berlin Wall experience around. Get your ticket online or pay cashless on site and bring your mask. [We gave away tickets to the the panorama in last week’s newsletter. Subscribe here for future giveaways!]
Hohenschönhausen Stasi Prison Memorial
Daily, 9am – 6pm
Take a trip to Hohenschönhausen, where this memorial to the Stasi’s victims draws upon first-hand accounts and interrogation records to capture the harsh treatment endured by East Germany’s political prisoners. Make sure to call or email beforehand to access the permanent exhibition (a mask will be provided), and come back again once the tours led by former inmates resume in the future.
Daily, 9am – 9pm
€8.50 / €5.50
The DDR museum is more like a mini-amusement park than museum, with dozens of interactive objects and installations. Step back in time to the DDR, Trabant car and all. For the hands-on exhibits you’ll have to disinfect your hands, masks are available from the museum shop.
German Spy Museum
Daily, 10am – 8pm
€12 / €8
Opened in 2015, the German Spy Museum is one of Berlin’s newer museums. It’s also one of the best. The founders put an emphasis on interactive exhibitions, which means visitors can get up close and personal with the tools Berlin’s spies used throughout the Cold War. But real spooks nerds are also presented with an amazing compilation of resources, anecdotes, and artefacts about every major intelligence agency past and present. Just be wary who asks you for a lie detector test. Stylus pens are given to visitors so you don’t pick up anyone’s germs from the touch screens and time-slot tickets (advanced booking recommended) ensure you’ll be able to keep your distance.
Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum
Daily, 8.30am – 6pm
One of this region’s starkest reminders of its Nazi past, Oranienburg’s Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial is allowing visitors to enter their outdoor grounds. The museum and exhibitions remain closed, but the visitor information centre is available from Tuesday to Sunday between 10am and 4pm. A walk across the premises where around 200,000 prisoners were kept between 1936 – 1945 will leave you with a heavy heart, but it’s such a vital reminder of Nazi crimes, everyone should go once.
Botanical Garden and Museum
Daily, 9am – 8pm
€6 / €3
On a gloomy Berlin day, the Botanical Garden can be an oasis in a sea of grey. You’ll need to reserve a ticket before heading to Lichterfelde this time, but that’s the only thing between you and the 20,000 plant species across this rich, green gardens. Indoor areas like the library and greenhouses are closed, but the main outdoor area remains open to guests. Visits are limited to 4 hours.
Virtual Exhibition: To Berlin and Beyond
If you don’t dare go outside or you’ve waited until Sunday afternoon and it’s raining, try deconfining virtually: Kulturprojekte Berlin had planned a huge outdoor exhibition to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe on May 8, but since the coronavirus cancelled those plans, they transformed it into a digital, augmented reality experience that allows you to explore a 3D model of Pariser Platz s it looked in 1930 and after the war in 1945, while you listen to personal stories from the time. Or check out Alexanderplatz on November 4, 1989. Download the Augmented Berlin app and start exploring – just mind your step around bomb craters, demonstrators and your living room furniture!