Craving culture but don’t have access to a quick test? Try one of these visits, perfect for some last-minute, hassle-free action.
Art in the garden of Mies van der Rohe Haus
You need a test and booking to enter every Berlin exhibition, right? Wrong. Thanks to the crafty curators at Rohe Haus, the Bauhaus-era architectural icon on the banks of Hohenschönhausen’s Obersee, you can view its indoor collection from outside in the garden. Staff have reworked the layout of its three art spaces, with each showing three “experiences” related to the building’s architect and namesake, Mies van der Rohe, which they say capture life in 1911, 1933 and today. Thanks to expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, innovative at the building’s time of construction, they can be viewed from the adjacent garden, test- and booking-free.
Mies van der Rohe Haus | Oberseestr. 60, 13053 Hohenschönhausen
Curl up with a book or dig through vinyl at Dussmann
Unlike in many regions across Germany, Berlin’s bookshops stayed open throughout the whole pandemic. But Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus is much more than a bookshop. This cosy, five-storey temple on Friedrichstraße is the kind of place you can spend the whole day inside, moving between cutting-edge fiction at the stellar English bookshop and Krautrock classics in the music section stacked with classy vinyl. There’s even a sprawling DVD and boardgames corner, all accessible without pre-booking or a test.
Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus | Friedrichstr. 90, 10117, Mitte
Take an outdoor sculpture tour
You’ve seen them on Instagram, but how many have you actually visited? Berlin is littered with sculptures from big-name artists, and here’s your chance to hunt down work from superstars like Keith Haring (Potsdamer Platz), Richard Serra (Tiergarten), Henry Moore (Haus der Kulturen der Welt) and Brigitte Matschinsky-Denninghoff and Martin Matschinsky (Charlottenburg), all easily accessible by foot, bike or public transport. Almost every major modern art movement is captured in works across the city, traversing brutalism, post-war modernism and minimalist and abstract styles.
Get schooled on plant life at the Botanischer Garten
Now that spring is finally springing, a reliably wholesome afternoon can be spent at Steglitz’s sprawling Botanical Gardens. At 43 hectares and home to around 20,000 plant species, they’re among the largest and most diverse botanical gardens in the world. While the greenhouses and their tropical vibes remain off limits, the abundance of fruit blossoms and plucky spring bulbs lining the paths make this a magical time to visit. Book your time-slot ticket in advance and breathe that fresh air.
Botanischer Garten | Königin-Luise-Str 6-8, 14195, Steglitz
Visit St. Mary’s Church
Like bookshops, Berlin’s churches, mosques and synagogues have remained open throughout the pandemic. But unlike, say, Cologne or Munich, our city isn’t particularly known for its beautiful churches, so visiting St. Mary’s near Alexanderplatz likely hasn’t been high on your bucket list. Its exact medieval construction date is unknown, but the church is at least 770 years old, making it one of the oldest in Berlin. The Gothic interior is rich and detailed, with a towering, Baroque-style altar in use since 1762. Whether you pray to Jesus, Allah or the decks of Berghain resident Ben Klock, this historic Protestant church, once visited by Martin Luther King, is a historic wonder. Try and time your visit for one of the weekly organ “meditations”, an ethereal soundtrack for some serene self-reflection.
St. Mary’s Church | Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 8, 10178, Mitte