One day in Berlin sounds ridiculous, and that is because it is impossible to discover all this multifaceted city has to offer in 24 hours. The only reason this blog isn’t titled “Three Days in Berlin” is because I messed up. We arrived at the Berlin Airport at 11:30 AM after a ten-hour overnight journey, and my brilliant plan to beat jet lag was to get in a full day of site seeing right out of the gate. One look at my son and husband’s delirious faces made me realize that today was not the day to push them over the edge with my aggressive schedule. So, we did what every travel blog tells you not to do. We had a meal around the corner at a restaurant suspiciously called Fish and Steak, went up to our room, and fell asleep at 5 PM. To be honest, it worked out so much better than I expected. We woke up at 6 AM with boundless energy and we were ready to tackle the day with a quiet walk through trails and gardens of the Tiergarten. It was quiet, cool, and idyllic and we were immediately in sync with our new rhythm. We filled up on a complimentary late breakfast at 9:30 AM and walked all day to hit the Berlin “must- sees” along with a few hidden gems we discovered along the way. The true beauty of Berlin is its ability to be everything to everyone. Is it a city for families? Yes. Is it a city for music lovers, techies, club kids, history buffs, and museum goers? Yes! This itinerary is geared more for families, but in Berlin, there are always opportunities to experience the more edgy arts scene wherever you go.
A wonderful place to ease into your Berlin walking tour. I have been through the park in many different seasons and I always find something different. You can meander through the trails, or take the straight path towards the Brandenburg Gate. JR went jogging there in the morning and said it was very relaxing.
I was ten years old when the Berlin Wall came down and I remember watching the footage on the news with my family. Relating the stories of division and reunification to my son was especially poignant given the political discussions taking place in our own country.
Reichstag and Government Buildings
I prefer the view of the Reichstag from a boat tour on the river Spree, instead of the more crowded area of Konigsplatz. Tourists line up to view the city from the Dom, but the catwalk outside the Berliner Dom is just as beautiful! You can catch a boat tour from various locations around the city and you can see the best classical architecture along with the most innovative buildings all over Berlin.
We were lucky enough to catch a book fair outside of the University before classes start again in the Fall.
I still get a small rush when I go to a museum and see the works of art that I teach in my classes. It reminds me to make my lessons more alive, deeper, and more interesting. Online classes have many benefits, but the feeling of being in front of a masterpiece cannot be replicated.
After the Museum Insel it was time for lunch and we decided on Restauration 1840 for a traditional Berlin meal of Currywurst for JR and Spatzel with Kase (noodles with cheese) for Elijah.
We have decided to pay for one cultural activity or tour per city and I was honestly a bit nervous about my choice on this one. By the end of this trip, it is possible that the boys will have Cathedral overload, but this ended up being a wonderful choice! For a few Euros, we had access to the main Church, the Crypt, and the observatory platform at the top of the Dom. The views were incredible and the climb to the top was not too hard for any of us.
Preparing Elijah for the most impactful moments of our trip reminds me to be aware of our past so that we can move forward with awareness and intention.
My favorite part of Potsdamer Platz is the large glass dome in the center and its historical importance for German reunification and its close proximity to Checkpoint Charlie. Elijah’s favorite part was the bookstore where he found “Wo ist mein Wookie”, the German Star Wars equivalent to “Where is Waldo”.
When switching trains in Alexanderplatz we came across one of the many festivals Berlin is known for. This one had a particularly adult edge to it, but while we rushed Elijah through half covering his eyes, we did stop for a robotic dragon and a strange/sad carnival show. I love Berlin.
Are you looking for fresh pressed ginger rosemary juice, homemade cherry preserves, crazy crepe concoctions, or American style BBQ? Then go to Markhalle Neun on a Thursday and check out the cooking demonstrations, vendor stalls and food trucks that make this place my favorite find in Berlin.
East Side Gallery
The largest open air gallery in the world is a portion of the Berlin Wall that was painted by over 118 artists from 21 countries. In my younger years, I would give you a long list of bars and nightclubs to visit in the near vicinity, but this kid friendly trip did not provide that kind of entertainment.
Nightcap at Hotel Adlon Kempinski
Refined elegance, amazing service, and attention to detail make this the perfect spot to enjoy a German Reisling, a local beer, or a classic cocktail.