9 Cool Alternatives to Typical Berlin Tourist Sights

You know the drill: Someone is coming to Berlin for the first time, and you, with them, have to visit the same typical, commonplace “Berlin musts” for the thousandth time, along with flocks of tourists who push you in order to make their 13th shot of the same angle of the Berliner Dome. To save us all the distress of touring around what everyone is expected to see in the city, we gathered their alternatives one can visit instead, through which the real Berlin is revealed. (disclaimer: maybe your mom will not enjoy it).

Brandenburg Tor vs. Kottbusser Tor

It’s what comes to mind first when one thinks about this city: it’s on the windows of the metro and together with the TV Tower, it’s the number one landmark. However nice it is to stroll around the center and visit the Brandenburg Gate, the heart of Berlin really beats in Kotti: the Turkish neighborhood full of life, that grants its visitors they’ll never be bored: bars, unique restaurants, parks, art, and all kinds of crazy people, Kottbusser Tor will steal your heart and will become your favourite area to hang out during your stay.

photoEd WebsterCC


photoAlper ÇuğunCC*


TV Tower vs. Spy Tower

Again, a top landmark of the city, I’m guessing one should at least once visit Alexanderplatz and climb up the tower to enjoy the view – but why not delve a bit deeper in the city’s sad but interesting history, by visiting the Spy Tower in Teufelsberg; it’s a much more unusual site, and you get to spend the day in nature, instead of the concrete square. Win-win.



photo: Jan Beck / CC


Reichstag Dome vs. Klunkerkranich

The German Parliament offers a free, very easy to book (ah these Germans and their organization) tour into its glass dome, from where you can enjoy the view of Berlin while listening to its history through a headset. Which is of course interesting, to the degree that if you hadn’t done it nothing would be different. So instead, why not enjoy the view of Berlin from the super cool rooftop bar in Hermannplatz? The vibes are so chilled I’m sure if you walked up to a stranger and asked them about the history of Berlin, they’d happily tell you what they know. So much more fun than a headpiece.

photoSusanne Nilssoncc



photo: Klunkerkranich


KaDeWe vs. Bikini Berlin

KaDeWe is one of Berlin’s biggest department stores, with a big history dating back to 1907 and a variety of luxury products from all over the world. But why not choose to shop more originally, and  visit Bikini Berlin, which differentiates itself from regular shopping centers as it’s the super designy concept shopping mall, with carefully curated boutiques by local people, as well as pop-up boxes that can be rented for a short amount of time by companies launching a new product, or young designers showing their work.

photoSteven Lilley /cc


Shop different at Bikini Berlin

photo: iHeartBerlin


East Side Gallery vs. Mauerpark

Visiting the remaining parts of the Berlin wall is a fascinating experience. But why go for the overcrowded East Side Gallery, and not prefer the bit that runs across Mauerpark in Prenzlauerberg? The scenery is much more authentic, and you can combine it with a nice picnic, or a visit at the flea market on Sunday!

photoMahmood Al-Yousif / cc


Mauerpark Swings

photo: iHeartBerlin


Memorial Church vs. St. Agnes

The memorial church is quite an remarkable landmark of the city, and impressive to see as a “survivor” of the bombings of WW II. But instead of visiting a church that’s just a church, in Berlin you have the option to go for a church that’s turned to art gallery: St. Agnes a.k.a. König Gallery hosts amazing exhibitions of contemporary artists, and its unique Brutalist design makes it of both artistic and architectural interest.

photoThomas Favre-Bullecc


photoDavid KasparekCC*


Nikolai Viertel vs. Holzmarkt

The Nicolas’ Quarter is a small village-like neighborhood near Alexanderplatz, home of numerous museums and the historical heart of Berlin. But we are here to suggest something more exciting than typical strolls in the city center: why not visit the quirky village that was built to take the place of Bar25 and Kater Holzig right by the Spree, that is dedicated to young creatives- it’s a place you can chill by the water with nice music,  eat at the restaurant, and enjoy the great atmosphere. We recommend the trampoline too 🙂

photoKris ChapmanCC

photo: iHeartBerlin


Siegessäule vs. Säule

The Victory Column is standing in the city since 1870s, then erected to celebrate the victory of Prussia over its enemies. There isn’t much you can do but see it, take pictures, and climb it to see the view. What we have to suggest, however, is a much more enjoyable “Säule” offered as its alternative. The infamous Berghain’s new dance floor named Säule will have you dancing in its techno sounds all night long.

photoDaniel VelehovCC



photoJames DennesCC


Spree Cruise vs. Rubber Boat Ride on the Canal

It is often that tourists choose boat cruises to see the highlights of Berlin from the Spree. But actually,  other than the bit near the Museum Island that’s really pretty and picture worthy, it doesn’t have much else to going on to really catch your eye. What sounds like a much better alternative is investing time in a beloved Berliner activity: a rubber boat, your friends, beers, and cruising down the canal: it will be much more fun, the cruise far less generic, and the time spent much more valuable.


photo: Robert Agthe / CC

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<a href="https://www.iheartberlin.de/author/stella/" target="_self">Stella</a>