Berlin - with teenager. Recommendations?

(36 Posts)
roisin Mon 27-Aug-12 17:00:48

I'm taking ds1 (15) to Berlin for a few days in October, staying very central.
He's quite a nerdy geek; loves museums, history and science.
We both loathe shopping.
The aim is to hear and speak as much German as possible.

What are your top tips of places to go and things to do?

Thank you.

watching with interest - I'm thinking of Berlin in the October half term with a 14 yo and a 10 yo. Where's nice (but reasonably cheap) to stay?

BritishBerliner Fri 31-Aug-12 11:10:54

Hi

i live in Berlin with my 14 year old son and 10 year old daughter. if your son is into gaming then the Museum of Gaming is interesting but very small www.computerspielemuseum.de/1210_Home.htm
The technical museum is also very good www.sdtb.de/Englisch.55.0.html
If you book online in advance you can go up the glass dome of the German parliament building for free and get great views www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/kupp.html
You will find an English speaking cinema at Potsdamer Platz next to the Sony Centre.
If you want something with a little more action then the climbing centre at Mitte is great www.mountmitte.de/
For some WWII history the Topography of Terror is free and really good www.topographie.de/en/topography-of-terror/nc/1/

If you are looking for somewhere cheap to stay then the hostels are good quality and very cool. Berlin street food - doner kebabs, currywurst and chips - is cheap and normally pretty good and there are great bakeries on most street corners.

It is worth doing a bike tour as you see loads and get to cycle round Berlin which is very safe.

You will certainly hear alot of German everywhere but I find when I try to speak it the locals switch effortlessly to English which is frustrating when you are trying to learn!

Enjoy your stay

exexpat Fri 31-Aug-12 11:19:33

I was there with DS (nearly 14 at the time) earlier this summer. Best museum we went to was the Jewish Museum - amazing building as well as interesting museum. The holocaust memorial (free, open air) is also impressive, and the East Side gallery is worth a look - long stretch of preserved Berlin wall with huge variety of paintings.

We missed out on visiting the Reichstag and walking round the glass dome because I hadn't realised you needed to register and reserve a (free) place in advance at the visitor office opposite. When we were there (July) there was a two or three hour wait between reserving and getting in, and we didn't have the time.

We were only there for a couple of days and could easily have found plenty to do if we'd been there a week.

exexpat Fri 31-Aug-12 11:23:26

Re places to stay - we stayed in an Ibis hotel near the Ostbahnhof - modern, clean, good breakfast, they do triple rooms (3 single beds - hard to find but good when I'm travelling with two DCs), reasonably priced, quite handy for transport.

ContinentalKat Fri 31-Aug-12 11:39:49

Checkpoint Charlie museum is a must!

roisin Fri 31-Aug-12 12:13:25

Thank you all! I must start making a list and specific plans. I told ds1 it's his trip and he needs to research, choos, plan and organise ... But ai know he won't...!

We're staying at the youth hostel: booked a private room some time ago. I'm hoping this will give him chance to mingle a bit and hear some German spoken.

roisin Fri 31-Aug-12 12:14:36

Exexpat - thanks for the rec. of th Jewish museum. I had thought this might be a bit too hard hitting for a 15 yr-old, but I'll put it back on the list now...

exexpat Fri 31-Aug-12 12:31:48

The Jewish Museum doesn't actually have anything very graphic about the Holocaust (at least not that I saw - it's a big museum with a complicated layout so we may have missed some bits) though it does have a very good section on the background to WW2 and the growing prejudice against Jews. The main theme of the museum is Jewish history in Europe, not just a specific period of the 20th century. DD (9) was with us too and it was fine.

roisin Tue 16-Oct-12 20:43:06

BritishBerliner - are you around?

What's Berlin like to walk around? Safe in the evenings?
We are staying very centrally and I am considering walking to most places. Is that sensible/feasible?

oxfordgirl Tue 23-Oct-12 09:18:56

Berlin is very safe, different from the UK in that respect. Walking is fine, easy to get around, tubes are good and reliable. Cesa languages is a good choice if your son is learning the language, they offer summer course for his age group, very popular.

MmeLindor Tue 23-Oct-12 09:28:54

I agree about the Jewish museum. Definitely worth a visit. Amazing architecture, and a fascinating glimpse into the lives of German Jews before the war. I liked that they had a lot of personal stories, as it made it less abstract.

Best tip for the Reichstag- go in the evening when the queues have died down if you haven't booked. We went at dusk and it was spectacular. As we circled the glass dome, the sun set behind the city.

It's really easy to get around on the Underground or trams - we took a 3 day ticket and hopped on and off when we wanted to save a bit of walking.

roisin Tue 23-Oct-12 16:57:22

Thank you - especially the tip about the Reichstag in the evening - we might try that one.

MmeLindor Tue 23-Oct-12 17:04:14

I think it is open till 10pm (but check that). We had an early dinner and went about 8pm I think.

roisin Tue 23-Oct-12 19:51:59

Thanks - especially the tip about the Reichstag.

Rooble Tue 23-Oct-12 19:57:34

Or you can go at about 7.30am then go for breakfast in a cafe? (Haven't been there for 10 years but I did that then!)

I took both DCs to the Jewish museum, DD was 11.
The Topography of Terror, near Checkpoint Charlie was also good.
We booked a tour of the Norman Foster glass tower in the Bundestag the day before on the Internet, it was fantastic - and free!

NatashaBee Tue 23-Oct-12 19:59:32

Brandenburg gate at night time - absolutely stunning. We walked around loads at night and used the subway thing - felt perfectly safe.

See this page.

roisin Tue 23-Oct-12 20:58:52

7.30 am I could do with ds2, but not ds1; he is not a morning person. And we already have breakfast with our accommodation anyway.

Thanks for more tips.

I hope we have great, dry weather so we can gently amble around and admire the architecture.

Checkpoint Charlie museum is amazing

Boat trip with commentary is v good as well

IvanaDvinkYourBlad Tue 23-Oct-12 21:07:00

If DC are into sport, can I recommend the Olympic stadium? (I think the stop is Olympia Stadion?) It's a bit of a trek but really interesting, you can do an audio tour too. And if you do go down Potzdamer Platz way, there is a 'desert restaurant', inside a shopping centre. Think ice cream sundae heaven. grin

roisin Tue 23-Oct-12 21:11:13

Ooh, I wonder what the dessert restaurant is called? I like the sound of that! And we are staying very near to the Potzdamer Platz, so that would be great.

(Neither of us are "into" sport unfortunately, so I think we can safely give that one a miss.)

roisin Tue 23-Oct-12 21:13:06
slambang Tue 23-Oct-12 21:16:12

Snap! Going to berlin with 2 geeky teenage dss this weekend.

We sat down this evening and listed everything we want to see and when we can fit it in. Apart from the places already suggested we have on our list:
- a flea market on Sunday morning combined with the Wall memorial (Mauerpark)
- DDR museum
- Museum island (for dh) in particular the Pergamon museum and fit in a bit of the egyptian stuff (in Altes museum)

But now ds2 has heard there's a gaming museum I think Egypt might be off the list - thanks Berliner!

Ds1 also campaigning for the Ramones museum- does that still exist?

Is it true that museums are mainly closed on Mondays? It says that in our 'current' guidebook but most websites imply that museums are open every day confused

Probably see you there Roisin wink

roisin Tue 23-Oct-12 21:33:56

Have fun slambang. [whispers] I haven't reminded ds1 about the Pergamon museum, because I've spent too many hours of my life already in the Ashmoleon and the British Museum, and it doesn't do a lot for me!

roisin Fri 02-Nov-12 20:21:35

We had a wonderful time: thank you all.

The Reichstag is fabulous as is Panorama Punkt.
Public transport is incredibly efficient.
Ds1 loves the Computer Museum and the Ampelman shops.

slambang Fri 02-Nov-12 21:03:39

Glad you had a good time Roisin. We had an excellent time too. Highlights for us the jewish museum, the Reichstag, Eastside galley and both dss got the taste for Currywurst (but I'm glad to leave that to the berliners.)

slambang Fri 02-Nov-12 21:06:17

Isn't it just amazing how nobody checks your tickets on or off the U-bahn and only the tourists cross the road on the red man, while the germans wait obediently staring at an empty road? confused

roisin Fri 02-Nov-12 21:09:23

:-) Snap on currywurst! Glad you had a great time!

I want to go back soon.

ZZZenAgain Fri 02-Nov-12 21:09:52

The Germans know how much the fine is for travelling on the UBahn/Bus without a ticket if the undercover controllers catch you, as well as the fines for crossing the street when you have a red light and jay-walking. They also know that you can seriously TOLD OFF by fellow pedestrians for crossing at a red light and this can be quite intimidating.

Maryz Fri 02-Nov-12 21:11:25

I had a thread on this recently. I'll see if I can find it.

My elderly parents took dd and my nephew and they had a great time (apart from the food which was, apparently, appalling).

Maryz Fri 02-Nov-12 21:20:16

I can't find my thread - I must have put it in chat, sorry.

But I know they did a fantastic walking tour, and another thing they found was this lot who apparently do some very "different" tours, including a graffiti workshop and a free daily "alternative" walking tour which is meant to be very good.

Maryz Fri 02-Nov-12 21:21:34

Oops, I never checked the end of the thread, sorry blush

ZZZenAgain Fri 02-Nov-12 21:22:55

really? I am surprised at that. I thought the food was generally fine in Berlin - quite cheap, decent portions and you can get almost everything there except maybe British style fish and chips.

roisin Sat 03-Nov-12 09:02:11

Yes, the food was great - massive variety, good quality and not too expensive!

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