8 Underground Things to Do in Berlin

Underground berlin

City guidebooks are great. Pick one up and you hold the key to experiencing the sights and sounds of an amazing place in the palm of your hand. However, after your 3rd art gallery, 4th visit to that “food to die for” restaurant and 100th tourist attraction, you tend to get the sense that you’re following the crowd and treading a path that is already very well worn. We thought it was about time you ditched the guidebook and went ‘off road’ deep into the eccentric and exhilirating European capital that is Berlin.

We’ve teamed up with fellow Berlin-based startup iversity to pool our knowledge of our favourite city to give you the inside track on where Berliners eat, party and hang out, as well as some quick money saving tips. Enjoy!

Party in Deepest Wedding at Heideglühen

If there’s one thing you should learn about the party-goers of Berlin, it’s that they’ll travel far and wide to find the best parties and coolest venues, and this is just the same for Heideglühen! As you walk towards this amazing venue the buzz of the city fades into the background, but don’t lose faith! A few more steps and your excitement will build as you start to hear the familiar sound of a party drifting towards you. Your reward is one of the best kept secrets of Berlin’s party scene. A custom-built wonderland, made of old shipping containers, across two floors. The atmosphere can only be compared to that of a festival, with a hedonistic dance floor space playing a mix of house and techno, open log fires burning in the smoking area and an awesome balcony from which to gaze out across a sea of Berlin’s party crowd. Party until dawn and then some!


  • When: Usually Fridays, every other week
  • Where: Corner of Beusselstr./Seestr.
  • S-Bahn Stop: S-Bahn-Beusselstraße

Watch a Film at a Boutique Yorck Cinema

Berlin is a cold place in winter, but this need not be a problem. Finding a warm cosy spot to settle down for an evening’s entertainment is often the best solution. There’s no better way to do so than by heading to the nearest Yorck cinema and settling down into a plush reclining chair with a beer (or a glass of wine) and some salted popcorn. These cinemas exude a charm and homeliness that just can’t be found in the big chains and host films that are a welcome departure from the latest big blockbuster. Yorck offers a choice of Berlin-based ‘Kinos’ dotted around the city, showing the latest films and documentaries in English. Just look out for the abbreviation ‘OMU’ (Original mit Untertitel) in the film listings. A perfect way to start your evening or spend a lazy Sunday with friends.

  • Where: Dotted around most districts

Wander Round the Marheinekeplatz Flea Market & Cosy Up in a Coffee Shop on Bergmannstraße

Flea markets (‘Flohmärkte”) in Berlin are brilliant. Avoid the crowds and tourists who flock to Mauerpark by heading to leafy Marheinekeplatz. Whether you’re planning to strike a deal on your dream lamp (we all have dream lamps don’t we?), or (as is more often the case) to wander around in a hungover daze on a Sunday morning wondering where the nearest coffee can be found, the picturesque square and the surrounding coffee shops are more than enough to satisfy your craving for bargains and caffeine.

Hop off the U-Bahn at either Mehringdamm or Gneisenaustraße and head south to Bergmannstraße. Wander down this tree-lined street and take your pick from the many tempting coffee shops that line the route towards the flea market. Once you’re suitably awake, dive into the market for your fill of bargains, books and art.

  • When: Saturdays & Sundays from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • Where: Marheinekeplatz, just off Bergmanstr.
  • U-Bahn Stop: Mehringdamm or Gneisenaustraße

Browse the Platz des 9. November 1989 Open Air Gallery & Part of the Berlin Wall

It’s just after 8:00 p.m. on the 9th November 1989, and East German official Günter Schabowski has (somewhat mistakenly) just announced the removal of border controls between East and West Berlin. On hearing the news, thousands of East Germans start gathering at border crossings across the city demanding to be let through. Finally, after hours of confusion the gates are opened and history is made. It is at Bornholmer Straße that these people first crossed over, making this quiet corner of Berlin a very significant one.

If you’ve been to the East Side Gallery before, and feel like getting a little off the beaten track with your next Berlin Wall trip, then this is the place. Located a 5 minute tram ride from the bustle of Schönhauser Allee, the bridge over which the first East Germans crossed into the west remains largely unchanged. This means you can get a real sense of the events that happened here as you yourself make the walk from the former East into the West of Berlin.

  • Where: Bornholmer Straße 70
  • Public Transport: Tram stop Bornholmerstraße

Take a Stroll Around Schlachtensee

A Berliner’s reward for making it through the less than forgiving winter is the surprisingly amazing summer weather! Whilst the centre of the city might be full of green spaces to escape from city life, nothing quite beats a trip to Schlachtensee, a lake in the southwest of Berlin known for its great water quality and the surrounding Grunewald forest.

Pack a blanket, swimming gear and some sunscreen before jumping on the S1 line out of Berlin to Schlachtensee S-Bahn station. It’s just a short walk from the S-Bahn, within minutes you’re in a different world, surrounded by nature and water. Sit back and relax, just be sure to give a thought to the poor souls who decided to wander round the sweltering paved streets of Mitte as you don your trunks and wade into the clear water for a well needed swim!

  • When: Ideal in the summer months
  • Where: 2 minutes from the station, walk through the trees and you’re there
  • Public Transport: S-Bahn Schlachtensee

Grab a Falafel at Sahara, the Peanut Sauce Mecca

On the corner of Weserstraße and Reuterstraße, a 5-minute walk from U-Bahn Hermannstraße sits one of several Sahara restaurants: a tiny Sudanese falafel joint that puts others in the shade. Grabbing a quick bite to eat here should be on your list should you ever venture into the south of the city. Don’t plan on sitting down – this busy little outlet only seats 8 – instead grab one of their famous falafel wraps with peanut butter sauce, maybe even add some halloumi if you’re feeling adventurous. Head outside, take a seat and indulge in some serious people watching whilst your taste buds thank you for the amazing choice you’ve made.

  • When: Every day, 11:00 a.m.-1:00a.m.
  • Where: Reuterstr. 56
  • Public Transport: U-Bahn Hermannstraße

Check out Loophole for Art Exhibtitions/Film Festivals/DJs

Located in former brothel near the Rathaus Neukölln and nestled between sports bars and Turkish teahouses lies Loophole. This hidden gem is a Berlin-based event space showcasing all forms of art. From live bands and DJs to alternative film festivals and art exhibitions, this place ticks all the boxes. The bar prices here are great (even for über cheap Berlin), and the international mix of locals and long-weekenders gives the place an ‘anything can happen’ atmosphere, and that’s why you came to Berlin, right? Throw in a handpicked selection of Berlin DJs from the clubs bookers and you’re guaranteed to have yet another night to remember, without panicking about whether you look cool enough to get into Berghain or not!

  • When: Check their website for info
  • Where: Boddinstr. 60
  • Public Transport: U-Bahn Rathaus Neukölln

Get a Room at Das Hotel; Basement Club, Groundfloor Bistro and Hotel in One

Looking for a place in Berlin where you can eat, sleep and go dancing without ever really leaving your front door? Then look no further than Das Hotel. You’ll instantly feel at home as you step through the door into the beautifully rustic bistro where top quality kaffee und kuchen (err, coffee and cake) is served throughout the day, with no hint of the transformation that the evening will bring. As darkness slowly draws in, the venue switches from a lazy living room into a live lounge lit solely with candles. This romantically rustic atmosphere is then perfectly complimented with a selection of local jazz and soul musicians whilst the bar staff serve some of the highest quality cocktails Berlin has to offer.

The secrets of Das Hotel run even further however. Through an inconspicuous graffiti-covered door at the back of the bistro (Berlin seems to be full of these…) lies a staircase leading up to some of the most tastefully decorated accommodation you could wish for. Forget staying at a chain hotel and book yourself in for a long weekend here, you wont regret it! This place doesn’t take bookings online, you’ll have to email the owners yourself to arrange a stay, but believe me, it’s more than worth the extra effort.

Everything You Need to Know About Taking the U-Bahn

Public transport in Berlin is awesome, and also relatively simple. Here are some things you might find helpful when adventuring round this amazing city.

  • U-Bahn and S-Bahn services run until around 1:00 a.m. on weekdays. Missed the last train? Fear not! Night buses run with the corresponding number of the U-Bahn route they follow. Bus stops are usually very close to the U-Bahn stop.
  • All weekend partygoers also need not fear. The U-Bahn runs around every 15 minutes throughout the night (except the U4). The S-Bahn runs slightly less frequently but you shouldn’t be waiting longer than 20 minutes, whatever crazy hour you decide to head home.
  • Most ticket machines can easily be changed into English and usually only require one touch of the touchscreen before you enter your money.
  • DO plan ahead (at least a little). If you’re making more than 3 journeys in a day, it’s cheaper to get a ‘Tageskarte’ (Day Ticket) which is valid until 3am the next day, unless your trips are less than 3 stations, then you need a….
  • ‘Kurzstrecke’ (Short Hop) ticket. At €1.60 these are just over half the price of a full ticket and are perfect if you don’t have far to go. They are also valid for 6 stops on the tram, bargain.