While the local nightlife is world-famous, truth is Berlin isn’t just about hard-hitting parties. Seek and you shall find a more low-key way to spend your weekend. You can catch some sunshine, feel the city’s open-minded community spirit, and collect odd trinkets at Berlin’s biggest flea market, Mauerpark.
Located in the Prenzlauer Berg-District, this linear public park stretches for what seems like eternity, with local market stalls and private independent booths breathing a lively atmosphere into the area every Sunday. It is popular with both Berliners and tourists alike, with a treasure trove of goods on offer — ranging from retro furniture to old vinyl, local art, handmade designs, quirky trinkets and antiques. If you get tired from all the hunting and walking around, there are small pop-up bars with retro furnishings and street food vendors selling local German favourites (currywurst, anyone?), perfect for perking up your energy levels.
Despite its sunny atmosphere, Mauerpark holds a dark history. The name itself translates to ‘Wall Park’ and today it is a world away from its unsettling past as a former section of the Cold War-era ‘Death Strip’ — the gap between the walls of East and West Berlin that housed watchtowers, guard dogs, and even trip-wire-activated machine guns. A small part of the Berlin Wall remains and has been made available to local artists to splash artistic flair and bring more colour to the park.
Mauerpark is not only popular with market-goers, but also with people choosing to spend a lazy Sunday picnicking or by getting into the community spirit with a local favourite pastime: community karaoke. Once the clock strikes 3pm, it is time to turn on the mic and enter the pit. If you’ve ever dreamed of singing in front of a crowd (despite how good or bad your voice may be), head over to the stone amphitheatre for a show like no other. The Bear Pit Karaoke show is an ever-so-popular Berlin institution that encourages people of all ages and varying talents to unleash their inner diva or rock god to the world.
What started out in 2009 has now blossomed into an event that attracts thousands every weekend, packed shoulder to shoulder in the outdoor theatre. Organiser and founder, Joe Hatchiban, injects humour into this massive sing-a-long show every Sunday, as he plucks volunteers from the crowd to take over the microphone. What is best about this community event is seeing the great enthusiasm in The Bearpit (the crowd) — every performance is rewarded with a huge round of applause. Make sure you get in early to take a seat (if you can find a spot!) and kick back with a cider to reel in the lively and fun-spirited event.
A visit to Mauerpark makes for a perfect Sunday outing to get a taste of the local life in Berlin. It is a place to go for a casual stroll, to go off on a treasure hunt, or to relish the great vibes while watching locals become karaoke stars. With vintage finds and community spirit, it makes for a Sunday afternoon worth singing about.
Mauerpark Bernauer Straße 63 10435 Berlin zum Stadplan. Open every Sunday, 9am – 6pm.
On this Hidden Berlin tour, you will explore and discover the fascinating side to Berlin’s history that has shaped the city into what it is today. After meeting your local tour guide and group, you’ll walk to the ‘Palace of Tears’ and learn about the amazing story behind its name.