At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Fleshing out an itinerary for travel with teens requires serious finesse. On the one hand, activities for kids are often met with yawns by teens. On the other hand, activities for adults aren’t necessarily appropriate or exciting. How do you split the difference? Finding things you and your kids will enjoy together? It all starts with selecting the right destinations, namely dynamic cities exuding youthfulness and multi-layered cultural attractions.
What’s one of our top picks? Berlin. Germany’s capital is chock full of creativity, contrast, and energy. It cultivates a rebel vibe where the positive affirmation “anything is possible” dominates. Simultaneously, it’s also one of the great cities of Western Civilization, with a gritty and turbulent history that has played a massive role in shaping the world today.
But what are some of our favorite picks for things to do in Berlin when visiting with teens? Keep reading to get the full scoop on places to visit in Berlin.
Where to go in Berlin? The East Side Gallery is a must-see, especially when traveling with teens. It includes a nearly mile-long, open-air mural on the former Berlin Wall densely piled with graffiti masterpieces. Nearly 120 artists from 21 nations contributed to the images, which officially became an open-air gallery in 1990. It received memorial status protection a year later.
Not only will your teens be fascinated by the colorful and imaginative murals. But the East Side also represents a touchpoint for traveling back to 1989 when the Berlin Wall officially fell. East Side Gallery captures the spirit of the moment. Historically, it also gave East Berliners one of their first forums to publicly express themselves following the collapse of the Iron Curtain in East Germany.
As the first public space to process, protest, and react to decades of iron-fisted oppression, it’s an eye-opening destination. The amazing street artwork provides the perfect background for capturing social media-worthy images. Best of all, it’s a great introduction to the murals of Berlin as well as a compelling reminder to keep your eyes open for them. The city’s walls and open spaces are frequently punctuated with images from talented street artists.
Another thing to keep your eye on while touring Berlin is its Stolpersteine, literally “stumbling stones.” You’ll find these brass plates embedded in sidewalk concrete across the municipality. Because they’re slightly raised, each plate is designed to make you stumble, inviting contemplation about the story unveiled on each one.
The stumbling stones acknowledge Jewish victims of the Holocaust. They’re positioned on the streets where these individuals last lived. They include the names and details of each resident’s tragic death, drawing attention to lives lost during World War II.
These stones bring history to life in ways a history book cannot. They’re sure to spark essential and contemplative conversations about the past. Moreover, they provide a perfect opportunity to explore what we can learn from the history of World War II.
Traveling in Europe inevitably involves visiting major museums and art galleries. While some European capitals are known for a specific artistic movement or artist, Berlin celebrates incredible diversity. As a result, the city boasts hundreds of art galleries and museums. When it comes to what to do in Berlin, you won’t run out of options.
Start at the Jewish Museum, housed in a building shaped like a “deconstructed Star of David.” Yes, the museum focuses on history, but don’t expect to come away with a dry knowledge of statistics and dates. Instead, the facility does an excellent job of telling intensely personal stories. These stories reinvigorate the past, infusing it with humanity. Topics can get heavy here. But the museum has also done an excellent job of interweaving triumphs in Jewish history with its tragedies.
For a change of pace, head to the Berlinische Galerie to soak up modern art, architecture, and photography. The stark white walls of the gallery provide the perfect canvas to display confrontational and vibrant artworks by Berlin artists from various periods. We’re talking expressionists, secessionists, Dadaists, and more. It’s a fantastic place to explore art’s ability to simultaneously provoke thought, controversy, and delight.
Few European cities prove more confrontational when it comes to modern history. So, a trip to Berlin with teens can pull double duty, inspiring curiosity and engagement while teaching vital lessons about recent history.
The main gateway for foreigners and diplomats traveling between East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1990, Checkpoint Charlie remains emblematic of the Cold War. Few spots in Berlin offer a more tangible touchpoint to the nation’s fragmented post-WWII past. Today, the area is surrounded by retail stores, presenting a jarring juxtaposition.
Besides the actual checkpoint, you’ll also see fragments of the Berlin Wall and mid-20th-century warning signs. Paid actors work Checkpoint Charlie today in full border guard dress. They’ll even stamp your family’s passports, so come prepared.
Another fascinating place to explore 20th-century history is the Spy Museum. Berlin represented the meeting point of East and West during the Cold War. This also made it the perfect launching point for spies from both sides.
Not only is spy craft a juicy subject your teens will enjoy digging into, but the museum’s exhibitions are highly engaging and innovative. On a tour, you’ll navigate a laser maze. And you’ll use the latest technology to suss out hidden cameras and bugs.
Explore cutting-edge multi-media-based technology to learn about the sneaky and bizarre ways secret service agents and spies have worked over the years. And enjoy chances to decipher secret codes. Secure your favorite password, or hack into websites. The museum includes more than 1,000 exhibits and explores everything from biblical espionage to Julius Caesar’s cipher technique, Oliver Cromwell’s secret service to how spies operated during the World Wars.
No visit to Berlin would be complete without seeing the city’s most important monument, Brandenburg Gate. There’s also no better spot to load up on selfies. Not only is the sandstone gate located in the heart of the city, but it’s spectacular, especially at sunrise and sunset.
The Brandenburg Gate has a rich and multi-layered history. Commissioned by King Frederick William II, he wanted a stunning structure to punctuate the end of boulevard Unter den Linden. The gate took three years to build (1788-1791) and is considered by many to be one of the most picturesque structures of Neoclassicism in Europe.
Atop the gate, check out the Quadriga. Created by Johann Gottfried Schadow in 1793, it depicts Victoria (a symbol of victory) riding a two-wheeled chariot powered by four horses. In times of war, the Quadriga hasn’t always fared well. For example, Napoleon removed and transported it to Paris after defeating Prussia in 1806. Following World War II, damage to the Quadriga and gate proved so great that the sandstone structure had to be rebuilt and the statue replaced with a copy.
Bordering Brandenburg Gate on the eastern side is Tiergarten Park, a must-see on a family vacation to Berlin. It’s also a great place to soak up a little sun and nature. Tiergarten encompasses 600 acres of meandering streams, lush paths, open-air cafes, and emerald lawns.
As you explore the park, you’ll encounter many incredible statues and monuments. These include the Victory Column, standing amid the park. The column rises a slender 230 feet above the ground and commemorates the victory of Prussia over France in 1871.
Crowning the tower is a golden statue of the goddess Victoria. An open-air viewing platform delivers visitors right below the massive goddess. But be forewarned. Reaching it requires climbing 285 steep stairs. The breathtaking views of Berlin and Tiergarten from the top are well worth the sweat, though. If you’re in the park in the evening, head to the Gas Lamp Museum for a history lesson and a uniquely illuminated ambiance.
As you can see, there’s no end to fun things to do in Berlin with teens. Whether you’re exploring the artsy East Side Gallery, the monumental Brandenburg Gate, or the verdant Tiergarten Park. There’s also Checkpoint Charlie, the Spy Museum, and countless other museums and galleries. And don’t skimp on family photos to commemorate your vacation! Here’s a shortcut to hiring a flytographer for your Berlin family vacation.
What else makes for an unforgettable family getaway? We can help you design the perfect itinerary based on your family members’ ages and interests. Moreover, we’ve got the local connections and travel know-how to ensure you enjoy the best accommodations and a compelling combination of independent exploration, hands-on experiences, and tours. Discover why we’re the top pick for families looking for kid-friendly and, more specifically, teen-friendly vacations.
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