80 Ways to Have Low-Cost Good Times in Berlin as a Teenager

Nov 1, 2023

These are some of the activities that the teens on the UA Berlin 2023 trip discovered/invented during our month in Berlin (photos). We purposefully do not include most standard, touristy Berlin activities on this list. We did enjoy a handful of pricier outings—like the Berlin Zoo and Charlottenburg Palace—but in the end, we only spent an average of €2/person/day on such activities. We encourage you to steal and remix these ideas on your next trip to Berlin or another large city!

Find the little wing shaped leaves that spiral when they float, toss them down from high places

The epitome of low cost good times – all you need is to find a maple tree that has dropped its seeds, and boom: mundane yet exhilarating entertainment. (Lucy)

Play a stalking game

Follow someone across the city with pictures of the scenery around them sent after an agreed-upon time. How to play: have someone walk for a few minutes, stop, take a picture of something around them, send it to the stalker, then the stalker uses the pic to find them within a time limit—running allowed! (Jack)

Grocery store park picnic

Indulge in fresh produce from local stores in a green space. Fresh bread can easily be found and coupled with some cheese and cold cuts for a delicious lunch. Lots of good vegan options, too. (Mackenzie)

Spy an interesting building from the S-bahn, go investigate it!

In a big city like Berlin, riding public transit is a given. Use your train time as an opportunity to look out the windows and visually explore the city. If something piques your interest, get off at the nearest station and see if you can find your way there. It may end up being an overpriced restaurant, but you never know where your curiosity will take you! (Margaret)

Free pipe organ concert
While a quick internet search for “concerts” at your destination will yield expensive shows or festivals, a deeper dive will reveal smaller, cheaper opportunities to experience live music. Keep your eye out for cathedrals if you enjoy organ music. Close your eyes and enjoy the concert, without paying through the nose to attend. (Margaret)

Swim in a lake

Berlin has lots of lakes—go check them out! Go on a hike around the lake and then go swimming. Later months in the year will be more like a cold plunge. (Mazie)

Train Tuesday

Get an unlimited pass for public transport and follow trains wherever your heart desires. Get on and off multiple times. Enjoy the views. Contemplate life. Be cool: do it on Tuesday. (Ava)

Free jazz concert

Jazz is always unique, and changes, sometimes drastically, based on the area you’re in. It’s not hard to find performances for cheap or even free as long as you don’t mind being there very early, as venues can quickly get packed. (Chase)

Attempt to scale small walls, parkour style

Got some zoomies? Why not try spontaneous parkour! Pro tip: make sure to take your electronics out of your pockets before partaking. Definitely didn’t learn that the hard way… (Lucy)

Have a blindfold day

Getting to blindfold somebody and taking them to a random part of the city is AMAZING! Having to guide and look out for someone is a fun challenge and great bonding event. Things to have: something you can use as a blindfold, headphones to block out noise and reliable navigation for the leader. (Jack)

Visit the House of the Wannsee Conference

Tucked away outside the hustle and bustle of Berlin, this historic site has been converted into a museum about the atrocities of the Holocaust. Experience the beautiful building as you feel the horrific presence of past high-ranking Nazis. (Sydney)

Visit cemetaries, respectfully

Whether for the famous, the “average”, or the forgotten, there is no shortage of beautiful cemeteries to explore in Berlin. Weißensee cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, is a somber yet magical place to spend an afternoon. (Rylee)


Get in touch with your inner punk 80s emo style, especially when the thrift store is playing Weezer while you browse leather jackets. Look for the 4-level Humana near Frankfurter Tor. (Nikki)

Smell perfumes in a drugstore

When stuck in an area due to phone breakage or other tragedy, find the nearest DM and sample as many perfumes as possible. Don’t buy any. (Lila)

Create a fake Instagram for a person or business

Sometimes life is full of boring stuff, so why not spice it up a bit? Like Unschool Adventures? Create an Evil Alter Ego™ account and post silly pictures of your friend or trip leader with funny captions. Like this. (Nikki)

Perch on stone pillars

Precariously prance between them. Do horrible pistol squats. Race your friends. Have surprisingly philosophical discussions. (Lucy)

Do jumping jacks of joy when the sun comes out

Exercising when the sun is out is a great way to keep your vibe up and get motivated for the day. Jumping jacks are simple, fun and goofy. Also, my name is Jack. (Jack)

Ride a bus to the end of the line

Hop on the bus, watch the city fly by, realize you’ll have to walk 30 minutes to find an S-Bahn Station to get to another bus stop that goes to the place you’re going, get to the bus stop right as the bus leaves, miss it, talk to a man selling Soviet merch, have fun. (Nikki)

Walk in a random direction

Find a few other people who are willing to look insane and/or embarrass themselves in public and pull up an online randomizer. Add a few options, find a suitable place to begin, and off you go! Consider prancing. (Ava)

Make origami frogs, leave them in places 

There’s a lot of time on public transport, and making origami can be a great way to pass the time. If you don’t have origami paper, you can try to figure out how to use scrap paper. Jumping frogs in particular are rather easy to make using receipts. (William)

Visit the Futurium

At the Futurium, every exhibit revolves around the question “how do we want to live in the future?” There are very cool sculptures and comfortable lounge spots. There’s even an interactive Lego city builder! (Scarlett)

Visit the Museum of Things

Look at a bunch of past people’s ideas of a utopia. For example, the “kontinuum”: a theoretical project that was a tube that circled the world and would be able to house people and shut them out from anything that people did not believe was good for the planet. Very dystopian. (Aidan)

Visit a Flomarkt (Flea Market)

Berlin has many flea markets, for example the one in Mauerpark every Sunday. No need to spend any money! There’s a big variety of things to see and appreciate: handmade art prints, jewelry, clothing, accessories, home decor, endless secondhand wonders, and lots of music. Bring your own food and drink and leave your cash at home so you’re not tempted to spend any money. (Mazie and Fern)

Visit the East Side Gallery

Yes, it is a very popular tourist destination. Yes, it is crowded and there are pickpockets. Yes, it is worth it. Better to go in the morning when it’s less crowded. Not all the art is in plain sight though! (Avery)

Take a free blues dance lesson

Find a free blues dance (or other partner dance) lesson, put on deodorant (important), go and dance as much as you can! (Mel)


Bring your pens, pencils or paints along with your sketchbook and find a nice comfortable spot to sit for a while. Put on music or listen to the sounds around you as you create while inspired by your environment. Share what you make with your friends! (Fern)

Write letters and postcards

Who said that letter writing is dead? Write to your family, friends, or even yourself. No matter who receives it, it’s a great way to process and share your adventures. (Rylee)

Climb a tree

Keep an eye out for good climbing trees! Many exist in Berlin. If you love parkour and climbing it’s a great way to spark some childlike joy—or go to the hospital!  (Scarlett) [editor’s note: no one went to the hospital]

Explore parks

Enjoy the plethora of parks and outdoor spaces in Berlin. Lie in the grass on a warm sunny day and recharge your energy. (Mackenzie)

Get yourself invited to a student performance and banquet

If there are no empty tables at your hostel cafeteria, sit with some random professionalish looking adults and ask them why they are here. Repeat this process until a banquet is brought up and get yourself invited via rizz (charisma). (Lila)

Join a high school class

Go discuss gender roles with German teens, and maybe you’ll pick up some sweet clubbing tips along the way. (Lucy)

Attend a free Berlin Philharmonic performance

The Philharmonic performances are a great way to hear new music. Often you don’t really know what you’re in for, especially if your German is limited. Note you will be out in the main hall where seating is essentially nonexistent, so you’ll find people leaning on railings and sitting on stairs. Sit back or lean forward, relax, and enjoy. (Chase)

Sit in a children’s police car

Go to a random mall and find the little children’s cars, helicopters, and planes. Don’t put any money in and just sit there and do a photoshoot. Don’t get stuck. (Lila)

Photograph statues

Go hunting for the many statues and sculptures in Berlin. In Tiergarten, for example, there all kinds of statues, beautifully surrounded by nature. (Scarlett)

Do a photoshoot

Go to a park or building that you find beautiful, wear a nice outfit or bring a change of clothes, bring a tripod or friend to hold the camera, pose and have fun, post pictures on Instagram, make your friends jealous. (Vick)

Make TikToks

Get your creativity flowing by making TikToks of your days, outfits, adventures, and more. Make your time in Berlin look amazing by stringing a bunch of videos together along with cinematic music. (Scarlett)

Go to the Jewish Museum

Experience breathtaking architecture, the history of Jewish oppression across Europe, a large collection of Jewish artifacts, and a uniquely positive spotlight of Jewish history and joy. (Sydney)

Find adventure playgrounds

Berlin has some great playgrounds! Some may have age limits, so consider checking before entering. I went to Fairy Tale Playground, which features a large wooden castle and a rope climbing structure. (William)

Play Hearts at a trendy cafe

Small cafes exist all around Berlin. Go hang out at one and play a fun card game like Hearts or Kings in the Corner. (Aidan)

Parkour Parkour!

Ugh—get out of your comfort zone already! Climb to some high places, maybe do a backflip or two, leap over a chasm! Injuries are not recommended… but yes, the view is better up there. (Avery)

Go partner dancing

Go on Facebook and find a partner dance event. Put on deodorant (important) and dancing shoes if you have them, then dance even if you’re nervous. Have a good time! (Mel)

Visit Flakturm

Grab a bite to eat, take the hike up the hill, and enjoy the views from above Berlin. There are massive concrete structures on which large guns once stood now seat art which you can take photos with. Wander around and enjoy the views and fresh air. The hike up is steep at parts, but not too long. (Chase)

Hunt for treasure in public parks

Look for coins, random trinkets, and other potentially useful items. A few things you may find: a 2 Euro coin, a necklace, a perfume bottle, drug paraphanelia, a bouquet of flowers, or an old watch. (Jack)

Attend the Festival of Lights 

Though only taking place in October, the Festival of Lights is an amazing way to discover Berlin’s famous landmarks at night. Vibrant colours projected onto recognizable landmarks offer great photo opportunities. (Mackenzie)

Follow the river Spree

Pick a spot along the river Spree and go with the flow (not actually floating). Follow along its winding banks and see where it takes you! (Rylee)

Tell each other riddles on S-Bahn

Long S-Bahn rides: the perfect place to drive each other mad with mind-bending riddles. If you don’t figure it out one day, try again the next! Consider “She like coffee but she doesn’t like tea” and “Johnny whoop” (google them). (Blake)

Have a philosophical discussion on the U-Bahn

Are you ever tired of normal conversations? Are you tired of holding back from “your” “heated” “tendencies?” If so, hop on the U-bahn and talk about the ethical dilemma of burning down a Walmart. (Nikki)

Get a free döner kebap

Practice your non-verbal communication skills with customer service employees. Be extra friendly and charming. You receive a free meal as a result! (Mackenzie)

Meet cool people at your hostel

Scope out people. Take advantage of mealtimes/gatherings and common spaces. Ask to sit with random groups. Invite people to play games/activities. Be friendly, say hello to the faces in your hostel. Take a chance! You might get invited to free concerts and events. (Mazie)

Watch a movie about falling in love in Europe, get inspired to try the same
Research and find this movie about two people who spend 24 hours together and fall in love. Perhaps… Before Sunrise? Dream about your own European romance and, unlike me, actually make it happen. (Lila)

Search for hedgehogs and other fauna

It’s always worth it to keep your eyes peeled for little critters running around. Even the common squirrels become something new, interesting, and different when you’re in another part of the world, and the ones you don’t see are even more fun to notice waddling across the road. (Chase)

Lay on grass at sunset on a particularly nice afternoon

If the sun doesn’t come out very often when you’re in Berlin, learn to drop everything and lie in the grass as soon as it pops out its sunny little head. Sunset is best, but don’t be too picky, because it might not be back for a few days! (Blake)

Document a swan altercation

There are some curious swans that live in the lakes around the outskirts of Berlin, like Schlachtensee and Wannsee. If you’re feeling daring you could get some footage of close encounters with swans. BEWARE, THEY ARE KILLERS! (William)

Play Duck Duck Swan 

Go to a park. When you don’t have anything else to do, channel your inner child and play duck duck goose. But swan, because Berlin. (Avery)

Watch birds as they do bird things

Go find yourself a pond, lake, street corner, underpass, or anywhere else where birds congregate and watch and have some fun with them for a bit. Name them after people you’re with, watch as they dive underwater or clean themselves. Just make sure not to get nipped by an angsty swan! (Chase)

Attempt to feed a pigeon

Look around at just about any train station or street corner and you will probably see a few pigeons hanging around. These little guys were originally one of the first birds tamed by man, and they will remember you sharing your food. Toss a little treat near them (seeds and fruits are great) and they will surely appreciate it, as long as it doesn’t fall into a place they can’t reach. (Fern)

Film a horror movie

Make a group and come up with a story together, lose your mind filming late into the night, edit it, show it to people, regain your mind. (Mel)

Visit the Humboldt Forum

Do you want to experience a simulation of your own death? Learn depressing facts about climate change? Almost break down at the sight of little rodents preserved in jars? Welcome to the Humboldt Forum. (Lucy)

Tour a local alternative school

Schedule a visit with an alternative school. Drop in on a class. Sit down with a student and contemplate how terrible German politics are. (Ava)

Talk to random people on the S-Bahn

Sit down on the S-Bahn and point at someone until they notice. (This is not creepy at all.) Strike up a conversation and learn about their life story. Use them as a way to learn about cool things to do in Berlin. (Ava)

Visit the tiny nature area park in an abandoned trainyard

In Natur Park Südgelände you’ll find a curiously charing wedge-shaped park with overgrown railroad tracks, abandoned steam engines, and chill vibes. Entrance is only €1 (self-service). A lovely adjacent bike path will transport you to nearby Park am Gleisdreieck. (Blake)

Take a long walk from the southwest to downtown Berlin

Take the S-bahn to Nikolassee and then walk back to central Berlin via Schlachtensee, Grunewald, high-fashion Kurfürstendamm, Tiergarten, and Brandenburger Tor. Roughly 4.5 hours for the highly determined. If you’re not feeling it, simply hop on public transport! (Blake)

Browse all the bookstores

Though a German city, Berlin has several English bookstores, both for new and used books, that are often coupled with small cafes. A perfect combination allowing for a relaxing outing! Dussman das KulturKaufhaus is a great start. Who knows, maybe you’ll come out with a book or two? Or… not. (Mackenzie)

Attend an art gallery opening

Go to a trendy/hipster part of Berlin—probably Kreuzberg/Friedrichshain— and find art galleries, which are almost always free. Walk around, contemplate art, feel cultured. (Vick)

Throw a milk party

It’s not code! If you’re craving some slightly more intimate social time, consider hosting a fun little party with a ridiculous theme (like flavored milk) to get people interested. The weirder the better. (Avery)

Cut/style hair

If you’re traveling for a longer timeframe, you may begin to miss your hairstylist back home. Borrow scissors from your hostel’s front desk and give yourself a trim. Alternatively, ask a travel companion to style or cut your hair. You can get some one-on-one bonding time—and a new look! (Margaret)

Learn a new card trick

Card tricks will impress your friends. Who knows, maybe if you get good enough you could even show it to strangers and demand a few euros in return. (William)

Find street musicians

Scope them out. Befriend them. Rizz them. Get invited to their performances—they probably need the audience. Enjoy a free concert and new friend! (Mazie)

Create a scavenger hunt

Make a list of weird or fun tasks to do and go do them! Make sure to take pictures or videos as proof (and for social media) so you can prove that you’re the winner and did the most cool things. (Fern)

Admire architecture

Research different styles of Greek/Roman architecture and search for what you have learned while in Berlin. Make a list of all the things you saw. Feel cultured. (Lila)

Modulor art project!

Set yourself and a gaggle of fellow art-inclined friends loose in the two story craft supply store Modulor with a budget of 10€ (or less) and not the foggiest clue of what to make. Afterwards, find the coziest spot you can, maybe a local library, park, or a comfy café, and get creating. (Rylee)

Be tourists; take pictures

Walk around and explore to your heart’s content. Anytime you see something cool pull out your phone and capture the moment! Bring a separate digital or Polaroid camera to feel more like an official sightseer. (Fern)

Rollerblade at Tempelhof

Rent inexpensive rollerblades or skates in the neighborhood near Templehof, and then look for the skate area in Tempelhof field with super smooth asphalt. On afternoons with nice weather, it’s a scene. (Scarlett)

Be an introvert inside a beautiful library

Search Google Maps for libraries and choose one of the most beautiful-looking ones. Walk around until you find a desk facing a large window, ideally with lots of greenery or people-watching opportunities. Spend an afternoon reading and writing and daydreaming. (Blake)

Hunt for cool cars

Berlin is packed with old and weird vehicles. Take pictures of the interesting cars or ones you wouldn’t see at home. This can be as momentary as finding something on the way to lunch or as intentional as going to the free car museum. (Chase)

Host a listening party

When you feel like completely ignoring the city and recharging your battery, grab your phone (and preferably a speaker), pick a prompt like “a song from your childhood” or “a weird song you like,” have everyone put in a song. Listen and chill. (Mel)

Find the ghost of David Bowie

Berlin is riddled with echoes of the prolific musician, who lived in West Berlin in the 1970s while recording three albums known as his “Berlin trilogy.” You can spot Bowie-themed calendars, books, and souvenirs around the city and hear his songs on the radio. For die-hard fans, a visit to the apartment building where he lived is a must. Optional: picture Bowie at his apartment, remember he’s dead, get sad. (Margaret)

Meet an accomplished traveler on Couchsurfing, invite them lead a travel masterclass
Use the website Couchsurfing.com to meet interesting independents travelers from across the world. Befriend an especially friendly and experienced Couchsurfer, and then invite them to teach you and your friends everything they know! (Blake)

Wander around Potsdam

Pack a light lunch and take the S-bahn down to Potsdam. Wander around the gardens and get a sense of the greenery you wouldn’t find in most places in Berlin. Extension ticket to Zone C required! (Aidan)

Listen to the free Thursday student concert

Got a free Thursday afternoon?!? Take a trip to Museum Island (located in between Brandenburger Tor and Alexanderplatz) and attend the free student concert at “Neuer Marstall,” with performances of classical music from different students each week, featuring piano, violin and cello solos, duets, and trios. You will be entranced with the massive talent and dedication these students possess. Get a free piece of chocolate afterwards. It’s your lucky day. (Vick)

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