If your looking for a reason to visit Berlin but have kids here are my top 5 reasons why Berlin with kids is a great choice.
So far Oscar and I have visited quite a few city’s London, New York, Paris, Mexico City, Bangkok, Gothenburg and Zagreb. They vary in scale yes but they are all big so I feel my sense of “the big city experience” is on point at this stage in the travel with kids game. Sometimes it’s not only the attractions that make a city doable but the logistics. For example can I use public transport in Mexico City? Yes and no, mainly no because there are so few times when it isn’t bone crushingly busy. Yes purely because it exists. Are there enough parks in NYC so my kid isn’t constantly in a stroller? Nope, they are few and far between and if your kid is active forget it. NYC is challenging to find safe places to run around in, we felt so bad we even made a map!
When we visited Berlin the first time it was for a week and I honestly didn’t understand why my whole travel network had failed to mention how awesome this city is for kids. I’m all about keeping a secret but with 28.7 million visitors in 2013 that can’t be the case but maybe the info isn’t there? To cut a long story short Berlin is great with kids and here are my top reasons.
BERLIN WITH KIDS – PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN THE CITY
There are 5 main forms of public transport in Berlin and ALL are child friendly.
Cycling – there are special lanes and these are taken very seriously complete with own traffic light system. Bike rental facilities dot the city and you will see many parents and children going around there daily business in all weather on bikes. Think Holland.
Trams- Berlin has the largest tram network in Germany with some 789 stations. Trams have a special door for people with peaks and designed areas for buggy parking.
Bus – The Berlin bus network runs from 5am until 12am again all busses have special entrances and designated buggy parking areas.
S Bahn- what is the Sbahn now? It’s a part of Berlins train network with 15 over and underground stations. The majority of these have elevators/lifts to platform areas and designated buggy parking areas onboard.
Ubahn- Another network of 9 lines connecting Berlins neighborhoods. I am yet to find one without an elevator even outside of the city Centre.
All the above bar the cycling network are run by the BVG which also operates a great site in English with maps and apps here.
BERLIN WITH KIDS – BERLIN HAS KINDERCAFES
If your German like mine was last used on an exchange program and you like coffee then you might be able to work this one out. This is a coffee shop for kids. It’s not what you think, there will be no overpriced baby chinos served here. Most likely you will be served organic fruit pouches, smoothies and a selection of home baked goods and wait for it, play. A heavy dose of play.
These wonderful inventions are so common to Berliners that when I informed a new friend that they don’t have those in London she just looked at my blankly. Does not compute was the expression on her face. eventually she asked me what I meant. “No cafe with play areas in the whole city?” Well I said they have some play centers but they cost money around 8 euros and mainly we go there for special occasions like birthdays. “But what do you do?” Was her honest response.
Anyway I digress. These places are not every parents idea of a good time but when it’s rainy and you want to see a friend who has kids or simply sit and stare into your coffee for 30 minutes surrounded by total pandemonium this is your place. Wifi, snacks and games. They are dotted all over the city and I will be writing a bigger and better guide sharing them all with you whilst probably sitting in one very soon I promise.
CAFE BLOOM NEUKOLLN
MONAS ALT TREPTOW
BERLIN WITH KIDS Berlin has a LOT of children’s parks.
I’m not just talking green space where you jostle with the junkies and dog walker for a patch of green that nothing has infested. Berlin is covered in tiny swing sets, jungle gyms, climbing frames and all manor of kids activity parks. It’s rare that you will walk through a neighborhood and not chance upon a fun little play area. see below….
Of course there are also the usual museums, aquariums and not one but two zoo’s too but the above finer points just make the whole city with kids experience dare i say it a pleasure!
We are now two months into our Berlin experience and I’m taking my time discovering each and every above mentioned attraction and will be dutiful reporting back on the best and unmissable. I have found these wonderful resources in the mean time:
BERLIN WITH KIDS – BERLIN REFERENCE WEBSITES
BERLIN FOR ALL THE FAMILY – A fantastic resource, I have used it extensively to adjust to Berlin life and find great things to do.
TOP 10 BERLIN – Sometimes its obvious but there are some gems in there too.
VISIT BERLIN – Again slightly generic but everything is there.
SLOW TRAVEL BERLIN – Cool quirky web site not really aimed at me I’m sure but I like it all the same.
As always would love your personal contributions too. Have you visited Berlin recently? Do you live in Berlin and want to share tips? Please feel free to share them on our Facebook page or in the comments below…
Anna + Oscar Chang