Berlin is a city where families will feel welcome.

Germany’s capital, known for cherishing tolerance and inclusivity, plus a free-spirited, bohemian vibe, is a destination where parenting doesn’t have to limit the parents' fun. From beer garden shindigs to outdoor techno festivals, tots in prams and anti-noise earmuffs are an integral part of the action.

Whether on the go with toddlers or teens, Berlin bear-hugs family travelers with cool entertainment, from grown-up social spaces where kids are gladly accepted to multi-aged attractions. Here’s what you need to know when traveling with kids in Berlin.

A young boy leaps into his father's arms from a log while messing around in a playground at the park together
You're never far from a decent playground in Berlin © Tom Werner / Getty Images

Is Berlin good for kids?

German parenting, compared to most other non-European standards, is considered to be laissez-faire. Children are given freedom to explore their individuality and express themselves in public, especially outdoors – although free rein stops at misbehavior. Particularly in Berlin, a proudly progressive and liberally minded city, children are allowed everywhere, keeping businesses conscious of family’s needs.

This is most abundant in Berlin’s bountiful outdoors. About a third of the city is covered in green open spaces, with around 2500 well-landscaped parks each with their own unique character: from lush gardens to paved walking paths and shady picnic spots. Urban recreation goes beyond your usual swings and sandpits; ping-pong tables are ubiquitous, as are massive wood jungle gyms with footbridges, slides and climbable walls. Rest assured, in the residential areas away from busy main streets, a park or playground is usually close by and ready to entertain the children you're traveling with.

Dining out shouldn’t be a big to-do, with highchairs and children’s menus at most restaurants. Even some fine-dining establishments welcome children and cater to dietary needs, though asking ahead is a must. Less formal German restaurants, like beer gardens and cafes, are definitely best suited to family time with playgrounds and easeful self-service.

Where is the best place to stay in Berlin with kids 

When choosing family accommodations in Berlin, consider staying close to larger parks and open-air markets, where open space, live music and snack vendors abound. In Prenzlauer Berg, Mauerpark has a must-visit Sunday flea market and Schöneberg’s Gleisdreieck is a top park for families with skateboarding, soccer and not-your-average play areas for bouncing and climbing.

A boat laden with passengers travels along a river next to a large domed cathedral
A boat trip on the Spree is a sure-fire way to entertain the whole family © canadastock / Shutterstock

Best things to do in Berlin with babies and toddlers

Explore the river and canals

Berlin’s waterways aren’t swim-friendly, but catch the drift in other ways. Take a breezy boat tour along the Spree River for panoramic views of the big attractions, or paddle onto Kreuzberg and Neukölln’s less-busy canals. And, if you’re still set on swimming, there’s Badeschiff, a pool built into the Spree from a converted cargo ship. Parents can take in Badeschiff’s trendy, beach club-esque vibe, à la DJs and yoga classes, with youngsters in tow – and admission for babies and children aged under 2 is free.

Go for a picnic

Park picnics are guaranteed fun and budget-friendly. Diverse landscapes feature lakes, vibrant flora and fauna, and even the odd swan or fox sighting. Pick a green lung with excellent people-watching, like Tempelhofer Feld often full of kite-surfers and musicians, and Mauerpark, where graffiti artists and buskers gravitate. Both these options also allow barbecuing; pick up a single-use grill set from the supermarket and a kebab tray, and you’re set.

An adult and a child peer at an interactive boat exhibition in a museum
Hands-on museums, such as Berlin's Technikmuseum, are popular with school-age children © hanohiki / Shutterstock

Best things to do in Berlin with school-age kids

Check out an interactive museum

Berlin has a smorgasbord of cool museums with diverse appeal for all ages; good luck picking just one! The Naturkunde boasts a gigantic T-Rex skeleton and other ogle-worthy bony treasures and taxidermy, while the Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology) claims mechanical marvels with vintage locomotives and exhibits on magnetism and aerospace.

Get wild at Berlin Zoo

Berlin Zoo is one of the world’s oldest and largest. Pandas, big cats, rare birds – name the species, and they’re here. Inside tip: Can’t swing an all-day visit? The adjacent Bikini Berlin mall offers surprisingly great (and free!) views of the monkey enclosure from its rooftop restaurant and upstairs terrace.

Three teenage girls roller-skate on the runway of a former airport, now a vast park in Berlin
Older children can make use of Berlin's many parks, or simply fit in with the adults in a beer garden © alvarez / Getty Images

Best things to do in Berlin with tweens and teenagers

Hang out in a beer garden

In some places in the world, children and drinking establishments are kept firmly apart, but Berlin’s enormous beer gardens are perfect for idyllic family time. At Café am Neuen See in Tiergarten, play lawn games, watch soccer, or paddle boat on a pond. At the BRLO Brewhouse, craft beer is served against its “backyard,” grassy Gleisdreieck Park where skateboarding, hip-hop troupes, and Frisbee abound. Either way, adults can indulge in true Deutsch escapism: wursts and beer beneath Black Forest-worthy trees and fairy lights.

Party at a street festival

Parenting in Berlin is very anti-FOMO with family-friendly street festivals and open-air events. Clubbing is the soundtrack to Berlin city life, so kids are exposed to electronic music and responsible partying from an early age. At summer parades, for example Karneval der Kulturen and Pride (Christopher Street Day), all ages dance to live music and sport colorful costumes, celebrating multiculturalism and diversity. Teens can paint rainbow signs and tiny ravers take part in strollers and soundproof earmuffs – although, big crowds, provocative outfits and public drinking may be a turn-off for some families. 

Planning tips

Public transportation can have its trying moments – namely, a lack of elevators and crowded, narrow doorways during peak hours – but don’t rule it out. Designated areas for prams and family seating do help. If you decide to go for this budget-friendly option, remember: don’t hesitate to ask a local for help carrying your pram down the stairs, or asking someone to move for a child to sit. Berliners may be gruff, but when it comes to families, they’re very understanding.

In addition to public transit, you can also consider taking car shares between some locations or renting a bicycle for some days (about €10 per day. Bring a booster seat to drive in car shares or, for extra freedom, rent a bike and baby buggy.

BER (Berlin) airport has a family fast-track queue, but it can get congested – just in case, reserve a security time slot free of charge on the airport website.

Most museums and attractions, as well as public transport, are free for children under the age of six, easing travel costs. For older children, consider the family Berlin WelcomeCard, which includes entry passes to select museums and attractions plus unlimited public transport for one cost (and up to three children aged 14 and under).

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