A Guide to the Weird and Wacky in Berlin

A Guide to the Weird and Wacky in Berlin

Hansa Studios

Fans of David Bowie have long been making pilgrimages to this studio near Potsdamer Platz — the late singer recorded his “Low” and “Heroes” albums, and the EP “Baal,” here — but music fans, in general, shouldn’t skip a beat to stop by. After all, U2’s “Achtung Baby,” Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” and R.E.M.’s final studio album, “Collapse Into Now,” were all recorded here. There are two-hour tours on select dates throughout the month.


Looking like a pointy circus tent from the distant future, Liquidrom is a spa that only Berlin could conjure up. There are variations on the theme of saunas and steam rooms, but Liquidrom’s pièce de résistance is the huge saltwater pool where visitors can float for hours while underwater techno music plays and colored lighting gently glows throughout the arch-ceiling space. You can top off the experience with a Balinese herbal massage or an aromatic oil massage. Locals come here after a night out of clubbing and debauchery.

Museum of Medical History

Enlarged human brains, newborn babies with deformities encased in large glass jars, a 132-pound colon and other anatomical abnormalities are on display at this museum, associated with Charité medical school. Some see the collection of 750 objects on display as macabre and others see it as medically intriguing. This assemblage of oddities began over a century ago when Dr. Rudolf Virchow, the father of modern pathology, took a particular interest in corporal deformities (as one does) and began to forage for the unusual and the abnormal. The museum also includes an iron lung and an anatomical theater, where medical students could watch autopsies taking place.


Gordon Welters for The New York Times

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

German beer drinkers raised a collective eyebrow when the lauded California craft brewery Stone Brewing opened in a 1901 brick gasworks complex on the outskirts of Berlin in 2016. But when locals got a taste (and an eyeful) of the in-house pub and restaurant, they might well have let out a collective burp. The massive wood-and-glass beer hall is an ideal venue for sampling one (or two) of the 25 Stone beers on tap while eating hoisin chili duck tacos, Vietnamese spring rolls and tender brisket.

Tempelhof Airport

Site of the famed Berlin Airlift in 1948-49, Tempelhof Airport closed in 2008, and residents voted to turn it into a park. Rent a ride at nearby Little John Bikes and spend a few hours pedaling on a runway; then take a breather at one of the beer gardens (open only on weekends) sprinkled throughout the grounds. The 4,000-foot-long Nazi-era terminal building, scheduled to become an event space, is one of the largest structures in Germany and is open for two-hour tours four days a week.


Gordon Welters for The New York Times


Set on a 375-foot-high hill of rubble in the western part of Berlin, the Cold War relics of Teufelsberg make up a mishmash of large satellite dishes and ramshackle domed towers, many of which are coated in eye-pleasing street art. American forces were stationed here in the 20th century, apparently trying to quietly disrupt radio signals from the Eastern bloc, but other activity that went on here will be a mystery until 2020 when the site’s official archives will be opened and available. Fans of Cold War history, street art and great views gravitate here. Wander around on your own or take a 90-minute guided tour.

Thai Park

Located in Preussen Park in the western Wilmersdorf neighborhood, this weekly outdoor feast features Thai food cooked by immigrants from the Southeast Asian country. Every Saturday and Sunday (and occasionally on Friday) in good weather, Berlin-residing Thai women set up their wares on blankets in the park. And then a horde of hungry Berliners arrives to eat the made-to-order som tum (spicy green papaya salad) from the northeast region of Isan, classic pad thai, mango-spiked sticky rice and hearty pork noodle soup.

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