Mr Fox city guides are a comprehensive must-do list of places to stay, play, eat, do and shop in family-friendly cities. Compiled by writers who have tapped up the locals and thrown their children in at the deep end to bring you a tried and tested edit of the best places to be. Which leaves you nothing to do but book flights. Simple.
Compiled by Sarah Winborn
Due in no small part to its rich history, Berlin is a city of many faces: from leafy, wide streets lined with staggering architecture in Prenzlauer Berg, to the über modern 90s built Potsdamer Platz, or the multitude of waterways and lakes surrounding the city. Whilst Berlin’s reputation is for wallet hammering, sleep depriving, miss-it miss-out weekends, it is also surprisingly family-friendly: with loads of green space, a great café culture and always plenty happening.
If you like the minimalist look then Miniloft Berlin is for you. They offer four types of rooms, the Introverted Room being the best pick for families. The service is super friendly and children are given a welcome pack (drawings to colour in, children’s cutlery) and lots of tips on where to go in the city with kids. The apartments come with a small kitchen, handy for those who want to be able to self-cater, particularly with younger kids.
(From €100 per night)
This boutique hotel opened in 2013 in the former Danish Embassy, and while it is already known for having an extremely cool nightclub, Michelin starred restaurant and spectacular spa, this is actually a surprisingly good spot for young families. Firstly, the rooms are generous and the suites gaping. If you choose well you will get a view over Tiergarten park and the animals in the zoo – hours of entertainment right there. The service is slick and children are welcomed rather than tolerated.
(Doubles from £125)
In Germany, a two-room apartment means 1 bedroom, while three-room means two bedrooms. But the one and two bedroom apartments at Circus Hotel are a great option for families who need some space. The hotel offers friendly service, a king sized double bed for the adults and cool design elements.
(Two-room apartments from €120, three-room apartments cost from €170 low season)
Set in the Tiergarten park, this café sells typical German summer fayre: pizzas, pasta and cakes, nothing special – but it is a great spot to enjoy a classic Berlin Biergarten that’s genuinely family-friendly. After you finish your lunch, stroll through the park and visit the Brandenburg Gate.
Lichtensteinallee 2, 10787
This Mitte-based restaurant has a great family atmosphere and the food is reliably great, using the best seasonal and regional ingredients, it’s a failsafe.
Jägerstr. 35, 10117
In Prenzlauer Berg, this café has a great indoor playground for the colder months and a large outdoor play space during the summer months. Kiezkind offers simple, tasty lunches and snacks.
Auf dem Helmholtzplatz Nr 1., 10437
This Friedrichshain playground was almost lost, the original having been pulled down a few years ago. Thanks to a strong campaign by many locals in Berlin, the much-loved Dragon playground was saved and the gigantic dragon was resurrected, albeit in a new form. Opposite the playground, there’s Kinderwirtschaft, a family café to keep you fuelled.
Schreinerstraße 48/49, 10247 Berlin
If you visit Berlin in spring or summer, bring your swim gear and head out to Strandbad Wannsee for some water fun. Take the train to S Nikolasee, walk through the forest (follow signs for the Strandbad) and step back in time. This is rather old-fashioned, in a great way: with a beach to sunbathe and play on, water to swim in, often alongside a family of ducks – much to the delight of children. You can even rent your own traditional beach chair (Strandkorb).
Wannseebadweg 25, 14129 Berlin
One of the best of many brilliant parks in Berlin. There’s a magical Fairy Tale Water Fountain, a string of playgrounds, ramps for kids to ride their BMXs, fountains to run through, a restaurant and beautiful walks.
Tram M4 Am Friedrichshain
The historically significant home of the Berlin Airlift, Tempelhof Airport closed its doors and runway to commercial flights in 2008. Much to the enjoyment of many locals and visitors, it’s large runways and surrounding greens have been turned in to a gigantic park. Common sights to be found include, windsurfers practicing their craft, joggers running the park’s perimeter, barbeques and kite flying. Hire a bike (including bikes with kids seats, or kids bikes), or check out one of the urban gardening communities.
Nearest S Bahn Tempelhof.
This is a fabulous museum for dinosaur lovers, featuring large skeletons, fossils and interactive tools for the kids. A highlight is the gigantic skeleton filling the space in the main entrance while on screens, you can see this and the other skeletons in the room come to life. There are also special exhibits and a chilled glass menagerie filled with more than a million zoological species preserved in alcohol.
Invalidenstr. 43, 10115 Berlin
Peacock Island (Pfaueninsel)
With free-roaming peacocks, historical buildings, beautiful gardens and lots of opportunities for tree climbing, Peacock Island is a great destination for a family picnic and a day out of the hustle of the city. Based along the river Havel, Pfaueninsel is a nature reserve for rare birds, great for nature lovers.
Nikolskoer Weg, 14109 Berlin
No first visit to Berlin is complete without seeing the Berlin Wall. A section of the original wall is still intact along the river Spree in Friedrichshain, featuring artwork on one side and a photographic exhibition on the other. Start from the Ostbahnhof end and make your way along the wall. At the end of the wall you will be faced with a red brick bridge called the Oberbaumbrücke. Cross the bridge to Kreuzberg and see if you can spot the bridge playing Paper, Scissors, Stone against itself.
Starts opposite Ostbahnhof S Bahn Station
Science Center Spectrum
Spectrum is fabulous for children of all ages. Just down the road from the larger Technik Museum, this is far more interactive and offers hands-on experiments for toddlers and younger children, as well as fun learning opportunities for older kids. Head to the top floor and make your way down. You can experiment with sound, movement, air, electricity and weight, it’s all great fun.
Möckernstr. 26, 10963 Berlin
Set inside a large shopping centre, Loxx Miniature Worlds is a big hit with all ages. This is Berlin scaled right down, with a mixture of buildings and areas of the city that exist in real life and a number of creative additions. Fake clouds hover overhead and you experience both day and night during your visit, and even the odd thunderstorm. While the delights are kept safely out of reach behind perspex, there is so much to discover: from someone being sprayed by a fire extinguisher, to a few drunks causing mischief, and some ghosts. Great for a rainy day.
3rd floor of the Alexa Shopping Centre, Grunerstr. 20, 10179 Berlin
The men in blue have a permanent home in Berlin, enjoying their own theatre in Potsdamer Platz. Children receive a 20 per cent discount on tickets for performances Sunday–Thursday and the Saturday matinee. Prices start from €65.84 per ticket, on the pricey side but it is a fabulous show.
Berlin’s parliamentary building offers views across the city and a chance to skip the queues if you use a pushchair. You have to book your visit ahead via the website (it’s free), but the views over the city give you perspective.
Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin
This beautiful store in Mitte is run by a former journalist with a taste for Scandinavian design and you can see her attention to detail in each and every inch of the boutique.
Schröderstr. 14, 10115 Berlin
Just across the road from Friedrichain’s popular Boxhagener Platz, Frieda Hain is primarily a shop selling gorgeous materials in all prints and colours, but there is also a large selection of kids stuff, from hand-sewn bags and clothing to gorgeous little toys and designer children’s wallpaper. It’s a treasure trove for those interested in kids design.
Gärtnerstr. 10, am Boxhagener Platz, 10245 Berlin
Opened in 2013, Monkind is a brand and shop based in Schöneberg filled with kids clothing and accessories. Monkind make their own patterns with a focus on sustainability.
Grunewaldstr. 71a, 10823 Berlin
Just a short walk from Hackesher Markt station, this small but perfectly formed children’s clothing boutique offers a well curated number of high-end children’s brands.
Auguststr. 26a, 10119 Berlin
LIKE A LOCAL
Like a Local
Berlin is best seen by bicycle with two wheels being the favourite transport of many Berliner’s. Children’s bikes, adult bikes with child seats and trailers can be hired from Berlin on Bike.
WHEN TO GO
Generally very cold in the winter and wonderfully warm in the summer, Berlin is a city of extremes and each season has its plus points. November and December are great months for those wanting to visit the famous German Christmas markets, whilst in the spring and summer, you can make the most of the water, playgrounds and parks. Autumn is beautiful in Berlin, try and visit during the Festival of Lights in October when many of Berlin’s famous monuments and buildings are lit up in an array of colours.DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE: To make life even easier, you can click here for all of our Do, Play, Shop & Eat picks mapped on Jauntful where you can download it into a handy printable A4 guide to take with you.
Images: Shutterstock and Sarah Winborn. Visit Sarah’s website here.
Know of any brilliant spots in Berlin that weren’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below.