October 25, 2017Posted by Bethany Larson Bloch
It can get pretty gray up here in the north of Europe, so whenever the sun makes an appearance, everyone relishes the opportunity to spend time in the parks. Whether for picnicking, jogging or flopping out on a blanket with some friends, Berlin’s green plots are some of the best places to experience local life.
Every park has its own personality, and the most grandiose one by far is Tempelhofer Feld. The former Tempelhof Airport was put out of operation in 2008 and its grounds opened to the public shortly after. The runways are still intact and attract plenty of cyclists, runners and even kiteboarders. This is one of the most beloved picnic destinations in the city, and the unbroken expanse of green space offers a wonderful feeling of openness.
Those living in Neukölln sure are lucky — directly adjacent to Tempelhofer Feld is Hasenheide. With both open fields and forested parts towering with lovely oak trees, Hasenheide has a mix of terrains to suit every taste, plus a petting zoo for kids. Funnily enough, the area always draws slackliners who practice on ropes strung up between trees.
In the neighboring district of Kreuzberg, the place where everyone hangs out is Görlitzer Park. It’s rather on the scruffy side, but what it lacks in landscaping it makes up for in liveliness. Near the northern end is a big bowl-shaped recess in the grass where much of the action happens. Be it drum circles, gaggles of punks swigging beer or Turkish families barbecuing kebabs, Görlitzer Park is the place to witness a colorful slice of neighborhood life.
In contrast, Tiergarten Park is a bit of pastoral peace in the heart of town, wound through with streams and ponds. Once the private hunting grounds of the Prussian royals, today’s Tiergarten Park is the city’s second-largest public garden (after Tempelhofer Feld). It’s mostly wooded, making it good for shaded jogging, and the trees divide the park up into little pockets, with picnics and even gay cruising finding their private corners.
The most surprising experience is Preussenpark in Wilmersdorf. On weekends, scores of Thai women cook and sell authentic specialties right there on the grass, from noodle soups and spicy papaya salad to fried whole fish and even shaved ice desserts. You can even get a Thai massage right there on your picnic blanket!
About The HUNT Berlin Writer: Hilda Hoy is a journalist and writer who ended up in Berlin as a result of a very happy coincidence: after leaving a newspaper job in Prague, Berlin just happened to be a nearby place to take an extended holiday — one that has lasted nine years and counting. When not covering local dining and nightlife for Where Berlin magazine, she can be found tilling her allotment garden, scouring flea markets or exploring all corners of the city by bike, U-Bahn and on foot. She writes about the places she finds on her blog, thenwetakeberlin.de.