Visiting Berlin or already living here? No question there’s a lot of sights and culture to see – but even better if it’s free! So get here inspired by these free museums.
1. Urban Nation: Museum for Urban Contemporary Art
One of the youngest museums in Berlin (barely one year old), the Urban Nation is a museum for street and modern art. You can see work well-known artists like of Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Invader: thought-provoking paintings, graffiti, and even a garden with sculptures – and all for free! And definitely check out the bathroom. 😉
Located near Nollendorfplatz and Winterfeldplatz (in the western center of the city) you can combine the visit with a stroll or dinner afterwards in the area full of nice restaurants.
Three Free Museums about the Wall and Cold War
Are you interested in the history of Berlin during Cold War, when it was divided by the Berlin Wall? Then there’s even three museums you can visit – all of them for free.
2. The Allied Museum
The Allied Museum, located on the area of the former US administration of West-Berlin, consists of two buildings: a permanent and temporary exhibition.
You can also see an airplane of the famous Berlin Air Bridge, a wagon of the former Duty Train (shuttle between West-Berlin and West-Germany) and a part of the Berlin Wall, including a watchtower.
3. German-Russian Museum
The “other side” of the history you can visit in the German-Russian museum in Berlin-Karlshorst. It’s in the original buildings where the unconditional surrender was signed on 8th of May 1945.
You’ll see information material about the history of World War II, everyday items of that time and photos, maps, Soviet uniforms. Outside is an collection of a Russian tank, artillery and other military vehicles.
4. Berlin Wall Memorial
- the first smaller concrete wall, facing East-Berlin
- the “death-strip” (Todesstreifen) in between
- a watchtower
- the outer concrete wall, facing West-Berlin – the one, often painted with
graffiti that you usually know from photographs
Across the street, there’s also a building, providing information to read and watch in films – all free to visit.
Bonus: East Side Gallery
Not actually a museum but still a very famous place among tourists: The East Side Gallery is an original part of the Berlin Wall that was painted only after 1990 – because it was facing to East Berlin, at the East Germany authorities would not allow it to be painted.
This is why in 1990 famous artists painted well-known pictures on these blank walls, and around 20 years later, some of them came again to renew them.
5. Museumswohnung: An East German Flat
Time-travel back to the 1980s and see an original-furnished and equipped apartment of East Berlin. Located in the East Berlin district of Hellersdorf, you enter a typical Plattenbau apartment of these times, including furniture, kitchen utensils, TV set etc.
The visit is usually guided so you can ask all your questions about the items you see.
Opening times are really short: Only Sundays between 2 and 4 pm.
6. Museum in der Kulturbrauerei: How East Germans lived
Museum in der Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg. You can see the daily life of East Germans with many original items, like clothing, cars, camping items, prints and flags. There’s even an original kiosk. It also covers a long timespan, from the 1950’s to 1980’s.
7. Gaslaternen Freilichtmuseum: Historic Gas Lamps
Not actually a museum in the sense of a building: Placed right a the S stations Tiergarten Gaslaternen Freilichtmuseum shows you a collection of old gas lamps – not only from Berlin but from all across Europe. The even get illuminated every day at dusk.
8. Local Museums: The History of your District
Berlin in its form only exist since 1920, before many of the current districts were cities of its own, with their own history. So if you’re curious about the area your living in, definitely check out your district’s museums. You can see old photographs and maps, and many original items, like an original historic classroom in Mitte Museum.
- Prenzlauer Berg
The city of Berlin lists all of their free museums on their website. So just follow there if you need more inspiration. And besides these ones listed, you get free entry to all Berlin museums run by the city if you’re receiving social welfare like ALG II, Sozialhilfe, Grundsicherung.