My house guest had the misfortune to visit Berlin during what could be its worst summer behavior of all time: all day rain for several days on end. This threw me for a loop in the itinerary category—I find it difficult even in the most gorgeous of weather to curate a condensed and comprehensive Berlin experience for guests. So I’ve been working on compiling a list of places I like, places I want to try, and recommendations from friends.

We put it into action the other day with an afternoon planned around the weather and it incorporated history, architecture, drinking, and walking:

U5 to the Stasi Museum
Housed in the original buildings of the secret police, the exhibitions show the surveillance methods of East Germany’s notoriously effective intelligence agency. Some of the original cameras are shown—in their top-secret hiding locations such as purses, trashcans, and birdhouses. A delightful mixture of low and “high” tech.

U5 to Frankfurter Tor or Weberwiese (depending on the rain)
Walk down Karl-Marx-Allee and marvel at the 2 km of socialist urban planning and architecture with the Fernsehturm at the end. Stop for a drink in the red chairs of the second floor bar at the Kino International before the 5:15 showing of Beginners. Most movies at the International are shown in their original language with subtitles making it a good place to go with non-German speaking guests.

Stasi Museum

Kino International