How To Experience Berlin Without Breaking Your Wallet

Tip from the German Embassy in the United States. Berlin was once described as a city that is “Poor, but sexy.” Today, there is a little more cashflow in and out, but the savvy visitor can still get by on bare minimum every day, while still being able to see things that make Berlin so unique.

1. Two Words: Street Food

Whether it be Döner, Turkish Pizza, Currywurst, Ice Cream, or a giant cone of french fries, Berlin is famously street food friendly. Here are some tips for great local grub:

Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap is worth the wait, we swear! The line is long, but the Döner are packed full of meat and veggies. Plus, how can you go wrong with MEAT on a STICK? Prices are cheap too, around €3.
After lunch, check out the surrounding shops in Kreuzberg!

Metro Station: Mehringdamm

The Pizza Dach is located on Simon-Dach-Straße, which is well known nightlife hot-spot. For under €3, get some pizza and or plate of pasta in between bars. Like many other take-away joints in Berlin, tables are set up out front for casual diners. Definitely worth a visit!

Metro station: Frankfuter Tor

Wurst drowned in curry sauce, french fries smothered in mayonnaise, Currywurst is a Berlin staple, and Curry 36 is a Berlin institution. If you have any Berlin streetfood, make this your number 1 stop.

Metro Station: Zoologische Garten

2. Visit Local Monuments: They’re EVERYWHERE

Monuments crop up in every capital city, but in Berlin they are especially prominent. From Stolpersteine to the East Side Gallery, Monuments to Germany’s past are frequented by millions every year. Here are a few of our favorites:

Peter Eisenman designed the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which was opened in 2005. It consists of 2,711 concrete pillars across approximately 19,000 square meters. Spend a few minutes wandering through the monument and the symbolism will become more and more clear.

The site is directly behind the US Embassy in Berlin Mitte, next to the Brandenburg Gate.

Metro Station: Brandenburger Tor

Look Down. Along every street in Berlin, Stolpersteine have been embedded into the regular walkways. These gold “stumbling blocks” are engraved with the names of victims of the Nazi regime. The idea for these monuments came from artist Gunter Demnig. They can now be found across Europe, but are mainly concentrated in Berlin.

3. Explore the Art Scene: Street Meets Classic

Berlin is home to some of the most well known paintings and sculptures in modern art, and not all of them are indoors. The vivid art scene in Berlin ranges from galleries and exhibitions in Neukölln and Orangienburger Str. to the breathtaking street art along the East Side Gallery. Get some culture by checking out some of the best - and cheapest - art scenes in Berlin:

The East Side Gallery is the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall. You may have seen pieces of it at your local museum, but seeing this 1.3km monument will give you a real idea of life in Berlin during the Cold War. Now, the wall is decorated with decades-worth of street art, tagging, and murals. Walk along the river and take in each piece, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Metro Station: Warschauer Str.

Oranienburger Str is home to a great bar scene in Berlin, but the side streets and alleyways or more well known for their small art galleries. Dress up on a Friday or Saturday evening and wander through the area. Galleries are open late, and many times will offer wine and cheese to the casual guest. Its a great - and free! - way to explore Berlin’s art scene. Some free galleries are also open during the day. We recommend C/O Gallery (pictured above during an exhibit) which is in an old post office building.

Metro Station: Oranienburger Tor

4. Not All Museums Are Crazy Expensive

We get it, sometimes you really would like to see the Mona Lisa, but can hack the €20 entrance fee. Berlin certainly has a lot to offer in the museum category, but some are a little pricey. Here are a few that aren’t:

That’s right, the RAMONES MUSEUM

S-Bahn Station: Oranienburger Str.

the Topography of Terror museum is unique for many reasons, but first and foremost, it is partially outdoors. The site is built at the headquarters or the former SS and Gestapo. Take a walk down at the basement level and learn more about the terror under both regimes, with one reminder standing in front of you: the Berlin Wall. The museum is competely free.

Metro Station: Kochstr/ Checkpoint Charlie

At €6, the DDR Museum is a little pricey for our standards, but it is definitely worth the visit. The old spy gear and Soviet ingenuity is at once hilarious and terrifying. This museum is a great glimpse into the not-so-distant past.

S-Bahn Station: Berlin Hackesher Markt

5. Final Tips for the Budget Traveler

Finally, we know that going to a new city can be challenging, so here are a few tips to keep from falling into common traps:

Never pay full price if it can be cheaper. The Berlinische Galerie has a reduced rate on the first Monday of the month and most museums on Museum Island are free on Thursdays starting 4 hours before closing. Also, Student IDs are worth their weight in gold when visiting Berlin. Check out an opera or a play for a reduced rate as a student!

All of this, for €8 a day or €36 a week. Please, don’t buy individual tickets when such a deal exists! Also, the Berlin Transit Authority also offers ferries for as little as €2, which is a GREAT way to see the city.

Tell us YOUR favorite budget tip for Berlin! Leave your answer in the “comments” section.

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