Free and low-cost leisure activities in Germany

Hello,

We invite you to share some information regarding leisure activities that are free or low-cost in Germany. This information will give future expats (or even current expats) an idea regarding some of leisure activities that they might not be aware of.

Is there a way to find out about free or low-cost fun activities in Germany, such as a specific app, or a newsletter, or magazine, tourism board, etc.? How do you find out where events are organised?

What are the most common free leisure activities in Germany?
Which free activities do you recommend for children, for teenagers, for adults, and for seniors?

Are there certain days where access to paid activities are offered at a lower price or even for free, such as museum entry, or exhibitions, or a theme park, etc.?

How do you maximise your leisure activities in the most cost-effective manner?

Thank you for sharing your experience,

Priscilla

Germany has a great outdoors - mountains, forests, lakes - that is free for everyone to visit. Even within cities, there are many parks with fitness trails, playgrounds and other free activities. In most places it is also allowed to picknick or barbeque.
Indoors, there are community centres with free or cheap activities, Volkshochschulen (community colleges) offer classes about a wide range of topics at cost price and public libraries are usually free to use and borrow books (registration is required). And then there are thousands of sports (or cultural) clubs, which are an excellent way of staying fit (or intelectually stimulated) and finding friends while only paying a nominal yearly fee.
Sights like churches and castle ruins are usually free to visit, while others cost a little entrance fee that often includes excellent museums and guided tours.
Museums usually offer free or reduced entry for children, seniors, disabled, as well as a free day (or evening) per month for all.
Many cities have (free) events listing magazines and webpages, where you can find all of the above, plus more costly commercial offers.
Altogether, Germany allows to fill your plentiful leisure time (40-hour workweeks and 30 days leave per year are standard) with interesting activities without breaking the bank.

We enjoy geocaching on weekends.  It’s free, fun and we get to discover new places.  Not much more to do in Hameln

BERLIN ONLY

-For listings for free and cheap things to do, you should definitely check out Zitty
and Tip magazines. Their listings aren't quite as full as the days before the internet, but they still have a fair amount of various types of events, including free events around the city.

-Also check out a Facebook group called Gratis in Berlin. It's filled with free listings. They also have a website: https://www.gratis-in-berlin.de/

-Swimming pools aren't free, but they are cheap, especially if you go before 3 pm or after 8 pm. Same goes for outdoor pools and beaches in the summer. Don't bother with anything private...it has to be the state-funded ones: https://www.berlinerbaeder.de/

-If you're not picky about having a sandy beach, you can swim anywhere else around Berlin's swimmable lakes for free. Check out this website to find them and to see if any are closed off due to water quality issues: https://www.berlin.de/tourismus/seen/badeseen/

-For cheap courses (German courses, cooking classes, basket weaving...you name it, check out the Volkshochschule: https://www.berlin.de/vhs/. If you are low-income, you can get a reduced price on courses, workshops and activities. They sometimes also host free lectures. You have to sign up, but they're free. Check online listings at your local branch or pick up one of their course and lecture books.

-If you're a music fan, the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik often hosts free concerts. Check their listings: http://www.hfm-berlin.de/nc/veranstaltu … skalender/

-Unfortunately, most museums don't have free entry anymore (they used to...it's still a sore point with me), but if you want to go a lot, it pays to have a yearly pass. They cost 25 Euros for off-peak hours or 50 Euros for any time and are valid for all state museums in the SMB network: http://www.smb.museum/en/plan-your-visi … ckets.html Keep in mind that the cheap off-peak prices only count for the time you enter the museum...once you're in there, you can stay as long as you want! Considering that individual tickets cost 6-12 Euros, I'd say it's a steal.

-Märkisches Museum is free until June 2018 due to construction.

-Museums in the Stadtmuseum Berlin are free on the first Wednesday of the month: https://www.stadtmuseum.de/

-Almost every neighbourhood has a local museum. They're almost always free.

-The Stadtmuseum Berlin museums also host extremely cheap workshops for kids and teens.

-Libraries often host free workshops, events and readings. Also, membership is only 10 Euros per year for adults, which lets you sign out books at any library and access a variety of digital media portals (one of which is packed with amazing eBooks in English and a few in other languages). Most central branches have at least a few books in English.

-Several parks have petting zoos. These are usually free.

-Want to get out of the city and enjoy the beauty of nature outside of the capital? If you're travelling within Brandenburg, get a Berlin-Brandenburg ticket. This is a day ticket for regional trains that costs 29 Euros for up 5 people. It also includes some destinations outside of Brandenburg, including Neustrelitz, Lutherstadt-Wittenberg, Dessau and Szczecin in Poland. It's such an amazing deal that I'm surprised that so many non-Germans don't know about it. For more info: https://www.bahn.de/p/view/angebot/regi … cket.shtml

-Want to go to the Baltic? Get an Ostsee Ticket. It's cheaper than booking a regular ticket to your destination: https://www.bahn.de/p/view/angebot/regi … cket.shtml

-Want to go anywhere else on the weekend and have a group of up to 5 people? Get a Schönes Wochenende Ticket. This used to be a WAY better deal than it used to be (a single group price for 39 Euro valid for BOTH weekend days...now you only get it for one day and you pay more for each passenger), but it's still cheaper than individual tickets (especially considering that it's a day ticket): https://www.bahn.de/p/view/angebot/regi … cket.shtml

-If you're totally new, see the sights! Berlin is packed with historic sites and cool buildings that you can see for free. I went for many walks when I first moved here many, many years ago.

-Parks, parks parks. Free to visit (for the most part), most have grilling areas, and a few (like Volkspark Friedrichshain) even have outdoor fitness equipment and bouldering walls.

-There are a variety of free film events in Berlin. Babylon in Mitte does a free silent film at midnight every Saturday, Kaffe in Prenzlauer Berg shows a Defa film every Thursday (no entrance, though you should at least buy a coffee or two)

-Berlin's official website also has free listings: https://www.berlin.de/tourismus/insider … grati.html

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