Arena Berlin: a floating swimming pool & more besides
The area where the north-eastern tip of the Landwehr Canal and the River Spree meet, also known as Arena Berlin, has a lot going for it. Here you will find the Badeshiff, for example, Berlin’s only floating swimming pool. This is a fantastic place to relax in the summer with views of the famous Television Tower, the Molecule Man sculpture and no end of beautiful people – just don’t go along expecting to get much swimming done. Contrary to what you see on the photo below, the underwater seat around the edge of the pool is usually occupied by around 100 people at any one time. Practising your butterfly stroke may be out of the question, but it’s definitely a good place to make new friends. In the winter, the Badeschiff transforms into Berlin’s only floating sauna and looks like a giant glowing chrysalis in the River Spree.
The building complex that makes up Arena Berlin was once a huge bus depot. It survived the war relatively unscathed, and despite the extensive redevelopment, has retained its industrial charm. Walking from the Badeschiff out towards Puschkinallee you will pass lots of interesting, even artistic, graffiti.
Before you reach Puschkinallee you will also come across a rather bizarre park area with oversized benches, which are a mandatory tourist photo op’. Not to mention the shell of a bus, cars made of grass…
…and a lonely lookout post on top of a hill.
At the weekends there is an indoor fleamarket that is much less well known than Mauerpark, for example, meaning the prices are still relatively cheap and it is not overcrowded. You will mainly find furniture and household items here, including many GDR classics. The Tutanchamun exhibition currently on display at Arena Berlin is also worth a look; all the exhibits are expensive replicas, but since the original archaeological finds are spread across the world, this exhibition at least has the benefit of being complete.
After you’ve finished exploring Arena Berlin it’s also worth paying a visit to one of the bars or clubs located next to the canal. Freischwimmer bar and restaurant is particularly worth a visit (pictured left), although the Club der Visionäre (pictured right) has a certain charm if you can get past the stuck-up bouncers. A brand new addition to this cluster is XXXX n.n (which is apparently just a temporary name).