Whenever planning a trip to a new (or old) destination, we all have specific interests we are passionate about exploring. In addition to the “must-see” sights and experiences, mine include walking tours, art galleries, gluten-free restaurants, and vintage/thrift stores and flea markets. To go along with each of my city-specific vintage & thrift hauls, I am going to be writing blog posts that detail my favorite thrift and vintage stores in those cities so that you can bookmark and save the page for the next time you find yourself there! I have already posted my top picks for Los Angeles and Lisbon & Porto, Portugal, so today it is time to have a look at the best vintage stores & flea markets in Berlin!
It doesn’t matter whether you need a cheap bike, a luxurious 1930s dress, or a funky desk lamp, the great diversity of Berlin flea markets makes it easy to find a grand bargain on furniture, vinyl, clothes, and more. Berlin has a well-established flea market culture, making it a great shopping and people-watching activity when visiting the German capital.
The Iconic – Mauerpark. Mauerpark is the flea market where I purchased all the goodies shown in my Berlin vintage haul. A Berliner favorite, Mauerpark happens every Sunday and offers visitors an eclectic mix of vintage and thrifted goods, unique leather and jewelry products, funky furniture and home decor gems, and delicious food. The price of items range from absolute bargains to very expensive, but all of it is fun to wander around. The market is beloved, meaning that there isn’t a lot of space to maneuver. However, the always fantastic atmosphere due to the famous karaoke and delicious food stands make it certainly worth a browse.
The Colourful – Hallenflohmarkt in der Arena. Berlin’s biggest indoor-market, Arena takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. A joyful mess and a well-kept secret, here visitors can find almost anything — clothes, toys, art — and haggling is expected. Last time I saw a lot of incredible vintage radios, lamps, and carpets. As one of the few covered flea markets in Berlin, this is a good choice on a cold and rainy day!
The Historical – Flohmarkt am Arkonaplatz. One of the smaller flea-market options, Arkonaplatz specializes in items from East Germany. The quality and attention to detail of the products are what make this flea market stand out. Everything can be found here from books to old sound systems, and clothing; but, I love all the mid-century furniture, some of which are refurbished and some that remain in their original state. I would recommend this one for a hot summer day, as sellers set up shop under the trees!
The Traditional – Straße des 17. Juni. The original Berlin flea-market, Straße des 17. Juni has been taking place every weekend since 1973. Due to it being the oldest flea-market in Berlin, the sellers here are all professional antique dealers and certainly know their stuff (making it a lot harder to haggle!). However, buying from experts means that the items on sale are fabulous, mainly if you are growing a specialist collection. I have yet to buy something from this flea market, but I always enjoy having a look and learning something new about antiques. Its location in Charlottenburg is also fantastic, as you can see the Spree River and Charlottenburger Tor (a Neo-Baroque gate) in the distance.
The Night – Nachtflohmarkt SO36. Every second Wednesday of the month, the legendary SO36 club becomes a marketplace for used CDs, records, clothes, and all kinds of odds and ends. The night-time flea market starts at 8 pm, as does the DJ and the intermittent band performances. The bar is also open — maybe to help you take the edge off before spending your entire paycheck? I recommend getting here as early as possible, as it is always crowded and there is some seriously good stuff to be bought!
Thrift & Vintage Stores
I have been to Berlin four times and each time I have indulged in a little thrift/vintage retail therapy. Berlin is such a stylish city, which is reflected in the fabulous thrift/vintage clothing that it has on offer. Here are my top 5 favorite stores that I always make time to go and see!
Garments Vintage – I have been visiting Garments Vintage since my first trip to Berlin in 2011. This is one of my favorite stores because everything is organized by colors and styles in a very well-designed, chic store — it even has a backyard garden filled with blooming flowers! There is an exclusive womenswear section which has an abundance of sequin pieces (my favorite!) and here you are almost guaranteed to find something special to wear. A word of warning, while there are bargains to be found, there are also pieces that could make it slightly hard to pay rent next month.
Mankii Vintage – For some classy vintage in Mitte head to Mankii, a small (but well-stocked) store that has original fashion and accessories from the ’30s to the ’90s. I always swoon over the available hippy styles, as well as the fantastic handbags. Mankii Vintage also has men’s and children’s clothing.
PicknWeight Kilo – The mecca of Berlin thrift stores, when I first came upon PicknWeight Kilo, I couldn’t believe my eyes! The store offers pieces from all decades and then sells them to you by weight! Items are marked in different sticker colors, each corresponding to a different price, so you always know how much you are going to pay. PicknWeight has two stores in Berlin — one in Kreuzberg and one in Mitte (my personal favorite) — and is an absolute MUST VISIT for anyone who appreciates individual style!
Sing Blackbird – Located in the very cool area of Kreuzkölln (between Kreuzberg and Neukölln), Sing Blackbird is one of the loveliest shops in Berlin. To ensure you have the energy to try on everything (because you are going to want to), the store has a sweet little vegan café. Many of the vintage pieces the store sells are luxury designer, which ensures that the price tags definitely cannot be considered “budget.” However, they do organize a monthly flea market with (presumably) lower prices.
Let Them Eat Cake – A vintage lover’s idea of heaven, Let Them Eat Cake provides Berlin with a fantastic selection of high-quality items and curated outfits. Over the years I have found a lot of incredible gems in here! Their collection is quite feminine and covers vintage from the ’70s to the ’90s (aka ideal for me). The owner is always sourcing items from both within Germany and abroad, so you can be guaranteed to find new swoon-worthy pieces every-time you enter! The store also hosts great art-centered events.
HUMANA – Think of this more as a thrift department store (yes it is that big) than merely a thrift store, HUMANA is part of a global humanitarian organization. You can get gems for as little as 2 euros, but you have to D-I-G. For those of us that love this kind of challenge, HUMANA is perfect. The items are color-coded; but, (unlike most of the vintage stores on this list) you will need to have a few hours to be able to go through everything.
Das Neue Schwarz – The most luxurious of the shops listed here, Das Neue Schwarz’s collection is made up of exclusive vintage designer pieces from brands that I dream of one-day wearing! We are talking Martin Margiela, Vivienne Westwood, Raf Simons, and Bernhard Willhelm. While it might be slightly out of our price range at the moment, a stop in here reminds me of the vintage collection I am aiming for. Let’s plan for a “Das Neue Schwarz haul” in 7 years?! They also have a store in Vienna if you are ever there!
I hope you find this guide to the best vintage stores & flea markets in Berlin helpful for when you are planning your trip there!
Let me know if you have any other favorite vintage stores & flea markets in the city that I need to check out when I return!
Originally published on March 28th, 2017