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11 events to look forward to in 2020

Tips for exhibitions, events and unusual highlights

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
Brandenburg Gate © Getty images, Foto: Achim Thomae

The year comes to an end with quick steps and soon the new year begins. We can look forward to big exhibitions and events. At concerts, festivals and street festivals in summer and Christmas markets in winter.

We have compiled our personal highlights for the year 2020 for you.

Tip 1: International Film Festival

The illuminated House of World Cultures as a venue at the Berlinale
The Berlinale at the House of World Cultures © KARSTEN THIELKER

Kristin: "A breath of fresh air for the birthday child: I am particularly excited about the Berlinale this year, as it is not only celebrating its 70th birthday, but is also under new management. There will thus be another competition for innovative and avant-garde films. And hopefully many great films from all over the world that amaze, inspire and let you discover new worlds."

And we will again eagerly report about the Berlinale in the visitBerlin-Blog.

When: 20 February - 1 March
Where: Berlinale Palast and many other cinemas

More information about the Berlinale

Tip 2: Kurzfestival Tel Avivi - Berlin

Berliner Philharmonie
© visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

Kristin: "Philharmonic, Konzerthaus and three major opera houses: classical music fans can enjoy magnificent concerts and music festivals all year long in Berlin. A special highlight for me is the Kurzfestival Tel Aviv – Berlin, with contemporary music from Israel, because mandolin player Avi Avital, who I admire very much, will be performing on 14 March."

When: 13 - 14 March
Where: Philharmonie Berlin - Kammermusiksaal, Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1, Tiergarten


Tip 3: Street festivals in summer

Event Carnival of cultures at Whitsun in Berlin
Carnival of cultures © Daniela Incoronato

Verena: "I think summer is the most beautiful time in Berlin – I love it when all the action takes place outside. The Berlin clubs’ celebrations also move to the streets, kicking off each year with the Carnival of Cultures at Whitsun. This is followed shortly afterwards by the Fête de la Musique, Lesbian and Gay City Festival, Christpher Street Day (gay pride), Bergmannstraße Festival, and several more. Come along and celebrate with us!"

When: all summer long
Where: all over Berlin

More information about street festivals in Berlin

Tip 4: Exploring new bike paths

Bicycle tour to the Glienicker Bridge_en
Glienicker Brücke © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Catrin: "Those like me who enjoy cycling in Berlin will know the Berlin Wall bike path, not to mention the route along the Spree or from the city centre to Wannsee. However, new, well-developed routes are constantly being added: the brand new Dahlem route was opened last summer. Along the 18-km route you can explore highlights in the south-west of Berlin, such as the Botanical Garden, Dahlem Village, the Allied Museum, and last but not least, the Krumme Lanke and Schlachtensee lakes – so don't forget your swimwear! The Wannsee-Babelsberg route is also new. The 20-km route connects Berlin and Potsdam and starts at Wannsee railway station, taking you past places of interest and cultural institutions in Steglitz-Zehlendorf. It continues over the Glienicke Bridge to Potsdam.

And last but not least, the industrial heritage cycling route. It tells the history of Berlin from an industrial heritage point of view and will give you completely new impressions of the city. Some great tours are also being devised for Oberschöneweide and Spandau, for example – we’ll keep you posted."


More information about cycle paths in Berlin

Tip 5: Humboldt Forum

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Josefine: "The Humboldt Forum at the Berlin Palace is finally due to open in September 2020. The aim here is to bring old and new together: art, culture and sciences. In keeping with the two namesakes, Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, the Forum is intended to become a lively meeting place that makes history tangible. I am eagerly awaiting the presentation of the ethnological and art historical exhibits, which will not only provide insight into epochs and cultures, but at the same time invite us to connect the relevance of the past with the here and now. I am therefore particularly looking forward to the planned discussions, readings and concerts – and naturally the view from the roof terrace."

When: from September 2020
Where: Humboldt Forum in the Berlin City Palace, Unter den Linden 3, Mitte

More information about the Humboldt Forum

Tip 6: Lollapalooza

Berlinische Galerie in Berlin Kreuzberg
Außenansicht Berlinische Galerie © Berlinische Galerie, © Foto: Noshe

Josefine: "Lollapalooza has become a family tradition for us. The festival weekend in late summer is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy the holiday atmosphere together shortly after the beginning of the new school year. While the little ones let off steam on the Kidzapalooza, teens can meet up with their school friends and explore the festival site together. Get together for lunch in the green neighbourhood and get inspired by sustainable topics, organisations, and green start-ups from Berlin. The highlight is naturally the concerts in the evening."

When: 5 & 6 September
Where: Berlin Olympic Stadium and Olympic Park, Olympischer Platz 3, Charlottenburg


Tip 7: Berlin Marathon

The Marathon in Berlin at the Victory Column
The Marathon in Berlin at the Victory Column © Matthias Makarinus

Catrin: "The marathon is the sporting highlight of the year for me. The runners and skaters start preparing for this day many weeks in advance. In the starting area, the atmosphere among the athletes is filled with excitement and anticipation and each starting wave is enthusiastically applauded.
The spectators spur the athletes along this long, often arduous route with their cheers, music, and constant shouts of encouragement. Running through the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) at the finish is also an uplifting moment and reward for the hardened runners’ exhausting weeks and months of preparation. You can run along or cheer – both are allowed."

When: 27 September
Where: all over Berlin

Tip 8: Festivals of Lights

Festival of Lights in Berlin at the Berlin Cathedral
Festival of Lights in Berlin ©, Foto: Verworner

Catrin: "This is one highlight that I would never miss. The two light festivals "Berlin leuchtet" and "Festival of Lights" transform the city into a sea of lights and conjure up magical moments. I love the illuminated sights and the amazed people standing before them, wanting to capture everything on their mobile phones. Whether it’s cold and rainy or – as is often the case in Berlin – an evening blessed with mild autumn weather – you should not miss these impressive illuminations."

When: October
Where: everywhere in the city

More information about the Festivals of light

Tip 9: 100 years of (Greater)Berlin

Brandenburg Gate with Quadriga in Berlin in autumnal backlight
Brandenburg Gate in autumn ©, Foto: sborisov

Berlin is celebrating its birthday. In 1920, eight cities, 59 rural communities, and 27 manor districts merged to form (Greater)Berlin – and modern Berlin was born. Several exhibitions will congratulate the birthday child. The Märkisches Museum will be focusing on the everyday realities of us Berliners – then as now. And the exhibition "Unvollendete Metropole. 100 Jahre Städtebau für (Groß-)Berlin" in the Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince's Palace) will be showcasing the ideas for tomorrow. With this in mind: happy birthday, Berlin!


When: 9 November

Where: At the Brandenburg Gate

Tip 10: Christmas markets

Christmas market at Richardplatz, Berlin
Christmas market at Richardplatz © visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

The festive Christmas season officially begins with the opening of the Christmas markets in Berlin! Every year, the fir trees are decorated with colourful lights and you can smell mulled wine and roasted almonds wherever you go. You will also find delicious food and beautiful gifts at most markets. Berlin actually has a Christmas market in every neighbourhood – from Marzahn to Spandau – with all kinds of themes – for dogs, children, and even the LGBT community.


When: end of November to beginning of January
Where: all over Berlin

More information about Berlin's Christmas markets

Tip 11: Q Berlin

Conference room with audience
Q Berlin Questions Conference_en © visitBerlin, Foto: Uwe Steinert

The aim of Q Berlin is to discuss the issues of our time. It focuses on civic responsibility, new work, urban life, and artificial intelligence, or the relationship between human and machine. What’s exciting about the conference is the fact that the audience is not only invited to get informed and inspired by the experts, but also contribute their own ideas, join in the discussion and ultimately become actively involved themselves.

When: September

More information about events in Berlin

Infographics of the best Berlin events 2020

By the way, with our overview of the whole year it will be very easy for you to find the best Berlin events in 2020 and plan your trip accordingly.

© Getty Images, Foto: Ray Bradshaw

Infographics of the best Berlin events 2020


For even more information abouts what's on, you can always check out day-by-day tips on Berlin's biggest event calendar    .

Catrin Linde


lives in Berlin for over 20 years and loves to travel the city. Preferrably by bike, she discovers the most exciting and interesting sides of Berlin. Across the city, across country and also off the beaten track. All posts