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11 Insider Tips for the Open-Air Season

Art, culture and summer bliss

Fete de la Musique 2011
© Copyright: AKUD / Lars Reimann

The days are long, the evenings balmy: Summer is the open air season in Berlin, perfect for simply drifting through the city and enjoying life. But Berlin wouldn't be Berlin if it didn't surprise you at every corner with art, culture and music. To make sure you're always in the right place at the right time, we've put together our insider tips for the open-air season.

Tip 1: Rave the Planet and save the universe

junge Mädchen auf Musikfestival
© Getty Images, Foto: PeopleImages

"Music is the Answer" is the motto of this year's Rave the Planet. For this follow-up event to the legendary Love Parade, more than 200 floats and music trucks with a wide variety of genres of electronic dance music are expected again this year. The aim is to bring people together, regardless of nationality, religion, skin colour or social background, to work peacefully for our planet. Music is a common language that has the power to overcome borders and make the world a better place," say the organisers. Rave the Planet is also campaigning for Berlin's techno culture to be included on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

When: 8 July
Where: at various locations in the city

Tip 2: Follow fast-paced Shakespeare adaptations at the Globe Theater Berlin

"Wie es Euch gefällt" im Globe Berlin
© Foto: Thorsten Wulff

The ensemble of the Berlin Globe Theatre will be performing outdoors again this summer. Based on the original in London, the Berlin Globe Theatre is dedicated to the work of William Shakespeare. The scenes take place on a round board stage that surrounds the audience. A fast-paced adaptation of the classic English verses in German. Midsummer Night's Dream kicks off on 1 June. Also on the programme this year are word art evenings with Plato's "Phaidon", George Orwell's "1984", Heinrich Heine, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Stefan Zweig, as well as two Shakespeare works in the original language. You can also look forward to children's theatre plays and concerts, of course with "The Swingin Hermlins" again.

When: from 1 June
Where: Sömmeringstraße 15, Charlottenburg

The Globe

Tip 3: Be enchanted by the Botanical Night

Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem
Das Tropenhaus bei Nacht © Bezirksamt Steglitz-Zehlendorf

A summer night's dream: on Botanical Night, countless lights transform the garden into a magical world. Accompanied by the magical sounds of sound artists, you will wander through mysterious worlds. Everywhere, mythical creatures and fairies invite you to dance, listen and marvel. On numerous stages they will whisk you away into their wondrous world.

Tip: On 21 May, the Britzer Garten invites you to the Fairy Festival. Here too, mythical creatures will surprise you as you stroll through the gardens.

When: 14 & 15 July
Where: Botanic Garden

Botanische Nacht

Tip 4: Celebrate summer at city and street festivals

Bergmannstraßenfest – Kreuzberg jazzt
© visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

In summer, the whole of Berlin takes to the streets. In all parts of the city, street festivals invite you to socialise or have a cosy chat over a good glass of wine. From the lesbian-gay city festival around Nollendorfplatz to the neighbourhood festival at Schöneberg Town Hall to the vegan summer festival on Alexanderplatz, the Kreuzberg festival in the Bergmannkiez and the Lichtenrad wine and vintner festival at the idyllic village pond. In all of Berlin's neighbourhoods, festivals are celebrated throughout the summer as they fall. 

Here is a selection of city and street festivals

  • 6/7 May: Rudow Spring Mile
  • 6/7 May: Spring Festival at Domäne Dahlem
  • 13/14 May: Spring Magic Street Festival in the Westend in Charlottenburg
  • 13/14 May: Primavera spring and asparagus festival
  • 17 - 21 May: Staakener Folk and Children's Festival
  • 26 May - 11 June: Steglitz Week with rides in Bäkepark
  • 26 - 29 May: Carnival of Cultures
  • 2 - 4 June: Müggelheim Anger Festival
  • 3 - 4 June: Alt-Buckower Summer Festival
  • 10 June: Neighbourhood festival at Schöneberg Town Hall
  • 10-11 June: Pankow Art Festival with many craft stalls, acrobatics and artists
  • 16 - 18 June: Vegan Summer Festival at Alexanderplatz
  • 16 - 18 June: Köpenicker Summer on the Schlossinsel (Castle Island)
  • 21 June - 16 July: Berlin Folk Festival Summer at the central festival site on Kurt-Schuhmacher-Damm
  • 30 June - 2 July: Kreuzberg Festival
  • 30 June - 2 July: International Barrel Organ Festival
  • 21 June: Fête de la Musique, all over the city
  • 6 - 16 July: Kenako Africa Festival on Alexanderplatz
  • 13 - 16 July: Tegel Harbour Festival
  • 15-16 July: Lesbian and Gay City Festival around Nollendorfplatz
  • 18 August - 3 September: Schollen Festival in Tegel
  • 2 September: Water festival at Rummelsburg Bay
  • 8 - 10 September: Lichtenrad Wine and Vintners' Festival

More Street Fairs & Festivals

Tip 5: Be out and about for a summer weekend at 48 Stunden Neukölln

48 Stunden Neukölln in Berlin
48 Stunden Neukölln © Christiane Schröder

For 48 hours, Neukölln will be transformed into a huge field of experimentation. During these two days, you can discover what Berlin's creative scene is up to on streets, squares, in backyards, parks and of course in numerous indoor spaces. Established in 1999, 48 Stunden Neukölln is now one of the city's largest independent art festivals. Discover the neighbourhood and exciting places and experience concerts, performances, exhibitions and of course one or two surprises.

When: 23 to 25 June
Where: various locations in Neukölln

Tip 6: Laugh along when Berlin laughs

World Time Clock at Alexanderplatz in Berlin
World Time Clock at Alexanderplatz © visitberlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

Traditionally, artists from all over the world come to the street theatre festival Berlin lacht! and make the audience laugh and marvel. Look forward to acrobatics, music, acting, magic, clowning, pantomime, puppetry and fire arts. Food trucks, a beer garden and community clean up events complete the programme. All performances take place outdoors. Admission is free.

When: 20 July to 10 September
Where: Kulturbahnhof am Hauptbahnhof (20 July to 16 August) Alexanderplatz, Mitte (19 to 26 August) Kulturstation Potsdamer Platz (29 August to 10 September)

Berlin lacht!

Tip 7: Klassik Open-Air at Jagdschloss Grunewald

Grunewald hunting lodge: view over the lake
Grunewald hunting lodge: view over the lake © Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg

Mozart's last three symphonies will be heard at this 10th Klassik Open-Air at Grunewald Hunting Lodge. It is rare to hear all three symphonies in one evening. They were written in Mozart's last months, during which he composed these three symphonies full of pain and melancholy in a very short time. Hence the title Swan Song, which refers to a legend from ancient Greece. According to the legend, the swan was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, and so - anticipating its own death - it sings of the beauty of the sky into which it will ascend after its last song.

When: 27 May to 29 May
Where: Grunewald Hunting Lodge, Hüttenweg 100, Zehlendorf

Tip 8: Take great photos on a guided tour of Spreepark

The Spreepark in the Plänterwald in Berlin
The Spreepark in the Plänterwald © visitBerlin, Foto: Günter Steffen

From 2025, the Ferris wheel at Spreepark is to turn again. The attractions in the former GDR amusement park have been standing still for decades. On a guided tour you can find out what the future of the currently disused site looks like and also learn more about the history of this enchanted place. Of course, photography is allowed! Tip: This year there are also some new workshops on the programme and there will be special guided tours on birds, spiders or nature journaling.

When: Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Where: Kiehnwerder Allee 1 - 3, Treptow

SpreeparK guided tours

Tipp 9: Find your groove at the Silent Disco Tour

Walk in the government district Berlin
Walk in the government district Berlin © visitBerlin, Foto: Fotoagentur Wolf, freiheitswerke

You dance a set route along Berlin's sights, for example with the Silent Disco Tour Museumsinsel (Fridays) - or, new in 2023, across the government district (every Saturday). You will listen to hits and music from the 80s and 90s on headphones. The tour is interrupted by guided group activities. Sightseeing can be so much fun!

When: every Saturday, 8.30 pm
Where: various venues

Silent Disco Tour

Tip 10: Get in the mood for your summer holiday at the Berlin Ukulele Festival

Ukulele © Getty Images, Foto: Image Source

At the Ukulele Festival you can not only listen, but also make music yourself and maybe even perform your favourite piece on stage at Open Mike. In any case, the strings of this small instrument are made to sound for three days. That's where the Aloha feeling comes in. Perfect for getting in the mood for a summer full of music and sunshine.

Tip: There is also a colourful music and theatre programme on the covered open-air stage during the summer months. You can sing along at Schalala - das Mitsingding.

When: 16 to 18 June
Where: ufa-Fabrik, Viktoriastrasse 10 - 18, Tempelhof

Tip 11: Cats of Berlin - an open-air spectacle at Revier Südost

© Sven Bock

Cats of Berlin is an anti-musical that breaks with all conventions. Because when glanz&krawall saw the hit musical Cats for the first time, it was clear to them that cats standing on a stage simply have more to say. With Cats of Berlin, they give them a voice and make a ruckus against junk relationships, conventions and the patriarchy.

When: 7 to 10 June, 8 p.m. each night
Where: Revier Südost, Schnellerstraße 137, Schöneweide

Josefine Köhn-Haskins


is originally from Munich and started out her career at one of Germanys largest daily news papers. Before finding her home in Berlin, she also reported as a correspondent and trend scout from the US. Today she is cruising Berlin's neighbourhoods, always on the lookout for good stories - with a focus on culture, music and ideas for the future of an innovative Berlin. All posts