May is well under way and as the weather turns warmer, it’s a great time to turn an eye to the world around you. Head out on an obstacle course for a good cause, discover Berlin’s waterways on a dreamy boat cruise or explore Britzer Garten as it turns into a fairy wonderland. If the warm weather’s giving you itchy feet, you can explore Italian and Japanese culture without even leaving the German capital. Whatever you feel like, Berlin’s sure to have something cultural to delight you.
Tip 1: Get down and dirty at the schauinsland Muddy Angel Run
Calling all women and girls: get ready to get muddy for a good cause. Head out to leafy Karlhorst this weekend to take part in the Muddy Angel Run: a five-kilometre running and obstacle course designed to put your fitness, your resilience and your team spirit to the test. You’ll encounter fifteen fun and challenging obstacles along the way. The event is intended to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer – so you’ll be doing good for other women as well as giving yourself a much-needed May endorphin boost.
Where: Trabrennbahn Karlshorst, Treskowallee 129, Karlshorst
When: Saturday and Sunday
Tip 2: Become a cacti and succulents fan
At Germany's largest cactus show, there are not only cacti to marvel at, but also lovely succulents. You can also find out everything about caring for the plants and buy additions to your own collection at 15 booths. This year, the fair is paying special attention to the Mexican cacti variety. Independently of the cacti fun, the 43-hectare botanical garden is worth a visit. Here you can explore the plant world in the open air or in beautiful greenhouses.
When: 18 to 21 May, daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Botanical Museum Berlin, Königin-Luise-Straße 6, 14195 Berlin-Lichterfelde
Tip 3: Experience the symphony of Berlin in sound and vision
Filmmaker Walter Rüttmann’s silent film ‘Berlin – Die Sinfonie der Großstadt’ is a fascinating look at the city’s Weimar-era golden age on celluloid. Experience the hustle and bustle, the neon lights and trundling trams and the ordinary people trying to make a living in the big city on the big screen with this showing of a 1927 classic. This showing of the film incorporates a new element: you can now experience the sounds of the city as well as the sights courtesy of a live soundtrack provided by the Babylon Orchestra Berlin. An unmissable audiovisual odyssey.
Where: Babylon, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße When: Sunday 21 May, 6 p.m.
Tip 4: Discover a divided Germany at the Deutsches Historisches Museum
The Pei Building at the vast Deutsches Historisches Museum, dedicated to the history of Germany, stages a variety of fascinating exhibitions – and its latest is just another reason to head to Mitte and immerse yourself in the country’s fascinating past. ‘Fortschritt als Versprechen’ (‘Progress as a Promise’) takes a look at life in the former East and West Germany through the lens of industrial photography. Images commissioned by captains of industry on both sides of the divide reveal what the two societies had in common and what set them apart – and how they both presented the prospect of progress and a new life to their people.
Where: Deutsches Historisches Museum, Pei Building, Hinter dem Gießhaus 3, Mitte
When: all weekend, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tip 5: Tuck into a taste of Italy at a vibrant food market
If the warm May weather has you dreaming of a Roman holiday, look no further than Friedrichshain this weekend. Enjoy the flavours of the Mediterranean without leaving the city this weekend at the Italian Market Berlin. The two-day event will bring the delights of la dolce vita all the way from Italy to the courtyard at the Napoleon Komplex: from Italy’s world-famous food (of course) to fashion, music and more from la bella figura. Simply bellissimo.
Where: Napoleon Komplex, Modersohnstraße 35-40, Friedrichshain
When: Saturday, 12 noon to midnight, Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight
Tip 6: Take a river cruise to a lovely lake
Marvellous May is a time where many start yearning for a waterside getaway. Climb aboard a river cruise and take the opportunity of the warmer weather to explore Berlin and its outer reaches by boat. Take the boat from riverside Treptow and let this comfortable three-and-a-half-hour cruise along the river Spree introduce you to the delights of Köpenick Old Town and lovely lake Müggelsee. With the hop-on hop-off ticket option, you can disembark wherever takes your fancy and explore local delights, or stay on board for a dreamy afternoon.
Where: Treptow jetty, Alt-Treptow
When: all weekend
Tickets for a boat trip to Müggelsee
Tip 7: Sample Japanese design and culture at Japanmarkt
If the spring weather has you dreaming of cherry blossoms, head to Kreuzberg this weekend to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and creativity of Japan. The Japanmarkt design festival is a celebration of every aspect of the nation’s culture, showcasing everything from calligraphy and origami to traditional dance and sword-fighting. This year’s festival is themed around the beautiful cherry blossom, a source of inspiration for all kinds of creativity. Don’t miss it.
Where: Festsaal Kreuzberg, Am Flutgraben 2, Kreuzberg
When: Sunday 21 May, 12 noon to 7 p.m.
Visit the japanese design market
Tip 8: Visit a fairy festival for all the family at Britzer Garten
It’s the perfect time of year to head outdoors and explore some of Berlin’s green spaces – and they don’t come much more special than leafy Britzer Garten, complete with its vibrant rhododendron grove and much more to explore. This weekend, it plays host to all kinds of magical creatures as part of a family-friendly Fairy Festival. Expect storytelling, performance, fabulous fashion and all sorts of other magical goings-on as you explore the enchanting surroundings. There’ll be a chance to pick up some special fairy-themed souvenirs to take home, too. Ideal for the little ones in your life who still believe in magic.
Where: Britzer Garten, Mohriner Allee, Neukölln
When: Sunday 21 May, 12 noon to 6 p.m.
Tip 9: Celebrate the International Day of Museums
Sunday marks the 46th edition of the International Day of Museums – an initiative dedicated to celebrating and opening access to cultural institutions around the world. Berlin is home to all kinds of magnificent museums, and many of the city’s brilliant establishments are getting in on the act with programmes of activities to mark the day. Take the opportunity to embrace your inner culture vulture and set out early this Sunday to see how many you can tick off the list.
Where: venues across the city
When: Sunday 21 May
Tip 10: Discover the horrifying story of Nora at the theatre
This weekend, the Haus der Berliner Festspiele presents an arresting theatrical thriller. Felicitas Brücker’s team tell the story of Nora, who breaks out of her marriage and the shackles of her life, in a modern tale of multiple perspectives with a dynamic visual aspect presenting a house that becomes a place of horror. Don’t miss this chance to sample cutting-edge contemporary theatre in one of Berlin’s pioneering cultural venues.
Where: Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Schaperstraße
When: Friday 19 May and Saturday 20 May, 7.30 p.m.
Tip 11: Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Berlin from the top of the TV Tower
For an exhilarating new perspective on the city this weekend, book a Fast Ticket and beat the queues to head straight to the top of Berlin’s iconic TV Tower. Overlooking the city at a dazzling 203 metres’ height, the viewing platform on this incredible structure gives you the perfect vantage point over the city as it bursts into May colour. Combine your visit with coffee and cake at the revolving restaurant Sphere to well and truly live the high life in Berlin this weekend.
Where: TV Tower, Panoramastraße 1a, Mitte
When: all weekend, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.