“May makes everything new, it makes the soul fresh and free.”, wrote Hermann Adam von Kamp in his folk song back in 1829, and who does not know this feeling? In the merry month of May there is a lot to experience in Berlin. So let’s get out there and enjoy everything new, fresh and free!
May at a glance
Tip 1: May Day (1st of May) – Dance into May
What could be better than starting the month with a public holiday? Whether at the Kulturbrauerei, the Club Weekend, in the theatre of the ufaFabrik or at other locations: In Berlin there are countless ways to dance into May. On May Day (1st of May) itself, various events will take place during the day celebrating Labour Day in Berlin. The rally of the German Trade Union Confederation on Labour Day and the subsequent family celebration on the Straße des 17. Juni are quite classic. Flea market lovers should not miss the giant flea market at Berlin’s Ostbahnhof station, and there is plenty in store for art lovers too: on May Day, the Berlinische Galerie will be presenting photographs of the Berlin Wall after the fall of the Wall from 1993 and 1994 for the first time.
When: 30th April – 1st May
Where: various locations in Berlin
Tip 2: DFB Cup Final
Berlin, Berlin, we’re going to Berlin!
On May 25th, the DFB Cup Final will take place at the historical Olympic Stadium in Charlottenburg. This year, debutant finalist RB Leipzig and record winner FC Bayern Munich will face each other. The latter is in the final for the 23rd time this year and could take the trophy back to Munich for the 19th time. For Leipzig’s Red Bulls it is their premiere in the final. Who will lift the 5.7 kg, 52 cm-high DFB Cup at the end is something we don't yet know, but there is one thing we do know: Football fever will break out again in the capital this weekend!
When: 25th May, DFB fan party from 2 pm (also for non-ticket holders), kick-off live on ARD & Sky at 8 pm
Where: Olympiastadion, Olympischer Platz 3, Charlottenburg
Tip 3: Airlift Festival
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, Berlin is inviting all residents and visitors to the large Airlift Festival on the apron of the former Tempelhof Airport. On Mother’s Day you can celebrate the monumental logistical and technical masterpiece of the airlift that supplied West Berlin for a year after the Soviet blockade in 1949. The Airlift Festival takes you on a journey back in time, with audiovisual installations and original exhibits. In addition to interviews with eyewitnesses, there will also be live music. Admission is free!
When: 12th May, 12 pm to 7 pm
Where: apron of the former Tempelhof Airport, Platz der Luftbrücke 5, Tempelhof
Note: Access is only possible via Tempelhofer Feld.
Tip 4: Sing Mit! Berlin
Inspired by the almost 100-year old Swedish tradition “Allsang” (“everyone sings”), the new event series Sing Mit! Berlin starts just in time for springtime in the open-air cinema in Friedrichshain. No matter whether they are experienced choir members or professional under-the-shower singers, everyone who enjoys making music together is welcome. The programme includes songs by Elton John, the Beatles, Westernhagen and Udo Jürgens.
By the way, 12th of May is Mother's Day in Germany, so take your mother out into nature and experience an exciting afternoon with her where you can share your love of music!
When: Mother’s Day from 3:00 p.m.
Where: Freiluftkino Friedrichshain, Volkspark Friedrichshain
Tip 5: 56th Berlin Theatre Meeting
The Berlin Theatre Meeting (Berliner Theatertreffen) is the most important theatre festival in Germany. For the 56th time already, the ten most remarkable theatre productions from the German-speaking world will be presented. These also include puppet shows, musical theatre and theatrical installations. In addition to the performances, the programme also includes discussions with representatives from the realms of culture, politics and business, public talks, concerts and award ceremonies. Alongside the established artists, the Stückemarkt offers a stage for new voices from all over the world. This year’s Theatertreffen opens on the 3rd of May with “Hotel Strindberg” directed by Simon Stones. Click here to see the complete programme
When: 3rd to 20th May 2019
Where: Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Schaperstraße 24, Wilmersdorf and other locations
Tip 6: International Museum Day
International Museum Day will take place this year for the 42nd time. The more than 6,500 museums in Germany not only preserve precious treasures, they also make an important contribution to our cultural and social life. International Museum Day, which this year has the theme “Museums - the future of living traditions”, intends to draw attention to this. Find out which of the 175 museums in Berlin have planned special events on International Museum Day at museumstag.de.
When: 19th May
Where: various museums and locations
Tip 7: S25
In Berlin people will be jogging, running and sprinting once again. The famous 25 km race takes place this year on the 12th of May. First held in 1981 by French allied forces and called the “25 km de Berlin”, it was the first road race in Germany whose course went through the middle of a large city and which also launched the running movement in the Federal Republic of Germany, which had until then not been very popular. Today it is the largest 25 km race in Europe with more than 11,000 participants each year. In addition to the S25 (formerly known as BIG 25), runners can now also cover the half-marathon distance, a 10 km race or the 5 x 5 km relay. For the little ones there is also a 2 km children’s run.
The finish line of the S25 is in the Olympic Stadium – an experience as magnificent as running through the Brandenburg Gate in a marathon or half-marathon.
When: 12th May 2019
Where: start & finish at Olympiastadion in Charlottenburg
Tip 8: German Film Awards
Everybody wants it, but only one will get it: the golden Lola!
On the 3rd of May, the crème de la crème of German filmmakers will gather in the capital for the presentation of the country’s most prestigious and highly-endowed film prize, the German Film Awards. Nominees include "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft" (The Boy Must Be Outdoors), "Der goldene Handschuh" (The Golden Glove) and "Das schönste Mädchen der Welt" (The Most Beautiful Girl in the World).
The awards ceremony will take place for invited guests at the Palais am Funkturm, but on 27th April the film-loving public will already have the chance to get to know the nominated films and their makers at the Lola Festival.
When: 3rd May, from 8:15 pm live on ZDF
Where: Awards ceremony at the Palais am Funkturm, Hammarskjöldplatz, Charlottenburg
Lola Festival at Haus Ungarn, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 9, Mitte
Tip 9: Nacht der offenen Kirchen (Night of the Open Churches) & Tag der Nachbarn (Neighbours’ Day)
On Whitsun weekend, the churches of the Ecumenical Council of Berlin-Brandenburg open their doors once again until late into the night and invite all Berliners and visitors to the city to get to know their churches in a different way. The programme includes concerts, church tower tours, open-air festivals and readings by candlelight. Around 100 Christian congregations of all denominations will be participating this year. The Nacht der offenen Kirchen (Night of the Open Churches) comes to an end with many ecumenical services on Whit Monday.
This year the Night of the Open Churches is cooperating with Tag der Nachbarn (Neighbours’ Day), when many large and small neighbourhood festivals are celebrated in Berlin to promote community spirit and reduce the feeling of anonymity.
When: 24th – 25th May
Where: various locations
Tip 10: XJAZZ - Berlin Jazz Festival 2019
In 2019, XJAZZ Berlin Jazz Festival will take place again, for the sixth time already. At the festival, both jazz greats and newcomers from all over Europe will take to the stage. They will present innovative and cross-genre works, seeking to counteract the outdated image of the jazz scene. The five-day jazz festival has over 70 outstanding concerts on offer. An exciting programme awaits at various locations, where you can also discover electronic, classical and experimental influences. Artists like British songwriter Kate Tempest, hip hop star Max Herre together with the retro band Web Web, Berlin clarinet legend Rolf Kühn and many more will be performing.
When: 8th – 12th May
Where: various venues in Berlin
Tip 11: Spring and asparagus festivals
Primavera Spring Festival
The district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg invites you to the Primavera Spring Festival on the first weekend of May. On Akazienstraße, the season of Schöneberg’s open-air events kicks off. Various farmers, asparagus growers and market gardens in the region will be offering their fresh produce for sale and local artisans will also have plenty worth discovering too. Visitors will be well fed and various quiet zones provide relaxing spaces to enjoy the sun. Children can really let off steam on the church playground at the Apostel-Paulus-Kirche and at the playground on Belzigerstraße.
When: 4th May, 11 am to 9 pm & 5th May, 10 am to 8 pm
Where: Akazienstraße and Belzigerstraße in Schöneberg
2nd Berlin Asparagus Festival at Breitscheidplatz
Following last year’s successful kick-off event, visitors to the 2nd Berlin Asparagus Festival at Breitscheidplatz can once again enjoy fresh Brandenburg asparagus in all manner of variations. Whether with hollandaise sauce, ham, salmon or schnitzel: every asparagus lover will get their money’s worth here. Rustic huts and the Märkische beer garden with room for over 500 guests will take you on a trip to rural Brandenburg in the middle of City West. These regal spears can of course also be bought raw from various regional farmers so that you can conjure them up later at home and serve them at your own dinner table. Admission is free!
When: 30th May – 30th June, Sun – Thurs 11 am to 9 pm, Fri – Sat 11 am to 10 pm
Where: on Breitscheidplatz, Charlottenburg
For the 54th time already, the Neuköllner Maientage will transform Volkspark Hasenheide into a fairground. More than 90 carnival operators will inspire visitors with their shops and rides for four whole weeks. From throwing stalls and rose shooting to children’s carousels, bumper cars, the Ferris wheel and roller coasters, there is something for everyone. You can fortify yourself between the adventurous and wild rides at one of the numerous snack stands.
Special highlights include the giant fireworks display, which can be seen from well beyond the district borders every Saturday at 10 pm, Family Day on Wednesday, when all tickets are half price, and the double-decker day which is a new addition in 2019: on Mondays you get two tickets for the price of one!
When: 26th April – 19th May
Where: Volkspark Hasenheide, entrance on Columbiadamm, Neukölln
Admission is free!
Other street festivals worth a visit are the Rudower Frühlingsmeile (Rudow Spring Mile), Frühlingszauber in Westend (Spring Magic in Westend) on the 11th and 12th of May and Steglitzer Woche (Steglitz Week) from the 24th of May to the 10th of June.
Tip 11 + 1: Public holidays
Even though Whitsun falls in June this year due to the late Easter, May is one of the months with the most public holidays in Berlin.
Right on the 1st of May it is Labour Day, so instead of going to work Berlin dances into May the night before. Eleven days later, you can spoil your mum on Mother’s Day and it’s Dad’s turn on May 30th which is Ascension Day and Father’s Day.
Find out about what you can experience on Ascension Day in Berlin at visitBerlin.de.
The long holiday weekends in May are ideal for a trip to the capital, because Berlin shows off its most beautiful side then: everything is green, the trees are in bloom and there is so much to see and do. Indeed, May makes everything new, fresh and free!