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Gay Berlin: Your guide for LGBTIQ+ in Berlin

Colourful, cosmopolitan & diverse

People with rainbow flags at the Pride Parade in Berlin
Pride Parade in Berlin Fabian Böttcher

Gay Berlin

Be yourself. Love who you want – diversity and freedom are not just words in Berlin. Discover present-day Berlin as one of the most open and tolerant cities in the world – the gay/lesbian scene is also flourishing in the German capital.

Yet the road to get here has been a long one: Berlin developed into a centre for homosexual life and same-sex love over the course of the 20th century.

Today you will find gay bars, gay clubs and parties in Berlin. There is a wide-ranging queer cinema programme, the gay museum and many other events for LGBTIQ+.

Every summer the Pride Weeks are celebrated with the lesbian/gay city festival, CSD on the Spree and many other events. The highlight is without a doubt the annual CSD Berlin, where the streets of Berlin play host to demonstrations for equal rights but also to celebrations. 

Our tip: you will find your LGBTQ-friendly hotel in Berlin in our pink pillow Berlin Collection. It brings together hotels with one thing which is of utmost importance: every guest can be themselves.

More about the hotels of the pink pillow Berlin Collection

Tips for gay Berlin

The highlight of Berlin’s LGBTIQ+ calendar is without a doubt the annual CSD Berlin. More than 50 decorated floats and up to 750,000 people parade through Berlin as far as the Brandenburg Gate – on the one hand this is a demonstration for equal rights and a huge party on the other.

If it is not CSD you're after, there are many other things to discover in the Berlin LGBTIQ+ community. We will show you gay bars, parties and gay clubs.

We have also compiled tips specifically for lesbians and women in Berlin. It is in Berlin’s rainbow neighbourhoods where we will introduce you to the LGBTIQ+ scene of the districts in Berlin. 

The LGBTQ scene in Berlin

Berlin lives and breathes diversity in every respect: we have gathered practical information, tips and points of contact for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersexual people.

You will also find countless LGBTIQ+ events in Berlin’s event calendar on

Culturally, Berlin has a lot to offer: from operas to revues and the Gay Museum in Berlin, all the way to queer film programmes in Berlin’s cinemas.

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Spring walk through the gay district Schöneberg

In Schöneberg flies the flag: In 1996, Schöneberg was the first borough to officially fly the rainbow flag at the town hall for the CSD gay pride parade, and has done so ever since. Right back to the 1920s, the district has been a hotspot of the gay scene and is a magnet and catwalk for queer Berliners and tourists.

With the Lesbian and Gay Street Festival in summer and Folsom Europe for leather and fetish fans in September, Nollendorfplatz is a very special place to visit.

Follow our tour through Schöneberg with numerous ports of call for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals.

Our guests’ most popular tickets

Get recommendations about the best events from other visitors. Here you will find the most popular tickets among visitors to Berlin.

Our travel service for a stress-free holiday in Berlin: get your tickets for shows and musicals, the opera or the perfect Berlin sightseeing tour through our convenient online booking service.

You will have the ticket that is right for you in a matter of minutes.

Berlin – the first major world city for gays and lesbians

How the gay and lesbian scene in Berlin emerged

Back in the 1920s, Berlin had already become a haven and refuge for gays and lesbians from all over the world. There are 170 clubs, bars and pubs for gays and lesbians, and well as riotous nightlife and a gay neighbourhood. But parties aren't the only thing being organised – several political associations are founded in Berlin to fight for equal rights. However, the Nazis' rise to power spells the death knell for this diversity, and it would take several decades for Berlin to return to its status as a global centre for the LGBTQ scene. Learn about how Berlin became a hotspot for gays and lesbians over the course of the 20th century, and how its scene attracted people from all over the world – and continues to do so today.

How Berlin become the capital of homosexuality

Since the 1920s, Berlin became, albeit with interruptions, the gay capital. In spite of the financial struggles at that time, especially in the districts of Schöneberg and Kreuzberg, a vibrant scene of bars, clubs, groups and cabarets sprung up and their number is still unrivalled today.

It is said that there were more than 100 venues for homosexuals at that time, ranging from the famous Eldorado to the ladies dance hall Zur Manuela through to the large balls organised by various homosexual associations.

As early as 1897, Magnus Hirschfeld founded the Wissenschaftlich-Humanitäre Komitee (The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee) in Berlin, as the first ever gay and lesbian human rights organisation.

From 1919, he ran the legendary Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexual Science), which made an important contribution to the emancipation of gays and lesbians all over the world.

After the suppression of the entire gay and lesbian community and subculture by the Nazis, it wasn’t until 1971 that the homosexual scene recovered again – which is when the gay movement Homosexuelle Aktion Westberlin (Homosexual Action West Berlin) was founded.

The first Christopher Street Day (gay pride parade) took place in Berlin in 1979.

The community got a whole new lease of life with the founding of the Berliner Lesbenwoche (Berlin Lesbian Week) and the oldest and largest gay and lesbian city magazine Siegessäule in 1984.

Since 1993, the gay/lesbian city festival has been celebrated every year – it is the largest of its kind worldwide and ensures to this day that Berlin is home to the most diverse, vibrant and popular gay/lesbian scenes in Europe.

These days, up to 750,000 people celebrate the CSD in Berlin in the streets of the city – no matter whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, transgender or another sexual orientation. More than 50 floats make their way through the city and towards the Brandenburg Gate.

The Berlin nightlife is famous for its gay clubs – the most famous of all is the Berghain at Ostbahnhof and the KitKatClub in Mitte.

Berlin has rainbow neighbourhoods in Kreuzberg, Mitte, Schöneberg and Prenzlauer Berg.

And Berlin even had a gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit. He was the first leading German politician to be open about being gay. His outing with the words “I am gay – and that is also a good thing.” resonated around the world and became a well-known saying. 

Come to Berlin and experience the typical Berlin tolerance for yourself. We have a wealth of tips and recommendations so that you can get to know its rainbow-coloured side.

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