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New Year's Eve | © Sascha Kohlmann / Flickr
New Year's Eve | © Sascha Kohlmann / Flickr
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11 Reasons to Visit Berlin This Winter (Really)

Picture of Dayna Gross
Updated: 25 October 2017
Many say the best time to visit Berlin is in the summer, with its long days, warm weather, and constant happenings; however, many of the locals would agree that the winter is their favorite time in Berlin. The city takes on a peaceful hush as the temperatures begins to drop, and the streets and bars grow less crowded. The Berlin winter is filled with events and warm drinks to lure the locals out of their flats and into the Berlin social scene. Just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on – here’s a list to tempt you into a Berlin winter.

Glühwein

There’s no better way to get warm then to huddle over a warm pot of steamy Glühwein. You’ll want to keep your hands, body, and soul warm with this satisfying drink night after night. Glühwein is a mulled drink made up of red wine, cinnamon, cloves, and if you’re lucky, some harder liquors are also dripped into the pot. There are non-alcoholic versions around the markets and cafés as an alternative, all winter long.

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mulled-wine | © baguggi / Pixabay

Christmas markets

Berlin is quite famous for its Christmas markets. On every famous Platz, there are weekly Christmas markets starting in November all the way up to the night before Christmas. Here, you can have a tour of what the Berliners are up to, what they are crafting, and there is usually an after-party – it’s a win-win situation really.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s in Berlin is totally wild. No matter what the weather may be, there is total madness, but the best kind of madness. Everyone is out on the streets drinking and shooting fireworks. Kids and adults of all ages are capturing the opportunity to fire up whatever fireworks they managed to find. If you’re looking for a party, well this is the party of the year, of the New Year, but also of the whole year. It’s hard to be lonely during a Berlin New Year’s, you really have to make an effort to isolate yourself.

Berlinale

What is a Berlin winter without the Berlin International Film Festival? Berlinale is one of the most important film festivals in the world. This February 15-23 will be their 68th anniversary, with screenings all over Berlin. Check out the Berlinale site for the upcoming films of the year.

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Berlin 1937 at the Märkisches Museum

If you’re interested in German history, or history in general, this is your exhibition this winter. Berlin 1937 reveals footage, objects, sound recordings, and other mediums that expose the way the Nazi regime slowly gained power and the approval of the German people. The exhibition explores what life was like right before the War began, before the Holocaust, before the Nazi regime gained full control. The exhibition is up until February 25, 2018, this may be the only chance you get.

Märkisches Museum, Am Köllnischen Park 5, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 24002162

Christmas dinners

If you’re interested in escaping your family’s yearly Christmas dinner, Berlin is your destination. Several people fly home to Mom and Dad while the rest gather together and make Christmas their own way. If you’re the traditional type, this is probably not for you – unless you’re looking for a new tradition, and maybe new friends and family.

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Christmas dinner | © KlausHausmann / Pixabay
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Haegue Yang at Kindl – Center for Contemporary Arts

This year, Kindl – Center for Contemporary Arts has invited Haegue Yang into the gigantic space known as the Boiler House. The artist lives in both Seoul and Berlin and is reflecting on ideas of post-industrialism, and how that concept is so vastly different for countries who still feel its heavy impact today. Haegue Yang often uses industrial materials to create a conceptual work in space, as is the case here with her monumental work Silo of Silence – Clicked Core. The exhibition will run from September 10, 2017 until May 13, 2018.

Am Sudhaus 3, Berlin, Germany +49 30 83 21 59 12 16

DIY Sledding

Berlin is a relatively flat city, but that doesn’t mean its parks are without a hill or two. Sliding down the deep hills in the parks on a DIY sled made out of a garbage bag, or you can go all the way and buy yourself a legitimate sled, is the one and only thing to do on a snow-packed day in Berlin. This is a creative city, so the sleds you’ll see may inspire you for the next snowfall, but you’ll definitely have a big laugh or two sliding and sledding into your childhood self.

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Lost Words at St. Nicholas’ Church

Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota has transformed the St. Nicholas’ Church into a welcoming art space. Her installation includes a threading of the bible pages from one language to another. The exhibition is a celebration of the 500 years of the Reformation, and Chiharu Shiota’s installation represents the widespread universality of the book called the Bible, which we have all heard of, and are influenced by, even if we haven’t read it.

St. Nicholas’ Church, Berlin, Germany

Lentil soup

What better season to eat soup than in winter? Besides all of the yummy soups added to every café, lunch, and dinner menu, lentil soup is served year-round in the Turkish and Lebanese restaurants found all around Berlin. The soup can be as cheap as 2 euros in some places, and it always comes with a nice soft bread roll that’s both fluffy and tasty. The soups are almost always vegetarian, if not vegan, and there is usually a meat option as well. However, lentil soup is certainly filled a with sufficient amount of protein.

Shorter club lines

Seriously, we mean it. The lines to the clubs are shorter in January and February than any other time of the year. This might be your chance to get into the clubs that insist on turning people away. Perhaps they are more forgiving for those who trek out into the cold just to have a good time. We can’t make any promises, but it does sound promising.