What’s a Christmas without a Christmas market? It’s like not having any candles for Hanukkah. December in Berlin is all about their Christmas markets. There are both indoor and outdoor markets where you can find the most unique and adorable gifts for yourself or someone special. You should check out the Bröhan Museum market, where the vendors sell items that are exclusively handmade by Berlin locals. If you’re after an indoor market, go to the Weihnachtsrodeo, where you can eat, drink, and be merry.
Berlin’s Botanical Gardens open their gates for visitors to enjoy a magical nighttime stroll through the lit-up gardens. There are several different light arrangements to fancy and Christmas ornaments to inspire and appreciate. You can find a few fire pits around the garden, some giant blow-up Christmas figures and, of course, an ice skating rink – fun.
If you’re looking for a Ferris wheel, a haunted house, and a carousel, go to Alexanderplatz. It’s kind of hard to miss and hard to resist. The lights and the grounds are so well lit-up and decorated that it attracts locals and tourists alike. Alexanderplatz Funfair welcomes and enchants all ages. There will be little vendors directly on Alexanderplatz, but the Funfair itself is in the parking lot just behind the Alexa mall.
The Alte Münze has a killer exhibition running this winter, featuring animated video projections of works by 16 modern artists. It’s a multimedia exhibition that features the works of the best of the best modernists including, Klimt, Munch and, of course, Monet, and Kandinsky. The exhibition ends January 28 and is well worth the cultural and stimulating visit. There is music, plus videos, projections, and much more to engage your colorful senses, synesthesia welcome.
The supermarkets all around Berlin stock up on the fanciest chocolates of the year, like seriously. Normally, you have your simple selections of Milka and Ritter Sport, which is good and all for what it is, but during Christmastime the supermarkets start to get real creative with their chocolate assortments. There’s a fancy chocolate out there for everyone, even the vegans.
Some people think that Spandau’s Christmas market is the best market in town; now, that’s up for debate, but it certainly calls up feelings of curiosity. The market is set up in the Old Town of Spandau which really gives it that old European feeling. The Christmas market has over 200 vendors from all around the world – how’s that for a cultural experience? Go for the Ukrainian food and stay for Konditorei Fester dessert.
Mulled wine everyone? Yes, yes, and yes. Glühwein is one of the best parts of Christmas. If you’re with a friend who doesn’t feel up for going to a Christmas market, offer to buy him or her their first cup of Glühwein and see if they can resist the offer; we think not. A must-try-and-repeat activity.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of the “Berlin locals” are actually from out of town, and by town we mean city, if not country. That means many Berlin inhabitants fly home to mum and pops for a family Christmas canoodle time. With almost half of the city gone, it’s your best chance to dress up like a local Berliner (in all black, of course) and head to the clubs. The lines will be short(er) than usual, and you may score your chance into a club that might have rejected you months ago, during their peak summer season, where only a third of the people actually make it inside.
If you want to be impressed by lights, go to Unter den Linden for a romantic and bright walk. Under den Linden is lit up all the way from Humboldt University until Brandenburg Gate. Brandenburg Gate is in every Berlin guidebook, what better time to check it out than at night when the streets are decorously lit up?
With every Christmas comes a New Year, and with every New Year comes a lot of parties and a whole lot of fireworks, at least in Berlin that is. Christmas is the time to fill your belly with soul-warming food alongside family, friends, and even strangers. Make it an early(ish) night and get your liver and energy levels ready to party this New Year’s, and make 2018 your best New Year’s yet. Use Christmas night to brainstorm your 2018 resolutions, so you have one less obligation this New Year’s Eve.