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What's On in Berlin | 10 Unmissable Events this Autumn

What's On in Berlin | 10 Unmissable Events this Autumn

Picture of Varia Fedko-Blake
Updated: 9 February 2017
Before the winter sets in, autumn is a fantastic time to try out the best that Berlin has to offer. Alongside an unforgettable cultural program of spectacular light shows, exhibitions, jazz festivals and cheese-tastings, this season is also historically significant. This year, the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall will ensure that all eyes are on the German capital, and you can be in the midst of it all.

Food | Cheese Berlin 2014

2 November

In cooperation with the Slow Food movement, Markthalle Neun has long established itself as a gourmet phenomenon amongst Berlin foodies. A bustling food market on Fridays and Saturdays, the historical hall hosts a number of culinary events every month that place emphasis on local and seasonal produce. Alongside Street Food Thursday, which serves up a creative mix of British pies, Korean buns and Peruvian Ceviche every week, the beginning of November is set to attract cheese lovers from all over the city. At Cheese Berlin, you are invited to nibble on creations from regional and international cheese-makers whilst exploring the exciting program of appropriately themed films and talks. Needless to say, a large selection of artisan breads and organic wines is also on offer.

Cheese Berlin, Markthalle Neun, Eisenbahnstraße 42, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 577 09 46 61

Art | David Chipperfield – Sticks and Stones, eine Intervention

2 October – 31 December

Opened in 1968 by the luminary of modern architecture, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Neue Nationalgalerie has long been a symbol for Berlin’s political division following the Second World War. After a period of 40 years, British architect David Chipperfield has been entrusted with the buildings renovations and his Sticks and Stones installation is the prologue to this task, which gets underway in 2015. For three months, the space of the upper glass hall will be transformed into a columned gallery of 144 tree trunks reaching upward for 8 meters. The walk-in installation provides visitors with a unique spatial experience with a focus on a 200 square-meter ‘forest clearing’ in the centre, which will host various architecture-based events such as the Festival of Future Nows.

Sticks and Stones, Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Straße 50, Berlin, Germany, +49 302 66 42 42 42

Art | 6th European month of photography

16 October – 16 November

The European Month of Photography in Berlin only takes place bi-annually, so there is no excuse not to catch it. Germany’s largest photographic festival is organized in cooperation with numerous galleries, embassies and photography schools, offering an impressive selection of works from international photographers. Falling in line with the 25-year celebration of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, this year’s theme is suitably entitled ‘Upheavals and Utopias: The Other Europe’. With a focus on Central and Eastern Europe, the festival embarks on an enriching discovery of identity, protest and equality, addressing the issue of borders and encompassing the immigration crisis. Over 250 events will take place at 125 locations, ensuring that for 4 weeks, Berlin is transformed into a mecca for photo enthusiasts.

Event takes place at various locations across the city

Design | Fashion Exchange

2 November

Branded as the city’s designer marketplace, Berlin’s Fashion Exchange never disappoints those fashionistas looking to update their wardrobes. For one day in November, the historically listed Postbahnhof will transform its 1,000 square-meters into a simmering melting pot of designers and boutiques. If in search of a new garment, head for the stands showcasing independent designers or alternatively, rummage through treasure troves of second-hand items as part of the Zweiter Frühling. With bargains found at over 100 stands, be prepared to embark on a fashion marathon. Gentlemen wishing to avoid the frenzy are generously invited to hit the Männer Lounge upstairs and spend their Sunday afternoon playing with the football table whilst the ladies shop.

Fashion Exchange, Postbahnhof, Straße der Pariser Kommune 8, Berlin, Germany

Art | Festival of Lights

10 – 19 October

In October, Berlin’s landmarks will be transformed with beams of spectacular light and enchanting video projections as part of the Festival of Lights. Artists showcasing light installations that promise to deliver a magnificent world of storytelling will be scattered over 70 city locations. As well as marveling at the animated facades and radiating three-dimensional light shows at the Brandenburg Gate and Gendarmenmarkt, visitors can also take part in various events and activities dotted around the city. The impressive program of jazz concerts, photo workshops and even dance classes, will ensure that this cultural light affair is not to be missed.

Event takes place at various locations across the city

Film | International Short Film Festival

11 – 16 November

Berlin’s International Short Film Festival is considered to be one of the most influential German film festivals after Berlinale. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, the extensive program will showcase selections ranging from cartoons to historical documentaries, set within intriguing cultural frameworks. In particular, entries from Japan will under the spotlight, focusing on the recent nuclear catastrophe and economic crisis. Film buffs should embrace the opportunity to view over 500 entries – all coming in at under 20- minutes – and experience bite-size chunks of the most controversial and radical creations that European film has to offer. If the fantastic programme of discussions, competitions and workshops is not enough, pick up your dancing shoes and head to the festival party held at BiNuu on Saturday.

Events will be taking place at various locations across the city

Music | JazzFest Berlin

30 October – 2 November

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this autumn, Jazzfest Berlin is a solid jazz presence on the European scene. This year’s theme is the development of jazz in relation to the avant-garde and the festival aims to highlight the genre’s diversity, with an equal focus on traditional and progressive forms. The extensive programme will also turn its attention to the civil rights movement, with artists such as Elliot Sharp and the WDR paying a musical tribute to Martin Luther King. For French artist Jean Cocteau, nothing was ‘intensive enough, except for, perhaps, jazz’, and this four-day marathon is your chance to find out if this rings true for you too.

Event takes place at various locations across the city

Art | ‘Nacht und Nebel’ Neukölln

1 November

The ‘Nacht und Nebel’ event dates back to a time when the district of Neukölln was not quite so trendy. Now, come see for yourself how times have changed. For one night only, Berlin’s multi-cultural neighborhood invites you to an eclectic night of culture and proves yet again why this is the upcoming area to see and to be seen in. Spanning over 70 locations between Schillerkiez and Graefekiez, explore galleries, cellars and private rooms and enrich yourself with a vivid selection of paintings, multi-media installations, performances and readings. Brush shoulders with local artists and experience the night’s extraordinary charm. For those intimidated by the prospect of navigating the cultural spectacle alone, simply tag along with one of the many free tours on offer.

Event takes place at various locations across the city

Culture | Oktoberfest

Various dates throughout October

Just because you are 500 kilometers away from Munich does not mean you have to miss out on the beer festivities. It is common knowledge that Germany and beer come in hand-in-hand and Berlin is no exception. Throughout the capital, a variety of Oktoberfest celebrations will give you a thorough Bavarian experience. Notable locations include the marquee at Alexanderplatz, as well as the Spandau Citadel fortress. The latter is particularly impressive, with over 1,000 seats and a whirlwind non-stop music programme delivered by the original Oktoberfest band, ‘Andreas Autengruber und den Enzianem.’ Be sure to try out the legendary beer whilst also sampling the culinary specialties such as Munich white sausage, pork knuckle and sauerkraut. Adorn your lederhosen, drink up, and dig into that perfectly baked pretzel.

Event takes place at various locations across the city

Culture | 25 Years Fall of the Wall

7 November – 9 November

In November, numerous special events will commemorate 25 years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall. To kick off proceedings on the 7th, a symbolic frontier of 8,000 illuminated balloons will light up a 15-kilometre inner-city segment from the former course of the wall. Alongside this, visual installations will adorn previously divided streets as observers are intellectually and emotionally stimulated with speeches, exhibitions and performances paying homage to the complexities of Berlin’s heavy past. A particular highlight not to be missed will be the release of the balloons into the sky on the 9th to the backdrop of the Staatskapelle, who will perform the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony with ‘Ode to Joy’.

Event takes place at various locations across the city

By Varia Fedko-Blake