Winter Getaway: Berlin’s Late Night Culture

January 21, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
Berlin heats up in January and February, with several different cultural events to keep visitors and locals entertained, curious and busy. Despite much attention for its cultural achievements and elusive cool over the past year or two, Berlin still pulsates with energy. The city’s artists, musicians and café scene remain invigorating, say travel experts, who’ve called Berlin a must-visit place in 2009.

Hype, or Here to Stay?

The focus on Berlin is likely to continue this year, as leading publications like Frommer’s tout the city as a top 2009 destination. Frommer’s suggests a stroll through the oriental gardens at Marzahn, or Berlin’s oldest park, Tiergarten.

Anne Christensen, women’s fashion director of The New York Times T Magazine, visited Berlin this past fall and chronicled her trip for The Moment blog. “Everybody (still) talks about Berlin: How cool it is, how you can actually afford to be an artist there” she writes. Christensen notes that families “from all over the world” are relocating to Berlin, likely because each “neighborhood feels like a bohemian paradise: great cafes, great vintage stores, amazing museums and a brand new gallery district.” She also describes a fantastic Berlin bookstore, complete with leafy courtyard and basement packed with reading material.

Wintertime in Berlin

The Long Night of Museums kicks off at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31, and lasts until 2 a.m. on Feb. 1. The event offers grand-scale access to various exhibits and collections inside more than 100 museums and other Berlin cultural institutions. The Berlin Visitors Guide says to expect concerts, readings and theatrical performances throughout the night.

From February 5–15, the Berlin Film Festival lends international glamour to the city. The two weeks of festivities and industry gatherings are not without gravity, however. Among the more intense projects is “After Winter Comes Spring – Films Presaging the Fall of the Wall,” which marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The festival Web site has information on lectures and special presentations happening throughout the fortnight, and in the “Service” section, offers tips for finding tickets, accommodations and navigating the festival.

Berlin’s Best

Readers of U.K. newspaper The Guardian offered their personal Berlin travel suggestions in November 2008. Find out where to grab a bite to eat, where to stay and which tours to take during your stay. Drinking tips and bar recommendations are also provided, including a watering hole described by a reader as “Berlin in a nutshell,” and a bizarre pub called Klo Bar that serves red wine “in blood transfusion packs” and features “a tarantula in a glass case.”

GeoBeats Productions has several videos on Berlin travel, including insight into the city’s environmental efforts, the art scene, Berlin landmarks and historic neighborhoods (like Nikolaiviertel), German fast food (kebabs), plus nightlife and the infamous beer gardens found around the city.

More Germany travel

FindingDulcinea’s feature “Cultural Capitals: Berlin” examines the city’s earnest artists and non-conformists, who aren’t afraid to show their excitement and optimism. The lore of Berlin’s infamous Paris Bar is also touched on.

Use the findingDulcinea Germany Travel Web Guide to plan your trip, find a place to stay, book a cheap flight to Berlin, and discover even more of Berlin’s sights, sounds and cultural attractions.

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