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The Gay Berlin Guide (Germany 🇩🇪)

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The Gay Berlin Guide (Germany 🇩🇪)

Welcome to the ultimate gay Berlin guide, the vibrant capital city of Germany and the kinky capital of the planet! Known for its rich history, progressive attitudes, and thriving gay Berlin community, this city offers an inclusive and welcoming environment for all travellers. This gay guide to Berlin has it all, whether you're seeking a lively nightlife, delicious culinary experiences, or cultural exploration. Get ready to immerse yourself in the diverse and vibrant gay scene of Berlin, a city renowned for its gay-friendly Berlin culture.

Despite how extensively we've travelled, we call Berlin, the German capital with a vibrant lgbtq community, our home. Ryan has lived there since 2018 and Fabio since 2021. Nevertheless, as the city has more 'straight-friendly' venues than 'gay-friendly', it is literally impossible to keep track of all the brimming gay life. We will do our best to tell you the places we love and support with all our heart. This is the only guide you need to the gay scene of Berlin!

Grab your harnesses, and let's go explore Berlin's gay scene ⛓️!


Table of Contents

Hello, sexy reader! We want to be transparent with you – some of the links in this post are affiliate links. But here's the good news: clicking on them won't cost you an extra dime. In fact, it might save you money! So go ahead, click away, and enjoy the perks without the added expense. Thanks for supporting our site!
Please help us improve this guide 💖: Our gay guides undergo regular updates to ensure that all listed establishments are current, popular, and, most importantly, safe. The recommendations and descriptions provided within this guide stem from personal experiences and/or reports. We welcome any input regarding new venues or updates to existing ones included in the guide. Please feel free to reach out to us by email with your suggestions or updates.

1. Welcome to the Gayest City on Planet Earth

Berlin, the gay capital city of Germany, is a vibrant and diverse destination that has something for everyone. From its rich history to its thriving gay scene, to its absolutely wild Christopher Street Day, to its openly gay mayor, this city offers a unique and inclusive experience for gay travelers. Whether you're looking to explore the city's cultural landmarks, indulge in delicious cuisine, or dance the night away at one of its many gay clubs, Berlin has it all.

While the city was separated many times in the past (most recently and most literally by the Berlin Wall), it is now a melting pot of culture and gayness.

Berlin's reputation as a gay-friendly city is rooted in its rich history of LGBTQ+ acceptance, marked by a thriving LGBT Berlin and "schwules" Berlin culture, LGBTQ community during the Weimar Republic era and a resurgence after World War II. Despite the persecution faced during the Nazi regime, Berlin has emerged as a symbol of inclusivity and diversity. Today, the city boasts legal protections, a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, and hosts the annual Christopher Street Day parade, making it a beacon of acceptance, and you will for sure notice it everywhere you go.


2. Gay Map of Berlin


3. Gayborhoods in Berlin (Spoiler Alert: You don't need to stay in Schöneberg)

Most gay men who come to Berlin for the first time stumble upon Schöneberg district, a well-known gay neighborhood Berlin, when doing their research on gay districts in Berlin. While this is technically the most well-known of the gay neighborhoods and there are a smattering of cafés, stores, bars, etc., we find that it caters a bit more to an older crowd. Don't be afraid of checking out some of the other neighborhoods, as really Schöneberg, located near Nollendorfplatz, is just a U-bahn (subway) ride away and can be visited.

These are other neighborhoods worth exploring for gay travelers and in actuality, no real main gay area. Here are a few:

  1. Kreuzberg: Known for its alternative and artistic vibe, Kreuzberg has a lively LGBTQ+ scene. It is home to several queer bars, clubs, and cultural spaces. The neighborhood's multicultural atmosphere and trendy cafés make it a great place to stay.

  2. Friedrichshain: Located near Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain is another neighborhood with a vibrant LGBTQ+ community. It offers a mix of trendy bars, queer-friendly venues, and a bustling nightlife. Plus, it's close to the iconic East Side Gallery.

  3. Neukölln: Neukölln has become increasingly popular among the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. It boasts a diverse and inclusive atmosphere, with queer-friendly bars, cafés, and events. The neighborhood is known for its hipster vibe and trendy LGBTQ+ establishments.

  4. Prenzlauer Berg: While Prenzlauer Berg is not as predominantly LGBTQ+ as Schöneberg, it still offers a welcoming environment for queer travelers. It has a charming atmosphere, with picturesque streets, cosy cafés, and a range of LGBTQ+-friendly venues.

Just don't stay in Charlottenburg or Marzahn - run far, far away from these places 🤣. Mitte, considered Central Berlin, isn't a bad place to stay, but I feel it lacks the culture of some of these other gayborhoods.

A view from Kreuzberg, Berlin, showing traditional buildings and a train bridge with a plume of smoke rising in the background, while the iconic TV Tower is visible in the distance, hinting at a vibrant yet calm cityscape.

A fresh morning in Kreuzberg


4. What kind of gay accommodations in Berlin are there? (If you can, stay in an Altbau)

While hotels are always an option, we find booking through Airbnb or even a site where you can stay with gay locals, like misterb&b to provide the most authentic Berlin experience.

Going through services like Airbnb and misterb&b will allow you to discover Berlin's "Altbau", or "old building". Berlin's Altbau buildings are a must-visit for their historic charm and unique atmosphere. These architectural gems, built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, feature stunning facades, high ceilings, and intricate detailing. Staying in an Altbau apartment allows you to immerse yourself in Berlin's rich history and experience the city's authentic character. With their central locations in the aforementioned districts, Altbau apartments provide easy access to top attractions, vibrant nightlife, and trendy cafes and restaurants.

The iconic sea of red Altbau rooftops in Friedrichshain, Berlin, during dusk, with the silhouette of church spires piercing the skyline, illustrating the historic charm of the neighborhood.

On top of the old "Altbau" houses in Friedrichshain

But if you are looking for a gay hotel experience or are just there for a quick weekend, then these are some personally vetted hotels that we like:

Michelberger

  • Location: Situated in the vibrant Friedrichshain district, close to the East Side Gallery and Oberbaum Bridge.

  • Amenities: Features a cozy café, a courtyard garden, and uniquely decorated rooms; live music and DJ events are common.

  • LGBTQ+ Touch: Known for its inclusive and bohemian atmosphere, welcoming a diverse clientele.

New Berlin

  • Location: Located in Friedrichshain, near Velodrom concert hall and the Volkspark Friedrichshain park.

  • Amenities: Offers a spa with a sauna, fitness area, and massage services, along with an Italian restaurant.

  • LGBTQ+ Touch: Friendly staff and a cosmopolitan vibe make it a comfortable choice for LGBTQ+ guests.

The Weinmeister Berlin-Mitte - Adults Only

  • Location: Nestled in the heart of Berlin-Mitte, close to trendy boutiques and art galleries.

  • Amenities: Features stylish rooms with Apple iMacs and designer bathrooms, a rooftop terrace, and a spa area.

  • LGBTQ+ Touch: An adults-only policy and a fashionable, modern atmosphere provide a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ travelers.

Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof

  • Location: Centrally located near the Berlin Zoo and the famous Kurfürstendamm shopping street.

  • Amenities: Boasts a luxurious spa with a heated indoor pool, a gym, and a range of international cuisine.

  • LGBTQ+ Touch: Offers upscale accommodation and a non-discriminatory environment, catering to all guests with elegance.

nhow Berlin

  • Location: Positioned in the trendy area of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, right on the banks of the River Spree and close to the East Side Gallery.

  • Amenities: Europe's first music hotel, it offers a recording studio and guitar room service, along with vibrant, modern rooms.

  • LGBTQ+ Touch: Celebrated for its creative and avant-garde style, this hotel is very popular with the LGBTQ+ community, reflecting the inclusive spirit of Berlin.

Moxy Ostbanhof

  • Location: Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof is located in the Friedrichshain neighborhood of Berlin, known for its vibrant culture and nightlife, and is conveniently situated near the Ostbahnhof train station for easy access to public transportation.

  • Amenities: The hotel offers contemporary amenities such as chic, comfortable rooms with flat-screen TVs and ensuite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, a 24/7 bar and lounge area, and creative communal spaces that encourage social interaction among guests.

  • LGBTQ+ Touch: In line with Moxy's brand identity, Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof likely embraces a diverse and inclusive atmosphere, often hosting events or partnering with LGBTQ+ organizations to ensure a welcoming and supportive environment for guests of all orientations and identities.

Axel Hotel Berlin & Urban House

I am only putting this here because this is 100% the most well-known of the gay hotels coming to Berlin and is located in the aforementioned Schöneberg. The hotel offers stylish rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a vibrant atmosphere, making it a key spot on any Berlin gay map. The rooftop can get very cruisy, with a jacuzzi and sauna. If you want to stay in a place where all other clienteles are gay, this is it! They even have "please disturb" sign to encourage men to enter your room 🤣.

- LGBTQ-Friendly Hostels

For budget-conscious gay travelers, Berlin has several LGBTQ-friendly hostels that offer a comfortable and social atmosphere. Some popular options include Sunflower Hostel and Generator Berlin Prenzlauer Berg. There is even a place called My GayHostel, which, if the name doesn't give away what it is, the slogan will (Your way to stay 100% gay) - a plus is staying there unlocks discounts to shops and cafés around the area.


5. "Straight-Friendly" Scene: Gay Nightlife in Berlin 🥂

There are arguably few other places in the world with more iconic nightlife than Berlin. It has truly corrupted us, and anywhere we go around the world, we sometimes find ourselves thinking, "well...in Berlin it would be like this". While this isn't the best attitude, it is proof that the nightlife in Berlin is immense! In most places, anything goes, and you can do anything your heart desires.

The one thing that is undesirable is the long lines and the strict-door policies. You can check out some tips here to make this more manageable and not ruin your trip to Berlin.

And with that, let's move onto the clubs. We have separate posts about The Best Gay Clubs in Berlin (complete with tips on the lines and the bouncers) as well as The Best Gay Parties in Berlin (referring more to monthly/quarterly parties), so feel free to go into a deep-dive on these pages, but we will also list some here:

The Best Gay Clubs in Berlin

- KitKat (Kreuzberg)

This is the place where all pre-conceptions about the world will go out the window. As soon as you enter this club, you leave your clothes at the door and raise your kinkiness level to the maximum. In this post, I write a detailed story about how a night at KitKat changed me forever for the better.

They host a once-monthly Revolver party on Friday's. Beware, it is often a meat-hunting fest, so if you prefer something more queer and balanced, I would check out the weekly Saturday night Carneball Bizarre.

- Berghain (Friedrichshain)

Maybe it is overrated, but if you can get in here, it will raise the bar to a level unattainable anywhere else in the world. Berghain, one of the top gay clubs Berlin has, is an iconic Berlin club with 2 dance floors (Berghain and Panorama Bar) situated in a former power plant. Known for its legendary parties and strict door policy, it's a must-visit for techno music enthusiasts. Get ready to dance the night away at this world-famous venue. While Berghain is not an explicitly gay club, it is very queer friendly.

Twice yearly, the adjoining gay sex club, LAB and Berghain join forces putting on Snax. I write my feelings about Snax in this other post, but if you must go (and don't mind the 3-hour lines), it is a quintessential Berlin experience.

Nighttime scene of a long queue at Berghain, Berlin's renowned nightclub, with eager attendees lining up on Wriezener Karree under street lights, reflecting the city's legendary nightlife culture.

Good luck with the long lines and bouncer at Berghain

- SchwuZ (Neukölln)

SchwuZ, one of Berlin's largest gay clubs with 3 dance floors, offers a diverse range of LGBT events, including Berlin drag shows. From drag performances to live shows, SchwuZ is a hub of queer culture and entertainment in the Berlin clubs scene.

While I don't think it is a club unique to Berlin, it is a nice, safe bet for a good night out and there will surely be a mixed crowd!

Again, I don't list specific gay parties here, which often tend to take place at other clubs around the city, so check out this post to see if one of those align with when you are visiting the city: The Best Gay Parties in Berlin.

Berlin Gay Sex Clubs

- LAB (Friedrichshain)

As you come up to the line for Berghain, you may see a (typically) smaller line to the left going to the left of the building; this is the entrance to LAB. Open most nights of the week, this is a pure gay sex club that caters to every kink. Make sure you read the website and wear the suggested fetish, as I have been rejected on an athlete's night for walking in with boots and not trainers.

A little trick: if you go on a Friday/Saturday night here and get a stamp on the way out, you will be able to go through to the Berghain guest list line when it opens.

The Best Gay Bars in Berlin

Gay bars are more of a thing than straight bars in Berlin! They tend to be cozy and wonderful places to meet people. I also find them frequented more by locals and expats, so it is a fabulous way to make some Berlin pals. The one thing is that while smoking indoors is generally not allowed in Berlin, everyone does it in these bars, so you might end up leaving smelling like an ashtray and have a second-hand smoke hangover.

- Capture Bar (Friedrichshain)

This bar popped up sometime during the pandemic, and it has since become my favorite establishment. Nestled in Friedrichshain, around the corner from the madness of Simon-Dach Strasse, this place always gives off wonderful vibes and the owner is very sweet! Get there early to get some seats near the front!

three men drinking beer outside at Capture Bar in Berlin

Capture Bar, our fave in Friedrichshain

- Roses Bar (Kreuzberg)

Roses Bar, a long-standing Berlin gay bar with wild interiors (there is literally pink fur lining all the walls). Known for its laid-back vibe, mixed crowd, and slightly terrifying, yet perplexing female bartender, it's a popular choice among gay clubs for its friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere. Enjoy a cocktail or seven and soak in the vibrant LGBTQ energy.

- Tipsy Bear (Prenzlauer Berg)

A drag queen bar with some pretty fabulous performances, Tipsy Bear is a staple of Prenzlauer Berg and boasts the friendliest and loving of crowds. I definitely have had one too many vodka sodas here the night before an early-morning flight, and let's say Tipsy Bear won.

- Möbel Olfe (Kreuzberg)

Vibey gay bar in the center of it all, Kottbusser Tor, this is the greatest place to meet people, although you will absolutely come out smelling of an ashtray.

- Betty F (Mitte)

A friendly, vivacious bar in Central Berlin, this has been a staple of the Berlin scene for decades. A drag queen hub 👸.

A framed painting displayed at Möbel Olfe in Berlin, depicting a young girl with a beaming smile and red hair styled in a bun, wearing a traditional red dress, adding a touch of vintage charm to the bar's eclectic decor.

Although Möbel Olfe may have creepy paintings, it is friendly

Darkrooms in Berlin (Bars with darkrooms)

I put this as another category, because finding a bar with a darkroom is actually quite common in Berlin 😅. One minute you are in the bathroom, the next minute you are in a maze of dark corridors. These are the bars with darkroom Berlin does best.

- Boyberry Berlin (Schöneberg)

Tom's Bar is no longer and the more youthful and colorful Boyberry has taken its place! This is more like a darkroom with a bar instead of a bar with a darkroom. The upstairs has a bar once you walk in and compared to Tom's Bar, the bar has a lot of activity happening around it, but the focus is also downstairs, which is a big ol' darkroom with lots of fun to be had.

Two smiling men enjoying Berlin's vibrant gay nightlife, playfully posing under purple lighting at Boyberry, a popular local hangout.

Taking advantage of that neon Boyberry lighting

Patrons socialize under neon lights at Boyberry, a lively destination contributing to Berlin's gay nightlife scene, with the club's neon sign casting a warm glow over the crowd.

The Boyberry upstairs bar is filled with friendly people

- Ficken 3000 (Neukölln)

Again, more like a darkroom with a bar instead of a bar with a darkroom. With a similar layout to Tom's, you'll have your choice of darkroom bars across this massive city. In recent times, I have found the darkroom has become more of a place for socializing than physical action, likely because people are trying to escape the smokiness of the first floor 🤣.

Berlin Gay Saunas

If you're visiting Berlin and looking for a unique experience, don't miss out on the gay sauna scene.

- Der Boiler Berlin (Kreuzberg)

If you are looking for the top gay sauna Berlin has to offer, look no further than Der Boiler. Located in the heart of the city, Boiler Berlin offers a haven (or heaven) for gay men to unwind, socialize, and indulge in some well-deserved relaxation (and a labyrinth of steam 😈). The sauna boasts modern amenities, including steam rooms, saunas, and hot tubs, providing the perfect setting to rejuvenate after a day of exploring Berlin. Whether you're a local or a tourist, a visit to Boiler Berlin, arguably the best gay sauna in Berlin, is a must to immerse yourself in the vibrant and inclusive Berlin lgbtq community.

- Vabali (Moabit)

Okay, so not a gay sauna at all, but I could not figure out how to categorize this 🤣. It is the perfect post-party, post-weekend spa with relaxing pools all around its Bali-like grounds, delicious Indonesian-fusion cuisine, and sweaty saunas. You will need to be naked there, but it is both male and female, so do not get the wrong idea that it is a sex sauna like BOILER 😉. It is an innocent, beautiful place to relax and rejuvenate.


6. International Food Heaven: Best Restaurants in Berlin 🍖

That seemed like a lot of bars, clubs, saunas, and darkrooms, but as Berlin is known for hedonism, it wouldn't be fair if I didn't get them off my chest first.

But if you are not a clubber, you will have to eat something, and Berlin is a paradise for food lovers. From traditional German restaurants to international cuisines, Berlin has something to satisfy every palate. If you're pondering over where to eat in Berlin, Germany, here are some of the top restaurants in Berlin that not only showcase Berlin cuisine but are also popular stops on food tours.

These foodie rules and best restaurants in Berlin offer everything from Sunday brunch in Berlin to the best brunch in Berlin, making them a must-visit.

Don't settle for currywurst or Mustafa's Gemüse Kebab

Currywurst is meant to be one of the staples of Berlin, but honestly, it is just a cut up hot dog with ketchup and a weird sprinkle of curry powder. I would give it a miss.

While kebab is another staple of Berlin, you can find equally good and even better kebab than forcing yourself to wait in line at Mustafa's Gemüse (vegetarian) kebab (coincidentally right next to Boiler).

If you really want the best Berlin kebab, check out:

- Oase (Friedrichshain)

This unsuspecting little place has been my favorite Berlin doner kebab ever since I have come to the city. While it doesn't provide the traditional Berlin döner in the bread (they prefer to use wraps), the flavor and sauces are on-point. My favorite is the falafel and halloumi im bröt (falafel and halloumi in bread). It is also one of the extremely cheap restaurants Berlin has on offer.

- Nefis Gemüse Kebab (Kreuzberg/Neukölln)

If you really want to go for the traditional vegetarian kebab in Berlin, check out Nefis. The crew is super nice and the kebab is to die for - one of many vegetarian restaurants Berlin is known for.

Embrace the Berlin Vietnamese Restaurant Scene

Berlin has seen a significant influx of Vietnamese immigrants over the years, resulting in a thriving Vietnamese restaurant scene in the city. After the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese people fled their country, seeking refuge and opportunities abroad. Germany, specifically Berlin, became a popular destination due to its strong economy and job prospects. The Vietnamese community in Berlin has since grown, with many individuals and families opening restaurants to share their culture and cuisine with the local population. The Berlin restaurant scene has flourished as a result, offering a wide range of authentic Vietnamese dishes and flavors that have become increasingly popular among locals and tourists alike.

- Gotcha (Friedrichshain)

A more contemporary Vietnamese restaurant, this has been my go-to restaurant since 2018, when I first discovered it. The menu may not be authentically Vietnamese, but the flavors are hard to beat. Plus the vibe on Simon Dach Strasse during the summer is infectious. Even if you aren't vegetarian, try out the Buddha Bowl 🤩.

- Anh Ba Restaurant (Neukölln)

One word, pho. The pho is fabulous at this restaurant, and in the midst of winter, this is a massive, delicious immunity booster.

Try German/Austrian/Swiss food, but avoid the Brauhaus Scene

Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), international faire is more common than German food around the city, but that is likely because of the stereotypes around German food being bland. Even so, there are some places that totally defy these assumptions, and they are not the touristy brauhaus (brew houses) that are famous to Munich.

- Klinke (Kreuzberg)

Think German tapas, here you will get to sample all the German grandmother-made specialities. And for dessert, make sure to get the Kaiserschmarrn.

Assorted German tapas served at Klinke restaurant in Berlin, featuring a variety of dishes such as creamy mashed potatoes with chive garnish, rich beef stew, and crispy fried items on artistically designed plates, capturing the essence of Berlin's culinary diversity.

Klinke German/Austrian-style tapas. Lecker!

- Mutzenbacher (Kreuzberg)

One word: Wienerschnitzel.

- Schwarze Heidi Fondue (Friedrichshain)

This is a little pop-up, cozy fondue restaurant that only is available during the summer months. This is basically the closest you will ever get to becoming Swiss.

Head to a Food Market

For a unique dining experience, head to Markthalle Neun (Kreuzberg), a historic market hall that hosts a variety of food stalls and events. From street food to artisanal products, there's something for everyone at this vibrant culinary hub, making it a key destination for Berlin food tours and a showcase of Berlin cuisine in the bustling Berlin markets. It's one of the Berlin highlights for food lovers.

Another one, only on Saturdays, is the food market at Boxhagener Platz (Friedrichshain).

Some of the best Italian Restaurants Berlin is known for, because, well Fabio 🇮🇹🤌

  • Nudelbude (Neukölln) - Pasta heaven

  • The GRAIN, Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg) - Honestly some of the best Neapolitan-style pizza we have had in any place on this planet. I miss the dough everyday.

  • Cargo (Friedrichshain) - Sicilian-style street food

  • Marco Polo Uno (Lichtenberg) - Cosy, Italian trattoria

  • Osteria Sippi (Kreuzberg/Neukölln) - Banging aperitivo

  • Spumante (Kreuzberg) - Another excellent little aperitivo place, with randomly scrumptious Greek salads.

Spumante Berlin, an awesome little aperitivo place for after-work drinks and snacks

Happy boys at Spumante

The GRAIN Berlin, Neapolitan pizza

Ryan about to experience HEAVEN for the first time at The GRAIN

And some other restaurants in Berlin that we love

A hand holding a bottle of Kazbegi Original Lager, a product of Global Beer Georgia, showcasing the authentic Georgian beer against a backdrop of traditional patterned fabric.

Georgian beer in Berlin at Gio's Georgian

A massive vegan Turkish style brunch from It's a long story located in Berlin

Banging vegan Turkish brunch at It's a long story


7. What to See in Berlin in 1 Day and Tours of Berlin 🏛️

Berlin, a city rich in history and culture, offers numerous landmarks and attractions to explore. Whether you're interested in art, history, or architecture, Berlin has it all. These Berlin landmarks and sights are essential for sightseeing and exploring Berlin's rich architecture and tourism, making them the perfect things to do in Berlin over the weekends. Don't forget to visit the Berlin museums.

Check out all the big sites (which can be done realistically in an afternoon)

Start at East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain to get a glimpse of a large section of the Berlin Wall, the mega wall which separated East Berlin from West Berlin. It is currently spattered with permanent and temporary murals, it is a must-see if you are visiting Berlin. Take a long walk along the Spree river and down Mühlenstraße to Alexanderplatz to check out the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), Berlin's tallest building and an icon of East Berlin. Take the U-Bahn to Unter den Linden and walk up to the Brandenburg Gate, most assuredly one of Berlin's most iconic landmarks, symbolizing the reunification of East Germany and West Germany. Head into the outright shocking Memorial to the Murdered Jews and stroll into Tiergarten or head to Museum Island, to explore the rich history and art of Berlin in these cultural institutions. Checkpoint Charlie is and will always be very underwhelming, so I would give it a miss 🤣.

Or even better, do it with a tour-guide

The first time I had my mother visit me in Berlin, we did a tour and I learned so much about the city, helping me to appreciate it even more. Without a guide, I would have walked over Hitler's bunker like a million times without ever knowing what it was 🫣.

I recommend either booking a private tour with Marriette, our friend from North England who has been giving banging, top quality tours in Berlin since moving there in 2006, or if you are trying to save a little bit of cash, book a free group tour with Sandemans New Europe.

Daily life in Alexanderplatz with the Berlin TV Tower, or Fernsehturm, towering in the background. Foreground activity includes pedestrians, a carousel, and street lamps, capturing the blend of urban life and tourist attractions in central Berlin.

The world's biggest butt plug?

Go to The Sphere in the TV Tower

We went here hesitantly for a little anniversary surprise thinking it might be a tourist trap (considering I have lived in the city for many years), but it was actually one of the highlights of all the things I have ever done in Berlin.

Book a restaurant reservation around sunset and enjoy a "German-style" aperitivo or dinner while rotating 360 degrees around Berlin. It will give you perspective on just how big the city is.

Check out the Schwules Museum

The Gay Museum of Berlin has been offering rich insight into the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals since 1985! It isn't so common that a city has a gay museum, so you need to check it out!

Wander Tempelhofer Feld

An old airport for West Berlin, this is now a massive park in Neukölln. If you have a run around it, it is well over 5 kilometers. Every part of it feels sublime and in the summer, there is no place in the world with more things happening.

Overcast sky over Tempelhofer Feld, with tall dry grass in the foreground and Berlin city skyline in the distance, featuring the iconic TV tower faintly visible through the haze.

Head to some lakes

If it is summer, check out some of the nature that this city is known for! Some of the most popular lakes for gays are Kaulsdorfer Seen or Teufelsee. At most of these, you can sunbathe naked (thanks to FKK culture) and these two have the best cruising opportunities. If you are looking for something more down-to-earth and scenic, I would recommend Krumme Lanke or nearby Schlachtensee.

Ryan celebrating his birthday at Krumme Lanke in Berlin

That day we had an aphrodite-themed party next to Krumme Lanke

Or even charter a little boat (floss): Boat Trips Berlin

Summer is also a fabulous time to charter a small boat that you and your friends can drive yourselves. They tend to be equipped with a barbecue, and you can bring a cooler of drinks to ensure a wild time. You generally have to book well in advanced, unless you are booking during the week, so if you are in the early days of planning your trip, don't wait!

Some sites to book (you may need to translate):

And do some more things like the Berliners would do

In our other post, we highlight some alternative things to do in Berlin that most tourists wouldn't know about](/blog/5-alternative-things-to-do-berlin). This includes going to an art exhibit in a bunker, doing a DJ workshop (for it is Berlin), doing an escape room that takes you from "East" to "West" Berlin, or hanging out on a massive airfield converted into a park.

Ryan celebrating his birthday at Krumme Lanke in Berlin

Floating down the lake on our little boat


8. Shopping in Berlin 🛍️

If you are looking for some gay fetish gear, to be club-ready to start, head to Schöneberg. Just walking off the station and heading towards the gay café, Romeo und Romeo, you will come across a few shops to buy gay fetish wear. My favorites gay shops in Berlin are Bruno's and GEAR.

An assortment of intimate toys at shops in Berlin

If you were ever looking for silicon tentacles, Berlin is the place to buy them 😏

If gay fetish isn't your calling, Berlin offers a diverse shopping experience regardless, with everything from high-end designer boutiques to vintage markets, as well as a vibrant vintage culture, particularly in areas like Kreuzberg. Here are some shopping places in Berlin to explore:

- Hackescher Markt

A trendy neighborhood known for its boutique shops, independent designers, stylish concept stores, and a variety of restaurants. Explore the area, including Hackescher Markt, and discover unique fashion, and accessories.

- RAW

An old rail yard, converted into restaurants, bars, rock-climbing walls, nightclubs and more, this becomes a vintage flea market on Sundays. If you can't make it on a Sunday, it is still super cool to explore, and then nearby Friedrichshain with its small boutiques can fill that void.

- Mauerpark Flea Market

If you're a fan of vintage treasures and unique finds, don't miss the Mauerpark Flea Market, one of the most popular Berlin markets. This bustling market offers a wide range of clothing, antiques, vinyl records, and much more.


9. Gay Events in Berlin and Gay Festivals Near Berlin

Gay events are literally always happening in Berlin, so I will make a separate post for that, or this will be entirely too long. But if you absolutely have to make any, check out:

- Christopher Street Day Parade (annually, end of July)

For more information about gay pride in Berlin and 2024, check out this post or check out our full European PRIDE calendar.

The Christopher Street Day parade in Berlin is an event that celebrates and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and equality. It is a vibrant and colorful parade that attracts people from all over the world. Attending the parade is an opportunity to show support for the LGBTQ+ community and stand up against discrimination. The Christopher Street Day parade in Berlin is an inclusive and empowering event that promotes love, acceptance, and equality for all.

What makes it different from other PRIDE parades that I have been to is that everyone can actually walk in the parade. Find a music float you love and walk the route all the way to Brandenburg Gate.

Three friends radiating joy and pride at the Berlin CSD (Christopher Street Day) parade, with the iconic Victory Column in the background, capturing the spirit and celebration of LGBTQ+ rights in the city.

Us being major silly gooses with our friend at CSD

- Folsom Europe (September)

A street fair that happens in September, Folsom Europe is the continent's largest BDSM and leather subculture event. It is certain to get kinky!

- WHOLE Festival (August)

Undoubtedly one of the queerest festivals nearby Berlin (in Ferropolis), WHOLE is a wild ride. You can buy tickets for the following year, usually in November or December of the previous year, but I recommend just watching them on TicketSwap and buying them closer to the date. There tend to be a surplus of people putting tickets up for sale, and the price can sometimes drop to a quarter of the price of the original!


10. Arts and Entertainment in Berlin 🎸

Berlin, known for its thriving arts and entertainment scene, hosts numerous Berlin festivals and Berlin events. The city boasts of numerous theatres, galleries, and music venues, including Berlin musicals, Berlin comedy, and Berlin cabaret. Here are some highlights:

- Berlin Philharmonic

Experience the world-class music of the Berlin Philharmonic at their iconic concert hall, or catch a performance by the renowned Berliner Ensemble. Enjoy classical masterpieces and contemporary performances in a stunning setting.

- Berlinale Film Festival

If you're a film lover, don't miss the Berlinale, one of the most prestigious Berlin festivals in the world. Catch screenings of international films and experience the excitement of the red carpet at these Berlin events.

- Christmas Markets

If you happen to come to Berlin in the dead of winter (before Christmas), you will catch the Christmas markets, which are famous all around Germany! Our favorites are the gay market in Nollendorfplatz and the medieval Christmas market at RAW Gelande.

Two smiling men taking a selfie at an LGBTQ+ Christmas market in Schöneberg, Berlin, adorned with festive decorations, embodying the warmth and inclusivity of the holiday season in the community.

We're not cold...


11. TL;DR: Plan your Berlin Trip (Logistics) ✍️

Best Time to Go ☀️

Berlin is best in the spring or summer. Beware that as of recent years, the interior of buildings can get hot in the heat of summer, but it is undoubtedly the best time to come. Winters can be pretty bleak and gray.

Visa Information 📑

Germany is in the EU and Schengen, so if you have a Schengen visa, you are good to go! For those coming from the US, you can stay up to 90 days at a time (during any 180-day period).

For your specific requirements, have a look at iVisa.

How to get to Berlin ✈️

Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) is the only airport near Berlin, Germany, but it is pretty efficient (minus the occasional long security lines). Have a look at flights here.

If you are flying in, don't pay exorbitant amounts for a taxi or Uber to get to the city. Instead, download the BVG app, head to tickets, and buy a Zone ABC ticket (it will validate it as soon as you pay for it). You can get to the center of the city with the FEX train in no time. You can also use that ticket on an S-Bahn or another regional train if you've happened to miss it.

As it is Central Europe, it is super well-connected by both train and bus. Have a look at FlixBus for buses (and FlixTrains) or Omio for trains. You can generally buy trains to Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Gesundbrunnen, and Südkreuz for the same price, so try to locate the nearest station to you before booking.

Internet and Data in Berlin 🛜

The latest alternative that we have been using when travelling is eSIMs. We use Airalo religiously. Through them, you can get an e-SIM that has coverage for most countries in Europe for much cheaper than roaming. Just make sure to research whether your phone is e-SIM compatible before buying an e-SIM. If you go this way, buy it before your trip and make sure you set it up beforehand as well (and turn off your normal SIM before connecting to data).

Health and Safety in Berlin 🏥

Berlin is an extremely safe city.

As you probably gathered, it is very LGBTQ+ friendly, so even showing affection in public should generally not be problematic.

There is a heavy drug problem, so some stations on the U8 (U-Bahn) between Hermmannstrasse and Kottbusser Tur may feel a bit sketchy, but it is uncommon to be bothered by anyone. Occasionally, Gorlitzer Park can also feel a bit sketchy, too.

Nevertheless, make sure you get your travel medical insurance!

Getting Around Berlin 🚘

🚇/🚌

The public transportation is very reliable in Berlin! As mentioned, download the BVG app (particularly if you know you will have data) and buy tickets whenever you ride.

Here is a list of all the ticket options. I like to buy the Zones AB 4-ticket packs, as I generally only ride once or twice per day and those are cheaper than buying individually. A normal ticket is valid for 2 hours on all public transportation forms (there are even random ferries in the east) and everything you will want to visit, except the airport, will generally be in the AB Zones.

When you first purchase a ticket via the app, even a pack, the first ticket will validate automatically. Subsequent tickets will need to be validated manually through the app later (multiple tickets can be validated at once).

You can also buy from the automated kiosks on the platforms, but make sure to validate the ticket yourself at one of the ticket validating poles (what is this called 😅) also on the platform.

Make sure to validate your tickets! If you get caught in a random check on the train or bus, you will have to pay 60 euros and will be publicly shamed 🤣. I know this from experience! Never f*** with a German trust system!

A person waiting at a Berlin S-Bahn station, observing a vintage red train carriage adorned with Christmas decorations, evoking the festive spirit of the city during the holiday season.

If you come around X-Mas, you might get to ride this vintage Christmas S-Bahn

🚴‍♀️

For a fun alternative, take share bikes or e-scooters around the city. Berlin currently has services like Voi, Lime, but the cheapest is Bolt's e-scooter service. Berlin is a wonderful biking city, with the safest bike lanes I have found in a European city, so also renting from kiosks around are a great option. Do a Google search to find the best options 🤪.

🚕

Berlin has standard taxi apps like Uber and Bolt, which won't cost a ton of money.

Cash/Tipping Culture in Berlin 💁‍♂️

While the world moves forward with card payments and more high-tech electronic payments, Berlin (and much of Germany) is stuck in the past with its cash-reliant system! Make sure to have cash on you at smaller restaurants and bars as a back-up.

For tips, it is totally okay to just round up on a bill. For example, if the bill is 46 euro, rounding up to 50 is fine. A maximum of 10 percent is generally expected.

Other Berlin Things 😼

Berlin Sunset Oh yeah, stay sexy (but poor) Berlin


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