Rainbow Gay Tours Berlin

Berlin Gay Travel Guide & Map 2019

Upcoming Events in Berlin RSS feed Berlin Gay Travel Events

|  11  –  20 October 2019
Festival of Lights 2019: for ten days, famous sights in Berlin will be on stage by means of light and projections. Complementary with several cultural events dealing with the subject ›light‹.
|  26 October 2019
Riot Party: queer-inclusive party with DJ Mauro Feola and Victor Kubin, amongst others.
Admission: 10-12 €
From 24:00 @ Köpenicker Straße 18
|  15 November  –  23 December 2019
Christmas Avenue Berlin: new LGBT+ Christmas market in Berlin-Schöneberg. Hot wine punch, stage shows and more.
@ Nollendorfplatz
|  29 November  –  1 December 2019
13th International Gay Basketball Tournament: hosted by the gay and lesbian sports club Vorspiel SSL Berlin.
@ Sporthalle Münchener Straße (Münchener Straße 49)
|  13  –  17 January 2020
Berlin Fashion Week 2020: the showcase for young and established international designers and talents, held twice annually.
|  20 February  –  1 March 2020
Berlinale 2020: the annual Berlin International Film Festival (›Berlinale‹) is one of the most important and biggest film festivals in Europe and world-wide.
|  28 February 2020
TEDDY Award 2020: annual queer film award at the International Film Festival Berlinale. With award ceremony (21:00) and after show party (from 23:30).
From 19:00 @ Volksbühne (Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz)
|  4  –  8 March 2020
ITB Berlin 2020: the biggest annual tourism trade fair worldwide. Since 2010 including a LGBT Travel Pavilion. Wednesday to Friday for trade visitors only.
10:00 – 18:00 @ Messegelände (Berlin ExpoCenter City)
|  25  –  28 June 2020
Bear Summer Berlin 2020: annual bears week with party, bar nights, brunch, barbecue and more.
|  18  –  19 July 2020
28th Lesbian and Gay City Festival: annual street festival in Berlin-Schöneberg's gay district in the streets around Motzstraße and Fuggerstraße.
Saturday 11:00 – 23:00, Sunday 11:00 – 21:00

About Berlin and its gay life

Berlin Gay Pride

Berlin's origins go back more than 750 years. In 1701 Berlin became the capital of the kingdom of Prussia and in 1871 of the German Empire. Although Prussia was ruled by a gay king from 1740 till 1786 (Fredrick II), Berlin's gay career started only hundred years later. In the 1920s (the ›Golden Twenties‹) Berlin was seen as the city with the most lively and advanced gay subculture in Europe. That, of course, ended after 1933 when Hitler and the Nazis were given power in Germany. (A memorial for gays persecuted by the Nazi regime was opened in Berlin in 2008, long overdue after more than 60 years.

After the end of World War II in 1945 and with the start of the cold war Berlin had been divided into West Berlin (controlled by the Western Allies) and East Berlin (controlled by the Soviet Union).

West Berlin, although an island in communist ruled East Germany (G.D.R.), became the gay capital of Germany again. Not only due to its population of about 3 million people, but partially also because the compulsory military service of West Germany (F.R.G.) didn't apply to men in West Berlin, which attracted many men to move to West Berlin. After homosexual contacts had been legalised in 1969, the gay scene and gay movement in West Berlin grew fast in the 1970s and 1980s.

The legal situation of gay men in East Germany was the best within the Eastern Bloc and even better than in some Western democracies, but in an authoritarian state like this gays and lesbians had no rights to organize themselves in a civil rights movement and there were only a few possibilities to develop a gay scene and subculture. End of the 1980s the situation improved, and the peak of that process was the premiere of the legendary movie ›Coming Out‹ – ironically in the night of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

In 2001 Berlin got an openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit from the Social Democrats. To prevent his outing by opponents during the election campaign he outed himself on a party congress with the legendary words ›Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so‹ (I'm gay and that's just fine).

Traditionally, there have been gay neighborhoods in the districts of Schöneberg and Kreuzberg (both in the western part of Berlin) as well as in Prenzlauer Berg (eastern part). Most of the gay hotels, bars, cafes and shops in Berlin are located in the Schöneberg district which had dance halls for men already back in the 1920s.

Annual gay events and highlights in Berlin are, amongst others, the Berlinale film festival in February (including the Queer Film Award Teddy), the LGBTI street festival and the Gay Pride parade in July and Folsom Europe in September.

You will notice in our guide that many gay bars and clubs don't indicate closing hours. That's mainly due to the fact that Berlin has no closing hour anymore. Moreover, Berlin's public transport system, urban railway (S-Bahn), underground (U-Bahn), trams and busses, operates the whole night and at least half-hourly at weekends.