Dance, Theater, and Music

Bar Jeder Vernunft

“High-class entertainment in gorgeous mirror tent; perfectly reflects the Berlin spirit.”—Ulrike Wiebrecht, Berlin-based food and travel writer. Flashback to Roaring Twenties’ Berlin; song and dance, variety, chansons popular with sophisticated, culture-savvy audiences. Repertoire includes a live version of Cabaret. Tickets from $20. Schaperstrasse 24, Charlottenburg; tel. 49 30 885 6920.

Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

“Theater with a rich tradition, an experimental streak, and great parties.”—Andrea Steichele-Biskup, travel editor, ADAC Motorwelt. Critically acclaimed avant-garde stage; also has live bands, DJs, readings, and tango, swing, and salsa nights in two 1920s salons. Tickets $14-42. Linienstraße 227, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz; tel. 49 30 2406 5806.

Chamäleon Varieté Theatre

“Variety theater with a mix of high-caliber artistry and witty shows.”—Andrea Steichele-Biskup. Intimate venue in the beautifully restored historic Hackesche Höfe courtyard complex; comedy, juggling, singing, acrobats in retro setting. Tickets from $35. Rosenthaler Strasse 40/41, Mitte; tel. 49 30 4000 5930.

Staatsoper Unter den Linden

The most famous of Berlin’s three opera houses; critically acclaimed productions directed by Daniel Barenboim; repertory focuses on the traditional (Carmen, Barber of Seville) with the occasional lesser-known work (The Patient Socrates) thrown into the mix; performances in temple-like neoclassical building; hosts the Festtage in April. Tickets $10-370. Unter den Linden 7, Mitte; tel. 49 30 203 540.

Berliner Philharmonie

“A rare masterpiece of acoustic design; allows both musicians and the audience a feeling of intimacy.”—Erez Ofer, violinist and concertmaster of Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Berlin’s most famous concert hall; intriguing terraced layout devised by Hans Scharoun; not a bad seat in the house. Tickets $10-200. Herbert-von-Karajan-Strasse 1, Tiergarten; tel. 49 30 2548 8999.


Kaffee Burger

“Original East Berlin pub with eclectic events; literary readings of the famous Russian Disco hosted by cult author Wladimir Kaminer.”—Andrea Steichele-Biskup, travel editor, ADAC Motorwelt. Alternative pub and club with Cold War–era furniture, wallpaper, and lamps; vodka, Russian pop, and poetry for a young party crowd. Torstrasse 58/60, Mitte; tel. 49 30 2804 6495.


“Glass elevator is a seductive invitation to a magical experience. Part of the fun is trying to find it.”—Chris Sandeman, publisher, New Berlin magazine. Retro-chic top-floor lounge with breathtaking views, sultry sounds, and killer drinks; dress to impress; entrance is off-street behind the Pit Stop auto shop. Stresemannstrasse 76, Mitte; tel. 49 163 765 2700.

Clärchens Ballhaus

“A must for Roaring Twenties fans!”—Henrik Tidefjärd, owner, Berlinagenten custom tours and travel services. Authentic Berlin dance hall from 1913; cabaret-style tables, big dance floor; live jazz, blues, jive, and tango; picturesque garden terrace in summer. Auguststrasse 24, Mitte; tel. 49 30 282 9295.


“Berlin’s fashionable and trendy set rocks this unique 12th-floor nightclub.”—Henrik Tidefjärd. Stylish dance club in a former East Berlin office building; top DJs spin house and techno; stunning views of the TV Tower and Alexanderplatz. Am Alexanderplatz 5, Mitte; (no telephone).


Intimate venue that puts audiences close to performers; emphasis is on acoustic music; jazz, world beats, Afro-Brazilian, and other soundscapes. Tip: Wednesday’s jam session often brings down the house. Rosenthaler Strasse 13, Mitte; tel. 49 30 283 3123.


Internationale Grüne Woche

January. Annual consumer fair for food, agriculture, and gardening; live animals, cooking demonstrations, food, beer and wine samples from around the world. tel. 49 30 3069 6969.

Berlin International Film Festival

February. Prestigious movie showcase with international stars and starlets, red carpet premieres, and hundreds of screenings around town. Tip: Buy tickets early as shows sell out. tel. 49 30 259 200.


April. Ten days of gala concerts and operas with international star performers and conductors at the neoclassical 18th-century Staatsoper Unter den Linden (National Opera House). tel. 49 30 2035 4555.

Karneval der Kulturen

May. Colorful street festival and parade with dancers, singers, and artists; celebrates Berlin’s rich mosaic of cultures in Kreuzberg. tel. 49 30 6097 7022.

Christopher Street Day

June. Huge crowds of all sexual persuasions gather for a raucous day of parades and partying in Tiergarten park; commemorates the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York. tel. 49 30 2362 8632.


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