The gay capital of Germany and, arguably, sex capital of Europe. Berlin is home to a gay scene like no other. Berlin is one of Europe’s most popular destinations for LGBTQ tourists. Berlin’s legendary liberalism has spawned one of the world’s biggest, most divine and diverse GLBT playgrounds. Anything goes in ‘Homopolis’ (and we do mean anything!), from the highbrow to the hands-on, the bourgeois to the bizarre, the mainstream to the flamboyant. Except for the most hard-core places, gay spots get their share of opposite-sex and straight patrons.
Berlin has a long history as a Gay friendly city, beginning with in 1918 a doctor named Magnus Hirschfeld created in Berlin an Institute for Sex Research that was later burnt down by the Nazis (during the famous book burnings of 1933). Berlin was also the site of one of the world’s first gay pride events, taking place in 1919 near Nollendorfplatz. Berliners first voted for a gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, in June 2001 who won 2 more elections and served until December 2011.
Things to Do:
- Schwules Gay Museum – special exhibitions, but there is also an impressive permanent exhibition. It contains rare 18th-century pamphlets, 19th-century pictures of drag artists and portraits of same sex couples from the last 200 years.
- Ganymed Brasserie – has been welcoming gay people since the Fall of The Wall (daily 12:00-24:00). It is still one of the best places for a candle-lit dinner for two. (tip: book 3 days in advance.)
- Berlinale International Film Festival – every February, a long track record supporting queer cinema, running LGBT-themed films as part of the popular Panorama competition and awarding the prestigious Teddy Award to the best LGBT film of the festival.
- Schöneberg neighborhood – many gay-owned bars, restaurants and other businesses
- Neükolln neighborhood – one of Berlin’s longest-running gay clubs, SchwuZ. With other gay bars opening up in Neukölln, like the small dive bar & open-minded The Club, Neükolln—it’s the heart of the new gay Berlin.
- Begine – an independent center and café is an excellent place for lesbian and feminist events, and is located near the particularly gay-friendly Winterfeldplatz quarter.
- Spinnboden – a fantastic historical center which documents lesbians’ past in the city with artifacts collected over the years.
- Girlstown Cinema – offers both dance parties at the bar and an excellent film programs
- Simon-Dach-Strasse – is a street where the party never stops, and Himmelreich is the neighborhood’s gay and lesbian Mecca.