In the two decades following the reunification of Germany, the culturally rich city of Berlin has emerged as one of the true world capitals of gay travel, a destination that rivals any in Europe in terms of acceptance of gays and lesbians, eclectic and sexually charged nightlife, and queer-themed fine and performing arts. As the modern gay rights movement began in Berlin at the end of the 19th century, and the city's gay scene flourished during the 1920s until the tragic rise of the Nazi party, it's only fitting that Berlin should enjoy such acclaim today as a wonderful place for gays and lesbians to live and visit.
It's fitting that Berlin hosts a spectacular Gay Pride celebration that's attended by hundreds of thousands of revelers and supporters. The Berlin Gay Pride Parade, aka Christopher Street Day, has moved to July this year (after having taken place for quite a few years in late June). The date is July 23, 2016. Berlin also hosts Folsom Europe, the continent's largest fetish festival, each year in September (the dates are September 10 to 11, 2016).
Additionally, during the weekend before the Gay Pride Parade, Berlin hosts the annual Lesbisch-Schwules Stadtfest (Lesbian and Gay City Festival) - it's billed as Europe's largest such event. In 2016, the dates of this rollicking party are July 16 and 17. This annual festival is held in Schoneberg's vibrant hub of GLBT life, Nollendorfplatz - the street leading southwest of the square/metro station, Motzstrasse, is lined with many of the city's most famous gay bars and businesses, as are nearby streets like Kalckreuthstrasse, Fuggerstrasse, and Martin-Luther-Strasse.
During the festival, which takes place each day from 11 am into the late-night hours, participants can watch dozens of musical performances, lectures, art installations, and exhibits on all facets of GLBT life. There's dancing at local clubs, women's programs, and market stalls and booths selling food and representing business and community organizations. More than 450,000 attend each year.
The final weekend of Pride, on Saturday, July 23, the Berlin Gay Pride Parade commences at 12:30 pm in Kurfürstendamm at the corner of Joachimstaler Str., winding its way past Nollendorfplatz, and eventually ending up at Brandenburg Gate after passing through the city's beautiful park, Tiergarten. The parade lasts until 5 pm, after which there's a Pride Rally in the shadows of Brandenburg Gate.
Berlin Gay Resources
Many of the city's gay-popular restaurants, hotels, and shops have special events and parties throughout Pride Week. Check local gay papers, which are distributed at popular gay bars. And check out the Berlin Gay Travel Guide by Patroc.com, which is very handy and has extensive information on the local gay scene. Additional excellent trip-planning resources are the Gay Travel site produced by Visit Berlin (the official Berlin Tourist Office), and the German Office of Tourism's site on GLBT travel in Berlin.