11 Things To See at Berlin's Pride Parade

Berlin's CSD celebrations brings the spectacle

Berlin's Gay Pride events are a highlight of the city's summer festival season. It is known by the European name of Christopher Street Day or simply CSD.

In Berlin, there are serious debates (Germans love endless discussion), concerts and after-parties. There is also the largest CSD Parade in Germany which attracts some of the biggest crowds on the continent. Over 500,000 people gather to dance and celebrate, adorned in fetish gear, elaborate costumes, or absolutely nothing at all.

Taking place since 1979, the sure-to-be spectacular 2018 parade takes place across Mitte on Saturday, July 28th starting around noon. While highlights can be quite risque, the parade is completely family-friendly and everyone is welcome. Here are the top 11 things to see at Berlin's Pride Parade.

  • 01 of 11
    Berlin CSD victory column

    GettyImages / holgs

     

    The city's impressive Siegessäule (Victory Column) is dedicated to memories of war and victory, but also frequently represents Berlin's gay community. The premier queer online magazine out of Berlin has the same name, Siegessäule, and nude sunbathing in nearby Tiergarten park is heartily enjoyed by the LGBT community. As one of the main points of the parade, the "Chick on the Stick" is a focal point.

  • 02 of 11
    Berlin CSD

    GettyImages / MarekSzandurski

     

    Rather than floats, Berlin's CSD parade has big trucks and buses. Loaded with boozy partiers, political parties, or just a party, each bus booms its own electronic and pop jams as a rowdy crowd dances in, on, and around the bus. Spectators are welcome to join the group of their choosing with popular vehicles trailing a following of dancers.

  • 03 of 11

    Rainbow Flags

    Berlin CSD rainbow

    GettyImages / holgs

     

    The ubiquitous rainbow flag will proudly be on display. Bring your own, pick one up at the parade, or dress as a full body rainbow.

  • 04 of 11

    LGBT Protests

    CSD marriage equality protest.JPG
    Erin Porter

    Besides a great party, CSD helps push forward important issues for the entire LGBT(QIA+) community. This often includes active protests, demonstrations, or pointed signs about the state of current politics. 

    For less show more action, pay attention to the full CSD program for demonstrations and themes.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Another type of Lederhosen

    Berlin CSD lederhosen

    GettyImages / Craig Strachan

    English speakers may not realize that Lederhosen simply translates to "leather pants". While the word may conjure up quaint images of Bavarian tracht (traditional clothing) and Oktoberfest, Berlin Lederhosen looks a bit different. The leatherware featured at CSD is often black, tight and strappy.

  • 06 of 11

    Elaborate Costumes

    Berlin CSD costume

    GettyImages / holgs

    Everything from Disney princesses to Wizard of Oz are on display during the parade. And along with straight up recreations of famous outfits, there are just as many one-of-a-kind outfits straight out of a David Bowie/Peaches fantasy. What do you want to be for CSD?

  • 07 of 11

    Nudity

    Along with those that put on a wild outfit to stand out, are those that are wearing nothing and yet still make an impression. This is the chance for everyone's freaky side to be on display.

    Germans are famously indifferent to nudity. Expect to see some "private parts" come out swinging on CSD.

  • 08 of 11

    Freebies!

    Berlin CSD Dildo King

    GettyImages / holgs

    Along with the music pumping out of the buses, freebies are tossed at the adoring crowds. These range from stickers to balloons to condoms to paraphernalia from sponsors ranging from the Dildo King to German political parties. So, a little something for everyone.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Fetish Scenes

    Berlin CSD Fetish

    GettyImages / Craig Strachan

    Chains and leather muzzles are rarely seen in the bright light of a summer day...except on Berlin's CSD. Fetish ware is completely acceptable attire at Berlin's Pride Parade.

    Feel free to take pictures (most players are ready to perform during the many stops on the parade), but be respectful. This is the day to celebrate what makes everyone different without ridicule.

  • 10 of 11
    Berlin police.jpg
    Erin Porter

    The polizei are out in force like for Erster Mai in Berlin, but the vibe is decidedly different. Safety is a top concern and they peaceably amble along the parade route watching for people out of control and help sweep away the debris of a big glittery gay parade.

  • 11 of 11

    End of the Parade

    CSD end of parade.JPG
    Erin Porter

    Before you know it, the parade has come to an end with the last of the spectators shuffling along behind. In typical German fashion, the clean-up crew is only a few meters behind picking up bottles and sweeping the street.

    Within a few hours of thousands of people partying down the street, it's like nothing even happened...except at Brandenburger Tor where the official party continues on after the parade.