• Berlin
  • What to do this May: Berlin’s best events this month

May events

What to do this May: Berlin’s best events this month

Good weather has arrived and it's time to hit the streets. These are the best events in Berlin this May.

Photo: IMAGO / Olaf Schuelke

Forget east and west, sometimes it feels like the real divide in this city is between Summer Berlin and Winter Berlin. As the sun returns, the city is transformed, our worries disappear and we start to think that maybe we don’t need to move to Marseille or Lisbon, after all.

Here’s the best of what to expect from May in Berlin.

May 1

May Day demo

Photo: IMAGO / Müller-Stauffenberg

PROTEST – May Day in Berlin has undergone many changes over the years, but at its core, it remains a day of protest in support of workers. To some degree, the partying aspect has overshadowed the protest element as the whole of Berlin (it feels like) descends on Kreuzberg. While Myfest is once again cancelled this year, Kreuzberg’s Mariannenplatz will be hosting an all-day rave, alongside a rally and celebration by Die Linke. Either way, you can take to the streets.

  • Various locations

Pictoplasma Berlin

Photo: Silent Green

ART FESTIVAL – Creating unforgettable fictional characters, like Lara Croft or Spongebob Squarepants, is a true art form. Pictoplasma, now in its 20th year, celebrates this craft by hosting workshops like woodcarving and pixel printing, as well as bringing together illustrators and animators from around the world to showcase unique personas.

  • Silent Green Kulturquartier. Through May 5. Details

Berlin Design Week

Photo: Daniel Stauch

DESIGN –  Spanning eight days, this year’s BNDNWK is packed to the brim with events for design professionals and enthusiasts. Showrooms around the city feature the latest innovations and products from international and national designers in the realms of furniture, print, light and home design.

  • Various locations. Through May 5. Details

May 2

Liberalism and Identity Politics: Racial Intolerance and Combating It

Image: Spore initiative

TALK –  Spore Initiative invites Yvonne Sembene, a French-Senegalese-DDR dance artist, to discuss and counteract the toxic discourse on migration as part of their ‘Alternative Monument for Germany’ series.

  • Spore Initiative. Starts 18:30. Details

May 3

Artspring Festival

Photo: Sandra Köpke

ART – If you think Pankow hasn’t got anything to offer beyond kid-friendly cafés, think again. This year’s title ‘Zeige deine W_nde’ is a riff on Joseph Beuys’ installation Show Your Wound and beckons artists and visitors to reflect on walls and wounds using art as a means to bridge the divide. The district’s galleries, project spaces and public areas offer special exhibitions alongside concerts, performances and readings.

  • Various locations. Through Jun 2. Details


Photo: Riccardo Caspani

MUSIC – This season of Kiezsalon kick starts with an extra special weekend of avant garde sound, including three musicians making their Berlin debut: Blue Lake, Antonina Nowacka and C. Lavender. Guests are invited to wander the historic venue while they listen.

  • Zionskirche. Through May 4. Details

May 4

Women’s Run

RACE – Comprising eight different races across two distances and three disciplines, including one for children, the Frauenlauf culminates in a 10K run at 6pm. As 10,000 women come together to run, walk, or Nordic walk, they don’t just support each other but also raise funds for women with cancer.

  • Starts at Bundesstraße, between Brandenburger Tor and Siegessäule. Starts between 14:00 and 18:00. Details

Fictions Party

CLUB NIGHT – Nono Gigsta is known for her playful sets and loving dance as much as she loves spinning decks. Nothing if not experimental, this 10-hour set in the cellar of the storefront-bar will feature voice notes, dubstep, saxophone and garage. After the dance sesh, treat yourself with the chocolate truffles and zines on offer.

p o e s i . f y s i k .

Photo: ACUD

PERFORMANCE – The Submusik series combines poetry, action and sound into a seemingly natural, organic unity. Led by visual and sound artists Uwe Moellhusen and Wolfgang Nick, the series draws inspiration from the late French nouveau sound artist François Dufrene.

  • ACUD Theater. Starts 20:00. Details

African Food Festival

FOOD – Let the smell of grilled delicacies entice you into this two-day celebration of African food at the open-air venue Jules B-Part at Gleisdreieck. Travel around the continent with dishes like fufu, injera, jollof and yassa, all to the sounds of Afrobeats and Amapiano from the all-day DJ set.

  • Jules I B Part. Starts 12:00. Through May 5. Details

Popkicker by Jurassica Parka

Image: SchwuZ

PERFORMANCE-  Jurassica Parka, like her namesake Sarah Jessica Parker’s most iconic character, is a columnist with iconic big hair, and brings the party wherever she goes. The multi-talented drag queen has been a mainstay at SchwuZ since 2004. Come join the fun and pop your Popkicker cherry with a night of noughties music and guest performances.

May 5

Museum Sunday

Photo: IMAGO / epd

FREE CULTURE – Our monthly PSA that museums and galleries across the city open their doors free of charge today. Time slots fill up quickly, so make sure to book in advance.

  • View all participating museums at museumssonntag.de.

Spring Urban Foraging & Ecology Walk

Photo: Edible alchemy

NATURE – Join Edible Alchemy for this foraging walk, which weaves through Berlin’s streets to pockets of wilderness, uncovering hidden herbs and ingredients you can source right from your back door. To complement all the freshly picked produce, there will be fermented food and drinks to try. Beyond the edible ecology, you’ll also learn about the trees and plants with your expert guides, revealing the real ‘jungle’ in the concrete jungle.

  • Edible Alchemy Lab. Starts 12:00. Details

Japan Markt Cherry Blossom Festival

Photo: Takuma Oshima

DESIGN MARKET – While the actual cherry blossom season is now sadly behind us, this festival by Japan Markt is a celebration of all things Japanese. With a focus on design, the vibrant programme includes martial arts performances, workshops, street food and stalls with accessories, ceramics and jewellery on sale.

  • Festsaal Kreuzberg. 12:00-19:00. Details

May 6

XJazz! Festival Berlin

Photo: XJazz!

FESTIVAL – Strewn across a litany of venues along Skalitzer Straße and Kreuzberg at large, the greatest custodians of contemporary jazz once again take over the city for a gathering of blue notes and sax appeal. Known for mixing soul and jazz with electronic performances, XJazz! has garnered a reputation for being one of the foremost jazz festivals nationwide.

  • Various locations. Through May 12. Details

May 8

Green Border

FILM – The Freiluftkino season kicks off with the 2023 drama Green Border, which was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Venice. Directed by Agnieszka Holland, the flick explores the crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border, colloquially referred to as the ‘green border’ for its thick swampy forest.

  • Freiluftkino Kreuzberg. Starts 21:15. Details


DIGITAL GAME FESTIVAL – Want to take your love of digital media and games offline? Head down to Wedding’s silent green for a four-day celebration of independent and alternative games, immersive media and digital culture. There will also be digital creators at the top of their game leading talks and contributing to the exhibition.

  • silent green. Through May 11. Details

May 9

A Postcard from the Homeland

Photo: zeitgeist irland

EXHIBITION – This pop-up will be here for just six days and offers a contemporary perspective of Irish culture through photographer Enda Burke’s lens. Kitschy and kaleidoscopic, his images exploring love and identity against whimsical backdrops.

  • Backhaus Projects. Starts 18:00. Through May 15. Details

May 10

Berlin Global in einfacher Sprache

Photo: Anne Preussel

GUIDED TOUR – This tour of Berlin Global, an exhibition on the ways in which the German capital impacts the rest of the world and vice versa, gives you the perfect chance to learn more about Berlin in flexibly-paced German.

  • Humboldt Forum Starts 16:00. Details

May 11

Klub Verboten x BERLIN

Photo: Zbigniew Kotkiewicz

CLUB NIGHT – It might have started in London, but we know that Berlin is Klub Verboten’s spiritual home. Since coming here in 2021, Klub Verboten has quickly carved out its place as one the city’s best kink events. This event marks an exciting milestone as they take up the brand new kink space Napoleon Komplex, a three-floor warehouse with everything you might desire: shibari rigging points, cages and orgy pyramids.

  • Napoleon Komplex. Starts 22:00. Details

Primavera Spring Festival

Photo: IMAGO / funke foto services

FOOD FESTIVAL – Spargelzeit is here! For those uninitiated, Germany’s obsession with asparagus – especially the white variety – culminates in spring, when the phallic veg is ready to be harvested. Indulge in Spargel in all its forms, from freshly prepared Beelitz asparagus to crispy skewers, alongside fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs from local farmers.

  • Akazienstrasse. Starts 11:00. Through May 12. Details

May 12

Berliner Fahrradmarkt

Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

MARKET – Your bike’s been stolen again? This market has got you covered with every brand and price range, a dedicated team to answer all your queries and stalls with accessories like helmets and locks so you can guarantee you’ll cycle away happily.

  • Herrfurthplatz. Starts 10:00. Details

Vegan Sundays by green market berlin

Photo: greenmarketberlin

FAIR – A perfect Sunday afternoon combines three of the greatest (and greenest) pleasures: plant-based grub, Berlin’s wildest innercity forest and views of the Spree. All of this and more can be found at the green market held at Plänterwald beer garden, with dozens of vegan independent businesses and live music.

  • Eierhäuschen in Plänterwald. 12:00-20:00. Details

Stadtbad Reloaded

Photo: IMAGO / Hohlfeld

LAST CHANCE – Experience the fusion of aquatic-themed digital art with the architectural grandeur of a nigh-100-year-old disused swimming pool. New and old collide as you sneak around the abandoned building and gaze at the trippy visuals. Head down for this final day before Stadtbad reverts to its former state.

  • Stadtbad Lichtenberg. 10:00-19:00. Details

May 13


Photo: Estelle Hanania

STAGE – Ranging from musical theatre to innovative dance, from original plays to new stagings of Shakespeare, these 10 jury-selected productions offer an exciting overview of the state of the theatrical arts in the German-speaking world.

  • Various locations. Through May 20. Details

Stone To Silver

WRITING NIGHT – Transforming the solitary act of writing into a social experience, this biweekly workshop offers a welcoming space for experimentation, collaboration and camaraderie. Led by sci-fi novelist Lizzy, editor of Liquid Skies magazine, and Raisa, a researcher and curator, come experience writing as a form of alchemy.

May 14

Berlin Books

Photo: Curious Fox

BOOKS – Join The Berliner Books Editor Alexander Wells in conversation with the authors of Berlin – A Literary Guide For Travellers, a recently reissued look at decades of writing about Berlin, hosted by one of Kreuzberg’s beloved bookshops.

  • Curious Fox. Starts 20:00. Details

May 15


Photo: Dominik Tryba

FESTIVAL – This festival leads by action, showcasing the best in green technology and empowering changemakers to join the mission of net zero. With acclaimed speakers and an awards ceremony, it illuminates the path to a greener society.

  • Messe Berlin. Through May 17. Details

May 16

Contemporary Visual Art with Sonic Reactions

ART – It’s a shame that we so often have to choose between art or music, but fortunately, at this event sound and sight complement each other with works by contemporary Irish artists and musical responses by Kev Sheridan.

  • The Ballery. Through May 19. Details

Mini crash course on Shibari

Photo: IMAGO / Pond5 Images

KINK – Want to be shown the ropes of ancient Japanese bondage? In just 90 minutes, this workshop teaches you the basics of bondage to take home with you – or straight into one of Berlin’s many sex-positive spaces.

  • Shiatsu Schule Kreuzberg. Starts 18:00.

May 17

Karneval der Kulturen

Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

FESTIVAL – Get lost in a parade of colour as this carnival celebrates the melting pot of different cultures in the capital. Highlights include the Sunday street parade, where 5,000 dancers, musicians and artists put on a show. On Blücherplatz you’ll find a more peaceful street party, with 350 stalls and an exciting cultural programme. There will also be a number of afterparties, like the one at Ritter Butzke, which is free.

  • Various locations in Kreuzberg. Through May 20. Details

Afrobeats meets Soca on the Beach

DAY PARTY – Badeschiff is hosting another hotly anticipated beach party. Sink your toes in the sand, take a dip in the Spree-side pool and be transported to Caribbean climes with the sounds of Soca and Afrobeats.

  • Badeschiff. Starts 13:00. Details

Andy Warhol: After the Party

Photo: IMAGO / Schöning

ART – Get a glimpse into the inner circle of the 1970’s art world with this photography exhibition that looks at life through the famous pop artist’s lens. Sticking with the Fotografiska mission of making art a late night affair, the opening party will run until 5am.

  • Fotografiska. Starts 20:00. Through Sep 15.

May 18

Blaufrau – TÜTÜ dance ensemble

STAGE – A saga told through dance about the bold women who shaped history. Drawing from the words of female figures as varied as Pocahontas and Greta Thunberg, this will be an evening equal parts informative and entertaining.

  • ACUD Theater. Starts 20:00.

Oscillations. Cape Town – Berlin Sonic Inquiries and Practices

Photo: Eunice Maurice

LAST CHANCE – Fostering a space for critical dialogue on post-apartheid society through sound, this exhibition invites visitors on a sonic journey through the work of South African and German artists, asking big questions like: how can critical listening guide our moral principles?

  • Akademie der Künste. 11:00-19:00. Through May 19. 

May 19

Night of the open churches

Photo: IMAGO / Funke Foto Services

CHURCH – To celebrate Pentecost, 33 churches across Berlin open their doors to the public to partake in an enticing evening programme including guided tours, concerts and philosophical talks, all for free.

  • Various locations. Starts 15:30. Details

International Museum Day

Photo: IMAGO / Photo12

ART – Calling all culture vultures! Today, museums across Berlin – and the world – celebrate discovery, history and art with special quizzes, guided tours and exclusive peeks behind the scenes – in person and also online. Bonus: most offerings are free.

  • Various locations. Starts 10:00. Details

May 20

Smut Slam

Photo: Jara Lopez

SPOKEN WORD – Let’s be real: who doesn’t like stories about sex? Hosted by Cameryn Moore, this dirty storytelling event invites audience members to the stage. This isn’t erotica, though; the tales can be sad, funny, happy and (mainly) awkward. The best stories will win a prize, so it’s worth being brave!

  • Crack Bellmer inside the RAW-Gelände. Doors 19:00. Details

May 22

Modern Gazes

Photo: David von Becker

GUIDED TOUR – The last retrospective of Amedeo Modigliani in Germany was over two decades ago, but the wait has been worth it. This exhibition enters new terrain in exploring Modigliani’s role in international modernism beyond his Parisian milieu. Complete your visit with a 50-minute tour of the museum’s permanent impressionist collection for just €3.

  • Museum Barberini. Tours at 11:00, 12:00 and 15:00. Details

May 23

Irish Theatre Berlin

STAGE – Over the course of three weeks, the cream of the crop of contemporary Irish theatre make the English Theatre their home (ignore the irony). From the enchanting Where Ye From?, featuring a singing, drum-banging shamanic vulva, to the timeless Samuel Beckett adaptation of Happy Days, both beloved classics and exciting newcomers will grace the stage.

  • English Theatre. Through Jun 8. Details

The Empty Grave

Photo: Kurhaus productions

FILM – The Empty Grave follows two Tanzanian families in the search for their stolen ancestors. To this day, thousands of human remains from former German colonies are stored in museum depots in Berlin. This film, made jointly in Germany and Tanzania, displays with remarkable power and clarity how that period of colonial plunder is still with us. Among several stand-out scenes, there is one unforgettable moment when two of the protagonists walk through the Humboldt Forum looking at the looted African art and simply comment: “We were so rich”. 

8ZEHN30 – KURZKONZERT Ludwig van Beethoven, Sinfonie Nr. 3

Photo: IMAGO / Pond5 Images

CONCERT – These short concerts were designed with the busiest listeners in mind: a 75-minute classical concert with no intermission, and then the rest of the night is yours. While the concert starts at half six, we wouldn’t miss the introduction with Joana Mallwitz an hour earlier.

  • Konzerthaus. Starts at 18:30. Details

Radical Playgrounds

Photo: FRAC Grand Large

INSTALLATION – Let your inner child run wild at this experimental installation at Gropius Bau’s carpark, which turns into a vibrant collaborative space for three months. The project explores the social potential of play with a busy programme of talks and workshops. 

  • Gropius Bau. Through July 14. Details

May 24


Photo: Desertfest

STONER ROCK – Get ready for ear-splitting doom rock from across the world. Break out the tie dye, pull on your denim and take a step back in time with this stoner-psych-mix of six-string hedonism.

  • Columbiahalle and Columbia Theater. Through May 26. Details

Berliner Klavierfestival

Photo: IMAGO / Funke Foto Services

CLASSICAL – To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, the Berlin piano festival is bringing an extra-special selection of pianists, including the celebrated Andrei Gavrilov making his long-awaited return to Berlin and acclaimed Marc-André Hamelin, as well as newcomers like the young Chinese prodigy Cheng Zhang.

  • Konzerthaus. Through Jun 1. Details


FUNDRAISER – Putting the ‘fun’ in fundraiser, this lip sync extravagance at SO36 is raising money for a brand new space in the LGBTQ* scene: Chez Pansy, a queer cabaret supperclub. Tonight features eight fierce drag queens competing for the crown, followed by an all-night party.

  • SO36. Starts 22:00.

May 25

Berlin Chili Fest

Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

FOOD – This spicy festival doesn’t just boast a national chilli-eating championship, but also live music and a circus freak show.

  • Berliner Bergbrauerei. Starts 12:00. Also on May 26.

May 26

Berlin by Foot: Who Killed Horst Wessel?

Photo: IMAGO / United Archives International

TOUR – Horst Wessel, a young Nazi leader in Friedrichshain, was murdered one night in 1930 – but why? Join The Berliner history writer Nathaniel Flakin on this two-hour walking tour through a historical mystery (see p. 26).

  • Meeting point at U-Bahnhof Schillingstraße. Starts 14:00.

Poetics of Encryption Conversation: Inhabiting SHEE

SHEE Consortium, 2016. Photo: Bruno Stubenrauch.

TALK – For the closing night of the exhibition Poetics of Encryption KW invites two speakers: artist Juliana Cerqueira Leite, who created a sculpture inspired by SHEE, a pod designed to withstand extreme environments, and architect Barbara Imhof.

  • KW Institute. Starts 16:00. Details

May 28

The Dark Rooms Vertical with Boris Ackert

Photo: Boris Acket

ART In this special edition of The Dark Rooms Vertical, artist Boris Ackert has collaborated with 12 international artists to produce an exhibition of nine unique light and sound installations. Taking place in a 120-year-old reinforced concrete tower – the exact location of which is only revealed to guests 48 hours before their visit – the location is as much a feature of the experience as the works themselves.

  • Secret location. Starts 17:00. Through Jun 11. Details

May 29

Filmfestival surreal24 – Screening of Fantasia (1940)

Photo: Fantasia. Walt Disney Produktion. USA 1940. Disney

ART – What better way to celebrate the history of surrealist cinema than in the most-lauded collection of surrealist art in the world – Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg. While Disney’s Fantasia may seem an unlikely choice, it stands out as a pioneer of surrealist animation, inspired by a lesser-known fact: it’s based on a poem by Goethe, with the American director drawing deeply from German folklore in its creation.

  • Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg. Starts 18:00. Details

May 30

XPOSED: Queer Film Festival

Photo: XPOSED Queer Film Festival

FILM – A four-day movie spree showcasing the thriving ecosystem that is queer cinema, XPOSED is running on the same weekend as Cannes, which makes it the perfect place to cure any film-world FOMO. Alongside the screenings, there will be online courses, workshops and talks with directors, actors and producers.

  • Various cinemas. Through Jun 2. Details

House of Lunacy

Photo: Nick Scholey

CLUB – Usually known for its come-as-you-are policy, tonight Wilde Renate transforms into a bohemian, hedonistic universe as House of Lunacy takes over. The event asks partygoers to wear an outfit that responds to the theme “Deep Space”. Take it seriously, else you might be denied entry!

  • Wilde Renate. Starts 22:00. Details

May 31

Androosh Invites… Benjamin Fröhlich

Image: Androosh

CLUB NIGHT – Head upstairs and party over Kotti, where veteran DJ Androosh spotlights fellow artists: this week, it is Benjamin Fröhlich, co-founder of design series Permanent Vacation, who will collaborate in an unforgettable evening of house music exploration.

  • Paloma. Starts 23:00.