Consistently topping lists of Europe’s most gay-friendly cities, Berlin is an unmissable LGBT destination. As well as a thriving gay nightlife with every type of bar and club you can imagine, the city is home to gay cafes, cinemas, saunas, sex shops, and the even the world’s first gay museum. To experience gay Berlin at its best, visit during the weeks surrounding their Pride (Christopher Street Day), when the city is overtaken by a range of gay events.
Gay Berlin offers more opportunities to party than perhaps anywhere else in Europe, but it’s not just about the clubs. The city packs in an incredible amount of culture, from endless modern art galleries to some of Europe’s best museum collections. It is also the perfect place to explore Germany’s troubled history, and to visit the landmarks of the conflict that split the country in two after the second world war.
Combine all this with fascinating architecture, great food, and a young population with a constant focus on innovation and progress, and you get an unforgettable destination for just about anyone.
The main gay area of Berlin is Schöneberg, just south of Tiergarten in West Berlin. This contains various gay bars, clubs, shops, cafes, and cruising spots. Most of the popular gay hotels in Berlin are in this area. Some of these are just gay-friendly, others are gay hetero-friendly brands, and some are just for gay men.
There are other areas in Berlin with gay nightlife, especially further east in Friedrichshain. This is the alternative gay Berlin you always imagined. From indie boutiques and hipsters antique markets to Berlin’s infamous techno clubs like the Berghain.
Berlin is an extremely tolerant city, with a history of progressive attitudes to gay rights. Germany in general is equally liberal, ranking second in the world in a 2013 survey of positive attitudes to homosexuality
Berlin’s gay scene dates back to the hedonistic days in between the wars, with several gay bars and clubs opening and flourishing in the 1920s and 1930s. This was of course interrupted under the Nazi regime, which persecuted homosexuals and sent them to camps. Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1968-9 in both East and West Germany, and Berlin’s gay scene has continued to grow and expand since then.
Berlin famously had its first openly gay mayor in 2001, and civil partnerships between same-sex couples were made legal that year as well. Gay marriage was legalized in October 2017.
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