Entertainment Guide to Berlin
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Discover great local attractions, activities and things to do in Berlin, Germany.
Famous throughout the world as a Mecca for culture and entertainment, many people would claim that Berlin is itself little more than one big entertainment complex. Yet, there are some special places in this entertainment nirvana, the best of which are listed here.
Berlin boasts over 100 cinemas, from ultra-modern multi-screen complexes to traditional film theaters such as the UFA Palast. A particularly atmospheric establishment is the Soviet-style International on Karl-Marx-Allee. For more obscure films try the Acud, where you won't be disturbed by hundreds of popcorn-junkies. And don't worry if your German isn't up to par, as places like the Odeon and Babylon Kino feature the latest flicks for English speakers, whereas the Cinéma Paris features movies for the French crowd.
Well, if you can take some heavy satire, Berlin Mitte is the place to be. From the legendary Distel to the Chamäleon's late night shows in the Hackesches Hof Theater. Charlottenburg also has plenty to offer, with its traditional Wühlmäuse, Stachelschweine and the more comedy-oriented Bar jeder Vernunft.
Theater in Berlin can mean a lot of different things, such as controversial contemporary Anglo-American drama at the Baracke or a light comedy with mass appeal on Ku'damm (Komödie & Theater am Kurfürstendamm). While director Frank Castorf heckles the audience at the Volksbühne am Rosa Luxemburg Platz, veteran Claus Peymann reinterprets Brecht at the Berliner Ensemble. International avant-garde dance troupes step it up at the Hebbel Theater, acrobats and magicians put a spell on the Wintergarten, while the Grips-Theater interacts with its young audience. Anglophiles should check out the English Theater Berlin (not opera, but fringe theater).
Berlin is also a great place for music lovers. Even though David Bowie and Iggy Pop are long gone, Marilyn Manson is still supposed to enjoy some absinth around the corner. Top addresses include Kreuzberg's Junction Bar or Bebop for jazz, the Sage Club for Afro-beats and hip-hop and the SO 36 for alternative/punk/rock. Big gigs take place at the Arena and Columbiahalle. Classical aficionados have to make the painful choice between three opera houses - or simply head straight to the Philharmonie to listen to the world-famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
All of the above too middle-of-the-road for you? Check out the innumerable centers of alternative culture that Berlin is famous for. The UFA-Fabrik, for example, is the place to be in summer, while the Kulturbrauerei is good for alternative theater, art and concerts. A kaleidoscope of modern Chinese art, salsa parties or readings by writers from developing countries are on the agenda at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, while the Pfefferberg concentrates on the younger, hipper, multi-cultural clientele of reggae and rap concerts.
It's getting late and you want to move your dancing feet? The clubs around Rosenthaler Platz have the remedy! Some are tucked away in backyards and have irregular opening hours, others are hard to find for lack of a name over the door, but all are open until dawn. The Sophienclub quenches the pop, soul and Latin thirst; for techno, head to Friedrichshain's Berghain or to Tresor‘s new location on Köpenicker Straße. Berlin counts numerous nightclubs. Further options include the Watergate Club or the Pulp Mansion.
Confused or undecided? The Potsdamer Platz offers - after shopping in the US-style Arkaden - many entertainment options, including a casino, a 3D IMAX Movie Theater, a musical theater, the Theater am Potsdamer Platz and a multi-screen cinema, the Cinemaxx. But if you're looking for something more typical, you'll always find plenty to do in the two streets that even Berliners love to confuse, Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg and Oranienburger Strasse in Mitte, each with a mix of restaurants, shops, bars, cafés, movie theaters and music venues that will guarantee a great evening out.
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