Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Holidays In Berlin: No Time For Hibernation In Germany’s Vibrant Capital

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80 Christmas Markets, Shopping, Concerts, and Culinary Delights Heat Up the Season.

Only in Berlin visitors can experience the urban energy of one of the world’s most exciting metropolises complemented perfectly with old-world Holiday traditions. An abundance of Christmas markets, shopping throughout the festively lit city, mulled wine at outdoor stands, and a world-class cultural and culinary scene: Berlin has it all.
Christmas Markets
Located in virtually every city square, court yard, and along shopping streets, Berlin’s approximately 80 Christmas markets are as diverse as the city itself. From nostalgic and traditional, to trendy and off-beat; there are markets in every neighborhood from city center to the lesser-known outer districts. Most holiday markets start around November 23 and end on December 24.
Known for its nostalgic feel, the Christmas Magic at Gendarmenmarkt square remains one of the most authentic and popular markets. High-end handcrafts, traditional wooden ornaments and a range of local and regional arts and crafts are for sale in Berlin’s most beautiful square.

It is all about Scandinavian hospitality at the Lucia Christmas Market at the historic Kulturbrauerei former brewery complex in Prenzlauer Berg. The market is named after Lucia, the bringer of light, who is especially revered in Sweden. Sounds, crafts and treats are spreading the cheer from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

At the Market of the Continents at the Dahlem museum complex, more than fifty vendors offer handicrafts from around the world. Choices include hand-woven African fabrics, jewelry from India, and felt goods from Kazakhstan. Most goods are produced in the respective countries and purchases support local projects.
Berlin's first vegan/vegetarian Holiday market, the Green Christmas Market takes place on Sundays during the Advent season and underscores Berlin’s standing as the European vegan capital. Vegan/vegetarian products from Germany will be presented as well as live music and organic clothing.
Berlin has some unbeatable offers in the pre-Christmas period. Especially KaDeWe, Continental Europe's largest department store, guaranties retail experiences ranging from world-class designer goods to culinary opulence. All floors will turn into a whimsical fair, including a hall of mirrors. .
At Holy.Shit.Shopping at Kraftwerk Berlin, young local designers present their latest fashion, jewelry and art. Anyone looking for a special gift will surely find something adequate.
Also worth checking out are the small shops, boutiques and galleries in the side streets of the trendy Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg districts. Extra tip: on December 6 and December 20, stores will be open between 1pm and 8 pm.
Winter is fairytale time, especially in Berlin. The Staatsoper at Schillertheater puts on Puss in Boots by David Robert Coleman, opening December 6. Starting November 26, Staatsballett Berlin will take the stage at the Deutsche Oper with Grieg's Haensel & Gretel and Tschaikovsky’s legendary Nutcracker, choreographed by Vasily Medvedev and Yuri Burlaka.
Already a holiday tradition, the circus Roncalli sets the festive mood with its twelfth season at the Tempodrom. The show enchants with acrobatics, dressage and clown skits. December 18, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
Top Exhibitions
From November 20, 2015 through February 15, 2016, the Berlinische Galerie is mounting a major exhibition on Max Beckmann and Berlin, with works that the artist completed in Berlin or that have a direct connection to the German capital. In the 1920s, critics celebrated Beckmann as the modern artist who best personified the “new Berlin”. Beckmann became one of the groundbreaking forces of the “New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit)”.

The Botticelli Renaissance, another major exhibition, opened September 25, 2015 and runs through January 24, 2016, at Berlin’s Picture Gallery (Gemäldegalerie). Botticelli - like no other artist - inspired the Modernist period and present-day art. Over 100 masterpieces of European art, on loan from the world's great collections, have been assembled.
Culinary Delights
In the cold season, sweets are in high demand in Berlin: Chocolates, gingerbread or candied almonds are Christmas market staples and chocoholics have the choice of 200 types of chocolates and small delicacies offered at Fassbender & Rausch chocolatiers.
Berliners love eating fresh, seasonal and local foods and the city’s historic covered markets are experiencing a comeback. The 120 year-old Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg hosts Street Food Thursday where food from around the world is put fresh and hot right into your hands. TheArminiusmarkthalle in up- and-coming Moabit offers a wide range of foods, from regional dishes to Italian specialties. With numerous cultural events, the hall is becoming a meeting place for local residents and guests no matter what the outside temperature is. (Website in German only).
The 14 Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany’s capital (which boasts a total of 19 stars) serve up haute cuisine. But if you’re in the mood for a meatless gourmet experience: Berlin is a vegetarian’s dream come true with the highest density of vegan and vegetarian restaurants of any city on the continent. Additionally, many hotels and restaurants will be offering traditional dishes, including roast duck, braised cabbage and other traditional German Holiday fare.
New Year's Eve
Join about one million to ring in the New Year at the world’s largest New Year's Eve party. Shows, music, dance, and culinary offerings will help pass the time until huge fireworks are illuminating the Berlin sky at midnight. Brandenburg Gate and along “Straße des 17. Juni.
More information on Berlin’s expansive calendar of events is available at www.visitBerlin.com.

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