Germany has a reputation for celebrating Christmas with gusto. Traditional Christmas markets are popular throughout the country, and draw millions of visitors each year, but alternative markets are popping up all over Berlin. Though many tourists may associate the smells of sweet Glühwein (traditional mulled wine, literally translating to “glow wine” owing to the rosiness that will bloom on your cheeks), spicy gingerbread and tantalizing wurst (sausages) with Bavaria and the North, trendy Berlin transforms into a Winter Wonderland each December with over sixty Christmas markets to choose from.
A visit to traditional German Christmas Market feels like walking through a holiday greeting card: gorgeous twinkling lights, massive trees decorated with candles, seasonal handicrafts and costumed carolers – even Ebenezer Scrooge himself could not resist getting into the Christmas spirit. But what if you want something a little bit different this yuletime? Here is just a small sampling of the best Alternative Christmas Markets in Berlin - Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas)!
Don’t let the name fool you – cowboys in ten gallon hats will not be making an appearance at this uber-stylish ‘rodeo’, held inside of a historic department store building. Weihnachtsrodeo is famous for offerings from Berlin’s hottest designers, artists and luxury boutique brands, and so this Market is less about holiday cheer and more about spoiling your loved ones (and yourself) rotten – and looking good while at it. As the only indoor market, it’s also the only shopping experience on this list that you can enjoy without your winter coat!
Warenhaus Am Weinberg Brunnenstraße 19 - 21, 10119 Berlin, near U-train Rosenthaler Platz
December 13, 14, 20, 21.
Hipsters rejoice: at the Kreuzberger Winter Market you will be able to purchase artisanal mustard, fairtrade honey, locally distilled spirits and unique gifts - all produced by Berlin artists and craftspeople. While the other mainstream markets may bank on Noel nostalgia and childhood memories, Kreuzberger will entice you with food trucks, bespoke cocktails and craft beer. The soundtrack often features modern updates of classic carols – irony optional.
Bergmannhof, Bergmannstr. 5-7, 10961 Berlin, near U-train station Mehringdamm and Platz der Luftbrücke
Nov 24- Dec 30, 1pm-9pm (closed Dec 24+25), FREE entry
Christmas Market For Dogs (Weihnachtsmarkt für Hunde)
Looking for something unique for your four-legged friend? The world’s only Christmas Market dedicated to man’s best friend is the Third Annual Christmas Market For Dogs. Dogs – and their owners - will be treated to a canine friendly atmosphere, special pet foods and gifts for pups of all shapes and sizes, and of course, humans can enjoy a glass of gluhwein in the company of other dog-lovers. A barking good time!
Hüttenweg 90, 14193, Berlin
Dec 6-7, 10am-6pm
In the market for a market that won’t leave you feeling bored? Head to the Voodoo Christmas Market, where DJs will be spinning all evening and artists will be gathered selling their wares and allowing the public to peek into their workshops and studios. On hand is beauty parlour to twist your locks into a perfect pompadour, a tattoo studio for some holiday ink and dozens of local trendsetters selling vintage fashion, unique housewares, independently designed clothing, offbeat gifts - and of course, delectable treats (and maybe some beer)!
Urban Spree, Revaler Straße 99, 10245 Berlin
Dec 6, 12-8pm
This year round fleamarket is known by locals for its relaxed atmosphere and as one of the coolest places to buy vintage goods and collector’s items in Berlin, so thank Santa that Nowkoelln Flowmarkt has decided to host a series of festive Christmas-themed sales. Think of this as the perfect place to buy the ‘eco-conscious yet achingly stylish’ person on your list the perfect retro gift – 1950’s highball glasses, taxidermied birds or a framed photo of someone else’s grandparents. Throughout December they will be featuring tables of gift ideas, bargains galore and the fun of perusing tables of well-curated collectables - as well as seasonal food and drink.
Think of Holy Heimat as the ideal Christmas Market for a cool couple with young children, or those out there who want to have a good time but have left the days of bangin’ parties behind them. Housed in a former railway station, Neue Heimat is an event space that has since been transformed into a music venue, street food hub and cultural gathering place. Their much-anticipated Christmas event (daily until December 21) features a design market, live independent musicians, performers, children’s activities, street food (of course) – and best of all, an ice skating rink! At only 2 Euro entry for adults ( kiddies are FREE) this is the best Holiday market for young families!
RAW, Revaler Str/Dirschauer Str. near U+S station Warschauer Strasse
Nov 27-Dec 21, Thu/Fri 3pm-12am, Sat/Sun 12pm-12am, 2 eur entry fee
+++We’ll offer walking tours around Christmas time. Check out our schedule for our Berlin pay-what-you-like walking tours!+++
Written by Jessica O'Neill