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What to Do in December in Berlin

Updated: November 15, 2023

This post covers things to do in December in Berlin, updated for 2023.

We include free, nighttime, and Christmas, as well as family-friendly activities.


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN DECEMBER

This top 10 list will help you narrow down your options in Berlin for the best concerts, events, and attractions to see and participate in during December.

You can find even more ideas on our other popular Berlin posts:

Be sure to check out our tours in Berlin post for activities any time of year.


1. See a Variety Show

There are a number of comedy and variety shows to see in Berlin in December.

Some of the shows include:

If you're looking for more nighttime activities, check out the section below.

The Berlin Welcome Card includes 25% off tickets to variety shows at the Wintergarten.


3. Christmas at the Tierpark

Tierpark, Europe's largest zoo, sit on the former grounds of Freidrichsfelde Palace.

Each December the zoo turns into a winter wonderland as the grounds and palace are illuminated with lights.

Guests can walk a 2 km (1.25 mile) path through the zoo, past light sculptures and twinkling trees.

There's also an ice skating rink and Christmas delicacies on offer, such as mulled wine, hot chocolate, and bratwurst.

The festival takes place from November 15th, 2023 to January 14th, 2024.

You can find more information or purchase tickets at the Weihnachten Im Tierpark website.


3. Go to a Concert

No matter what time of year it is, Berlin always seems to attract some of the biggest musical performers in the world.

Holiday Concerts

Other Concerts

You can check out the rest of December’s events here.


4. Visit a Holiday Market

There are over 100 Christmas Markets in Berlin both big and small, with most opening in late November.

The markets are lit up and decorated for the holiday season. Visitors will find all sorts of arts, crafts, and other goods on sale, perfect for folks looking for Christmas gifts.

All have traditional foods like bratwurst and roasted almonds and drinks such as Glühwein. Many have ice skating rinks or amusement park rides.

A few of the markets include:

  • Gendarmenmarkt | has exquisite sweets and craftsmanship
  • Weihnachtsmarkt am Alex | a traditional market with shopping and holiday foods
  • Weihnachtsmarkt am Roten Rathaus (Christmas Market at Red City Hall) | has a Ferris wheel, ice rink, and traditional arts and crafts stands

For more great examples, please read our post about Christmas markets in Berlin.

You might even want to consider a Christmas Markets walking tour.

You’ll find even more fun and affordable activities in our section covering free things to do in Berlin.


5. Grab a Festive Drink

During the winter, Berlin’s breweries tend to come up with some excellent seasonal beers that are unlike any you’ll taste anywhere else in the world.

In addition to these brews, you can also expect a lot of delicious and festive cocktails to be available at various pubs in the city.

If you’re interested in finding some of the best places to grab a drink in December, consider going on a Berlin pub crawl.

After you’ve had a nice brew or cocktail, you might want to think about grabbing another local favorite treat – Currywurst!

This delicious and simple meal can be found all over the city, and you can check this list for the best Currywurst in Berlin.


6. Take the Kids Ice Skating

In addition to the rink at the Christmas Garden, there are several ice skating rinks all over the city.

Depending on which location you visit, you can expect to pay anywhere from €2.50-€5 to rent some ice skates.

Ice Stating Rinks

This is just one of the fun activities you can enjoy with the family in Berlin this December. 

For more ideas, take a look at our section on  family-friendly activities


7. Go to the Christmas Garden

Located at the Berlin Botanical Garden, the Christmas Garden is a truly magical place to visit in December.

In addition to thousands of lights and dozens of lighting displays, there will also be a fun ice rink where visitors can skate and a restaurant serving festive treats. 

This is one of the best things to do after dark during the month of December. For even more things to do at night, check our nighttime activities section.

This special event is open from November 17th, 2023 through January 14th, 2024.

Visit the Christmas Garden Berlin for information on times and tickets.

TIP: Although admission to this attraction isn’t included, you can visit the botanical garden at a discount with at least one major Berlin tourist pass.


8. Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Brandenburg Gate

The city of Berlin rings in the new year with a bang!

The open-air street party taking place at Brandenburg Gate on New Year's Eve is always a hit.

Visitors can expect live bands, DJs, and of course, a fireworks display at midnight.

Tickets are required although the event is free to attend. Be sure to get there early to claim your spot!

You might also enjoy our post about Brandenburg Gate which tells you a bit about its history.

Visitors looking for fun and affordable activities throughout the rest of the month will find even more ideas in our free things to do section.


9. Enjoy a Night at the Opera

In December, Deutsche Oper Berlin will be hosting more than a few productions that you may enjoy.

December Performances Include:

For a list of all concerts in December, visit their website.

If you’re interested in any of these shows, consider getting the Berlin Welcome Card to save 25% off tickets!


10. Save Money Using a Tourist Pass

If you’re planning to enjoy several popular activities in Berlin this December, you may want to consider using a tourist pass to save a few euros.

The all-inclusive pass is one of the most popular options in Berlin.

It provides admission to dozens of different attractions over the course of a specific amount of time (2, 3, 4, 5 days).

There are also discount cards which offer free admission to a few select locations and deals of between 25% - 50% off other notable attractions and activities.

The main advantage of a discount card is that it includes a lot of sites and tours that aren’t available on any other pass.

Here are some of the most popular destinations included with Berlin tourist passes:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
  • Natural History Museum
  • Aquadom & Sea Life
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Berlin River Cruise
  • Olympic Stadium
  • Berlin TV Tower
  • Panoramapunkt
  • Berlin Dungeon
  • LEGOLAND
  • And more!

In addition to all the discounts, these services usually include skip-the-line admission at several locations, making it easy to save both time and money!

No matter which pass you choose, you should be able to save between 20% - 50% off general admission prices.

For more details, please read our post covering Berlin tourist passes.


FREE THINGS TO DO IN DECEMBER

This section will cover some of the best free activities you can enjoy in Berlin during the month of December.

Make sure to check out our other section for even more ideas such as visiting a Christmas market, celebrating New Year’s Eve at Brandenburg Gate and more.

For even more affordable fun, read our post covering free things to do in Berlin.


Enjoy Christmas Church Services

On December 24, Christmas Eve, there are several services to be found a churches across Berlin.

Note that it’s entirely free to come in and enjoy the services at most churches in Berlin.

Some of the more centrally located churches include:

Click here for a full list of places of worship in Berlin.


Visit the Dussmann Bookstore

Whether you are looking for a good read or just want to browse and warm up, the Dussmann bookstore offers a wide range of literature, books, CDs, and more over 3 levels. 

Bookworms will have a blast, and the best of all is, this store is open late (until midnight on weekdays, and 23:30 pm on Saturdays). 

Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, this is definitely a great spot to drop in and take a look around.

A cozy coffee shop/restaurant is attached. The store is located near S-train station Friedrichstrasse.


Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour

We offer several self-guided tours you can take in Berlin which won’t cost a thing to enjoy.

If you’re interested in learning more about the city, consider one of the following outings:

For even more self-guided trips, make sure to read our post covering Berlin walking tours.


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN DECEMBER

The following section covers some of the best things to do after dark in Berlin this December.

Keep an eye on our other sections for more ideas such as concerts, comedy shows, the Christmas Garden, New Year’s Eve at Brandenburg Gate, and more.

For additional attractions you can enjoy after the sun goes down, please read our post about things to do at night in Berlin.


Enjoy a Duck or Goose Dinner

The roast goose season starts every year with St. Martin’s Day on November 11, when children walk through the evening streets with self-made lanterns singing carols. 

Goose season is a glorious time for carnivores – the roasted goose dishes come with red cabbage, kale, dumplings, and gravy. Several restaurants all over Berlin participate and offer their guests special goose menus. 

Our favorite places include the beer-hall style Prater Restaurant in Prenzlauer Berg, the Jules Vernes in Charlottenburg, or the Ratskeller Köpenick.


See the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

If you’re a fan of classical music, this group will be performing throughout the month of December, giving you plenty of opportunities to enjoy a live orchestra.

Some of their shows will be Christmas-themed, but most of them will feature a variety of classical tunes.

For more information, make sure to check the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra calendar.

See our post on things to do at night in Berlin for even more suggestions.


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN DECEMBER

In this section, we’ll cover some of the best things to do with your kids in Berlin throughout the month of December.

You’ll find even more great ideas in our other sections above such as sporting events, ice skating, the Christmas Garden and more.


Take the Kids Sledding

Once the snow sticks around, find the nearest park with a nice hill.

This is undoubtedly one of the best winter activities in the city, and there are several great places to go sledding, including the following locations:

  • Volkspark Friedrichshain
  • Prenzlauer Berg
  • Victoria Park
  • Teufelsberg
  • Kreuzberg
  • Mitte

You can even rent a sled at many locations, which means you don’t have to worry about bringing one with you!


Go to a Christmas Circus

If you’ve ever been to a circus as a child, you can imagine the amazed eyes of the little and big guests when the circus has a Christmas theme!

These events include horses, artistic stunts and entertainment for the whole family during the holiday season. 

Circus Roncalli at Tempodrom is near Anhalter Bahnhofn.


Take the Family to LEGOLAND

Both kids and adults love LEGO, and there are plenty of fun things to see and do at LEGOLAND in Berlin.

In addition to 4D theatrical shows and opportunities to build a variety of interesting things, there are also usually themed events based on the holidays, so you’ll probably see at least a few Christmas displays.

Best of all, this attraction is included with one of the most popular Berlin tourist passes, making it easy to save some money on general admission prices.


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: November 15th, 2023
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