If you’re wondering what Berlin has to offer queer and lesbian travellers, you’re in the right place. In this guide, I provide a complete rundown of queer and lesbian Berlin, including the best bars, clubs, events, and things to do around the city.
We visited Berlin for the first time during our winter tour of Europe. It didn’t take long for us to fall in love with the city’s quirky, vibrant, and open-minded culture – not to mention the queer and lesbian scene in Berlin, which rivals most in Europe.
Besides the thriving queer scene, Berlin is one of the most extraordinary cities we’ve ever visited. A city oozing hipster culture and creative expression, with a fascinating history to boot, we can see ourselves returning time and time again.
You come as you are in Berlin, and nobody blinks an eye. We loved that about the city. A place that welcomes diversity and allows us to be ourselves will always be a winner in our eyes.
This article aims to arm you with everything you need to visit this unforgettable destination. Find out why we believe Berlin to be one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the world.
So let’s get to it, here’s a complete guide to queer and lesbian Berlin.
Table of Contents
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Queer & Lesbian Berlin FAQs
Before I jump into talking about the best queer and lesbian bars, clubs, events etc., in Berlin, I thought it would be good to answer some of the frequently asked questions we get about our trips.
- Save money on public transport, attractions, and restaurants with a Berlin card.
- Book a hotel or hostel here or check out these best air bnbs in Berlin.
- Stay connected in Berlin with a portable wifi hotspot or a local sim card.
- Get to know the city on a best-selling Berlin tour.
- Don’t forget travel insurance – World Nomads is our go-to choice for cover.
LGBTQ + Rights in Berlin
LGBTQ+ Safety in Berlin
I’d confidently say fewer places are safer for LGBTQ+ travellers than Berlin.
If you are from somewhere that forces you to hide your identity, we encourage you to visit Berlin and experience what true freedom feels like.
Here you can be openly affectionate with your significant other without fear of judgement. You could dress in fetish attire on public transport, and nobody would look twice.
In the Summer, you can sunbathe nude in the heart of the city (in designated areas), and this is considered entirely normal. You see, in queer & lesbian Berlin, anything goes!
Of course, the usual risks attached to intimate relations or travel in general still apply.
These LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Tips and self-defence tools for women will help you look after yourself and your belongings.
Best Time to Visit Queer & Lesbian Berlin
There isn’t any right or wrong time to visit Berlin, as there is a great atmosphere all year round.
Although, if you are relying on good, warm weather, between May and October will be your safest bet.
July and August are the hottest and busiest months. But it’s also when the city hosts most of its queer and lesbian Berlin parties like Pride and LGBT Park Festival.
We can also vouch for visiting in December. Although the temperatures can be freezing, the Christmas markets and festivities are genuinely magical.
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Getting Around in Berlin
Berlin is a large and sprawling city, which means if you plan on covering several districts, you’ll need to know how to get around.
First, I strongly recommend you get yourself a Berlin WelcomeCard. The card not only includes unlimited access to Berlins public transport network, but you’ll also get discounts at over 200 of the cities attractions.
We travelled extensively around the city, and the Berlin WelcomeCard saved us a ton of money.
Now, the four major transport networks are the U-Bahn (underground trains), S-Bahn (overground trains), buses, and trams.
The extensive network covers every corner of the city, so no matter where you want to go, you can always rely on public transport.
If you prefer to avoid public transport, taxis are easy to come by at taxi stands, train stations, and the airport. Uber is also in operation and is usually cheaper than the local taxis.
Where to Stay in Queer & Lesbian Berlin
You’ll find that almost every hotel and hostel in Berlin is welcoming to LGBTQ+ travellers. That said there are some establishments that are ‘Pink Pillow’ acclaimed.
The Pink Pillow Berlin collection is a range of hotels recognised by the VisitBerlin Tourism Board as being LGBTQ+ friendly. According to their website:
“The hotels in the Pink Pillow Berlin Collection welcome gay and lesbian guests with professional and relaxed service. All participating hotels have signed to treat all guests with the same courtesy, dignity and respect and to offer their guests information about the LGBTI scene.”
There is a wide selection of hotels available ranging from budget through to premium. So there’s something for everyone amongst the Pink Pillow collection.
The Best of Queer & Lesbian Berlin
I’m sure you’re keen to learn more about what there is to see and do in this quirky and open-minded city.
Naturally, being LGBTQ+ does not prevent us from wanting to explore like any other tourist. You’ll likely want to experience the Berlin highlights as well as the queer things to do in the city.
Since this is a guide to gay and lesbian Berlin, I won’t delve into the highlights here. Instead, I recommend checking out this 2-Day Berlin Itinerary or our guide to alternative Berlin.
For now, let’s look at all the queer things to do in Berlin.
Looking for a rundown of the best queer and lesbian nightlife in Berlin? Keep scrolling to the next section.
Queer Things to do in Berlin
1. Check out Berlin's Queer Neighbourhoods
When you consider Berlin’s LGBTQ+ history, it is no surprise that Schöneberg remains the epicentre of gay culture.
It is here, amidst a trendy neighbourhood, that the wealth of gay bars, clubs and shops reside.
Schöneberg is also where the major gay and lesbian Berlin events such as the Lesbian & Gay City Festival and Christopher Street Day take place.
The district even hosts Berlin’s only LGBTQ+ Christmas market each year!
In recent years, Berlin’s gay scene has also progressed in other districts around the city. Other notable gay and lesbian areas are in the Mitte and Kreuzberg areas.
Although, if you’re not seeking any ‘scene’ as such, just reassurance that you’ll be accepted, you’ll find the entire city of Berlin to be LGBTQ+-friendly.
2. Visit Schwules - The Gay Museum
Located in Schöneberg, Schwules is a fascinating museum reflecting the diverse history of LGBTQ+ communities in Berlin.
Founded in 1985, the museum has since become one of the worlds largest institutions for preserving and communicating the history of LGBTQ+ culture.
The museum is home to various exhibitions, including the memoirs of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf – A gay and trans icon in former East Germany.
Allow: 2-3 hours / Entrance: €9 or €6 with a Berlin Card / Open: Every day apart from Tuesday.
3. Check out Berlin's Queer Cafe Culture
For those seeking a gay scene without the, ahem ‘scene’, the gay cafe culture is where you can find it.
Foodies will also be in their element, with several of these establishments serving an array of culinary delights.
Not to mention the delicious coffee and colourful patrons that ensure a thoroughly enjoyable experience indeed.
Südblock: Südblock is an LGBT-friendly cafe in the heart of alternative Kreuzberg. Boasting a big outdoor beer garden, it’s especially popular during the summer months.
Romeo & Romeo: As the name suggests, this trendy cafe in Schöneberg is a popular hangout among gay men. I would pop your head in just to sample their famous rainbow cake and coffee.
Cafe Berio: One of the oldest cafes in the Schöneberg area, Cafe Berio is an all-time favourite of the gay and lesbian community.
4. Visit Berlin Lesbian Venue "Begine"
Established in 1986, Begine is a cultural centre exclusively for women.
What began in a squatted building, the organisation aims to provide a safe space for lesbian, bi, and trans women.
At Begine, you can connect with like-minded individuals, read a variety of queer literature, or find out about upcoming lesbian events in Berlin.
They also host some of Berlin’s best lesbian parties, concerts and workshops.
5. The Gay Holocaust Memorial
Set in the heart of Berlin’s Tiergarten, this memorial is a reminder of all the LGBTQ+ community who suffered under the Nazi regime.
Along with the jewish community, other minority groups such as the LGBTQ+ community were targeted and endured unspeakable treatment during those dark times.
Today, a looped video plays through a gap in the concrete cube memorial, depicting a variety of queer love scenes.
6. Take a Queer Walking Tour
If you’re keen to learn more about the fascinating history of LGBTQ+ culture in Berlin, we highly recommend the Queer Walking Tour with Berlinwalks.
The tour will lead you through the infamous Schöneberg – the first gay district in the world!
You’ll learn about the evolvement of LGBTQ+ rights through the years, and how Berlin became the flourishing rainbow capital that it is today.
Save Time and Book a Tour
For a more local experience, we recommend checking out the guided tours on Get Your Guide:
7. 'Queer' Street Art at the Eastside Gallery
We’ve all seen that iconic mural on the Berlin wall of two older gentlemen sharing an intimate kiss.
Many believe the piece titled “My God, help me survive this deadly love” is a symbol of Berlin’s inclusivity and gay-friendly attitude. And from a creative perspective, it probably is.
However, the history behind the kiss is actually very different. In fact, the graffiti is a depiction of two famous politicians kissing on the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the German Democratic Republic.
All the same, it’s an impressive mural well worth checking out – along with the other compelling artwork that adorns the Eastside gallery.
8. MonGay's at Kino International Cinema
Every Monday in MonGay at Kino International Cinema – a queer cinema night for the LGBTQ+ community.
Every week is a different film – often it’s an LGBTQ+ focused film, but sometimes it could be the latest blockbuster.
Either way, it’s a chance to connect with like-minded individuals in a relaxed environment.
9. Poor & Literate
In Berlin’s trendy Prenzlauer Berg district, Poor and Literate has opened as a lesbian/queer gathering place on Kopenhagener Straße.
Poor and Literate is a café by day and a bar by night and also features a small book shop – “Virginia Woolf’s Library”.
While Poor and Literate is open to people of all genders and orientations, it is primarily a space for women who identify as queer.
Unfortunately Poor & Literate is now permanently closed.
10. Nude Sunbathing at Berlin's Tiergarten
Berlin’s Tiergarten is one of the cities most popular outdoor attractions.
A striking 210-hectares of green space filled with gardens, lakes, plants and tucked-away locations. Perfect for escaping the hustle & bustle.
It’s also a favoured spot for sunbathing naked during the warmer months! The nudist sunbathing area is called the ‘gay meadow’ and is mostly frequented by gay men.
The area surrounding the meadow is also a renowned cruising area, so you’ll want to be wary of what’s lurking in the bushes!
As we all know, lesbians and other queer women draw the short straw when it comes to celebrating our community.
However, Berlin does do a better job than say Lesbian Sydney or London. (Fun fact: 1920s Schoneberg had more lesbian locations than anywhere else in Berlin!)
In 1997, this square in Schöneberg was renamed in honour of Kitty Kuse – a prominent activist of the lesbian movement in the 1970s.
12. Nollendorfplatz Station at Night
Nollendorfplatz Station is the U-Bahn station you will go to if you want to explore Schöneberg.
At night, the unmistakeable dome of the building illuminates in rainbow lights! It’s a sight not to be missed.
13. EisenHerz Bookshop
EisenHerz Bookshop was the first queer bookshop to open in all of German. It was founded in 1978 during the early days of the gay rights movement.
Today it continues to be one of the most important queer bookshops in the world. A sprawling space of LGBTQ+ books ranging from novels and poetry to travel literature and much more.
Lesbian Nightlife in Berlin
Girls, I wish I could tell you that our party scene was just as juicy and diverse as it is for the boys.
However, we all know the drill by now. Lesbian bars and clubs tend to barely make it past first base. What is that about anyway?
Anyhow, that’s not to say there isn’t any fun to be had for lesbians in Berlin.
As well as the welcoming queer venues I mention below, there are some Berlin lesbian bars and parties that could give the boys a run for their money.
Lesbian Bars in Berlin
1. Himmelreich Cafe
And there’s us thinking lesbian bars were dead?
Located on the ever-popular Simon-Dach-Straße, Himmelreich Cafe is the sole gay bar in the party district of Friedrichshain.
It’s also the only surviving lesbian bar in Berlin.
That said, the bar has an open-door policy, and anybody is welcome regardless of their s*xuality.
However, certain nights are LGBTQ+ specific such as Women’s Lounge on Tuesdays, catering to a lesbian crowd.
2. Silver Future
Not a Berlin lesbian bar per se, OR a gay bar for that matter; however, the clientele tends to be mainly queer women.
A sign above the door warns customers to ‘leave their hetronormativity’ at the door, so as you can imagine, the vibe is pretty eccentric.
If you have the time, it’s a spot worth checking out – even if it’s only for the cheap drinks!
Lesbian Parties in Berlin
1. Girlstown Party
A party organised by girls who love girls – for girls who love girls. You just know this is going to be good.
Catch the Girlstown Party at the iconic Gretchen Club, but sadly, only on a bi-monthly basis. For this year’s party dates check out the Facebook page.
This is a strictly female night welcoming lesbian, trans, inter, and bi females. Gays and allies are also welcome.
L-Tunes loves lesbians is their motto, and lesbians love them!
This legendary Berlin lesbian party takes place once a month in alternating locations across the city.
To help coordinate your trip, the party usually takes place on the last Saturday of every month; although, we suggest checking the Facebook page for updates.
Founded by the same organisers as Girls Town, Mint is for the electro loving raver lesbians.
While the crowd is mostly queer women, there are the occasional gay men and straights.
These Berlin lesbian parties are sporadic, so you should keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.
More Queer Nightlife in Berlin
While there is a shortage of specifically lesbian bars in Berlin, there are plenty of other venues that attract a mixed LGBTQ+ crowd.
Whatever you’re into, you will find no shortage of queer bars, clubs, and parties scattered around the city.
From dance clubs and fetish clubs to cruising bars and drag shows, there is truly something for everybody.
You can even find culture-specific parties, for example, Jewish, Turkish, and Brazilian focused LGBTQ+ nights.
With that, here are some of the most popular queer and lesbian-friendly bars, clubs and parties in Berlin.
Best Queer Bars in Berlin
1. Möbel Olfe
Set in Berlin’s alternative Kreuzberg district, Möbel Olfe attracts a slightly alternative crowd with its rugged vibe and bohemian decor.
Set in an old furniture store, it’s undoubtedly one of the coolest gay bars in the city.
Combining a heady mix of loud Indie music and a trendy queer crowd, you’re guaranteed a night to remember.
2. Heile Welt
Located in Schöneberg, Heile Welt is a low key gay bar, where popping in and enjoying a quiet cocktail is the norm.
Here you’ll find a mixed crowd from the LGBTQ+ community and can enjoy delicious drinks and catchy tunes until the early hours.
3. The Coven
Aspiring to be more than a gay bar, and succeeding, The Coven is a modern, chic cocktail bar located in Central Berlin Mitte.
Despite the industrial decor, the bar maintains an air of elegance, and with it attracts an alternative LGBTQ+ crowd.
It’s the perfect spot for those looking for a quiet drink without the smutty extras that come with many of the bars in Gay Berlin.
4. Betty F*** Bar
If it’s trashy drag show entertainment you seek, you need look no further than Betty F*** Bar.
Alongside pimped up cocktails, you’re sure to enjoy a fun-filled night at this glammed up bar in Central Berlin Mitte.
Best Queer Clubs in Berlin
Once a Gay Club, now an ‘anybody who loves to party’ club, Berghain is considered to be one of the best nightclubs in the world.
Set in a former railway warehouse, patrons queue for hours to get into the exclusive club which opens from Friday night, all the way through to Monday lunchtime.
Be warned, however, the bouncers at Berghain are notorious for turning people away. There are no set rules as to why; merely that they are looking for the ‘right balance of people’.
Your typical Queen gay nightclub! Schwuz attracts a younger LGBTQ+ crowd with its Indie-Pop/R&B mainstream DJ’s alongside over the top drag queens and dancers!
While the club is queer every night, look out for the regular themed parties which attract a fun-loving crowd.
3. Die Busche
An iconic nightclub within the Berlin LGBT+ scene, Die Busche was the only gay club in East Germany before reunification.
Today the party is still going strong, spreading across three floors and attracting a young crowd.
Each room plays a different genre of music ranging from club anthems to disco charts, as well as 80’s & 90’s music.
Best Queer Parties in Berlin
1. Revolver Party @ KitKat Club
The chances are you may have heard of the x-rated goings-on at KitKat Club. If not, let’s just say that it’s a place where quite literally, anything goes.
You’ll find a mixed bag of genders and s*xualities at most parties held at KitKat; however, the Revolver party, held on the 2nd Friday of every month, is mostly gay men.
2. GMF @ House of Weekend
Slightly less intimidating that KitKat, GMF is your stereotypical queer party.
Expect cheesy playlists, drag queens, an exuberant crowd, and a large dashing of fabulousness.
You can attend GMF at the exclusive House of Weekend nightclub every Sunday night.
Queer & Lesbian Events in Berlin
Alongside the vibrant, all year round queer nightlife in Berlin, there are several LGBTQ+ focused events that are worth noting in your calendar.
Here are the Queer & Lesbian Berlin events that we believe should be a priority on your bucket list:
1. Easter Berlin (April)
One of the most popular fetish meetings in Europe, Easter Berlin is held every year on Easter Sunday!
While primarily for the boys, it is sure to satisfy all of your fetish desires.
2. LGBT Park Festival (July)
Attracting over 400,000 visitors each year, Park Festival is the biggest LGBTQ+ street festival in all of Europe.
Featuring a jam-packed schedule of entertainment, including live music and performances, information booths, market stalls and so much more, this is an annual event not to be missed.
3. Berlin Pride / Christopher Street Day (July)
Berlin is said to host one of the most fantastic pride events in all of Europe.
Whether that’s true or not, what can there possibly be not to love about hundreds of thousands of people coming together and marching for LGBTQ+ rights?
Accompanied by a fun-filled weekend of club nights, parades, and LGBTQ focused events… where do we sign up?
4. Gayweisn Berlin (September)
Gayweisn is a dedicated LGBTQ+ event held each Monday during the legendary Oktoberfest.
While you can still expect steins of Bavarian beer, girls in Dirndl dresses, and boys in Lederhose, the Gayweisn tent is a slightly more extravagant affair.
5. Christmas Avenue (December)
As of December 2019, Schöneberg hosted Berlins first-ever LGBTQ+ focused Christmas market.
We took a winter city break to Berlin so managed to catch this one, and I have to say it was wonderful – If not slightly, over the top.
But when Gay meets Christmas, what else do you expect?
History of LGBTQ+ Culture in Berlin
Berlin has always been ahead of the times when it comes to LGBTQ+ acceptance. However, how did it come to be the progressive rainbow capital it is today? Well, now that’s an interesting story.
The timeline really begins in 1871, when the government first criminalised homos*xuality. Though, things only start juicing up in 1896 when the worlds first ever gay magazine, Der Eigene was published. Despite the public uproar, the scandalous publication ran until the early 1930s when the Nazis shut it down.
In the meantime, the 1920s was the golden decade of LGBT freedom in Berlin, where supposedly hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ people resided in the city. That’s because, following the first-ever gay-rights demonstration in Nollendorfplatz, Berlin became a gay mecca for the remainder of the decade.
Fuelled by a thriving gay-media scene, out & proud Hollywood stars frolicked in the numerous LGBT bars, and the entire scene was glorified to the max.
In the late 1920s, a strong movement appealed to legalise same-s*x relations; however, when the Nazis rose to power, it was abolished.
Instead, the Nazis stepped up the persecution of LGBTQ+ communities and offenders were sent to concentration camps and forced to wear pink triangles. Sadly, many met the same fate as the Jews and other minority groups.
Unfortunately, the injustice doesn’t end there. Out of those who did survive the Nazi era and were liberated from camps in 1945, many had to carry out their sentences in state prisons. It wasn’t until 2002 that the German Government decided to overturn these convictions.
In a positive turn of events, the government decriminalised acts of homos*xuality at the end of the 1960s. With that, the LGBTQ+ scene in Berlin thrived once again, progressing Berlin to the liberal society it is today.
Have Fun Exploring Queer & Lesbian Berlin
That concludes our Gay & Lesbian Travel Guide to Berlin. I hope that you found it helpful and that you have an awesome time exploring this lgbtq+-friendly city.
If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below. We love hearing from you!
Stay adventurous and happy travels.
Planning a trip to Berlin? Check out our Germany series or our other LGBTQ+ Travel Guides to help with inspiration.
Loved this write up on Berlin! It is indeed a very vibrant and accepting city. That’s why we moved here 8 months ago! We use to work in corporate too before we started our travel blogging journey. It’s so inspiring to come to a city where no one cares whether you are a financial manager or a travel blogger. We must say we haven’t really explored any of the clubs here, but with your guide we now have an idea where to go. Christopher Day is ABSOLUTELY amazing! We went last year and it had such good vibes! You should come and experience it for yourselves! If you come by Berlin again, let us know! We would love to meet you both
Hi Guys! Thank you for taking to the time to leave this lovely comment! We are so glad you enjoyed the article. We are certain we will be back to Berlin, we will definitely let you know, would be amazing to meet!