BERLIN LIGHTS UP

Itin­er­ar­ies for long nights out

Where Berlin - - Front Page -

On 26 Oc­to­ber, Ger­mans will set their clocks back an hour, sig­nal­ing the un­of­fi­cial start of win­ter and many dark months ahead, but also paving the way for a win­ter of long nights. Berlin is with­out a doubt the Euro­pean cap­i­tal of nightlife: with lax work­ing hours, a pub­lic tran­sit net­work that runs 24 hours on week­ends, and no man­dated clos­ing hours for bars or clubs, this is an in­som­niac city that kicks into high gear after the sun sets.

Whether it’s a wild night out on the town you crave, or a quiet evening pick­ing out stars on an inky sky, we’ve put to­gether our best after-dark tips for the whole month.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY

This month, two lu­mi­nous fes­ti­vals will be light­ing up façades across the city with spec­tac­u­lar, col­or­ful in­stal­la­tions: Berlin Leuchtet (www.berlin-leuchtet.de) and Fes­ti­val of Lights (www.fes­ti­val-of-lights.de). Ev­ery night from 2–19 Oc­to­ber, land­marks such as the Bran­den­burg Gate, Ber­liner Dom, or the Alexan­der­platz TV Tower will come alive with bright, im­pres­sive pro­jec­tions. To help spec­ta­tors take in the full breadth of the fes­ti­val, a wide va­ri­ety of tours are avail­able by bus, car, boat, horse­drawn car­riage, and bike. Spe­cial high­lights will in­clude the “Lights On” open­ing event at Pots­damer Platz on 10 Oc­to­ber and the “Lu­mis­simo” con­certs at the Ber­liner Dom, tak­ing place on 10 and 11 Oc­to­ber only. For this spec­tac­u­lar event, the his­toric cathe­dral will shine with col­or­ful, mov­ing in­stal­la­tions, while a laser harp and the church or­gan meet in a duet of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

One thing is for sure: you'll be see­ing Berlin in a whole new light.

STARGAZ­ING

Once you’re done ex­plor­ing Berlin’s man­made light show, you might want to check out Mother Na­ture’s most spec­tac­u­lar light show, too: the so­lar sys­tem and its con­stel­la­tions. The his­toric Archen­hold

Ob­ser­va­tory (Alt-Trep­tow 1, www.sdtb.de) dates back to 1896 and is home to the equally old Trep­tow Gi­ant Te­le­scope, a mon­stros­ity that is to­day the long­est move­able re­fract­ing te­le­scope in the world at 21 me­ters long. The ob­ser­va­tory is open Wed­nes­days through Sun­days with as­tron­omy exhibitions and tours, but the real high­light comes ev­ery sec­ond and fourth Fri­day evening of the month, when

vis­i­tors can stop by to peer through the gi­ant old te­le­scope and ob­serve stars and other ce­les­tial won­ders in the night sky.

OUT ON THE TOWN

Let’s face it: Berlin never gets tired of par­ty­ing. It’s not an ex­cep­tion for a club to keep go­ing from Satur­day night un­til Mon­day morn­ing – it’s the norm. Gritty clubs like Berghain, Salon zur Wilden

Re­nate, and ://about blank in par­tic­u­lar are known as places where the party (almost) never stops. Bars, too, will of­ten stay open and keep serv­ing un­til the last un­ruly guest leaves, which could be with the sun­rise. One bar, though, is Berlin’s clear win­ner in this re­gard: Bei Sch­law­inchen (Schön­le­in­str. 34) is a rau­cous, 24-hour drink­ing hole in Kreuzberg that has been open more or less non-stop since 1979. The dé­cor is a charm­ing, clut­tered mess of kitsch and mem­o­ra­bilia, the drinks are cheap, and the crowd is per­haps as mixed as any group of peo­ple could be, rang­ing from hip­ster tourists to univer­sity stu­dents to har­dened neigh­bor­hood al­co­holics. An ex­pe­ri­ence not for the faint of heart, but a proper Kreuzberg ex­pe­ri­ence nonethe­less.

LATENIGHT CRAV­INGS

Most restau­rant kitchens in Berlin will keep serv­ing food un­til 10pm, 11pm, or even later. What to do, how­ever, when it’s re­ally late, and your stom­ach is growl­ing? No need to set­tle for the ques­tion­able ke­bab place on the cor­ner. Right on busy Kot­tbusser Tor, in the heart of Kreuzberg’s nightlife dis­trict, is Konak

Grill (Re­ichen­berger Str. 10, www.kon­akgrill. de), keep­ing its grill fired up un­til 4am ev­ery day. Though it may look like your av­er­age Turk­ish Im­biss snack bar, this spot claims to make the best köfte in Berlin. The de­li­cious spiced meat­balls are served stuffed into fresh bread with salad, toma­toes and sauce for just €3.50. Across town is Char­lot­ten­burg’s famed

Sch­warzes Café (Kantstr. 148, www. schwarzescafe-berlin.de), a re­laxed, popular hotspot open 24/7 save for Tues­days from 3–10am, when it’s time for a thor­ough clean­ing. What­ever the time and what­ever you’re crav­ing, the kitchen keeps cook­ing up tasty meals and snacks while the bar churns out drinks. Just down the street is another great op­tion for late-late-night eat­ing: Aroma (Kantstr. 35), one of Berlin’s

most au­then­tic Chi­nese restau­rants. If it's some­thing Asian you’re crav­ing late at night, stop by un­til 3am for their home­made Can­tonese dim sum dumplings and buns, along­side other spe­cial­ties.

BOO!

After dark, the popular belief goes, is when ghosts, ghouls, and spir­its come out to play. Ex­pe­ri­ence the hair-rais­ing side of Berlin’s nightlife with a ghostly tour from the peo­ple at Bären­tour (www.baer­en­touren. de), who of­fer two English-lan­guage night­time tours in search of things that go bump in the night. The “Ghost­walk with the Night Watch­man” goes on foot through the Niko­laivier­tel, Berlin’s very old­est neigh­bor­hood, to dis­cover the spooky side of the Berlin of the Mid­dle Ages. Their “Haunted Berlin Ghost Tour” ex­plores me­dieval sites like churches, ru­ins, and ceme­ter­ies, re­gal­ing par­tic­i­pants along the way with tales of dev­il­ish pres­ences, witches, and a monastery haunted with a limp­ing monk. Sev­eral tours of­fered a week; pr­ereg­is­tra­tion manda­tory.

One of the "Lu­mis­simo"

con­certs.

Bran­den­burg Gate

Light­ship, open­ing night 2013.

The "lit­tle ships"

The Ber­liner Dom

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