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  • Ascension Day bank holiday: What to do in Berlin, from BBQs to Berghain

Long weekend

Ascension Day bank holiday: What to do in Berlin, from BBQs to Berghain

Heading to CTM or sitting by the Spree, there's plenty to do this Ascension Day weekend.

It might have a weird name, but Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day) is actually one of Germany’s merriest public holidays. Perched at the end of May when skies are blue and it’s warm enough to drink outside, it also happens to be Father’s Day – so keep an eye out for tipsy dads trundling crates of beer around in the name of tradition.

But it’s not all about booze. We round up some of the events and activities taking place in Berlin on May 26, 2022.

CTM Festival 2022 Part 2

CTM Festival 2022 Part 2 will take place again this year with live music. Photo: Vojd

This year, the CTM ‘Festival for Adventurous Music and Art’ is split into two parts, with the second instalment falling over the long Ascension weekend.

From May 24 to 29, CTM offers not only avant-garde electro music in all-night clubs, but an extensive workshop programme where music-makers can exchange ideas.

A series of lectures will focus on the interaction between music and social change, before moving from theory to practice at Berghain, Morphine Raum, Heimathafen Neukölln or the closing party at SchwuZ.

  • CTM Festival Part 2 Various locations across the city, 24.-29.5. More information on the website. 

Desertfest Berlin

Berlin band Kadavar are known for their authentic ’70s psychedelic style. Photo: Imago/isslerimages

Desertfest takes place in Arena Berlin from May 26 to 29, and pretty much anyone that’s anyone in sludge, heavy metal, progressive and psychedelic rock will be there.

Berlin metal institution Kadavar, old-timers Orange Goblin from London, and Baroness, who stirred up a lot of dust in the genre in the 2010s, will lead the party.

The strong line-up also includes Electric Wizard, Witchcraft, Elder, Truckfighters and a host of others. Maybe just the right music to celebrate Father’s Day.

  • Arena Berlin Eichenstraße 4, Treptow, 26.-29.05., from 15:00. Tickets and information here.

Performing Arts Festival

The narrative space installation “Social Capsule” will be shown as part of the PAF. Photo: Anna Tiesse

From May 24 to 29, Berlin’s Performing Arts Festival returns to multiple venues across the city.

For the seventh time, indie artists from the dance and theatre scene will present small and large stage productions at over 40 venues in the city.

The programme is as diverse as the artists themselves. A wide variety of performing arts genres such as performance art, theatre, dance, circus and children’s theatre, as well as installations, video works and audiowalks will cover current social issues with the theme ‘togetherness’.

On May 28, the Day of Open House(s), fifteen venues from the indie scene will open their doors to the public and offer a glimpse behind the scenes.

  • Performing Arts Festival Berlin Various locations across the city, 24.–29.5. Further information on the website. 

Revolting at Berghain

At Berghain, it’s only deserted during the day. Photo: IMAGO / Schöning

Under the name ‘Revolting’, Berghain is celebrating into Father’s Day on May 25 with a gender-fluid party at its famously anything-goes sex club Lab.oratory, which lures you into the Labyrinth on the night before Ascension Day with the dirtier edges of house music.

Expect homoerotic house from the likes of Denny Voltage, Kiwi and Snecker on the decks.

  • Berghain | Panorama Bar Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain, Wed 25.05., from 23:00, Official website online

The 68th Steglitzer Woche

Spring is here. The Steglizer Woche in Bäkepark. Foto: Schaustellerverband Berlin e.V.

Following an extended pandemic pause, Berlin’s folk festivals are emerging from enforced hibernation with a spring in their step. The traditional Steglitzer Woche starts this spring on May 26 and runs until June 12. 

Expect over 60 fairground rides and attractions, as well as a beer garden with live music in the pavilion. There’s also a wide range of the usual barbecued food, snacks and sweets to enjoy, but maybe have a go on one of the carnival rides before you tuck in. 

After the adrenaline rush, test your skills on the coconut shy or try a spot of duck fishing. There are raffles aplenty.

On June 12, artists from the fields of music, dance, comedy, acrobatics, magic and juggling will compete for the loudest applause at the cabaret awards.

  • Bäkepark am Teltowkanal Lichterfelde, 26.05.-12.06., Opening hours: Mon to Thu 14:00-22:00, Fri + Sat 14:00-23:00, Sundays and holidays 14:00-22:00, free admission, more information here

Brückentag in Mitte

The Märkisches Museum is to be reconnected to the other side of the Spree River. Photo: Imago/Joko

This year’s Brückentag will be held in Mitte on May 27. Confused? The ‘Bridge Day’ street festival will be held on the Friday between the Ascension Day public holiday and the weekend, and is organised by the ‘Alliance New Orphan Bridge’ initiative to remind people that there are still no concrete plans for a new bridge to replace the former Orphan Bridge, which used to connect the Klosterviertel and the Märkisches Museum in Mitte.

In addition to historical children’s games and open-air shows, the organisers will provide extensive information about their proposals for a new bike- and pedestrian-friendly bridge. Wallstraße will be closed especially for the festival.

  • Wallstraße nahe des Historischen Hafens Mitte, Fri 27.05, from 14:00, admission free. Info hier

Get your BBQ on

Barbecuing is one of Berlin’s favorite summer pastimes. Photo: Unsplash/Langfield

As Berlin emerges from its six-month perma-grey winter, there’s no better way to prepare your dinner than under the sky and over charcoal. Whether you’re out with the boys or the kids, that (vegan) sausage just tastes so much better when it’s charred to a crisp.

Head to one of the city’s designated barbecue areas from Tempelhofer Feld to Preußenpark to Monbijoupark for some communal finger-burning.

  • BBQ Grillplätze, various locations

Sail the Spree by boat

Especially popular on Ascension Day: boat tour through Berlin’s Mitte district. Photo: Imago/Schöning

However long you’ve lived in Berlin, it’s never too late to indulge in a tourist trip along the Spree. Join the old timers in their sun hats and take in the city’s historical sights from the relative comfort of a boat. Don’t forget to wave enthusiastically at the stoney-faced locals.

  • Schiffstouren auf der Spree Multiple operators and locations. You can find our recommendations here. 

The Renaissance Masters

Experience the pictorial power of the Renaissance masters up close in the Parochial Church. Photo: Curt Themessl

On Ascension Day, Berlin’s museums and most cultural institutions are open. This is the best opportunity to visit the exhibition ‘The Great Masters of the Renaissance’, which runs until August 7 at the Parochialkirche.

Here, the world-famous paintings and frescoes of the Italian artists of the early and high Renaissance – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Sandro Botticelli and Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino – are exhibited.

  • Parochialkirche Klosterstraße 67, Mitte, Tue-Sun 10-18, 11.3.-7.8., Tickets and information hier

Lasertag

The futuristic lasertag facilities are sure to appeal to gamer dads, and the kids too. Photo: Lasergame Berlin GmbH

If you’re into gender stereotypes, nothing says Father’s Day more than a spot of familial laser tag. With a plastic gun and a glow-in-the-dark vest, you’ll look a bit like the hero in a sci-fi B-movie.

In Berlin there are plenty of places you can take aim:

  • Lasertag Berlin. Info here.
  • Underground Lasergame. Info here.
  • Dockx Berlin. Info here.
  • Lastertag.me Berlin Hellersdorf. Info here.
  • Laserstar Lasertag Berlin. Info here.
  • Lasergame Berlin. Info here.

Mitsuko Uchida at Pierre Boulez Saal

Mitsuko Uchida will perform at Pierre Boulez Saal on Father’s Day. Photo: Imago/Jens Koehler

Put the beer down and take in some high-brow culture instead. On May 26, Vienna-trained pianist Mitsuko Uchida will be at the Pierre Boulez Hall.

She interprets the great works of Mozart, Schumann and Kurtág in her own inimitably unpretentious way, for which she is so celebrated by the music world.

Connoisseurs will appreciate that she plays against the romantic patina of some of the pieces, all others will simply enjoy great music masterpieces interpreted by a virtuoso in her field.

  • Pierre Boulez Saal Französische Straße 33D, Mitte, Thu 26.05., from 19:30, Information and tickets hier