One of the perks of living in a large city like Berlin are the many free events. Between May and September you can visit a street festival, parade or other public event every weekend. They obviously differ from each other and some are worth your time more than others. To help you decide, we have listed the best free events in Berlin in 2024.
Free street festivals and parades
Public events make cities attractive for both habitants and visitors. The city of Berlin understands this and invests a lot of time and money in culture, nightlife and public entertainment. Besides the public events there are also parades with a political cause which turned into large yearly events. It’s not hard to recognise these because they are usually moving parades (see an example on the image below). If you are wondering what the best time to visit Berlin might be, you might want to keep the following free events in mind:
- 26.08.2023 – Zug der Liebe
- 01.05.2024 – May Day (Labor Day)
- 19.05.2024 – Carnival of Cultures
- 21.06.2024 – Fete de la Musique
- 27.07.2024 – Christopher Street Day
1st of May 2024
May Day (Labor Day)
Street festivals make most sense when the weather is nice. Therefore May Day is basically the unofficial opening of the street festival season in Berlin. The May Day (or Labor Day) takes place on the first of May, which is a public holiday in Germany. Thousands of people from all over the world gather in Berlin to enjoy music and entertainment. May Day is a genuine street festival with many small music-stages where DJs or bands perform. You do not have to pay entrance anywhere so you can just hop from one stage to the other.
Live Music in Kreuzberg – Demonstrations after 18:00
Although things are happening all over town, Kreuzberg is the best place to be on May Day in Berlin. This is where most music stages are located and where most people come together. Besides music you can buy homemade food & drinks from locals almost everywhere. All in all May Day has an awesome vibe and is definitely worth a visit.
One thing you have to keep in mind is that after 18:00 the Labor Day (or Tag der Arbeit) demonstrations will start and there are usually riots between the police and demonstrators. For this reason it’s best to enjoy this street festival during the day and find your way to a different outdoor-party or bar afterwards.
Summary: A street festival in Berlin-Kreuzberg with many small stages. There are rock-bands, cover-bands and DJs playing electronic music in the park.
Name: May Day (Labor Day
Times: 12:00 – 18:00
Where: Kreuzberg + rest of Berlin
Website: No official website
19th of May 2024
Carnival of Cultures (Sunday Street Parade)
Carnival of Cultures (or Karneval der Kulturen) might be the most popular free street festival which Berlin has to offer. It’s a four day event which starts on Friday the 17th of May. During this event the city celebrates the different nationalities and cultures on our planet. It’s all about diversity and accepting other roots than your own. The highlight happens on Sunday where more than half a million people come to visit the street parade.
Highlight: Street Parade & DJs on Sunday
The big highlight of Carnival of Cultures is the big street parade on Sunday. During this so called Straßenumzug hundreds of decorated trucks and vehicles drive in a parade through Berlin-Kreuzberg. Every truck represents a country, a community or clubs in Berlin. Personally I like standing on the side of the road a bit more to see many different groups but if you really like one DJ, group or country, you can also burn more calories and dance while keeping up with the trucks. Besides the parade there are also many DJs who create their own little stages in parks surrounding the big parade.
If you want to learn more you can read our full blogpost about Carnival of Cultures in Berlin.
Summary: One of the greatest free events in Berlin. Hundreds of versatile performances moving through Kreuzberg. You can either walk behind one truck or stand along the side of the road and experience them all.
Name: Carnival of Cultures / Karneval der Kulturen
Times: 12:00 – 21:00
When: Pentecost Sunday (20.05.2024)
21st of June 2024
Fête de la Musique (World Music Day)
Fête de la Musique, or World Music Day, is a free music event in Berlin which has been organised since 1995. It takes place every year on the longest day of the year, the 21st of June. Berlin transforms into a large music stage with hundreds of performances all over town. From professional orchestras to amateur DJs and from rock-bands to children showing their talent: This free event in Berlin offers it all.
Free music performances all over town
There is only one day each year where you can enjoy hundreds of little concerts in Berlin without paying for a ticket. The vibe in the city is incredible and it’s awesome to cheer, dance and applaud for talent in all degrees. The Fête de la Musique starts around lunch-time and keeps going till midnight. Obviously it’s never a problem to find a place to party in Berlin during the week so you can always continue dancing if you want.
Summary: During Fête de la Musique Berlin turns into one big music-stage. It’s the most versatile street festival in Berlin with almost every music-style represented.
Name: Fête de la Musique
Times: 12:00 – 00:00
Where: All over town
27th of July 2024
Christopher Street Day
Most of the free street festivals in Berlin serve a certain cause. It can be political statements (Zug der Liebe) or diversity (Carnaval of Cultures) but it helps the organisations of these festivals to get permits, find volunteers and add value to society. The Christopher Street Day focuses on the rights of LGBTQ people. The name CSD comes from the street where the riots in New York City took place in 1969. For many days protesters literally fought for the rights of homosexuals. Nowadays, Christopher Street Day is a very peaceful demonstration which celebrates the LGBTQ-Community in Berlin.
Awesome vibe with great music
You might have heard before that the atmosphere at gay-parties is usually very nice. This also counts for the Christopher Street Day. Everybody is in a great mood and stands for diversity and acceptance. The great music coming from the many trucks is the cherry on top and ensures an awesome free event in Berlin. The CSD starts at the Leipziger Straße, drives past the shopping area of Kurfürstendamm and ends at the end of the shopping Brandenburger Tor.
Summary: One of the most impressive parades in Berlin. If you like a DJ or Truck you need to keep up with it, which can be quite exhausting. But the atmosphere is great and there are many great performances.
Name: Christopher Street Day (CSD)
Times: 12:30 – 19:00
Where: Start Leipziger, end Brandenburger Tor
26th of August 2023
Zug der Liebe
The Zug der Liebe (Train of Love) is a annual street festival in Berlin and combines music with political activism. This free event was originally inspired by the Love Parade. The principle of Zug der Liebe is similar to the street parade of Carnaval of Cultures: Many decorated trucks slowly drive through the city as a parade and people can dance while keeping up with them or watch them pass one by one. Each truck conveys a message or political standpoint, turning this lively street festival into a demonstration advocating change.
Practical Information + After Party
In 2023 it’s the 8th time that the Zug der Liebe will be organised. The parade starts at 13:00 at the famous Mauerpark, drives past hotspots like Volkspark Friedrichshain, Roten Rathaus and Alexanderplatz. Around 21:00 the parade comes to an end at the Jakobstraße. If you still want to party after 21:00 you can visit the official after party in the Ritter Butzke or party in other clubs like Sisyphos, Watergate or About Blank.
Summary: During Zug der Liebe is great for everybody who also loves German techno festivals. Here almost all trucks play electronic music. It’s a moving parade just like Carnaval of Cultures and CSD.
Name: Zug der Liebe
Times: 13.00 – 22.00
Where: Start Mauerpark // End Jakobstraße
When: Saturday 26.08.2023
Frequently asked questions
If the content above did not answer your questions, you might find an answer in the FAQs below:
Yes, you can. All the free events in this blogpost allow you to bring your own food and drinks. Obviously it can be friendly to award the locals who try to sell homemade food and cocktails but that’s up to you.
Visiting Berlin when one of the free events take place, makes total sense. You will have one great event guaranteed and you do not even have to pay for it. Especially for larger groups it’s so much fun to walk around in Kreuzberg, have some drinks and listen to versatile music performances.