Family and kids

copyright: Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin

Christmas Garden

Christmas always feels much too short. With all the preparations leading up to the holidays, combines with sometimes long and cumbersome travelling, the actual period itself goes by in a flash, especially with children. But extending the festive cheer is becoming easier. Where traditional Christmas markets would usually stop running on Christmas, now the ones in bigger cities tend to run well into January. Another option, in particular when figuring out things to do with kids in Berlin, is the Christmas event at the Botanic Garden. Here, the lack of natural light and greenery aren´t the least bit of an issue. In fact, the whimsical wonderland created through light installations all around the garden make for a fantastic experience to just about anyone: kids, grown-ups, families, couples, groups of friends. And the fact is, in the presence of something magic, we all become children again, so there are plenty of reasons to immerse yourself in this wonderful glistening maze, like something out of a fairy book.

The Christmas Garden will be running in the Botanic Garden up until the middle of January. It is located south of the city center, in the Lichterfelde area of the Steglitz-Zehlendorf district.

Further information here.


copyright: Science Slam

Science Slam

The slam format is not foreign to most of us, at least in its original context of the Poetry Slam – a type of event where people perform poetry on stage live in front of an audience and often a panel of judges. A lot of the emphasis is on the engagement and entertainment factor in delivering the content and the art itself, something which revitalized poetry as a literary genre. Since the popularity of Poetry Slams, other forms of Slam have emerged, such as Comedy Slam. But where this would be a rather obvious variation of the format, a Science Slam might not seem to make as much sense at first but actually, it is a fascinating idea.

Back in 2006 the concept was developed in Germany and has been touring the country, gaining popularity especially – and understandably – in university towns. It has been spreading through Europe since.

The aim is clear and noble: to break away from the hermetic nature of scientific discourse and make science enticing to a larger audience of more than the usual peers; to provide a literal platform for younger scientists to communicate to the public directly, in an interactive, rather than passive, way. The challenge is implicit: turning findings into something laymen-adequate whilst not sacrificing its accuracy, keeping the topic interesting and to a maximum of 5 to 10 minutes of presentation time. Unlike most Poetry and Comedy Slams, here the audience is the jury, which makes it more exciting.

The next event will take place on Jan 10 at the Zeiss-Großplanetarium in the Prenzlauer Berg district, northeast of our two hotels: Miniloft Mitte and Miniloft Kreuzberg.

Check additional details here.

Gastronomy & Trade Fairs

copyright: Messe Berlin GmbH

International Green Week Berlin

The 'Grüne Woche 2024' is a powerhouse in the trade fair scene is the largest one in the world for food and agriculture.

As food become more of a focus in the health and wellness space, a sector which in and of itself is seeing unprecedented growth, the International Green Week evolves and becomes increasingly relevant.

With the pandemic, a lot of people turned to urban gardening, horticulture, hydroponics, and self-sustainability, and that trend has only increased since. It is then no surprise that a portion of the southern part of the venue will be organized as a flower hall and will highlight the theme of urban gardening – mostly non-commercial agriculture. It promises to show all the latest technology that allows challengingly small spaces within a city to grow incredible amounts of fresh produce year-round. The hall will have live plants on display, proving that even in January it is possible to have a thriving and bountiful green space.

Despite its importance industry-wise, it is also a great event for private consumers, especially foodies, as a lot of the newest products get tested introduced at the fair, along with new brands and concepts.

The fair will take place on January 19 – 28 at Messe Berlin, also known as Berlin ExpoCenter City, in the Charlottenburg district. More information on the official website.


copyright: English Theatre Berlin

The English Theatre is a great option for non-German speakers to enjoy an evening of thespian delights in the capital.

It is located around the Bergmannkiez, a beautiful part of the Kreuzberg district that is filled with restored early 19th century urban buildings plentifully decorated, with lots of small commerce and gastronomy around every corner. With no shortage of restaurants, bars and shops in the area, it is easy to make a visit to the theatre into a proper outing. And with a direct subway connection from both our hotels, it is even easier.

During January there will be three shows on the main stage, among them 'Bestseller' performed by Martin Clausen and Rafał Dziemidok. The play proposes a philosophical and theological reflexion on humour as a coping mechanism regarding death, and in it 'the two performers dance their way through spiritual questions”' as described by the English Theatre itself.

Another suggestion, perhaps for a date night, is the (translated) play 'The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophonist who has a Girlfriend in Frankfurt' written by Matei Vișniec. This romantic comedy explores the plasticity of human connections in the face of chance, through a series and encounters and absences between two lovers. Vișniec´s use of poetic realism makes for particularly compelling storytelling, one which playfully mixes in the sort of inherent humour in everyday arbitrary circumstances we must constantly try navigating ourselves around of.

The programme and further details are available here.


copyright: CTM

CTM: Festival for Adventurous Music and Art

Celebrate CTM's 25th anniversary under the theme 'sustain', one of the four stages of a sound – referred to under the acronym ADSR, crucial do digital audio theory and music in general. The term, which stands for 'Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release', determines that the third stage consists of most of the time a musical note exists. That is to say, it is the concept of sustaining a key until the final level, until the sound stops existing. This edition of the CTM focuses on the concept of 'sustain' on its own merit but not in a vacuum, inevitably connecting the word to its political relevance to our times.

The current looming crisis is not exclusive to the climate, we feel it in our societies and in our culture: art being one of the first sacrificed to and by a dehumanizing economic system. It is especially in these times when it is most neglected that we most needed it, not just because of art's political and social impact – its power to reflect and even change sensibilities – but also because of its contribution in terms of fostering and maintaining communities; something particularly true when it comes to music. And while music is not an answer to our problems, as the CTM organizers state under the explanation on this year's theme, we find that community certainly can be. It is one of the few ways individuals can aim at any sort of meaningful change for us, human beings; starting out small and having the power to grow as big as we want it to.

CTM is happening in tandem with the Transmediale – see our Arts & Multimedia event category below –, embracing the multifaceted snature of art and the intrinsic connection between media like visual art and music.

CTM will run through 26 Jan – 4 Feb 2024 in iconic venues such as Berghain, OXI and RSO, and others. Additional details can be found on the official website.

Arts & Multimedia

copyright: transmediale

The Transmediale is a renowned Berlin-based festival and platform that serves as a meeting point for artists, researchers, and thinkers from various fields to explore the ways in which art, culture, and technology intersect.

The festival provides a space for critical thinking, artistic expression, and experimentation, with a particular focus on the impact of digital technologies on our society. Through exhibitions, performances, workshops, and discussions, the Transmediale encourages dialogue and reflection on the ever-evolving relationship between humans, technology, and the world we inhabit.

This year's theme is 'you're doing amazing sweetie', a 00s pop culture reference to the reality tv show Keeping Up with the Kardashians which arguably inaugurated a new era of content and celebrities. This fruitful topic provides ample scope for reflection on the evolution of our consumer-oriented culture and the increasingly relentless commodification of reality as content, as well as how we have come to relate to one another through social media.

International artists and speakers will explore the intricacies of our parasocial era of 24/7 content and their implications, especially on the chronically-online generations reaching maturity and civic responsibility these past two decades.

This 37th edition of the Transmediale will take place between 31 Jan – 4 Feb between the silent green Kulturquartier, up in the Wedding district, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, in the vicinity of Berlin's largest city center park, the Tiergarten.

It is possible to get combined tickets to the CTM music festival and the Transmediale. Further information here.


copyright: Lichtspielklub Kurzfilmfestival

British Shorts Film Festival

The 17th Lichtspielklub Short Film Festival proposes 7 days of 150 films across 5 locations, showcasing short films from Great Britain as well as the Republic of Ireland.

This arthouse festival will feature very diverse genres, ranging from documentary to experimental and even animation, but also an impressive diversity of themes, topics and narratives. In summary: there will be something for everyone and it is a wonderful opportunity to get acquainted with a mostly ignored form of independent cinema, whilst enjoying the convenience and coziness of the big screen.

Additionally, the festival awards its favourites with both a jury panel as well as public vote. Parallel to the screenings there is usually additional entertainment in the form of live performances, from comedy to music – these certainly add a bit of glamour to the occasion.

On January 18 – 24 the British Shorts Film Festival will take place between two of Berlin's independent cinemas: Sputnik Kino between the districts of Kreuzberg and Neukölln, southwest of the city center, not too far from the decommissioned Tempelhof airport, and the City Kino Wedding, in the up-and-coming north-west area of Berlin, between the so-called English Quarter and African Quarter.

One big plus is that the films are in English (original language), without dubbing – a rarity in German screens. The programme will be available online.

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