The sweet scent of spiced glühwein, the open fires and skating rinks, the quaint wooden stalls selling everything from art and crafts, to hot bratwurst and roast pork – for many, the traditional German Christmas Weihnachtsmarkt is a joy to behold, the festive highlight in an otherwise chilly Berlin December. While there’s no denying it’s a warming scene, it’s not always to everybody’s taste. When the kitsch vibes and traditional fare lose their sparkle, you need a little alternative action to fulfil those Christmas time thrills.
Being Weihnachtsmarkt veterans here at Crocodilian, we know the deal – take a tip or two from us, and check out some of Berlin’s most ‘kitsch-frei’ Christmas markets and another shade of the festive December experience.
We’ve rounded up our top 6 alternative Christmas markets in Berlin: take a peek below!
If you’re tired of mediocre handicrafts and searching for something a little more individual, look no further than the Weihnachtsrodeo. Situated inside the Kühlhaus just south of Potsdamer Platz you’ll find funky designer gifts, local artists’ wares, street food and workshops, along with the traditional offerings of glühwein, roasted nuts and stollen.
The Kühlhaus is also worth a visit on its own: catering to the city’s growing demand for fresh produce, in the early 20th century it was the site of Berlin’s first (and Europe’s largest) cold store complex, and the remains of its iconic red brick Gothic exterior can still be experienced today.
When: 2-3 & 9-10 December 2017 (12:00-20:00)
Where: Kühlhaus Berlin, Kreuzberg (Luckenwalderstrasse 3, 10963)
Let’s face it, most of the commercial Christmas markets around Berlin are a carnivores dream. Roast pork, speck and bratwurst seem to reign supreme, so it’s rather refreshing to see the Green Market’s offering this year. Promoted as a Vegan Lifestyle Experience, there are animal-free delicacies, drinks, handmade gifts, music, and plenty of activities for little ones too.
If you’re keen to get involved they will also be hosting regular workshops, where you can learn to illustrate your own Christmas cards. Perhaps the best part of the Green market is that it’s held in the industrial hall and outdoor area of Funkhaus Berlin, the historic former GDR radio station where all state programs were broadcast under the East Berlin regime, one of Berlin’s best off-the-beaten path landmarks.
When: 16-17 December 2017 (12:00-22:00)
Where: Funkhaus Berlin, Oberschöneweide (Nalepaststrasse 18, 12459)
Escape any Christmas gift buying stress by checking out The Holy Shit Christmas Market. Showcasing local and independent designers, this pop-up design emporium is a great place to pick up a unique present for your loved ones, while enjoying smooth beats, street food and drinks.
When: 16-17 December 2017 (12:00-22:00)
Where: Arena Berlin, Alt-Treptow (Eichenstraße 4, 12435)
The highest Christmas market in Berlin, Klunkerkranich doesn’t disappoint with its impressive views of the city, and über-hipster position atop the Neukölln Arcaden carpark. Enjoy hot crepes, glühwein, and apple punch for the kids.
When: 2-3, 9-10 & 16-17 December 2017 (14:00-20:00)
Where: Klunkerkranich, Neukölln (Karl-Marx-Straße 66, 12043)
On the third weekend of Advent, Yaam plays host to Berlin’s first Afro-Carribean Christmas market. Set on the banks of the Spree, and inside a heated yurt, you’ll be able to indulge in rum punch at the Cool Runnings Bar, while listening to a gospel choir and some mellow reggae tunes.
When: 15-17 December 2017 (Friday: 16:00-23:00, Saturday: 12:00-23:00, Sunday: 12:00-20:00)
Where: Yaam Berlin, Friedrichshain (An der Schillingbrücke 3, 10243)
Unlike many of the major Christmas markets in Berlin, the Advents Ökomarkt (Eco-Market) features toys, textiles, handicrafts and delicacies from around the world, all produced to high sustainable and ecological standards. Feast on wholegrain waffles, hot mead and organic meats roasted to perfection, while strolling Prenzlauer Berg’s gorgeous Kollwitzplatz.
When: 3,10,17 December (12:00-19:00) & 23 December 2017 (10:00-17:00)
Where: Wochenmarkt Kollwitzplatz, Prenzlauer Berg (Wörther Str., 10405)