BIMM Cities

How to spend a winter in Berlin

1st November 2018



Berlin’s winter can be a bit of a shock to a newcomer’s system, but it can also be one of the most enchanting times of the year, when light reflects off icy rivers and the smell of mulled wine lingers in the air. There’s still plenty to do outdoors – simply dress for the occasion and you’re laughing. But if you’re someone who’d prefer to snuggle up inside, you’re spoilt for choice in a city that’s as vibrant as ever during the winter months. Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of winter in Berlin.

Cosy up in a cinema

The outside weather will feel a whole world away as you relax into your seat in one of Berlin’s many quirky and independent cinemas, perhaps consuming your own body weight in popcorn (sweet, obviously). Our favourite picks are Passage Kino in Neukölln – which has a number of beautiful screens still featuring original turn-of-the-century décor – and Sputnik at Südstern, an art house cinema founded in 1984.

Attend a jam session

BIMM’s Lamplight jam sessions are the perfect antidote to the winter chill – join us at Noize Fabrik for intimate, mellow monthly events celebrating the singer-songwriters among us. It’s a great way to showcase your work in a relaxed environment, and even if you’d rather not perform, the free entry makes it a breeze to simply come and watch. There’s a jam session or open mic night happening every day of the week – unbeatable opportunities to network and find artists to collaborate with.

Soak up some culture

Another great way to keep warm is by exploring Berlin’s endless supply of museums, art galleries and theatres. Take advantage of fewer visitors between November and February and visit that one you’ve been meaning to pop in to since you moved here. Head somewhere new and check out places off the beaten track – staff favourites include Gropius Bau, Hamburger Bahnhof and KOW. Alternatively, grab a seat at one of the free lunchtime concerts offered at the Berliner Philharmonie; world-class musicians will perform for 40–50 minutes – we dare you to find a more civilised way to spend your Tuesday lunch break.

Embrace the season

Ultimately, the easiest way to get used to winter in your new city is to become one with the weather. Trawl through the extensive collection of vintage and second-hand clothing stores at your disposal and score yourself a decent jacket and pair of gloves – then take your time to appreciate the magic that is Berlin in winter. Go ice-skating, start a snowball fight, or go to an ice hockey game and feast on hot dogs and beer. Treat yourself and warm up in the saunas at Vabali Spa or Stadtbad Neukölln afterwards – or visit the Liquidrom, with regular underwater electronic performances from a number of renowned DJs.

It’s not uncommon to get a hint of the winter blues during the colder months, so make sure you reach out to anyone you think might be having a hard time. If you’d like to have a friendly and completely confidential chat with any of our student support team, either drop in to the office or send an email to [email protected].

Photography credit: Eline Duijsens


Elizabeth Jacyshyn-Owen

Elizabeth Jacyshyn-Owen is a Berlin based writer, translator, and BIMM Bristol graduate currently acting as music editor for indieBerlin. She has an MA in Musicology from Oxford Brookes University and is studying for a PgCert in Translation.