Twenty Years After the Wall

Six days before his 2001 election as Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit told voters, "I'm gay and that's a good thing." Eight years later and as popular as ever, the out politician takes Advocate on a tour of his Berlin.




When in Berlin, don't miss

- Mingling in Kreuzberg , where punk rock once ruled and a gritty alt-gay scene has bubbled beneath the surface ever since. An eclectic mix of Berliners and expats rub elbows at Roses (Oranienstrasse 187; 30-615-65-70), a comfortable and affordable gay watering hole where a surreal brand of Germanized kitsch runs rampant, right up the plush, pink walls.

- Hitting Schöneberg , the oldest gayborhood in the city, with a strong queer presence dating back to the Weimar-era 1920s. Here you'll find Tom's Bar (Motzstrasse 19), a divey joint with a long history of catering to gay men on the prowl. The further you plunge into its depths, the cruisier it gets. Those with tastes ranging from theme parties and quiz shows (in English on the first Monday of the month) to dark rooms and leather veer next door to trendier Hafen (Motzstrasse 19), which caters to men and women -- with a fair number of tourists in the mix.

- Taking Berlin's gay mayor up on his suggestion (see Q&A) to visit the city's LGBT museum. Located in Kreuzberg, the Schwules Museum combines archives, a library, and exhibitions -- it's far more moving than you might think.

- Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the city's reunification . Events kicked off in May and run through the November 9 anniversary, which will feature a staging of the fall of the Berlin Wall, concerts, and a street festival at the Brandenburg Gate. Summer travelers take note: On August 29 museums remain open late for concerts, readings, theater, and special exhibitions to commemorate the 1989 merging of East and West ( brochure opens as a PDF).

Also, check Out Traveler's Unconventional Travel: Berlin to plan a perfect gay weekend or read about a more extensive trip-planning guide to the German capital.

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