Colorful Berlin : Take Your Family to see the Lights for Berlin Leuchtet

Illuminated Berlin Shines in Fall

Have you been? To Berlin? (That rhymes in my accent. I can’t guarantee in yours.)

Berlin is all sorts of cool and sits like an island alone for its uniqueness in Germany. West Berlin did actually sit alone, after World War II in the middle of East Germany. The powerful march of history on this place is undeniable. Modern Berlin – which now luckily includes both east and west offers a kaleidoscope of options for every traveler. From gritty, graffitied, super funky Kreuzenberg for cafes and coffee along the canals to posh Charlottenburg for epic shopping and restaurants along Ku’damm (Kurfürstendamm avenue.) History seeps deep here and there are more museums than you could possibly shake a stick at or visit in a weekend, but rest assured there is one for every motivation if you should desire to try.


Should you have the chance to make it to big beautiful Berlin this fall, you should NOT miss Berlin Leuchtet. Berlin shines. This colorful and creative city lights up in the autumn. Literally. They light up the city. All over the Berlin, buildings, monuments, museums will be covered in light displays for all to enjoy. For free! Berlin shines with illuminations for two weeks starting September 30th – October 16th, 2016. We were lucky to be able to enjoy last year’s Lichterfest on our fall school break and highly recommend the experience, even in potentially chilly and soggy autumn. Bring layers! There are many ways to see the lights, from tourist bus tours to covered boat cruises along the canal. If the weather is less than stellar, these may afford your tribe brilliant options. While it did rain (a LOT) when we were there last October, we managed a night or two with slightly less precipitation and a little more fog, so chose to walk through the historic center Mitte and enjoy the lights on foot. Doing so gives you time to enjoy the rotating displays in their full glory.

BERLIN-LEUCHTET September 30th – October 16th, 2016 BERLIN SHINES

BERLIN LEUCHTET – Official website for all the information about this year’s displays.

REEDEREI RIEDEL – Boat tours for Lights Week.

TOP TOURS SIGHTSEEING BERLIN – Lightseeing bus tours.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 14.01.33
Map from – click on link for searchable map


And while in Berlin, don’t miss the East Side Gallery. Here you can see large sections of the old Berlin Wall that divided East and West Berlin that stand along Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain neighborhood. This outdoor public art gallery is free to all and a wonderful way to show your kids how art can be used for many purposes – from social commentary and pointed political statements to uplifting, energetic and colorful images of hope and peace.


We stayed in this AirBnb near the Birkenstaße U-Bahn Station and were able to easily pop in and out to the center Mitte area easily. It was large, spacious and afforded free street parking. Berlin is very large and spread out and we were glad to have a car to explore all over, but parking in the center is difficult and does cost. If you don’t have a car, I would recommend staying closer to Mitte in the center. We liked the neighborhood feel of Moabit and perusing the amazing German grocery store down the street. I mean when your lunch meat comes in shapes like this? Who wouldn’t? For our growing family of 5, we often choose apartments to accommodate us all and afford the possibility to keep costs down by cooking at home night or two. The kids love seeing what the locals buy at their groceries and try to find the most unique items. Usually that means sweets. *Wink. Wink.

Berlin bears in the bologna
German lunch meats


Father Carpenter
Münzstraße 21, 1st backyard, Berlin Mitte

Tucked back off the street in the charming and historic Hackeshor Hof neighborhood, Father Carpenter is a delicious and charming little cafe.


Zeit Für Brot
Alte Schönhauser Str. 4, Berlin Mitte

Directly translated means time for bread! Super yummy pretzels, buns, rolls and duh – bread! Breakfast options as well as pre-made sandwiches. Take away or eat in. Try the carrot cake. Amazing. Lucky for you, they have outposts of this delicious German bakery in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Cologne as well.

Il Casolare
Grimmstraße 30, Kreuzberg, Berlin

Super cozy and popular Italian joint. Worth waiting for a table. Don’t mind the grumpy host, it’s good enough that you’ll forget his gruffness as soon as your huge wood fired pizza arrives. Red or white? Yes please. Affordable and tasty. A hit with all our travelers.

Gasthaus Dicker Engel
Birkenstraße 44, Moabit Berlin

You didn’t come to Germany to eat Italian food? Ok, ok. Want some traditional German fare – try kitschy Gasthaus Dicker Engel. Hearty authentic dishes. Try the schnitzel and spaetzel to wash down with a big German beer of course.


Craving more? These fabulous websites will help you dig deeper into what to do and see and eat in Berlin.


Ready for Berlin - start in Mitte
Berlin coffee

Hopefully I have illuminated new options for your upcoming Fall Break. Berlin in October is the best. Shine on! Cheers from Copenhagen, I’m still enjoying summer this week! Woot woot! Erin

Suitcases and Sandcastles

Time for Monday Escapes with Ting at My Travel Monkey and Allane at Packing My Suitcase.

Travel Monkey

Linking up this #WanderfulWednesday with Blog hop Hosts: Lauren on Location, Snow in Tromso, What a Wonderful World, and The Sunny Side of This. Check out any of their sites for more travel inspo!

Linking with first ever Cultured Kids Blog Linkup hosted by Pigeon Pair and Me

the Pigeon Pair and Me

65 thoughts on “Colorful Berlin : Take Your Family to see the Lights for Berlin Leuchtet

  1. This is great to know – I have a couple of friends who’ve suggested meeting in Berlin but I had the idea it was a bit grey and urban… I would love to go when this Lichterfest is on. It looks great on the slide show. As for your kids looking for novel sweets in new places: it’s one of the first things I do in a new country….I love the liquorice that you get in northern Europe and the chocolate is much better…I usually make myself a bit sick in the first few hours trying out all the new confectionery…

    1. Berlin is amazing even in the grey. Seriously what a cool town. Great food, affordable prices (compared to Scandinavia) amazing culture and serious history. Really so many many many options. I highly recommend it! And in our house it is ONLY me who likes the Danish licorice! Cheers from Copenhagen – thanks for stopping by!

  2. I didnt know about this event. It looks so pretty! The first time I went to Berlin was in autumn and I was freezing!! For this, I might do an exception.

    1. Haha! I’m not going to sugar coat it – it can be cold, but coming from further north in Copenhagen – we were prepared for it! Leuchtet at least distracts you from the cold – then you can go inside and get something warm to eat and drink!

  3. Whoa, this is so cool! I visited Berlin a couple years back, but unfortunately only for one night. I loved all of the street art and such and really want to go back someday. This looks like an amazing time to go! 😀

  4. pigeonpairandme

    I think I’ll miss the lights this time around, but I’m definitely pencilling a trip in for next Autumn. I haven’t been to Berlin for over 20 years, and I imagine it’s quite a different place now. I’d completely forgotten about the meat with the funny bear-shaped faces – thanks for the reminder! And thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids.

    1. It is such a brilliant balance between modern and historic and while some of that history is not necessarily lovely, they definitely don’t brush it under the carpet. So much to learn from Berlin. And so much fun to be had! Cheers, Erin

  5. My fiance is literally in Berlin right now for work. He drove up yesterday and will be back tonight, and he mentioned it only took him 4 hours to get there! That’s an easy weekend trip we will certainly need to do soon! I’ve been twice and loved it but it would certainly be pretty cool to see the light show! We saw one amazing one when we were in Strasbourg, France. #FarawayFiles

    1. Yes! It’s a lot like the Strasbourg festival, but on HUGE historically iconic buildings. It is hard not to feel the march of time here. Definitely make a city break plan to visit – maybe after the wedding! cheers, Erin

  6. I can’t believe I’ve never been to Berlin (and no it really doesn’t rhyme in my accent!!!) You know there’s always a place you’re dying to get to, hear so many good things about, isn’t actually that far away, nor expensive to get to, yet somehow the stars never align and it just never happens? Yup, that’s Berlin for me. One day I will get there and I hope sooner rather than later. #farawayfiles

    1. Haha! See – I knew it was accent specific! 😉 I did not have Berlin on my list before, but living in Copenhagen – it is an easy drivable city break. I’m sooo glad I did – what a great town. I think everyone should go. And it is so different from other German towns to me, especially Bavarian towns. A worthy worthy stop. Cheers! Thanks for linking up and engaging with #FarawayFiles, Erin

  7. Clare Thomson

    I still haven’t made it to Berlin but you’ve given me all the inspiration and tips I need for when I do. I love the sound of the Leuchtet and I think Berlin would make the perfect city break for families – history, culture, food and fun: everything we love! #FarawayFiles

    1. It really is a perfect city break weekend – especially if you prioritize just a few things that interest your family. You can’t do it all – especially in a short time frame – too big and too much to see – like London. But with some focus, it can inspire, delight and enlighten (see what I did there?) any and all. Cheers, Erin

  8. Berlin is one of those places I just need to get to..especially having worked in the museum/art world I know it’s the hottest ticket in town. I can imagine it’s amazing during fall. #farawayfiles

    1. I didn’t know you worked in the museum/art world! As an art history major and volunteer in the public art arena – that is my zone! Would love to hear more. Berlin has so much to offer for those who love art AND those who don’t. We have to balance in our family as not EVERYONE loves art as much as I do – but easy to do in a town like Berlin! Cheers, Erin

      1. That’s what I’ve heard – on my list! I used to work at MoMA, years ago. Ironically I didn’t study art history, but worked in development and event planning and with a little luck wound up there. Learned a lot it was a fab experience. Had a private membership group I took around the globe (with my boss) to all the art biennales..after I left the museum I think they went to Berlin a couple years later. Bummer!! That is wonderful you volunteer your time in the art world would love to hear more too! x

  9. I’m a history buff- especially WWII history and I have always wanted to go to Berlin. I think going during this light festival would make it extra special. #farawayfiles

    1. It is amazing to see things like Bebelplatz where books where burned and Brandenburg Gate illuminated. History and culture and art all viscerally intertwined here in Berlin. I highly recommend it. Take warm and waterproof layers! Thanks for reading and engaging with #FarawayFiles – cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  10. I’ve ummed and arred about Berlin for a while – my hubby wasn’t too impressed by it last year when he visited a friend on business there. But it was freezing and the area he stayed wasn’t too nice. However – the thought of all those lights brightening up the place… and I’ve heard the street art is amazing. I love that pic of your kids eating pizza in their hats – bit cold was it!? #farawayflies

  11. I didn’t know about this… it looks very interesting. Berlin is a fascinating city; it’s a pity that this festival doesn’t fall during any Luxembourg school holidays, otherwise this would be an excellent short trip with the kids. Thanks for “illuminating” me!

  12. I loved the buzz around Berlin when I last visited a long (long) time ago and it’s great reading posts like yours, it sounds like the city is buzzing even more. What a great idea to light up the start of autumn as well, to enjoy the art as you explore. #farawayfiles

  13. aandj8804

    I love that coffe cup – Berlin ready! 🙂 I didn’t know about this event. Sounds awesome and a great reason to visit Berlin in the fall! #farawayfiles

  14. I love light shows like that! I’ve been to Berlin this summer, but I’ll keep this in mind for next year, maybe I can go again and see the city properly, as I didn’t have enough time the first time.

  15. Pingback: For Fall Family Fun : Run to Rügen, Germany – oregon girl around the world

    1. It is very big and spread out. It would be easy to do I think. I felt that way about Madrid the first time. I really like Berlin (and Madrid later.) I loved the color and affordability – compared to Copenhagen! Thanks for connecting! Erin

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