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The 10 best things to do on May 1

21. April 2017 - Alexander Schmidt

10 Best Things to Do on 1 May in Germany


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Holiday and a long weekend to boot: Labour Day is an opportunity to do something special. And these are the 10 best things to do on 1 May!

The first of May – some people associate this date with the fight for workers’ rights, others with riots and demos, and still others are simply happy about the extra holiday.

All the more reason to actually celebrate the holiday and do something special with friends, partner or the whole family. Some of the following tips for things to do on 1 May can also be super combined. After all, the day is long and you want to make the most of it.

The 10 Best Things to Do on 1 May (And the Night Before!)

1. Dance Into May

The night before the start of May has always been the time to really let it rip to ring in the merry month. That’s why there are Dancing into May parties for every musical taste all over Germany.

For all Berliners and everyone who happens to be in the capital on the night in question, we have 3 hot tips for Tanz in den Mai 2017:

  • Kreuzberg: At the club Musik und Frieden near the Schlesisches Tor in Kreuzberg, 8 DJs will be spinning from 23:00 on Walpurgis Night and will make sure that your legs don’t rest before the first May sun rises.
  • Prenzlauer Berg: Those who prefer to dance into May outdoors have been able to do so for 13 years now at the Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Berg, popular with students, hipsters, alternatives and tourists alike. Already from 16:00 on 30 April the Open Air Dub der guten Hoffnung starts there. There will also be bonfires, fire artists, giant soap bubbles and just a damn awesome atmosphere.
  • Mitte: Or you can dance into May in the classic way – at the Strandbar in Berlin-Mitte, where swing at its best invites you to get on the dance floor and unpack your standard/Latin skills as early as 3:00 pm.

2. Celebrate Walpurgis Night Witch-Like – Best in the Harz Mountains!

The tradition of dancing into May on the night of 30 April is older than many suspect. Even the Celtic druids celebrated one of their most important festivals on the night of 1 May: Beltane, a festival in honour of the fire god Bel.

From this custom, the idea of Walpurgis Night developed in the Middle Ages, during which, according to legend, all the witches gather and celebrate a wild witches’ sabbath. In Germany, according to legend, this takes place on the Brocken / Blocksberg in the Harz mountains.

While a few centuries ago it would not have been advisable to dress up as a witch on Walpurgis Night and be seen at the Brocken, nowadays Walpurgis Night is celebrated in a big way in the villages around the famous Blocksberg and attracts witches big and small.

3. Go on a Peaceful Demo

May Day is a public holiday thanks to the labour movement, specifically a strike and subsequent riot in Chicago in 1886, which ended in bloodshed and the execution of 8 innocent people who had vehemently supported workers’ rights. Since then, May Day has been a day of remembrance and struggle of the labour movement and generally a day of demonstrations. Unfortunately, in the past these were often abused by people who were only interested in rioting and vandalism, but the situation is improving from year to year.
It makes all the more sense to use 1 May for apeaceful demonstration. For example, the big demo and rally of the DGB in Berlin. At 10:00 the demonstration will start at Hackescher Markt and end at the Brandenburg Gate, where traditionally the big May Day rally will take place at 11:30. Afterwards, there will be a huge children’s and family festival on the Straße des 17. Juni until the evening.

4. Visit a May Day Festival

The DGB’s street festival is far from the only one in the capital. The most popular is the MyFest in Kreuzberg around the Kotti (Kottbusser Tor for non-Berliners). Everyone gets their money’s worth there with live music on several stages, comedy interludes and lots of food and drink. MyFest now attracts visitors from all over Germany to Berlin.

But also in other cities in Germany, many festivals on 1 May invite the whole family to visit: in Munich the Kulturfest am Marienplatz, in Frankfurt am Main there is a giant festival around a big bike race, and from Hamburg you can take a trip to Scharbeutz in Holstein, where the largest maypole in northern Germany is erected at the Maypole Festival.

5. Take a Trip into the Countryside

Or turn your back on all the urban hustle and bustle, demos, parties and festivals and take a trip into nature with your loved ones. Whether it’s a bike ride, a chilled-out day at the bathing lake or beach, or a mountain hike: it’s a wonderful way to unwind on Labour Day and recharge your batteries in the countryside.

6. Beer Hike with a Handcart

If you can’t wait for Father’s Day, or if you love nature but don’t want to miss out on celebrating, you can also go on a hearty hike with a beer cart full of beer with your mates. The fact that this year on 25 May (Ascension Day / Father’s Day) there is also an occasion for this comes in just at the right time: After all, practice makes perfect! Cheers!

7. Row, Paddle or Pedal Boat

One of the most romantic things to do on 1 May, recommended to newlyweds and long-term couples alike, is to take a boat trip in a rowing boat, canoe or pedalo. You can rent such boats at many lakes and waterways in Germany. In Berlin, for example, at Treptower Park, right by the Isle of Youth.

8. Throw a Barbecue

At the latest now is the time to open the barbecue season 2017! Invite your friends and have a barbecue in your own garden on 1 May. If you don’t have a garden, meet in a public park where barbecuing is allowed and everyone brings something to eat and drink.

9. Try a New Outdoor Team Sport or Game

Take family and/or friends and off to the park to try a new throwing game like crossboccia, Mölkky game or Kubb. Or try your hand at Ultimate Frisbee, the only team sport in the world that doesn’t require a referee, even in professional games.
If you fancy a really crazy adventure sport, try zorbing, bike polo or crunning. Fun factor guaranteed!

10. Fill Up on Culture at the Museum

If the weather doesn’t cooperate and it rains on Labour Day, that’s no reason to stay at home! There are plenty of opportunities for unusual activities on 1 May, where you can discover lots of new things indoors. The best opportunity to go to a museum again or to see a special exhibition.

Looking for more spring activities? Or browse our seasonless tips for activities for two, with friends or with family. And if you like our page, we would be very happy about a Like on Facebook and Instagram.

Image source Cover: Myfest by tmszj under CC BY SA-2.0, edited by Abenteuer Freundschaft

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