Fabulously ornate concert halls where the greatest of composers once waved a baton (we're talking Beethoven, Brahms, Bach and Co. here); theatres staging boundary-crossing productions; born-again industrial warehouses devoted to alternative arts; and dark, poster-smothered jazz dens that swing after midnight – entertainment in Germany is as rich as it is varied and exciting. For major venues you'll need to book ahead (usually possible online), with occasional last-minute discounts available.

Best Lists

Entertainment

  • FC Bayern München See the champions play ball.
  • Elbphilharmonie World-class venue with jaw-dropping architecture.
  • Berliner Philharmoniker One of the world's most famous orchestras makes its home at the tent-like Philharmonie.
  • Karlstorbahnhof Heidelberg's cultural hub in an old train station, with a line-up from cabaret to comedy.
  • Die Glocke Bremen’s concert hall with astounding acoustics.
  • Semperoper This opulent Dresden opera house is among Germany's greatest.

Live Music

  • Münchner Philharmoniker World-famous philharmonic orchestra.
  • Astra Kulturhaus Berlin indie concert venue in a Cold War-era train repair station.
  • Tonhalle Hear classical, jazz and soul heavyweights in Düsseldorf's shimmering concert hall.
  • Alte Oper Music from symphonies to pop features at Frankfurt's lavish old opera house.
  • Gewandhausorchester A Leipzig orchestra with global pedigree.
  • Gruenspan Terrific live venue in St Pauli with regular class acts.

Performing Arts

  • Nationaltheater The Bavarian State Opera HQ.
  • Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin's glitziest, most glamorous revue theatre wows with dance, music and acrobatics.
  • Kulturzentrum Faust Gigs, festivals, readings and other cultural events in a former factory in Hanover.
  • Volksbad Jena Cultural events from mainstream to alternative in born-again public baths.
  • Staatsoperette Old-world music theatre meets ultra-modern power plant in Dresden.
  • Staatsoper Home of Hamburg's prestigious state opera, once conducted by Gustav Mahler