Potsdam Palace Night with artists, food, fun in Park Sanssouci
Potsdam Palace Night lets you stay out late with your friends in Park Sanssouci enjoying artists, illuminations, food, and drink — just fun in the dark at a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Who doesn’t like to stay out late wandering around a huge park, let alone one that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site? With Potsdam Palace Night in the castle-dotted Park Sanssouci, you can do just that each summer. The two-day event sprinkles hundreds of performers, artists, and musicians all around the park’s palaces and gardens, then opens its gates for the “Potsdamer Schloessernacht.”
With hundreds of acres to wander about in the dark and dozens of international-class performances from music to acrobatics, you won’t want for something to do. And you better wear your good walking shoes. Since entertainment happens at intervals all over much of Park Sanssouci’s 750 acres (300 hectares) you could log your share of steps to see them (We managed close to 22,000 steps).
We attended the 2022 edition of Potsdam Palace Night – an annual event since 1999 with attendance now capped at 32,000 – and plotted a route to try to take in as many of the top performances as possible. Many folks attending the evening just plan on 2-4 performances so they can enjoy the Park Sansscouci grounds, its castle illuminations, and the ability to be in the park after dark. It is a real treat just to be in here after sunset since the UNESCO World Heritage site normally closes by dusk.
Every year, performers change so we can’t guarantee you will experience the highlights we did, but several top performances for us in 2022 included an act from Spain called Flotado, which featured lights, acrobatics, music and singing by acrobatic musicians David Moreno and Christina Calleja; some of the most magical glass organ music by Rogier Kappers from Amsterdam, including Bach and Beetles played on the tops of drinking glasses; and dancer Wencke Smits of Stephworx Theater performing flamenco on stilts, which left us in awe on this steamy summer night in late August.
Our tips for Park Sanssouci’s Potsdam Palace Night:
- Get there early. There are dozens of food trucks and booths, but the lines are much shorter in the first hour or so. They also seemed to be shorter again after 9 p.m.
- Bring your own water in non-glass containers smaller than 1.5 liters. There was no place other than bars that we could find just to purchase a non-alcoholic beverage. Once you start getting thirsty in the summer heat, the lines will be very long with those waiting to order food, beer and wine.
- Pack along a small flashlight. Although the main paths are lit, you will likely end up on others that may not be.
- Plan your bathroom breaks carefully. There are a lot of portable toilets but with so many people, there will be a line at most of them.
- Take a few minutes prior to arriving – or when you arrive – to review the program and mark which performances or illuminations you might want to attend and at what time. The performances all happen at intervals and will cross-over with each other. If you want to avoid the back-and-forth racking up of miles that we did, then plot an efficient route.
- That said, a one-way route may not always be possible if you are set on seeing a number of performances, so be ready to cross one or more off your list … or do more walking.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Part of your planning will include where you will enter Park Sanssouci since there are several entrances on different sides of the park.
- Another very important part of planning your evening will be your departure. We didn’t leave until close to 11:30 p.m. and found limited public transportation options. There are some special buses and trains, but they ran only at particular times so plan accordingly and access the transportation links on the Potsdam Palace Night website.
A casual visit to Park Sanssouci at Potsdam Palace Night
If you have not been to Park Sanssouci, the Potsdam Palace Night will be a good chance to see many of the former royal residences, gardens, terraced vineyards, and palaces dating to the 1700s. Touring the former Prussian residential area of Frederick the Great (a.k.a. Frederick II of Prussia) is best done during the pre-dark hours of Palace Night.
HITT TIP: If your travels don’t mesh with August’s Potsdam Palace Night, then you could also attend other late-night events in the region, for example the fantastic mid-summer Botanical Nights in Berlin, Berlin’s Festival of Lights each fall, or several holiday season events such as at the Berlin Tierpark (Zoo) or a winter night of music and illuminations at Berlin’s Botanical Garden.
Our Most Recent Travel Stories
Women’s pants with pockets are mandatory for travel. Who wants to always carry a purse or pack? Unfortunately, great women’s travel pants with pockets aren’t easy to find – I know because I’ve tried dozens of brands in my ongoing quest for the best travel pants. Here are some of my current favorite brands.
The Deutschlandmuseum Berlin is like no other museum we have ever experienced. You get 2000 years of German history presented interactively and educationally as 12 epochs. You leave feeling as if you’ve truly lived the history.
Dresden Germany prides itself on its Christmas markets, holiday cheer, bright lights, and festive spirit. And well it should as the Striezelmarkt is thought to be the oldest Christmas market in the world. These are eight of what we think are the best Dresden Christmas markets to help you plan your European Christmas market visits.
Don't Let The Sun Set On You!
Join our subscriber club today and never miss an award-winning story or photograph. Plus you'll receive our monthly newsletter and get full access to FREE downloads of e-books, recipes and more -- no spam, ever, promise.
As an affiliate for Get Your Guide, Amazon.com, iVisa, Global Rescue, Think Tank, 5.11, Kuhl, Adorama, and others, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you should you choose to purchase through the links in our posts. It is essential to mention that we only endorse products we believe in and personally use. Your support for HI Travel Tales through these purchases allows us to maintain a sustainable platform for creating valuable and relevant content for you.