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6 Things to Do On and Around Sanibel Island, Florida

By Jamie Beckman
November 26, 2019
Red shack next to small lush island
Jamie Beckman
Sunset-gazing and beach walks are only the beginning of the story on the 150-plus islands that make up southwest Florida’s coast.

Famous for vast wildlife preserves, leafy mangroves, world-class tarpon fishing, stellar seashells, and a laid-back way of life, Sanibel Island and its surrounding cays attract an array of vacationers, from regular beach-loving folks to high-profile visitors such as former FBI director Robert Mueller and the rapper Pitbull. The non-human residents are pretty spectacular, too: schools of dolphins leap above the shimmering waters, and friendly manatees have been known to brush up against moving kayaks out of playful curiosity.

1-OPTIONAL-MANATEE-SIGN-PHOTO-HERE-Caption-Manatee-sightings-are-common-at-South-Seas-Island-Resorts-marina.jpg?mtime=20180609213115#asset:102094(Jamie Beckman)

Sanibel is also a plum post-retirement destination for what locals call “PIPs” — previously important people (think: ex-CEOs) looking to pump the brakes after pressure-cooker careers. The area’s conservation-first mindset has a pleasant side effect for those who yearn to detox from technology and the daily grind: There are no stoplights on Sanibel Island, cell phone service isn’t exactly a guarantee, and no structure can be built higher than a palm tree.

Sound enticing? This exclusive island paradise is accessible at any budget, especially if you’re a road tripper willing to toss bicycles into a hatchback and strap kayaks to the roof. Here's our guide to the best the area has to offer.

1. Check In

Sundial-Beach-Resort-Spa.jpg?mtime=20180609214004#asset:102095South Seas Island Resort pool complex on Captiva Island. (Courtesy South Seas Island Resort)

Make your home base a standard villa with a full kitchen at a beach resort that has a slew of amenities, including golf courses, spas, restaurants, and marinas. Preparing your own meals and taking advantage of the free and cheap perks (more on that in a minute) are keys to planning a wallet-friendly trip. Pro grocery tips: To save big, hit the Publix Super Market at Sanibel Beach Place in Fort Myers before crossing the Sanibel Causeway Bridge onto Sanibel Island ($6 toll, free return trip). Or buy local at Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel Island, where you can shop in person or pick up an advance online order. Either way, you’ll save cash and not miss out on the area’s seafood, like seasonal stone crabs and mussels from Bailey’s and local pink shrimp, flounder, and grouper sold at Publix.

For an upscale, family-friendly, large-resort feel, splurge on a stay at the sprawling South Seas Island Resort (from $200 per night) on Captiva Island. Its two and a half miles of private beaches, along with beach chair and umbrella rentals, three pools with two waterslides, 11 tennis courts, and island trolley, are free to use. Rooms have full kitchens, and gas grills and picnic tables are available by the pools and marina for your own personal barbecues. To quickly stock up on food and drinks midway through your stay, there’s a grocery store/deli on the property.

On Sanibel Island proper, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa (from $219 per night) has beach-chic down pat, with bright-white furnishings, full kitchens, and island-themed decor. There are five heated swimming pools and lots of complimentary offerings, like kayaks, paddleboards, and bikes, as well as equipment for pickleball and volleyball. And there's no shortage of activities for kids. Locals have repeatedly voted Sundial “Best Staycation,” so you know it’s clutch.

Back on Captiva, Tween Waters Inn (from $108 per night) offers guestrooms with mini fridges, modern studios with mini kitchens, and suites with full kitchens. If you're feeling flush, book an entire historic pastel-painted seaside cottage. Once you’re settled in, choose your poolside vibe: the Play Pool, the Serenity Pool, or two hot whirlpools. A quick trip across the street takes you to the inn’s private beach, replete with a volleyball court and complimentary kayaks. Beach chairs and umbrellas are an extra charge.

2. Explore an Animal Kingdom

Bring your binoculars to J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, or ask for a free pair—you won’t want to miss the spectacle of ospreys, yellow-crowned night herons, and roseate spoonbills here in their natural state, especially at low tide, when the birds are most visible as they hunt for food. For bragging rights, try to spot the elusive mangrove cuckoo. It’s seen so rarely that if you do catch a glimpse, even the locals will be jealous. Hike or bike the refuge’s Indigo Trail boardwalks ($1 per person), or grab the gang and motor down the four-mile Wildlife Drive ($5 per vehicle, $1 per pedestrian or cyclist). The 100-acre Bailey Tract of interior wetland is free to enter and explore. Kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, and boating are allowed in some areas, as long as you follow the refuge’s rules.

dreamstime_xxl_93678008.jpg?mtime=20180609213029#asset:102093Searching for seashells on Sanibel Island. (Ian Fletcher/Dreamstime)

3. Eat Cheeseburgers in Paradise, in Paradise

Locals report that Jimmy Buffett wrote “Cheeseburger in Paradise” after eating a particularly tasty one at Cabbage Key Inn & Restaurant on Cabbage Key, in Pine Island Sound. Now’s your chance to do as Buffett did. Hop a water taxi with Island Girl Charters (from $29) to get there, then order a Cabbage Key Hamburger with cheese ($13.25) and a “cold draught beer,” even though the brews technically come in cans (from $4.69).

4. Go On A Shoreline Treasure Hunt

Shells in dazzling colors wash ashore every day thanks to the islands’ unique geographic position, making the area a collector’s paradise. Prepare for the best seashell-collecting experience of your life by investing in Sanibel & Captiva Shells and Beach Life ($8), an in-depth, waterproof, illustrated guide to the area’s shells and where to find them. Then start combing: Turner Beach, on Captiva Island, and Blind Pass Beach, on Sanibel Island, are two of the best public spots for shelling. Experts recommend venturing out the hour before and the hour after low tide, when the odds of nabbing good and rare shells are highest. Or opt for an after-dark excursion, a secret the pros swear by.

5. Learn from Locals (Even the Feathered Ones)

4-GIRL-HOLDING-LOLA-Caption-CROW-wildlife-rehabilitator-Katie-Mueller-holds-Lola-the-American-Kestrel-one-of-the-clinics-ambassador-animals.-Lola-has-an-irreparable-broken-wing-so-she-lives-at-the-clinic-rather-than-in-the-wild.-jpg.jpg?mtime=20180609213023#asset:102091CROW wildlife rehabilitator Katie Mueller holds Lola the American Kestrel, one of the clinic's ambassador animals. Lola has an irreparable broken wing, so she lives at the clinic rather than in the wild. (Jamie Beckman)

At Sanibel Island’s Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife ($7 for kids, $12 for adults), animal lovers can watch veterinarians and medical interns save creatures in dire straits, like owls who’ve been hit by cars, turtles with broken shells, or seabirds who’ve been accidentally hooked by a fishing line. Meanwhile, kids can hang out with the education center’s “animal ambassadors,” like Billy, a curious nine-banded armadillo who sometimes emerges to scamper freely indoors under the watchful eyes of his caretakers. You’ll need to register in advance to tour the hospital, so make sure you plan ahead.

Need a break from the kids? Drop them off for a few hours at Sanibel Sea School (from $55 per child), where they’ll learn to surf in shallow waves and get a thorough ocean education while they're at it. Family programs, including stand-up paddle boarding excursions and shell walks, are also available.

Wander through the ceiling-scraping stacks at Gene’s Books for best-sellers and obscure genre finds. The quaint, mystery-heavy indie store has beach reads galore at deep overstock discounts, many of the titles organized into ultra-specific categories like Scandinavian Mystery, Italian Mystery, and much more.

6. Soak Up the Setting Sun

One activity that’s not optional here: admiring the technicolor sunsets. If you’re staying at South Seas Island Resort, take in the free, family-friendly daily “sunset ritual” on Sunset Beach, featuring acoustic guitar music by Livingston Taylor, brother of James, who’s toured with Jimmy Buffett and the Beach Boys.

Or post up alfresco at Mucky Duck, a local favorite on Captiva Island, with a slice of icy homemade key lime pie ($7) and a CoronaRita (a margarita with a mini Corona bottle flipped upside down into it), and watch the big orange ball fade away.

No matter where you’re doing the viewing, look for the “green flash” at sundown – it’s an optical effect that happens right when the sun sinks below the horizon.

The Details

Sanibel Island isn't necessarily known for its bargains – resort fees can be particularly high – so it's worth taking the time to hunt for good deals on accommodations. Keep an eye out for promotions, and consider booking and paying in advance for the best rates. Summer is the least expensive time to visit the area’s islands; just be aware that temps can creep high in those months.

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Showstopping Theater Cities around The US

New York City is the theater capital of America, and Broadway is its shining star, but that doesn't mean the Great White Way has a monopoly over the medium. While the bright lights of the Big Apple may overshadow smaller theater scenes around the United States, the productions in these ten underrated towns are worth way more than rotten tomatoes.1. Minneapolis Fed up with the lights of Broadway, Sir Tyrone Guthrie moved to Minneapolis to begin his own repertory company in 1963. The Guthrie Theater went on to find success as a purveyor of classic and contemporary works and is arguably the most lauded theater venue in the Twin Cities. That's a mighty feat, considering Minneapolis and neighboring St. Paul are home to nearly 200 theaters and a healthy helping of successful organizations, including Brave New Workshop Theatre, Children's Theater Company, and touring venues like the Ordway and Orpheum. 2. Chicago Theater in Chicago is like deep-dish pizza: excellent and easy to find. The scene exploded in the mid 20th century when curtains went up on groups like Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre. Though these scrappy startups are now iconic institutions, the sentiments of their early days are still alive in Chicago's storefront theaters. Run by rag-tag post-grads looking to make their mark, these companies provide opportunities to see intimate productions in non-traditional settings. Check out The Loop's historic Broadway-style houses for big-budget musicals. Internationally acclaimed companies like the Goodman and Lookingglass are exemplary for their groundbreaking work. With over 200 operating theater companies, even the suburbs serve up award-winning theatrical experiences.3. Washington, DC Unlike its politicians, DC's theater companies know how to reach across the aisle and appeal to all audiences. The sprawling Kennedy Center is the best place to catch touring shows and concerts; Wooly Mammoth is the city's go-to for boundary-breaking theatrical experimentation; Signature Theater hosts ambitious productions of musicals; Shakespeare Theatre Company is one of the country's foremost interpreters of the Bard. Studio Theatre and Arena Stage are also noteworthy, as is Ford's Theatre, although President Lincoln had a famously terrible time there in 1865. 4. Philadelphia Philly is heaven for history buffs. There’s the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and – drum roll please – the oldest continually operating playhouse in America. The Walnut Street Theatre, a National Historic Landmark, has been entertaining audiences for over 200 years. Locals love the out-of-the-box storytelling done by dozens of smaller organizations like the Arden, InterAct, and The Philadelphia Fringe Festival, which hosts 1,000 performances for three weeks every September. For blockbuster Broadway shows, head to the glass-domed Kimmel Center and Renaissance-style Academy of Music.5. San Diego If La Jolla Playhouse isn't using "San Diego tested, New York approved" as their motto, they're missing a good opportunity. Of the 101 original plays and musicals they've premiered, 32 found success on Broadway stages. They aren't the only ones, either. The Old Globe, modeled after Shakespeare's theater in London, has given birth to over 20 Broadway shows throughout its illustrious career. Between both theaters and nearly 150 other active performance spaces around town, San Diego is a veritable Broadway by the beach. 6. Louisville This Kentucky town turns into a hotbed of artistic activity when the Actors Theatre of Louisville hosts its annual six-week-long Humana Festival. It's like Sundance for theater geeks — people from around the world come to celebrate new productions written by an impressive roster of playwrights. The prestigious festival has premiered a zillion critically-acclaimed titles, including Becky Shaw, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner With Friends.7. Seattle It may be perennially overcast in this Pacific Northwest town, but Seattle's theater scene still manages to sparkle. Both A Contemporary Theater and Seattle Rep present homegrown greatness with their evocative works featuring the city's pool of talented professionals. The 5th Avenue Theatre focuses on developing new musicals and is a frequent incubator for Broadway shows. The Paramount, Moore, and Neptune Theaters — all part of Seattle Theater Group — collectively present around 700 live events annually. 8. Boston Boston is an educational playground for young voices in the American theater. Prominent regional houses, including Huntington Theatre Company and American Repertory Theater, are affiliated with local universities like Boston University, Harvard and Emerson College. The surrounding areas are home to prolific art scenes as well, including North Shore Music Theatre (a half-hour away) and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which brings Broadway-caliber productions to the Berkshires.9. Denver For a city obsessed with outdoor activities, you may be surprised that any Mile High inhabitant would be willing to spend an evening inside a stuffy theater. But the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the nation's largest non-profit theater organization, is too spectacular to resist. The network of venues in this architecturally dynamic downtown complex host national tour premiers and pre-Broadway engagements, produce their own world-class performances, and help groom the country's up-and-coming talents at the annual Colorado New Play Summit. 10. Dallas/Fort Worth Everything's bigger in Texas, including this city's prodigious theater landscape. The gleaming AT&T Performing Arts Center hosts glitzy touring productions. Smaller companies like the Uptown Players and Theater Three produce quirky, low-budget works. Fort Worth, a thirty-minute drive away, has a robust theater community of its own, including Casa Mañana and Bass Hall. The big-wig of the Big D? Dallas Theater Center. This nationally-recognized company has brought brand new productions and reimagined classics to Dallas for over 50 years.

Inspiration

8 Groundbreaking Exhibits to Catch at US Museums This Winter

Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and Dali will never cease to lure art-lovers to the grand exhibit halls of museums, but when it comes to special exhibits at American cultural institutions this winter, fashion, politics and activism, design, and science get top billing. Here are a few limited-run exhibits to catch that are sure to intrigue and inspire. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art - Kansas City, Missouri Alleles Design Studio, a Canadian company, makes prosthetic leg covers in a huge range of designs and styles, giving amputees a way to express his or her own personality. Their works are part of the vast array of objects, equipment, and machines in “Access and Ability.” Originally designed by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the exhibit spotlights forward-thinking designs from the past decade that have helped with the challenges of daily life that affect people with varying levels of disabilities. You’ll find pieces like an easy on/easy off shoe inspired by a child with cerebral palsy, hearing aids that double as blingy earrings, and a robotic therapy dog. Some items in the show are interactive, like eyeglasses that compensate for color blindness. Runs through February 9, 2020. Philadelphia Museum of Art - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The most extreme haute couture collections that dominate the runway at Fashion Week events from Paris to New York pale in comparison to the works on display at “Off the Wall: American Art to Wear.” The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s playful fashion exhibit features 130 one-of-a-kind creations by 60 mixed-media artists who masterfully demonstrate how the body can be a canvas. Created between 1967 and 1997, the pieces reflect the energy and mood of their time, from hippie-fueled activism to futuristic innovation. Patterns influenced by international cultures, weaving techniques inspired by Latin American artisans, and appropriation of medieval and Renaissance fashions all play a critical role in the audacious pieces on display. Runs through May 17, 2020. Museum of Contemporary Art - Chicago, Illinois With all the headlines about immigration over the past few years, it’s important to consider the dense history of displacement. “Routes and Territories” features the works of three Latin American artists who explore how leaving one’s homeland affected societies and communities since the start of the colonization of the Americas through to today. Vast mural-like paintings, old manuscripts, wire sculptures and video track the profound social, personal and political impact of migration. Runs through April 19, 2020. Library of Congress - Washington, DC After seven decades of picketing and organizing and rallying, women finally earned the right to vote in August 1920. This coming year marks the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and with a historic election coming up, the Library of Congress has organized “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote,” a sweeping exhibit that pays tribute pioneering activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony as well as the countless women who drove what some call the biggest reform movement in US history. The exhibit chronicles the origins of women’s suffrage in abolitionism through the fiery campaigns of the early 20th century. It features personal items like Anthony’s annotated copy of Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” as well as items like tote bags, sheet music, and cookbooks and other totems of support as the movement gained momentum. Runs through September 2020. Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, Ohio If an instrument is, as they say, merely an extension of a musician, then “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” will get you closer to rock legends than you ever imagined. Co-curated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it ran to much acclaim from April through October, and the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, the show features over 100 instruments that belonged to icons and were used to perform some of the most familiar, game-changing songs in history like Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, The Who’s Keith Moon’s drum set, Patti Smith’s clarinet, and The Doors’ Ray Manzarek’s organ. Vintage concert posters and eccentric costumes boost the groovy mood. Runs through September 13, 2020. Museum of Fine Arts Houston - Houston, Texas Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated his presidency to preserving and furthering what’s become known as the Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want. Norman Rockwell, one of the best-known chronicler of everyday life in postwar America, gave a human face to each one of those freedoms in the now-iconic paintings he made in 1943, emotional images of everyday people in expressive scenes of family, prayer, and civic courage. “Norman Rockwell: American Freedom” at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is the first comprehensive exhibit dedicated to the Four Freedoms. The works are accompanied by historical documents, photos and artifacts, providing rich context Rockwell’s depictions. Runs through March 22, 2020. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - San Francisco, California For as long as earthlings have gazed at the stars above, space travel has been a source of fascination. Created for the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk, “Suits, Habs and Labs for Outer Space” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a showcase of how designers envisioned life beyond this planet’s atmosphere. The engaging exhibit features paintings of a free-floating space colony imagined by scientists in the early 1970s to models of living and research spaces on the moon designed by architects in the past decade to colorful 3D-printed prototypes of sleek alternatives to the bulky space suit, this show demonstrates how visionary dreamers imagined the seeming impossible becoming possible. Runs through January 20, 2020. Baltimore, Maryland The works of iconic women artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Elizabeth Calett sit side by side with lesser known but no less great painters like Marguerite Zorach and Maria Martinez. Baltimore Museum of Art’s landmark show, “By their Creative Force: American Women Modernists,” (a term taken from the writings of Virginia Woolf) consists of 20 carefully selected paintings, sculptures and decorative arts from the museum’s collection. Together, the assortment shows how women participated in and contributed to 20th century art movements, from Abstract Expressionism to Cubism. This exhibit is part of 2020 Vision, the museum’s year-long initiative to celebrate female-identifying artists. Runs through July 5, 2020.

Inspiration

Our Favorite Dreamy Overwater Bungalows

Imagine sitting on a deck with your toes dipped in the warm turquoise water while sipping an exotic blended drink and watching the colorful fish swim beneath you. This is the type of scene you can enjoy in an overwater bungalow. Enjoy everything from snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and jet skiing to land-lubber activities like learning about the culture, flora, fauna and cuisine. Whether you’re looking to renew your wedding vows or just need some time to chill, you won’t be disappointed. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora Lounge on a private sunny deck or take a dip in the plunge pool overlooking the crystal clear water in Tahiti at the Four Seasons Bora Bora. These thatched huts offer luxury accommodation with high ceilings, a full-size bathroom, teak furnishing and comfortable bedding. The resort also has a soothing over-the-water spa that utilizes Polynesian traditions. Immerse yourself in this tropical paradise by partaking in couple’s snorkeling, dinner for two on a private motu (a small island formed by broken coral and sand), or trying the submarine scooter. For the ultimate splurge, arrive to the resort via the Four Season’s private jet, which offers around-the-world excursions. Image courtesy of Reethi Beach Resort Reethi Beach Resort, Maldives Located on the tiny Fonimagoodhoo Island, the Reethi Beach Resort provides an authentic Maldivian experience. With air-conditioned bungalows, beautiful tropical foliage, smooth and soft sand, and an enticing blue lagoon, you’ll easily slip into a state of Zen. Be sure to take advantage of the on-property PADI 5-star dive center to get an up-close look at the impressive sea life. Afterwards, enjoy a sunset cocktail at the beachfront bar. The resort has four bars and four restaurants that offer a buffet, seated dining, boutique dining, and poolside dining. The Berjaya Langkawai Resort, Malaysia The Berjaya Langkawai Resort, situated on Burau Bay, offers guests the unique opportunity to stay in an overwater bungalow. The accommodations are more like a traditional hotel room with views of the Andaman Sea and includes complimentary hi tea. Have a cocktail in the sunken pool bar, enjoy a luxury yacht experience, go island hopping by jet ski, or end the day with an authentic Thai dinner. Song Saa, Cambodia This private island getaway located on an archipelago will sweep you into serenity with the beauty of the Cambodian coastline. The wooden overwater villas at Song Saa overlook the natural reef teaming with sea life. The pristine water will beckon you to dive in from the deck of your villa. Other activities that the resort offers include Buddhist ceremonies, scuba diving expeditions, a tour of Prek Svay village, or exploring an uninhabited island. Image courtesy of Rosewood MayakobáRosewood Mayakobá, Mexico Enjoy the lush mangroves and the scenic lagoons along the Mexican Riviera Maya at the Rosewood Mayakoba. The modern overwater lagoon suite is the perfect place to take in the serene surroundings. Guests are treated to complimentary mezcal and daily fruit bowl. Take a dip in the heated plunge pool, rinse off. In the rain shower, lounge on the outdoor terrace, or take advantage of the private boat dock to explore the area via on-the-water transportation. Amenities also include on-property golf and tennis, as well as a full-service spa that features hammam (Turkish baths). Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji For laid-back luxury, the adults-only Likuliku Lagoon Resort provides overwater bungalows situated on marine protected sanctuary that reinforces its name, Likuliki means “calm water.” Enjoy a variety of water activities, including a short boat ride to an uninhabited island. The resort supports sustainability and therefore uses natural building materials, which highlights the Fijian culture and landscape. Fill your days with fishing, windsurfing, island hopping, hiking, visiting a local village, get a close up look at the iguanas, or participating in a traditional Kava ceremony. Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa, Cook Islands This private island resort imbibes the tradition and rituals of the Cook Island through its thatched architecture, local seafood dishes, and authentic dance. At the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort, referred to as “Heaven on Earth,” guests can enjoy the ultimate tranquility in the overwater bungalows. The bungalows feature palm-lined walls, tropical decor, and open-air shower. Get to know the Polynesian culture through ‘ura (hula) dancing lessons, ‘ei (lei) making, frond weaving, and pare tying. Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, Panama Jump off your private overwater cabin’s terrace into the alluring Caribbean Sea at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge. Built on stilts and covered with a palm-leaf roof, the nine two-floor suites reflect the traditional building methods of Panama utilizing natural materials such as native woods and plants, clays, leafs, bamboo, and wild cane. Get an aerial view of the island surrounding reefs by taking a plane tour.

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5 Ways You Can Celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Berlin is a vibrant city known for its energy, art scene and historical past. This November marks the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying freedom and peace. With that momentous anniversary, Berliners and visitors from around the world will be celebrating throughout the month of November. Festivities will range from guided tours and memorials to art installations and festivals surrounding the division of Berlin, the Cold War and the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. Here are some must-see highlights that will be debuting in the coming weeks. Arts Festival From November 4th to the 10th, Berlin will be transformed into an incredible open-air exhibition. The city’s revolution will be commemorated at historic locations with large archive film and image projections, installations, concerts, lectures and more. The festival will conclude on the evening of November 9th at Brandenburg Gate, when the entire city will become the largest concert stage in the world. It will feature legendary musicians, bands and people that were involved in the Peaceful Revolution. Don’t miss the floating art installation made up of 30,000 handwritten messages by Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics. Post-concert, the festivities will continue through the night with dance parties in 27 clubs across Berlin. Because what’s Berlin without a dance party? Guided Tours Tour operators throughout the city are prepared for the influx of tourists visiting Berlin to commemorate the end of divided Germany. Whether you prefer biking, walking or riding in a bus, local tour operators are ready to take you back in time and teach you about the country’s exquisite history. GetYourGuide provides dozens of tours throughout Berlin, including an excursion based upon the secrets of the Communist Capital. During this walking outing, you’ll learn about life behind the Iron Curtain and the secrets of the Stasi secret police. Visit the embassies of four Cold War powers and discover crossing points of the Berlin Wall. The Palace of Tears is one famous border crossing point between East and West Berlin that has since become a museum with exhibitions about Berlin during the Cold War. Hotels have also jumped on board by offering tours in Berlin. Located in the former Western part of the city right near the border, Orania.Berlin is offering a special package in honor of the anniversary. It includes a two-hour tour of the Berlin Wall (which can be done by bike) for guests to learn about the history of the city's division, the struggle for freedom and the process of reunification. Train Trip Why not book an entire trip to learn about Germany’s fascinating history? Well Inntravel has made it pretty easy to do just that with their self-guided rail train, Beyond the Iron Curtain. Journey by rail between the iconic cities of Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden to discover how they emerged from the cloak of the Iron Curtain. Stay two nights in each city using Inntravel walking notes to marvel at their enduring cultural treasures. In Berlin, follow a route that traces its history taking in the magnificently restored Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and the Wall. Continue to Leipzig, best known for music, but where locals staged the largest protest demonstration in East German history. Last is Dresden which has risen from the ashes and been restored to its former glory. The package includes 6 nights’ accommodations, rail travel between Berlin-Leipzig-Dresden and city walking tour notes.Museums & Exhibits There are loads of museums and exhibits that are honoring the anniversary of the fall of the Wall. The Wall Museum East Side Gallery tells the full picture of the story of the Wall from the reasons for building the Wall to its dramatic fall in 1989. Their new exhibit is a multi-media experience that uses more than one hundred screens and projectors to guide viewers through the division of Germany. It chronicles the stories of how the wall changed people’s lives. And shows a unique perspective into the unknown side of the Cold War, showcasing the different perspectives from both the East and West by using newsreels from the 1960’s. If you want to be immersed in the history of Germany’s tumultuous past, this exhibit is surely where to do just that. 3D Reality Experience Augmented reality app MauAR, brings the Wall to life and allows users to visualize the division of Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Users can use the app in the camera view of their smartphone or tablet to point at spots where the wall previously stood to go back in time. Users can jump between three points in time – 1961, 1971 and 1981. The app will also debut five special episodes that will recount the story of the Berlin Wall and key moments in the history of the Peaceful Revolution. For example, users can travel back in time to the demonstration held on Alexanderplatz on November 4th, 1989.

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