Kreuzberg has long been revered for its diverse cultural life and as a part of Berlin where alternative lifestyles have flourished. Envisioning the glamorous yet gritty nature of Berlin often conjures up scenes from this neighbourhood, where cultures, movements and artistic flare adorn the walls of building and fills the air. Brimming with nightclubs, street food, and art galleries, Kreuzberg is the place to be for Berlin’s young and trendy. We check out the area’s 10 top sights.
Kreuzberg is home to a large Turkish community, and every Tuesday and Friday the area comes to life with the community’s character. As vendors set up shop along the canal for the city’s largest Turkish market, stretching between Kreuzberg and Neukölln. Exotic street food, colourful fruit and veg stalls, and tables stacked with bolts of bright fabrics entice tourists and locals alike with bargain prices. Cash is a must, and haggling is looked on with approval. If you’re prepared to brave the rush of souvenir-seekers and street performers, this unique market will provide an afternoon of delicious surprises and unexpected finds.
From barely legible tags to bona fide spray paint masterpieces, Kreuzberg is absolutely covered in graffiti and street art. Creations by ambitious amateurs can be found alongside works from well-known names like Victor Ash, Blu, El Bocho and ROA. The temporary nature of these urban graphics — constantly being scrubbed out, covered up, added to, or otherwise altered — means that even locals are kept on their toes by the ever-changing facades of Kreuzberg’s buildings.
Located on the border between Kreuzberg and Mitte, Checkpoint Charlie is one of Berlin’s most well-known sites. One of many crossing points between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War, it was the site of small conflicts, prisoner swaps, and many escape attempts, branding it as a symbol of Cold War separation for both sides. Today, it stands as an important reminder of the divide of the times. Though the original checkpoint structure was removed when the Wall came down, it can be still be seen in the open-air exhibition space of the Allied Museum. Meanwhile, the subsequent reconstruction of the famous guard house and sign has become a major tourist attraction and a must-see sight for any visitor to Kreuzberg.
The Berlinische Galerie is the city’s comprehensive modern collection of art, photography, architecture, and sculpture, all housed in a former glass warehouse. The white walls and cavernous interior house a vast collection of work produced in and around the city of Berlin. Berlinische Galerie’s permanent collection is modern yet accessible, featuring works from major movements since 1870 including Berlin Dada, Expressionism, and New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit). The temporary exhibitions showcase modern artists as well as more contemporary talents, introducing Berlin‘s rising stars to the public through solo exhibitions and installations.
Along the bank of the River Spree, where the Berlin Wall once separated East from West, the longest remaining segment of the wall has been transformed into an extensive open-air art gallery. Originally painted in 1990 and painstakingly restored for its 20th anniversary in 2010, this vast ensemble of murals stretches for over a kilometre. Featuring work from more than 100 national and international artists, it stands as a visual monument to the widespread euphoria of the Wall’s fall, and as a reminder of the city’s complex past. While technically located on the Friedrichshain side of the river, a stroll along the East Side Gallery is a must for any visitor to Berlin, not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for its vital historical significance.
Markthalle Neun is a culinary melting pot in the heart of Kreuzberg, showcasing the city’s diverse cultures, with an emphasis on regional and seasonal produce. The market hosts regular events and street food markets, including the popular, Street Food Thursdays, which encompass Berlin’s street food experts. Meanwhile, the weekly market and theme markets are utilized and contribute to the economic stabilization of regional producers. A resting place for Berlin’s thriving foodie scene, it’s a place for innovation and collaboration in the city.
Make your way to German snack bar Curry 36 for the (arguably) best currywurst in Berlin. These traditional favourite sausages topped with curried ketchup have been a favourite among locals and visitors for more than 30 years, consistently landing on top 10 lists of the best budget food in Berlin. Along with its famous currywurst, Curry 36 also serves excellent fries and other typical German street dishes. The line can be long, but it moves quickly, and the end result is worth the wait. For a tasty, filling, and budget-friendly meal in Kreuzberg, Curry 36 is the way to go.
Impatient kebab lovers, no need to freak out at the never-ending queue in front of Mustafa’s: you can still change your plans and head to its ‘little brother’, aka Mustafa Demir’s Gemüse Kebap, located on Warshauer Straße, right in the heart of Berlin’s night life. Even though the place is far from having the same reputation as the one in Mehringdamm, the döner kebabs served here are definitely worth a little detour. Some tasty and tender chicken meat, a generous amount of coriander and spinach leaves come along with some roasted veggies and soft baked potatoes that enhance the chicken döner. At the opposite of its acolyte, no pressure here, the seller takes his time to properly top your döner with fresh cheese, a drizzle of lemon juice and last but not least, the pinch of sumac that makes the difference.
The Jewish Museum in Berlin is one of the largest museums of Jewish culture and history in Europe, exploring nearly two millennia of German-Jewish society in its permanent collection, special exhibitions, library, and archive. The building itself is equally noteworthy, consisting of two main structures: an older, Baroque palace that has been supplemented by a zinc-panelled, modern extension designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The extension is symbolically rich, with empty ‘voids’ appearing regularly throughout the building to represent, in Libeskind’s words, ‘that which can never be exhibited when it comes to Jewish Berlin history: humanity reduced to ashes.’
A national monument, an artificial waterfall, and two vineyards — Kreuzberg’s Viktoriapark is more than just a place to relax with your picnic, although that is an ever-popular activity. Situated on Berlin’s highest natural elevation, this lush green park provides a spectacular view of city rooftops on clear days. The park’s most famous landmark is a huge cast-iron monument dedicated to the Liberation Wars of the early 19th century. Viktoriapark also contains a 24-metre-high artificial waterfall and is bordered by two small historic vineyards. Especially popular in the summer, Viktoriapark is Kreuzberg’s most popular spot to relax, toss a Frisbee, and soak up the sun.
Bite Club Arriving on the street food scene in 2013, Bite Club is a new favourite in Berlin. The name says it all, and the market is really a food club that moves around the city hosting pop-up culinary experiences. Bite Club has done guest appearances at Berlinale and during Berlin Food Week, and in the summer foodies can get their fix in Kreuzberg. Located at the Hoppetosse next to Badeschiff, this street food market has a regular spot complete with a large boat pumping out disco tunes and a selection of the city’s finest street food treats. Bite Club, Germany, Eichenstraße 4, Berlin, Germany
Kreuzberg is home to Berlin’s punk scene, and this legendary nightclub has been at the heart of Berlin’s thriving punk rock culture since 1978. Frequented by big-name musicians like Iggy Pop and David Bowie, SO36 rivalled New York City’s famous CBGB as a top punk and new wave venue in the 1980s. These days, the club stays true to its alternative roots, showcasing an eclectic mix of punk, metal, techno, and electronic beats. In a city notorious for its nightlife, SO36 remains one of Berlin’s most well-known party destinations.