Berlin is a millennial metropolis, which continues to set tourism records every year without ever losing its soul. Perhaps this is because the city exists in a constant state of metamorphosis – here are the lively neighbourhoods that are drawing people to the German capital.
Bursting with quirk and colour, active citizen initiatives and community projects, and with no object left untouched by graffiti, Kreuzberg has always been the longstanding embodiment of the spirit of Berlin.It has been home to some of Germany’s most infamous leftist political activists, with buildings like the Georg von Rauch Haus even named after them. It is also the borough where music icons David Bowie and Iggy Pop used to go clubbing. Rents are on the rise in this neighbourhood, and while it’s becoming near impossible to find a flat among the huge demand, we can still hope Kreuzberg will continue to sustain the pulse of Berlin’s beating heart.
The latest Berlin borough to fall victim to gentrification, Neukölln is now teeming with bars, cafés and second-hand stores that make it a millennial’s dream. Is it also one of the most diverse areas of the city. Weserstrasse is the most well-known strip for bars and nightlife, but further South near Schillerpromenade leading to Tempelhofer Feld is really where the the hip kids of Neukölln hang out, eating burgers on their bicycles and rollerblades.
Mitte use to be the centre of grunge, arty, underground Berlin. Today it’s been made over into a neat, shiny and clean boutique shopping hotspot, which let’s be honest, a lot of people today find attractive. In the very centre of town, Mitte appeals to those young professionals with happy purchasing power, who enjoy to drink life down with a fine craft beer from one of its trendiest bars. It’s also the one-stop-shop for all the city’s key landmarks, including Museum Island, the TV Tower, Brandenburg Gate, The Jewish Memorial, and Tiergarten.
Moving out of the city centre and further north, Wedding is the eternal up-and-coming neighbourhood. With a lot of the other boroughs packed to capacity, Wedding is finally getting its well-deserved day in the sun. Pop-up bars, art galleries, vegan restaurants, clubs in abandoned swimming pools, craft breweries and beer bars, garden parties, and impromptu dance performances on the street are in no short supply in Wedding today. Traditionally a Turkish neighbourhood, it has also retained, for now, its extremely low prices for authentic Turkish and Lebanese cuisine.
Friedrichshain is home to many of Berlin’s biggest clubs, including Berghain and Watergate, and its the district where people go to party all weekend long. The popular RAW area is also in its territory. The rubble of this former Nazi train station is equipped with a rock wall built onto a WWII bomb shelter, cool bars, weekend markets, art galleries and the markings of skate culture, making it a magnet for Berlin’s hip.
Like Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg used to form part of East Germany, so when the Wall was torn down, it district was left with a plethora of abandoned buildings that made it a hotspot for all things underground. It also became a cultural centre for artists looking to set up studios and homes in free squat communities. It was the first borough in Berlin to become ‘alternative’; and therefore the first to gentrify. Today, the district is known for its young families who enjoy a lifestyle of eating at trendy restaurants and buying artisan wares. Mauerpark is a highlight in the city every Sunday, with a flea market, countless live music shows from Berlin’s buskers and free karaoke.