Berlin’s neighbourhoods, or Kiez, reflect the diverse and dynamic nature of the city. The German capital is filled with history and bursting with hidden treasures to explore. While well-known areas like Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Neukölln are well documented for their amazing culture, nightlife and cafés, there are still parts of the city that are underrated. Contrasting from trendy residential neighbourhoods to elegant gems, here are the most underrated neighbourhoods in Berlin.
The electric neighbourhood of Schöneberg is not known as an up-and-coming spot, but this West kiez is rich in history. David Bowie found salvation here in the late 1970s, and before him, Albert Einstein and Christopher Isherwood lived in this underground neighbourhood. Today, it is known as Berlin’s most gay-friendly district and is considered the traditional centre for gay culture in Berlin. There are a number of cool cafés and true Berliner-style bars to experience. It is common to find streets lined with fetish and sex shops, and colourful street art on unsuspecting corners, a hint that this is more than a residential kiez.
The district of Tempelhof is best known for the former airport, Tempelhofer Feld, which it houses. The airport-turned-park is a popular picnic and leisure sport destination. It is common to find Berliners here in the summer or winter, soaking in the sun or enjoying the snow. The southern part of Tempelhof is home to ufaFabrik, a cultural hub that puts on theatre shows, comedy shows, festivals and concerts. Its tree-lined and cobblestoned streets make this suburban oasis a picturesque find in Berlin.
Similar to Tempelhof, Alt-Treptow is known for the large park it houses, Treptower Park. This lush space is known for the huge Soviet Memorial, walks along the Spree and a small lake that locals enjoy in the summer. A short walk from the park, Treptower bridge has amazing city views and a great view the of Borofsky’s Molecule Man. The surrounding neighbourhood has a number of clubs, like the small open-air style favourite, Else, the multifaceted Arena Club and on the border of Kreuzberg and Alt-Treptow, Club der Visionaere. A short walk from Kreuzberg, Alt-Treptow is the neighbouring kiez with a similar charm and fewer tourists.
With elegant architecture, high-end shopping and amazing restaurants, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is the chic Berlin neighbourhood. Bursting with history, the area has a number of must-see sights, including the Charlottenburg Palace and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which are both popular sights over the Christmas season for their perspective festivals and Christmas markets. This is a well-developed part of the former West, rich in culture, attractions and an affluent energy.
For years, Berliners have said Wedding is the next cool kiez. The multicultural neighbourhood was originally known for its working-class roots, but now cheap rents have seen artists, creatives and newcomers flocking to the area. A number of laid-back bars can be found in the area, as well as an emerging art scene. Similar to neighbouring Prenzlauer Berg in the 1990s, Wedding is fast becoming the place to be for young artists.
Surrounded by leafy canals and the Spree River, Moabit is a suburban and understated neighbourhood of Berlin. The area is sandwiched between Mitte and Charlottenburg and is home to a range of hidden brunch spots, cafés and old-school bars. The culinary scene here is slowly becoming appreciated, such as Arminiusmarkthalle, a brick market hall with trendy food stalls on the border of Moabit and Tiergarten. It is off the tourist grid but beloved by locals. The area is also a haven for artists, housing Kulturfabrik, which hosts a range of theatre, concerts, parties and cinema screenings. Moabit has the underrated cool that many equate to Berlin and a local scene that is worth checking out when in Berlin.
Köpenick is the neighbourhood surrounding Berlin’s largest lake, Muggelsee, and is one of the city’s most popular excursion destinations. The lake is most popular in the summer, where paddleboarding, swimming and boating are favourite activities. However, the area is also frequented in the colder months for hiking and ice skating. This not-so-central part of Berlin is an insight into traditional German café culture, and it’s a great place for cheap beers with locals at the pub.