Street Wise: A Stop-by-Stop Guide to Oranienstrasse, Berlin

Enjoy a luxe Oranienstrasse stay at Orania.Berlin, housed in a 1913 Art Nouveau building that escaped WWII unscathed
Enjoy a luxe Oranienstrasse stay at Orania.Berlin, housed in a 1913 Art Nouveau building that escaped WWII unscathed | Courtesy of Orania.Berlin / Expedia.com

Kreuzberg has been cool since Bowie and Iggy hung out here in the Seventies and the neighbourhood’s main strip continues the party today with legendary clubs and lively bars.

Its edgy credentials may predate the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it was this moment that kick-started Kreuzberg on its journey from impoverished neighbourhood to cool counterculture hotspot. While parts have since succumbed to gentrification, it remains one of the German capital’s most exciting areas. Slicing right through the middle is Oranienstrasse, a pulsating thoroughfare that reflects the district in all its diversity and distinctly Berlin buzz. We’ve picked out its best bits, plus a couple of great places to stay close by.

1. Prinzessinnengarten

Cafe, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Healthy

The community plots of Prinzessinnengarten in Kreuzberg, Berlin
© Michael Koenig / Alamy Stock Photo
While better known for gritty graffiti-covered concrete, Berlin is home to more parks and green spaces than any other city in Europe. Prinzessinnengarten is one such slice of leafy loveliness. It’s an urban-garden project located on Moritzplatz, looked after by a collective of dedicated Berliners. They run gardening classes and workshops on subjects like city beekeeping, bicycles repair and sustainable living. You can also recharge with an organic coffee in the garden cafe, plus there’s a big flea market every other Sunday for top rummaging.

2. Orania.Berlin

Boutique Hotel

A spacious luxe-retro bedroom at Orania.Berlin with hints of red and large curving row of windows overlooking Kreuzberg
Courtesy of Orania.Berlin / Expedia.com

Overlooking bustling Oranienplatz, this handsome hotel occupies an Art Nouveau building that dates back to 1913, having emerged from WWII incredibly unscathed; today, it stands as a national monument. At its centre is the Living Room, an inviting combination of swish restaurant, bar, lounge and stage that hosts regular soul, jazz and world-music concerts. Rooms are a subtle blend of Italian and Eastern influences, with splashier suites adding big bathtubs and platz-view balconies. Spoil yourself to their eight-course Sunday brunch with live music, though you might have to head back upstairs for a lie down afterward.

3. Knofi

Restaurant, Turkish

Being a neighbourhood popular with Berlin’s Turks means you’ll find some of the city’s best Turkish restaurants here. Among the finest is the Oranienstrasse eatery, Knofi. Originally a typical Turkish grocery store, there’s still something wonderfully authentic about the place with its busy shelves and rustic ceiling hangings. The food is hearty and homemade, with freshly baked bread and loads of veggie options – all at reasonable prices – with the option of streetfront dining on warmer days.

4. Hotel the YARD

Budget Hotel, Hotel, Boutique Hotel

The serene outdoor seating area with bountiful bamboo plants at Hotel the YARD in Kreuzberg
Courtesy of Hotel the YARD / Expedia.com

Despite being just a five-minute stroll from Oranienstrasse, this contemporary boutique hotel is set in surprisingly peaceful surroundings. Stepping inside, a palette of soothing tones adds to the sense of laid-back urban oasis, with minimalist interior design and wonderful landscaped gardens completing a sense of Zen-like calm. For even more chilled-out vibes, head for a dip, massage or steam in the wellness zone. There’s more tranquillity in your room with comfy king-size beds, and breakfast is served overlooking the leafy gardens.

5. Biererei Bar

Bar, Beer

Biererei Bar with 20 taps and green barstools and banquettes
Courtesy of Biererei Bar

If you’re a fan of craft beer, there’s only really one place to go on Oranienstrasse. Biererei Bar and Vintage Cellar is an independent, smartly understated tavern offering up to 20 artisan brews on tap at any one time. From imperial stout to milkshake IPA, you can find some serious draft beers here, as well as hundreds more in their cellar, along with super-knowledgeable bar staff to help navigate you through it all.

6. SO36

Bar, Nightclub, German

A band performs at the legendary SO36 club on Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg, Berlin
© Agencja Fotograficzna Caro / Alamy Stock Photo

Named after the ​​district’s old West German postcode, SO36 is a legendary club with roots in Kreuzberg’s 1970s punk scene. It even counts the likes of David Bowie and Iggy Pop among former guests, when they famously spent time in the German capital, inspiring the music of the Berlin Trilogy. Nowadays, the line-up tends to be a little more diverse, hosting an eclectic programme of parties, events and concerts – you can even get your skates on for a monthly roller disco.

7. Voo Store

Market, Store

The industrial chic interior of Voo Store on Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg, Berlin
Courtesy of Voo Store
Housed in a former locksmith, Voo is a cutting-edge concept store of Berlin style. Expect a deliberately unpolished industrial space of strip lighting and concrete, where street fashion is displayed on unfussy railings, peeling walls and distressed furniture. Browse a curated collection of art books, quirky homeware and limited-edition accessories, while rubbing shoulders with local cool kids, hipsters and curious tourists. In-house Toki Café takes its coffee seriously, freshly bakes pastries and provides indoor and outdoor seating.

8. Museum of Things

Museum

The wood and glass display cases at Museum der Dinge in Kreuzberg, Berlin
© Anna Jasinski / Flickr

If you’re a lover of design, fan of kitsch or just interested in things, this fabulously off-beat museum is a great way to spend an hour or two of your time. The main focus is industrial manufacturing, with examples of iconic everyday designs from the 20th and 21st centuries. Collections are cleverly arranged in thought-provoking displays that make you see the familiar with a fresh perspective.

9. Franken Bar

Bar, German

The uber-cool exterior of Franken Bar in Kreuzberg
© Sascha Kohlmann / Flickr

Another real slice of Berlin history, the walls of this low-lit establishment are choca with graffiti, photographs, curios, stickers, posters and, erm, a mounted boar head…all coalescing into an atmospheric dive bar. Its grungy punk-rock vibe won’t appeal to everyone, but cheap drinks and regular live bands on their small stage pack in a mixed crowd for a rockin’ good night of unpretentious fun.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

close-ad
Edit article