Even though a lot has changed in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg in recent years, Kreuzberg is still truly Kreuzberg in many places. And as you might know, customs are a little different there, the clocks tick differently.
Hardly any other Berlin neighbourhood gets so much attention from internationals as a ‘scenery district’ to set up their new home base in Berlin. At the same time, Kreuzberg is far more normal than its image implies - in some spots, it's even downright charming.
Let us show you 11 places in Berlin Friedrichshain Kreuzberg that you can't miss as a new local.
People in Kreuzberg approach everyday life differently than anywhere else in Berlin – casual and unruffled. And they know it: life has always got an alternative to offer. It won't take long before you get to feel the typical Kreuzberg idiosyncrasies.
When a neighbour illegally dumps his bulky waste on the street, someone has usually artistically made their mark on the mattress or the fridge. And if you no longer bother about the 31st person who wants to sell you drugs on the way between Kotti and Görli, then you're probably a true Kreuzberger already.
Internationals are still gravitating towards the scenery neighbourhood of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, although the area doesn't exactly have the best reputation. As a newcomer to Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, you should drift with the laid-back spirit and soak up the small vintage shops and cosy bars, the markets and the street music.
With our 11 spots, you'll see your new home in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg with a whole new set of eyes. Let's go!
Not far from the East Side Gallery and Ostbahnhof in Kreuzberg, it's time for a little culture at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien. If you love art and beautiful historic buildings, you'll dig Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien.
Group and thematic exhibitions on social and cultural contemporary processes in confrontation with the contemporary arts meet here. What's more, the Kunstraum is for those on a budget: admission is free! When the weather is good, there are also open-air cinemas at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien!
From Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien, walk up Muskauer Straße until you discover an overgrown, quaint little house from the outside: the Lerchen & Eulen.
At Lerchen & Eulen, you'll easily shift your 'work' into 'life' balance: before the café turns into a hip bar in the evening, you can sit back during the day and sip delicious coffee and mint-ginger tea for fair prices, and work in the café like a classic Berlin freelancer until you shut your laptop and swap your coffee for a Moscow Mule.
It's not that unusual to linger all day at Lerchen und Eulen: the open space feels like a good friend's living room, and on the cosy sofa you sink into your daydreams.
Can you drag yourself out of the sofa? Then head over the Kotti (Kottbusser Tor) via Gitschiner Straße in the direction of Mehringdamm to the canteen in the city hall.
Before you set foot in Rathaus Kreuzberg, check out the queue at Mustafa's Gemüsekebap on Mehringdamm. Truth be told, you'll always find a crowd in front of this kebab spot at all hours of the day - it's a true icon of Berlin. So if you happen to catch a short queue, take the chance and grab a kebab at Mustafa's!
Otherwise, head to the Rathaus for plan B: super-affordable main courses (3 - 6 euros) above the rooftops of Kreuzberg.
Rathaus Kreuzberg is far from appealing, yet the canteen itself turns out to be hip and full of charm.”
Old-fashioned but cosily furnished, you gaze over Kreuzberg from the 10th floor.
Once you're well-fed, walk down Yorkstraße and turn left onto Großbeeren Straße. Pass Kuchenkultur and Gretel and at the end of the street, you'll find Viktoria Park.
In summer, a big barbecue blast blows at you from every corner in Viktoria Park and blends into a gigantic cloud of barbecue smoke. Smells like Kreuzberg! The barbecue culture has Kreuzberg firmly in its grip in summer.
Get some cardio in for those into sports by climbing Berlin's highest elevation, which gives its name to the surrounding district with its church spire. (Yes, Kreuz means cross, Berg means hill).
Standing 66m above sea level, you can see the whole of Kreuzberg and Potsdamer Platz.”
From Viktoria Park, you can stroll through the Bergmannkiez towards the Maybach Ufer. If that's a bit too far to walk, simply catch the underground to cross from one point to the other.
In the Kreuzkiez nestled between Neukölln and Kreuzberg, there are Turkish families, students and a few tourists bustling about twice a week. Its weekly market gives the feel of an oriental bazaar: there's everything from börek, herbs and olives; and all in big loads for a bargain price. So, why don't you pick up some dates and preserved peppers for your WG?
After shopping for your WG at Maybachufer, you walk through Görlitzer Park across Wrangler Kiez to Warschauer Brücke.
24/7, there's always someone on the Warschauer Brücke showing off their musical skills. To outsiders, it's a mystery how the musicians manage not to all be on the Main Stage Warschauer Brücke at the same time.
After a bit of live music, walk past the Suicide Club on the right up Revaler Straße until you make a detour at LOVECO.
It won't be long until you spark your love for vintage and second-hand in Berlin, the capital city where sustainability, veganism and fair trade are loved and lived. Loveco is a good start for you!
Berlin's largest concept store for fair trade clothing and vegan fashion has a striking selection of stunning jeans and lots of trendy basics, the shop is a matchmaker's paradise.
What's even better: you're striking a double deal. When it comes to the environment, Loveco makes a commitment: the electricity is from renewable sources, the shipping of goods is climate-neutral and the furnishings are second-hand. Can shopping be any more sustainable? We doubt it.
After a few second-hand goodies, it's on to Boxi for you. What, Boxi? From Loveco you walk up Sonntagstraße until you turn left onto Wühlischstraße, past KuchenRausch, Spätzle & Knödel turn right onto Gärtnerstraße. After a few steps, you will see the 'Boxi', a green oasis.
Instead of rolling around in the greenery of Boxhagener Platz, take a stroll through the flea market. On Sundays, you can rummage through some real vintage treasures and pick up a few second-hand gems for your room in Berlin Kreuzberg.
Many people consider the flea market at Boxhagener Platz to be overcrowded.”
So many, in fact, that by now there aren't that many people there. Let's put it this way: Mauerpark is more crowded.
Once you've picked up enough vintage pieces today, you might want to relax in the sun on the grassy area.
Grab a rental bike and head for the heart of Friedrichshain. When you turn right from Grünbergerstraße onto the busy Warschauerstraße, you have to go straight for about five minutes. By the way, on your right, you'll see HUMANA, another secondhand and vintage shop. You get the idea by now, Berlin is a vintage paradise. After the roundabout, turn onto Petersburgerstraße until you see Kochhannstraße on your right, where aff Galerie is located.
Art, not commerce: the aff Gallery gets organised by a group of photographers without any commercial intentions. With its focus on contemporary photography, Berliners as well as international newcomers exhibit their works here time and again. You can rarely get this close to a photographer's work!
Fancy a beer to wrap up the day? Walk back towards the HUMANA Vintage Store and take the U5 at Frankfurter Tor towards Berlin Hauptbahnhof. When you get off at Strausberger Platz, just walk down Krautstraße until you reach the waterfront at Holzmarkt 25. Let's be honest, it's easy to get lost here at nightfall.
Here you can enjoy a drink after work and look out over the Spree. A real gem in Friedrichshain! Apart from that, Holzmarkt offers both cultural and culinary delights, making it the perfect all-rounder.
After a beer or two, the party mood might set in. Why don't you go to Ritter Butzke?
The Butzke always turns up the heat. Sometimes there's even a rocket in the wooden hut in the yard of the Ritter Butzke that serves schnapps. And when you find confetti covering your body the next morning, you know you've been to the Ritter Butzke.