Neighborhood Guide to Berlin

Berlin is an endless blur of inspiration. From trendy Mitte to the hipster haven that is Kreuzberg, here are five of my favorite Berlin neighborhoods to appeal to the avant-garde traveler. If these few don’t spark your interest, I’ve included a couple other areas that are also worth a bit of exploration.


Located in the former West Berlin near the River Spree Oberbaumbrücke bridge, Kreuzberg is one of the most notoriously popular neighborhoods in Berlin. For decades, this area has been a major hub for “squatters”, punks, hipsters, creative types and liberal-minded thinkers. The neighborhood has a rich cultural flair, as many Turkish immigrants call Kreuzberg home. Within its borders, street art fanatics will have a field day due to the countless graffiti work and wall paintings that line the streets. Just a short walk from Kreuzberg’s center is the East Side Gallery, (the former Berlin wall).

neighborhood guide to Berlin


I discovered Friedrichshain during my last few days in Berlin and it quickly stole the top slot as my favorite Berlin neighborhood. Situated between Prenzlauer Berg in the north and Kreuzberg in the south, this area is filled with personality. In recent years, many Kreuzberg residents have moved to Friedrichshain, therefore extending the bohemian flavor to both neighborhoods. Architecturally, Friedrichshain showcases a mix of styles ranging from high-rise buildings to 19th century town houses. Partly due to its alternative bars, restaurants, nightclubs and coffee shops, many students gravitate toward this neighborhood.

revamped Friedrichshain

Prenzlauer Berg (Pankow) 

After German reunification and the more recent process of gentrification, Prenzlauer Berg has evolved over the years. Generally characterized by early 20th century historic buildings, Prenzlauer Berg is a mix of several different neighborhoods. Similar to that of Schöneberg and Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg has a huge art scene and much like Friedrichshain and Kreuzbergit, a young student population frequent the many bars, restaurants and nightclubs located here. Comparatively, rent in Berlin is lower than New York, London and Paris, therefore attracting artist-types from nearby countries.

bohemian Prenzlauer Berg


Unlike most global cities, Berlin doesn’t really have a defined central district. However, Mitte comes close as the neighborhood houses many of Berlin’s oldest buildings including Marienkirche and Nikolaikirche. Other noteworthy sites include Museum Island, Humboldt University, the Crown Prince’s Palace, the Opera House and Brandenburg Gate. Occupying areas of both former East and West Germany, Mitte is often crowded by locals and tourists alike for it’s proximity to Alexanderplatz, and the railway station. Shopping boutiques also contribute to heavy foot-traffic in Mitte.

Berlin's Mitte neighborhood


Merging both Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf, this borough is located in West Berlin and is a solid mix of old and new influences.  Here one will find the oldest chocolate producer, the Georg Kolbe Museum, Astor Film Lounge cinema, Villa Harteneck, and a slew of upscale lounges and boutiques. Kurfürstendamm boulevard continues to be a popular shopping destination for high-end designer wear. In general, this district largely attracts families and a wealthy clientele. Charlottenburg Palace and the Ahmadiyya Mosque are two impressive architectural spaces worth visiting.

family culture in Charlottenburg

This trip was partially hosted by Visit Berlin. All opinions are my own. 

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Leave a comment


    • Megan Eileen McDonough August 20, 2012  1:40 pm Reply

      Charu you would love the Charlottesburg/Wilmersdorf area :) I just love how different the Berlin neighborhoods are - it's a great way to experience different lifestyles.
      Megan Eileen McDonough recently posted..Neighborhood Guide to BerlinMy Profile

  1. Adam August 20, 2012  3:40 pm Reply

    There are still quite a few squats in Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg but they're likely disappearing more and more these days.
    Adam recently posted..Weekend trip to DresdenMy Profile

  2. Daniel McBane August 25, 2012  9:14 am Reply

    I'm staying with my sister in Friedrichshain right now and am thinking of finding an apartment and sticking around Berlin for a while. Your assessment of this neighborhood pretty much mirrors my own findings, so I'll probably end up staying in the area.
    Daniel McBane recently posted..Riding a Possessed Camel in JaisalmerMy Profile

  3. London4Travelers August 26, 2012  2:33 pm Reply

    As a traveler, who is planning to visit Berlin in the nearest future, I find this travel guide interesting and informstive. From the information and photos shared here, I can decide that this city provides great opportunities and activities for travelers.

  4. Cheryl September 2, 2012  11:35 am Reply

    My favorite neighborhood is Prenzlauer Berg ... where I live. I love it so much! The cobbled stoned streets, the giant park, my favorite bar, loads of cafes and restaurants all within walking distance ... it's heaven!
    Cheryl recently posted..Cat On A Bike Sculpture In Brussels.My Profile

  5. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs July 27, 2013  6:07 am Reply

    Berlin is next to Tel Aviv my favourite cities ever! I simply love it! I'm there almost every month and still discover new places! Great post Girl!

    • Megan Eileen McDonough July 27, 2013  8:24 am Reply

      Lucky you! I'm still dreaming of Berlin. I'd love to live there for a few years at some point in my life and in many ways Berlin and Tel Aviv are very similar - lots of culture, thriving nightlife and a very artsy vibe!

  6. Pingback : Berlin’s Enduring Appeal | Leaving Jet Plane


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