Long hailed as Berlin’s center for counter-culture, Kreuzberg certainly lives up to its creative, rebellious image. It also happens to be one of my favorite neighborhoods in Berlin. I can’t help but feel energized as I stroll the streets of Kreuzberg and pop in and out of indie coffee shops, eateries, and boutiques. Here are some of my top suggestions for things to do, places to shop, and gastronomic experiences to have in this thriving, dynamic Berlin neighborhood.
Take a stroll (or fly a kite, have a picnic, play an accordion, sketch a scene — you’re sure to see these activities, and many more) in the expansive Tempelhofer Freiheit park. Located next to the former Berlin airport (you can tour this fascinating piece of history if you like), it’s the very definition of an urban green space, and a great place to get a feel for Kreuzberg’s inimitable vibe.
Art and design lovers should definitely check out Aufbau Haus, a former factory that has been transformed into a multipurpose creative space. Designers, artists, chefs, and specialty sellers have come together to make this one of the most diverse and interesting creative centers in the city.
Kreuzberg’s shops reflect the eclectic tastes if its inhabitants. Voo is a tightly curated fashion concept store that sells current, minimalist pieces from international designers (you can even grab a excellent cup of coffee from their in-house coffee shop, CK). Take a stroll down Oranienstrasse to experience the diversity of Kreuzberg’s fashion design scene; the entire street is populated with both iconic and up and coming boutiques. Bibliophiles will love Dialogue, a bookseller specializing in English language books, which provides a welcoming and inspiring space to browse and, well, dialogue with the friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Home to a large Turkish population, Kreuzberg has no shortage of places to grab a savory kebab. A favorite among locals is Mustafa's Gemusekebap. Choose between shaved seasoned lamb or chicken – or choose fried vegetables for a vegetarian option – and Mustafa’s expert cooks will create an unforgettable sandwich on a fresh bun with a selection of sauces, topped with spices, feta cheese and lemon.
Kreuzberg is full of fantastic independent coffee shops and bakeries. My favorite is Five Elephant Roastery and Cake Shop, a socially responsible micro roastery that sources beans from all over the world. In addition to indulging in a great cuppa, you can also satisfy your sweet tooth with Five Elephant’s delectable pastries and cakes.