Best Neighbourhoods in Berlin
Berlin is divided into 12 different neighbourhoods (Bezirke in German), with each of it having its own vibe and feel.
Each of these neighbourhoods consists of several districts (Ortsteile oder Kieze in German).
So if somebody is telling about the fantastic Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood you can correct him/her and tell him/her that Prenzlauer Berg is actually a district of Pankow.
Occasionally you will hear the German word “Kiez” which describes even smaller parts of the different districts such as the Kollwitzkiez in Prenzlauer Berg which is part of Pankow. Easy, right?
No matter if you are a student looking to party or a family looking for a quiet neighbourhood, Berlin has a place for everybody to feel at home.
Before we dive into more specific details about the best neighbourhoods in Berlin have a look at the complete list of neighbourhoods in Berlin.
- Pankow (including the hipster-district Prenzlauer Berg)
Berlin – Mitte
From Brandenburger Tor, to Reichstag, to the Jewish Memorial, there is so much history that it is almost impossible to cover all of it.
But Berlin Mitte is not stuck in the past. If you are interested in shopping, you will find the most expensive and exclusive brands and shops around here.
The area around Hackescher Markt is famous for little upscale boutiques, while Unter den Linden is home to major brands like Nivea, Microsoft and Volkswagen.
Most of Berlin’s fast growing start-up scene is located around Torstrasse, also known as Silicon Alley.
If you want to see today’s tech pioneers, make sure to find a place in cafes like St. Oberholz, and watch the armada of hipsters with their Apple Macbooks and Ipads discussing their newest business ideas over a cup of Chai Latte.
And last but not least, Berlin Mitte also offers a wide range of interesting restaurants.
If you are looking for the best steak in town, you will find yourself between movie stars and local celebrities at Grill Royal.
If you feel like Asian food make sure to pay Monsieur Wong a visit (also lots of hip people there), or if you haven’t made up your mind yet, then just wander around the area between Hackescher Markt and Alexanderplatz and you will surely find a great spot to grab a bite.
In summer the area around Monbijou-Park is our absolute favorite.
People enjoying a cold beer from the Späti listening to music and watching people dancing Tango – this feels more like Buenos Aires than Berlin 🙂
Berlin – Pankow including Prenzlauer Berg
It is famous for the vast amount of young families living in the area.
If you go for a walk around on a Saturday afternoon, you will see more babies than in any other neighbourhood.
The reason new hip parents choose to move to Prenzlauer Berg is that it is clean, safe and there is an inviting atmosphere for children and a full range of activities for mummies and babies, from pre-natal yoga to playgrounds in every corner.
Prenzlauer Berg is also popular for its health food scene, with more organic food shops and vegan cafes than any other neighbourhood.
But if you are into eating steak and you don’t know what all the different recycling bin colours are for, don’t worry.
Prenzlauer Berg hosts many restaurants and bars where you can have a delicious steak (check out Vila Rodizio – South American meat heaven) and enjoy a drink with your friends in an chic, fun and trendy environment.
If you fancy a quieter area and more green we would definitely recommend to check out the area around Florakiez in Pankow or even further north.
But be aware that as long as the airport Tegel is still operating it can get quite loud in the northern parts of Pankow as some areas are in the direct approach flight path for Tegel.
Berlin – Friedrichshain
This neighbourhood offers affordable housing, all sorts of restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, shops and boutiques.
It is suitable for those who are looking for a lively atmosphere, as the party never stops in Friedrichshain.
However, there are also some spots where you can enjoy peace and quiet, while being close to public transport and supermarkets.
Friedrichshain has a young population, which is not surprising given that the rents are cheap, there is a huge amount of cool places to hang out and wherever you live in the neighbourhood, the party scene is just a few steps away.
Friedrichshain is also home to world famous techno clubs such as Berghain and the whole RAW area.
So if you fancy some party the whole area around S-Bahn Warschauer Strasse is perfect for you.
Berlin – Kreuzberg
Riddled with artists, students and foreigners, Kreuzberg will never be boring.
You will always find a new cuisine to try, an art exhibition to check out or a special night in a bar where you can salsa the night away.
From the hundreds of bars on Oranienburger Strasse to the other hundreds of bars around Schlesisches Tor, you are bound to find your new favourite place to hang out with your new friends in this neighbourhood.
Kreuzberg is also packed with clubs, with most of them being only a couple of stops away by train.
If nightlife isn’t your thing, Kreuzberg can still be a good choice for you, as it also offers beautiful homes at much lower prices than in other neighbourhoods.
Kreuzberg is also home to the majority of the Turkish community in Berlin which means the streets are always full of life and you will get the best Turkish food in Berlin in Kreuzberg.
As already mentioned at the top Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain are actually one neighbourhood, but we decided to split them up as they are so extremely different and both deserved some more detailed attention.
Berlin – Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
This might be partly true as Charlottenburg is cleaner, more organized and probably more boring than the rest of Berlin.
But Charlottenburg is the heart of West-Berlin and also home of the famous Kurfürstendamm and KaDeWe.
Kurfürstendamm is, along with Unter den Linden, the most exclusive shopping street in Berlin.
It is not surprising that Apple has opened its new Apple Store recently on Kurfürstendamm.
The new Apple Store is now neighbours with other exclusive brands, such as Gucci, Chanel, and Budapester.
If you are around Charlottenburg, make sure you pay a visit to KaDeWe – especially their incredible food court, located on the top floor of the beautiful building.
Whether you feel like eating the best Schnitzel in Berlin or having an exclusive piece of Kobe beef, the food court at KaDeWe will blow you away.
In the unlikely case that you could not find what you were looking for at KaDeWe, then the Europa Center or the big shops around Tauentzienstraße would be your next best stop.
Also Charlottenburg is home to the famous Kantstraße with hundreds of Asian restaurants.
If you are into Asian cuisine then you need to visit one of the countless restaurants there such as Lon Mens Noodle House.
The whole area around Kantstrasse is home to uncountable asian restaurants with very authentic cuisine.
Berlin – Neukölln
Traditionally Neukölln is home to a very big Arabic and Turkish community, which gives this neighbourhood a very exotic touch.
In recent years many new-Berliners discovered Neukölln as a great place to live, as rents are still comparably low and the nightlife is almost unmatched.
Make sure to take enough time to explore this neighbourhood in Berlin and enjoy the multi cultural feeling in Neukölln.
Neukölln is also the epicenter of hipsters in Berlin, for the best and the worst.
Gentrification is a very sensitive topic in Neukölln where traditionally the rents were low as were the incomes of the majority of the people living there.
Since the international crowd has discovered Neukölln there are new organic and vegan restaurants opening on a daily basis.
But this also means that more and more people want to move to Neukölln and rents are skyrocketing.
Our tip is to nevertheless have some baklava and tea in one of the many cafes, enjoy some of the best restaurants (BBI – Berlin Burger International) in Berlin and just watch people passing by – Neukölln is the perfect place to do all of that.
Berlin – Lichtenberg
One of the former Eastern Berlin areas and still today Lichtenberg cannot deny its Eastern heritage.
Lichtenberg is home to countless of the typical Eastern German Plattenbauten, which are basically massive building blocks that have been hip in the past but nowadays look a little bit outdated.
However Lichtenberg has its own style and is also e.g. home to the Dong Xuan market where you will find anything from plastic gadgets to authentic Vietnamese cuisine, cheap haircuts and fresh flowers.
Berlin Marzahn – Hellersdorf
Both Marzahn and Hellersdorf are at a first glance very similar to Lichtenberg.
You can clearly see again the Eastern German heritage, which are blocks after blocks of Plattenbauten.
But Marzahn e.g. is also home to the famous Gärten der Welt, which is great park to get away from all the noise of the city.
Even the Internationale Gartenausstellung 2017 was hosted there. So keep an open mind when visiting Marzahn and Hellersdorf and you won’t be disappointed.
Berlin – Reinickendorf
One of the least know neighbourhoods of Berlin – Reinickendorf – but almost every tourist or local has been there at least once as Flughafen Tegel is located in Reinickendorf.
Also Reinickendorf is know for a lot of Plattenbauten, but if you take the time to explore the area you will find a lot of nice spots such as Tegel and the Tegeler See (lake).
When taking the U6 to the last stop Tegel and walking down the main road towards the lake you feel like being on vacation (at least when the sun is shining).
Berlin – Steglitz – Zehlendorf
When Berliners are talking about the old West-Berlin districts most of them will talk about Charlottenburg as it was the busiest neighbourhood with KaDeWe and Kudamm.
But many of them used to live in the districts Steglitz and Zehlendorf and they still do.
Neither Steglitz nor Zehlendorf transformed (or were being gentrified) into yet another district full of hipster coffee shops and hords of tourists.
So if you are looking for a quiet neighbourhood to live in with your family give Steglitz and Zehlendorf a try.
Also a big plus if you need to drive with a car for your job a lot you are quickly on your way South and West without being stuck in traffic.
Berlin – Tempelhof – Schöneberg
Tempelhof is most famous for the now closed city airport Tempelhof which played a crucial role during the Sovjet blockade of West-Berlin in Cold War times.
Countless American planes started and landed each day in order to bring in food and other supplies to West-Berlin.
Nowadays Tempelhof is one of the most famous locations for Berliners to hang out during a day off and do sports like kiting or skating.
Schöneberg used to be the cultural hub of West-Berlin with many famous stars such as David Bowie living and recording their albums there.
Nowadays you can still feel the special and tolerant vibe of Schöneberg, especially around Nollendorfplatz with all the gay bars and sex shops.
Berlin – Spandau
If you want to be a true Berlin you should quickly learn that Berliners make fun of Spandau and don’t count it as part of Berlin.
And Spandauers themselves count themselves rather as Spandauers than as Berliners.
But nevertheless Spandau is a great place to live with nice nature and many lakes just a stone throw away.
Furthermore the Spandau Zitadelle is a very famous location for concerts and other cultural events.
And best of all there are trains taking you to Berlin Alexanderplatz and Friedrichstrasse in less than 20 minutes.
Berlin – Treptow – Köpenick
Treptow and Köpenick are also great neighbourhoods for families to live in.
Treptow has a more Berlin-feel with the vicinity to Kreuzberg/Friedrichshain/Neukölln but at the same time you will have a lot of green spaces such as the Treptower Park.
In fact Treptower Park is one of the best parks in Berlin.
It is so wide that you will always find enough space even playing frisbee, you can enjoy Berlins skyline and you are next to the Spree. So what more can you ask for in a park.
Köpenick however is even greener and more relaxed than Treptow.
In summer Köpenick makes for a great day-trip destination with all the lakes and restaurants around.
Once you decided which neighbourhood in Berlin suits you best it is now time to think about all the things you can do in Berlin.