Kreuzberg: from the Canal to the Spree
If you look at the map of Berlin, you can see that Kreuzberg is standing as a very large part of south Berlin. Therefore it makes sense to divide it in 2 parts, east and west. Besides that, those 2 parts are in fact really different and used to have specific Zip codes.
This side of Berlin was the very end of the american sector after the war, and the more you would go close to the wall, the less you would find this lively and rich rhythm from West Berlin. Kreuzberg 61, was still kind of touched by this atmosphere, while Kreuzberg 36 stand like the cheapest part of the city, with low rents, a lot of empty spaces to occupy, since the area has been harshly bombed over the WWII. Therefore, the area remained a bit less sensitive to the economic explosion which was happening next to it.
Besides, the new “government” announced that young men living in west Berlin would be exempted from National service. A statement which made all kind of anarchist, hippies, punks and artists from all over Germany to settle there.
That’s how Kreuzberg built its reputation of alternative and creative district, while being the field where strong political ideas and attitudes were growing. Nowadays, as everybody knows, the gentrification has made deep changes in the cityscape and at first glance, you would think the alternative Kreuzberg is gone. But it’s still a very popular area, where culture, food and nightlife bring all together a unique experience for the visitor.
Kottbusser Tor and around
The Ubahn station Kottbusser Tor is Kreuzberg’s heart and the square is actually a realistic reflection of how mixed is this district. Honorable turkish old men sitting and talking in the northern corner, following the construction steps of the new mosque, on Skalitzer Strasse, in the same building than some of the greatest night bars in the area. On the other side of the Adalbertstrasse, this is the favorite meeting point for all the junkies in town (hardcore visions, be careful). The, on the Skalitzer strasse south side, one of the headquarters of LGBT community, Südblock its lovely terrace full of young and beautiful living in the area, with as background, the high facades of typical social buildings from the 70’s. You’ve made the round and it’s always so lively and different. Kottbusser Tor is also the western point of Kreuzberg 36 so it’s a good start to explore the rest of the area. If you go south, you’ll reach the canal, a good spot to have a drink at das Hotel for instance, or Bruegge. Or if you walk a bit more further, through the Admiralstrasse, you’ll reach the Admiralbrücke, favorite spot for people to watch the sunset. If you go north, you’ll reach the busy nightlife part of Kreuzberg.
Kreuzberg Nightlife, Oranienstrasse and Kotti
This area is literally full of bars while clubs are not far away, which explain that the main street, Oranienstrasse is constantly packed with people, going from one bar to another, eating some comfort street food before buying a beer at the nearest späti. You can start from the Ubahn station Moritzplatz and have a look at the Prinzessinnengarten, a collective vegetables and fruits garden where you can also have a drink and eat some organic and vegan dishes. Then go on your left, up along the Erkelenzdamm, where a little canal used to connect the Landwerhkanal and the Spree, before it has been closed for insalubrity in the 20’s. It remains at the end an artificial lake, with a nice view from the Cafe am Engelbecken (main interest of that bar though).
Where to go out in Kreuzberg?
If you feel like starting the night with a movie or a restaurant in Kreuzberg, follow the Bethaniendamm until the beautiful Mariannenplatz, where stands this particular building, and old religious hospital, which is now known as the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien. It is nowadays a cultural center, with a lovely restaurant, 3 Schwestern and a fantastic open air movie theater. Go back south through the Adalbertstrasse or the Mariannenstrasse to the Oranienstrasse, until you find your favorite bar. Möbel Holfe, Würgeengel or Cafe Luzia are here warmly recommended. The Lupita, the Monarch, Fahimi, are among the nicest dancing bars you can find around. For clubbing, there’s numerous options: Gretchen, Prince Charles, Ritter Butzke, the Tresor, SO36… check the site Resident Advisor for all those parties.
Kreuzberg Nightlife part 2: Görlitzer Park and Schlesisches Tor
As you will probably find out, Kreuzberg is one of the wildest place in Berlin to go out. Besides Kottbusser Tor, another exciting area is around the station Schlesisches Tor. After a walk along the northern side of the Landwehrkanal, you can follow any street going toward Görlitzer Park, on old train station destroyed over the war, to find a bar which fits your style. The Reichenberger strasse or the Wiener Strasse for instance, are pretty active. Have dinner on the Lausitzer Platz, next to the Emmaus church, or drop by at the Markthalle Neue, a covered food market, where you can buy local products, eat some delicious ribs or fresh salmon sandwiches (only on Thursdays evening, otherwise, daily schedule) and go through the park or along Skalitzer strasse for a digestive walk. Kantine Kohlmann, Kirk, Sofia or Hopfenreich, for some craft beer in Kreuzberg, are good addresses for a drink. The Schlesiches area is more about seriously going out; check out Bi-nuu, a little concert/club venue below the Ubahn Station, the famous Watergate on the Spree, Lux, keep going with all the bars along the Schlesisches Strasse and finish the night at the Chalet, the Arena or the Klub der Visionäre. To end this aventure in a proper way, you’ll definitely need a burger at Burgermeister, under the Schlesisches Ubahn station.
Where are shops in Kreuzberg?
The main shopping street in this part of Kreuzberg, is also Oranienstrasse, where you can find some multibrand high street fashion stores, the very famous but not recommended Voo Store, and some more interesting shops, such as Corvera Vargas, Supermarché or Fritz. If you have time, you’ll find the Zalando Outlet, located on the Köpernicker strasse, after which you can have a drink on the Sage beach over summer.