In a city famous for its 24-hour nightlife, there’s no surprise that Kreuzberg is home to a number of the city’s coolest cafes. Five Elephant, on Reichenberger Strasse, serves one of the best flat whites in Berlin. And, if coffee isn’t your thing, there’s always the caffeinated cola (and iconic symbol of the modern Berliner) Club Mate, a bottled drink you’ll find at every bar and spatî (convenience store) in town.
Without question, Kreuzberg’s Maybachufer canals are the place to be for sunset and sunrise. Find a spot along the canal during the “golden hour” or perch on one of the bridges (Admiralbrücke is a local favourite).
Kreuzberg’s Markthalle Neun is the area’s foodie hotspot, especially on Thursday evenings during the weekly “Street Food Thursday” event – try the ice-cream cookies from Zwei Dicke Bären (also with vegan options) or grab something from one of the many international vendors, from Egyptian to Korean food.
Plastered in graffiti and street art, Kreuzberg’s streets and walkways are art unto themselves. Germany’s capital has become a hotbed of diversity, with artists, bohemians and entrepreneurs flocking to the city. Kreuzberg has long been an eclectic neighbourhood with a history of providing space (and squats) to fringe groups, immigrants and artists – and today that continues with its influx of new international restaurants, cool coffeehouses and trendy bars. Kreuzberg (or X-Berg, as the locals call it) once straddled both East and West Berlin, on the border between two worlds. Today, it’s a mix of cultures and the epicentre of Berlin’s unique style and culture.
Kreuzberg’s hotspots centre around two distinct areas of the neighbourhood – Kreuzberg 61 and Kreuzberg 36 (named after their zip codes). Kreuzberg 36, the more alternative of the two, is home to punk rock club SO36, renowned chicken restaurant Huhnerhaus 36, and Berlin’s best currywurst which you can get at Curry36. It’s also where you’ll find Berlin’s most absurd park, Görlitzer Park, home to an underground, black-lit mini-golf course in a former train station, and Oranienstrasse – Kreuzberg’s coolest street which is lined with graffiti, independent art galleries and fashion-friendly shops such as Voo Store.
There’s a vibrant energy that pervades throughout Kreuzberg, but it’s at full blast in the summertime when crowds flock the canals and open spaces of the neighbourhood. And on each May Day, the neighborhood plays host to one of Berlin’s most incredible festivals, the MyFest street festival – a festival once mired by clashes between local working-class residents and the police. Today, however, it’s a peaceful celebration with live music, street food and dance parties in the streets and parks.
Adam Groffman, Travels of Adam