If there’s one thing in Berlin which seems will forever be a constant, it’s the struggle of finding an apartment. Any expat in Berlin will tell you the trouble of finding an affordable apartment in a decent location and for more than just a one-month sublet. It’s not easy, but with Berlin being oh-so-über cool, it’s just something we have to put up with.
And being the optimist that I am, despite having to move around apartments several times this summer, I’m making the most of it. Each new apartment provides a new neighborhood, or kiez, for me to explore. And with each new kiez I’m living in, it’s a whole new slew of opportunities to become the Foursquare mayor of local spätis, shawarma imbiss shops & other neighborhood shops.
VisitBerlin.de has a nice little description of what a kiez really is all about:
The word “Kiez” is used by Berliners to describe the neighbourhood where they live and feel at home. And in Berlin there are many of them, from Akazienkiez in Schöneberg to Wrangelkiez in Kreuzberg. It is the place where you buy your food, go out and have your home base, all in one. Each “Kiez” contributes to making the city an endearing metropolis.
I’ll share a few of my local favorites from my current kiez in Berlin’s coolest district: The Kreuzberg.
Reichenberger kiez (Kreuzberg)
On the western side of Görlitzer Park (my favorite hipster park in Berlin), Reichenbergerstraße is a stretch of street from Kottbusser Tor to the Landwehr Canal. Kreuzberg is Berlin’s epicenter of cool, and this little corner is part of the epicenter of the epicenter. SO COOL.
Here are a few of my favorite places in Reichenberger kiez:
- Zad falafel: I first went here when I was just a Couchsurfer and my host took me here for a falafel sandwich. I recently re-discovered the shawarma stand when I moved in nearby and now it’s become a regular stop on my weekly restaurant run
| foursquare | yelp |
- Zik Orangerie: I discovered this restaurant & cafeteria when working at a nearby travel start-up company. It’s a great place for lunch with some of the most affordable quality meals. They’ve also got a great purpose where they provide jobs for the under-privileged and hold weekly seminars to promote HIV, AIDS and hepatitis awareness. They publish their weekly menu online, too!
| foursquare | website |
- Zypyz nightclub: It’s a small place tucked away in the back room of a relatively hidden building. Often crowded and full of sweaty hipsters.
| unlike | yelp |
- Soulcat music club: Just about every day of the week you’ll find a bunch of skinny, tight-jeaned hipsters outside this music-oriented club. DJs are playing vinyl here all the time and it’s a great place to chill out in the early evening, and then rock out at night.
| twitter | website |
Just one block off Reichenberger Strasse is Weiner Strasse with a handful of other favorite places. Yellow Sunshine offers up some great veggie burgers and right next door is Tiki Heart Cafe which will serve up a real burger if you fancy that. On the nearby Ohlauer Strasse is Wowsville, a very Americanesque record shop & bar.
Want more of Berlin tips? You can check out my Berlin travel guide, or follow my “Hipster Berlin” list on Foursquare.
Explore other local neighborhood tips from more expat bloggers in Germany as part of the monthly Blogger Stammtisch. Check out the links below to see what’s up in other cities around Germany!
Great list. I love hearing about locals favorites, that have often taken months to find, something impossible for a visitor to discover in a few days. Thanks for sharing.
I like that three of your picks start with Z. That is a sign of hipster stuff right?
That is a cool description of the word Kiez. Has anyone told you where it comes from? I hear Quartier (Quarter) or Gebiet (area), but have never heard Kiez, but I guess that makes sense if it is a Berlin only thing.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Berlin just made up the word! There are a quite a few words here that I don’t think you hear elsewhere in Germany. Maybe an idea for next month’s stammtisch!
And I totally didn’t mean to use 3 places that start with Z. Complete coincidence! How funny…
It is to find the “affordable” apartment which is very difficult.
I now understand what “kiez” is!!! YAY, gosh you really are my favorite hipster! Going to check out your other Berlin Travel tips and the http://www.VisitBerlin.de site. Can’t believe I will be there in 30days! Now when I talk to Germans I will be well informed that Kreuzberg is the coolest district! I hear about it all the time, aaaaaaaaaall the time! lol Great post.
I’m heading to Berlin next month and while my brother and sister both live there, they haven’t been there that long and there’s a lot they don’t know about the city. You’ve got some great local suggestions here and I’ll definitely be checking back for some tips when I’ve arrived.
[…] in all of Europe, then the neighborhood (or as we say in Berlin, “kiez”) of Kreuzberg is the coolest. With a thriving international community, more artists and bohemians than most other places and an […]