One of our favorite areas in Berlin is the artsy cool Prenzlauer Berg, so our Prenzlauer Berg travel guide can be your personal map to just a few of the not-to-miss things in the neighborhoods there. There are so many wonderful places it is hard to pick a few to highlight! Farmers markets, street festivals, history, architecture, tree-lined streets and so much more are what you can find here.

To relate to and embrace the vibe in Prenzlauer Berg you have to understand a bit of history. Prenzlauer Berg was a section of Berlin entirely in East Berlin before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. It is immediately adjacent to the hoppin’ “Mitte” (middle) – the center of Berlin that was also in the East. Being the center, Mitte developed at a quicker pace when the wall fell, with its monuments, museums and cathedrals gaining new faces. Right next door, however, Prenzlauer Berg remained more rundown with older historic buildings, which became a Bohemian mecca. Both areas edge the former West and the Mauerpark – or Berlin Wall Park — today, not only a living monument to the horror the wall embodied and the toll on citizens, but also a real community gathering point.

Only recently, has Prenzlauer Berg (considered a subsection of the Pankow borough) gained more attention. It is also being slowly transformed into a trendy residential neighborhood – much to the chagrin of some artsy and Bohemian types. Remaining is, however, wonderful historic architecture as well as factories finding second lives as shopping, sightseeing and club arcades. Since it was one of the few areas in Berlin that was not leveled by Allied bombing, many of the old buildings and apartments have been renovated, with exteriors that match the artistic and international flair of Prenzlauer Berg’s significant population of university students and young families.

Countless pubs, restaurants, cafes with sidewalk seating, art galleries and neighborhood boutique shops create an eclectic atmosphere that is unique from the rest of Berlin – day or night, particularly around the areas of Helmholtzplatz and Kollwitzplatz. Expect to hear plenty of English and languages other than German when sitting in cafes or wandering the streets. Prenzlauer Berg, along with several other neighborhoods in Berlin, remains a focal point of the international art scene due in part to the still more affordable apartment and studio space compared to other cosmopolitan destinations such as New York, Paris or London.

Read on for a quick Prenzlauer Berg travel guide highlighting things to see and do not far from Kollwitzplatz:

Eating, drinking, dawdling

Coffee, wine, beer or cake anyone? — Any direction you look, you will find enticing places to enjoy a chilled glass of Müller Thurgau wine or a hot coffee und home-baked “Kuchen” (cake) while taking in the street scene. One of our favorite destinations is Café Anna Blume with an incredible outside patio, perfect as a place to kick-back and enjoy any time of day (Kollwitzstrasse 83, +49 30 44048641, cafe-anna-blume.de/en.html.)

Another wonderful place to sit and while away time is at a sister location to Café Anna Blume, the “SowohlAlsAuch” restaurant and coffee house, diagonally across the street. Our team (that would be Therese) remains on a quest for the best cheesecake in Berlin, and while we cannot state for the record this location has the best cheesecake anywhere, it certainly ranks in the top tier. Testing continues of course. (Kollwitzstraße 88, +49 (0)30 4429311, tortenundkuchen.de.)

Getting educated

Alltag Museum in Prenzlauer Berg

“Alltag in Der DDR” museum (DDR Everyday Lie) is a must-visit when in Berlin. Truly a top-flight museum. Here is the classic East “Trabi” car with its then popular roof-top camper.

Museums – No Prenzlauer Berg travel guide would be complete without a few museum recommendations. And an absolute must-visit is the Museum in the Kulturbrauerie – “Alltag in Der DDR.” (Knaackstrasse 97; +49 30 46 77 77 9-0, www.hdg.de, Free admission). Open since 2014, this relatively new, very lively, interactive, permanent exhibit is stunningly well created, showing visitors what everyday life was really like in the DDR (former East Germany, a.k.a. GDR). Also far less known, but fascinating, is the Museum at Pankow, showing through pictures, video, audio and text life specifically in Prenzlauer Berg before, during and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The exhibition is entirely in German, but if you hunt around (or ask, if you can find someone) there is a binder full of English translations for the exhibits in the “Green” room, with before and after photos and other area memorabilia. (Prenzlauer Allee 227/228 – though there is an entrance also on Kolmarer Strasse, +49 30 902953916, berlin.de/museum-pankowFree admission.)

Gegenentwuerfe Museum Pankow Prenzlauer Berg

In the Museum at Pankow be sure to seek out the binder full of English translations for the exhibits in the “Green” room, with before and after photos and other area memorabilia.

Tracing history’s steps

Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery, Schönhauser Allee – Recognized as Berlin’s second Jewish cemetery and opened in 1827, the setting of the “Jüdischer Friedhof” is as beautiful as it is somber. This is where you will find the grave sites of many famous Jewish people, including the artist Max Liebermann. Though it is not clear when you enter, men are requested to keep their heads covered (any hat will do), but if you are not wearing a hat, there is a basket of traditional kippots to use. Take a look at our video below. (Schönhauser Allee 23-25, +49 30 4419824, www.jg-berlin.org/en/judaism/cemeteries/schoenhauser-allee.html.)

The Judengang – Literally translated, the name means the “Jewish Walkway” and runs from Knaackstrasse to Senefelderplatz in the Kollwitz area, providing access to the rear entrance to the Jewish cemetery on Schönhauser Allee. One explanation regarding its creation says that King Friedrich Wilhelm III ordered this back entrance during the days when he rode to Schönhausen Castle so he did not have to cross paths with funeral processions. There is a fair amount of doubt regarding the truth to this story, however. (Gate is located between Knaackstrasse 40 and 42. Although the path is not open at this time, it is worth the stop to gaze through the Star of David portal. http://www.jg-berlin.org/en/judaism/cemeteries/schoenhauser-allee.html.)

Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide takes you past the Jewish path behind the cemetery.

Peeking through the locked gate where once was the entrance to the Judengang (Jewish Walkway).

Oderberger Strasse Fire Station — It was a fire that destroyed the Opera House in Unter den Linden in 1843 that led to the founding of the Berlin fire brigade. This, the oldest fire station still on duty today in Germany, was opened on Nov. 26, 1883. Don’t stand in the driveway as emergency vehicles still come and go … with urgency. Worth a walk by, if only to gander into one of the cool pubs or pizzerias along the street (Oderberger Strasse 24/25).

Oldest operating firehouse in Berlin is in Prenzlauer Berg

Going out, hanging out

Kulturbrauerei — Prenzlauer Berg was once the main headquarters for the Schultheiss Brewery. More breweries arrived and soon the area and its “biergarten” (beer gardens) became a destination for visitors. That in turn drove housing development. In the late 1890s the brewery expanded – establishing the yellow brick exterior complex – and by WWI was recognized as the largest brewery in the world. Today, with a much smaller biergarten, the Kulturbrauerei (Culture Brewery) is more widely recognized as a destination for events, like “Food Truck Sundays,” restaurants and studios. Or just hanging out. (Schönhauser Allee 36, +49 30 44352614, www.kulturbrauerei.de.)

Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg

A rare, quiet moment inside the Kulturbrauerei courtyard … within a few hours of this photo the courtyard was filling with revelers eager to watch Germany play in the semi-finals of the 2016 Euro Cup.

Sleeping, swimming and history too

Hotel Oderberger historic pool restored in Prenzlauer Berg.

The regal pool area of the former Oderberger City Baths with renovation nearly done for an October 2016 opening.

Oderberger Strasse public swimming pool (and now hotel) — Built in 1902 as a public bathhouse for Berlin and constructed in German Renaissance style, this magnificent building and pool fell into disrepair and went out of service in the mid 1990’s. The building was purchased by the neighboring GLS Language School and is now part of that campus, renamed the Hotel Oderberger and open only since January 2016. The historic pool was being refurbished in Summer 2016 for an opening to the public by October. (Oderberger Strasse 57/59, +49 30 780089-760, www.hotel-oderberger.berlin.)

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What to do in Berlin planning map

In the map below, pins mark the exact location of the sites and places to see mentioned in our articles and travel tips on Berlin, Germany. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name of the destination or location as well as any additional information, including links to stories and articles. This map is the perfect place to begin planning what to do in Berlin for one, two, three or more days.

Turkish Market - Neukölln

Along the street next to a canal, the Turkish Market has a true street market feel. It is not groomed! Turkish women mix with tourists and locals. You see serious shoppers and tourists with cameras. To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets as well as Berlin Turkish Market: Flavors, Food, Deals In Oriental Bazaar Setting.

Markthalle Neun - Kreuzberg

Mind-boggling, really, the types of food, drink and true culinary delights, many of which are really pushing the envelope a bit. Burritos, oysters, burgers, grilled cheese, French cheeses, Sushi, Asian noodles, and much more. Fine wines, frothy international beers, even a Berlin-area whiskey distillery! To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets.

Winterfeldplatz Markt - Schöneberg

German, all the way, but with a nouveau feel. Locals are out shopping for the week, others are dropping in for a little saunter and snack. To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets.

Kulturbrauerei - Prenzlauer Berg

The “Culture Brewery” is a former brewery that has been transformed into a hot spot with stores, a museum, a grocery store, movie theater and a nice courtyard, where of course the food trucks pull in on Sundays. A much more mellow scene, with young families, couples, groups of friends, but not so many tourists. Tables and benches are set up but seating goes fast in nice weather. To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets as well as Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Thai Wiese - Wilmersdorf

Noodles, salads, dumplings, satays, you name it! There is Thai food here you will likely not find in any restaurant in Berlin or in most other cities. Get a Thai massage even if you are so inclined. To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets as well as Thai Park Berlin A Feast For Eyes And Tummies Seeking Yum Thai Food.

Q110 Bank of the Future

Earlier in 2016, HI Travel Tales wrote about a new kind of banking experience by Deutsche Bank called “Q110 Bank” or “Bank of the Future.” We were quite enthralled by the casual and friendly, yet efficient and hard-working experience. Granted, it can be a little alarming at first to search for a bank on the web and walk over to the front door, only to be stopped dead in your tracks, starting into a wide-open space that leaves you cocking your head and furrowing your brow: Is this really a bank? Or a coffee shop? Or a boutique??? Am I in the right place? Where are the counters? The offices?  Learn more in our story, Q110 Bank of the Future In Berlin By Deutsche Bank Gets Revamp.

Jewish Cemetery at Schönhauser Allee

Recognized as Berlin’s second Jewish cemetery and opened in 1827, the setting of the “Jüdischer Friedhof” is as beautiful as it is somber. This is where you will find the grave sites of many famous Jewish people, including the artist Max Liebermann.  To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Artist's War Memorial Bethlehemkirchplatz

The memorial on the Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz (Bethlehem Church Square) is actually the work of Spanish artist Juan Garaizabel to commemorate the Bohemian Bethlehem Church. This small church was built for Bohemian evangelical refugees in about 1735 and was a center of the community. It was destroyed by bombing in 1943. Read more in our Photographer's Diary, Artist's War Memorial At Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz.

Cafe Anna Blume

One of our favorite coffee and cake destinations is Café Anna Blume with an incredible outside patio, perfect as a place to kick-back and enjoy any time of day. To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Museum at Pankow

To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Museum in the Kulturbrauerie (Alltag in Der DDR)

And an absolute must-visit is the Museum in the Kulturbrauerie – “Alltag in Der DDR.” (Free admission). Open since 2014, this relatively new, very lively, interactive, permanent exhibit is stunningly well created, showing visitors what everyday life was really like in the DDR (former East Germany, a.k.a. GDR). To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Oderberger Strasse Fire Station

This, the oldest fire station still on duty today in Germany, was opened on Nov. 26, 1883. Don’t stand in the driveway as emergency vehicles still come and go … with urgency. To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Judengang (Jewish Walkway)

Literally translated, the name means the “Jewish Walkway” and runs from Knaackstrasse to Senefelderplatz in the Kollwitz area, providing access to the rear entrance to the Jewish cemetery on Schönhauser Allee.  To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Hotel Oderberger

Built in 1902 as a public bathhouse for Berlin and constructed in German Renaissance style, this magnificent building and pool fell into disrepair and went out of service in the mid 1990’s. The building was purchased by the neighboring GLS Language School and is now part of that campus, renamed the Hotel Oderberger and open only since January 2016. To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Berlin Underground Tours - Gesundbrunnen station

Underground city tours always seemed to be a tourist come-on to me, but then we discovered Berlin Underground tours. Not a for-profit business, not a tour that drops you off in a gift shop, not a tour that starts in a bar and highlights raucous partying, this is the real deal in Berlin’s Underground. Learn more in our story, Haunting History on Berlin Underground Tours.

Gedenkstaette Mauer

Yumcha Heros

Yumcha Heroes dumpling house with Asian dim sum, soups, salads and noodles for a refreshing break from German meats and cabbage. Learn more by reading our story, Dine, Wine, Dawdle and Doze When Visiting Berlin.

Süsse Sünde

Süsse Sünde (Sweet Sins) walk-up ice cream counter across the street for desert (try “Schoko-Chili-Sauerkirsch” aka Chocolate Chili Sour Cherry, “Pfirsich-Lavendula” aka Peach-Lavender, etc…). Learn more by reading our story, Dine, Wine, Dawdle and Doze When Visiting Berlin.

Cafe Fleury

Cafe Fleury is a wonderful place for people-watching on the patio with quiche or salads. Learn more by reading our story, Dine, Wine, Dawdle and Doze When Visiting Berlin.

Sowohl Als Auch Restaurant and Coffee House

Another wonderful place to sit and while away time is at a sister location to Café Anna Blume, the “SowohlAlsAuch” restaurant and coffee house, diagonally across the street.  To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz is an important public square and traffic intersection in the center of Berlin, Germany, lying about 1 km south of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, and close to the southeast corner of the Tiergarten park. Learn more in our Discover Berlin Walking Tour: Shortlist of Top Sites.

Hackescher Markt

Checkpoint Charlie

Topography of Terror Museum

Museumsinsel (Museum Island)

Gendarmenmarkt

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Reichstag Parliament Building

Brandenburger Tor

Berlin Tourist Information - Europa Center

The Europa Center at Breitscheidplatz is not just one of the most famous shopping centres in the city. It also distinguished by its location in the heart of West Berlin. The legendary Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), the Kurfürstendamm shopping street, the Berlin Zoo, and the historic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, are only a few steps away from here. The Berlin Tourist Information Centre here is also open on Sundays.

Berlin Tourist Information - Tegel Airport

Perfect for Berlin visitors arriving at Tegel airport. The Berlin Tourist Info Centre is located near the Gate 1 in Terminal A. It is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm.

Berlin Tourist Information - Berlin Central Station

In the shopping area at the new Berlin Central Station in a good position opposite the DB Information at the entrance Europaplatz you find the Berlin Tourist Info Centre. As soon as you arrive in the city, you can come here to make hotel bookings, get information and buy tickets. The new Berlin Central Station is a fascinating example of contemporary architecture, greeting travellers to the city with a bright and friendly atmosphere and a fantastic choice of shops. Centrally located, it is very close to the government quarter.

Berlin Tourist Information - Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate is Berlin's signature attraction. A visit to Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Tourist Info Centre in its south wing can be easily combined with a leisurely stroll along the Unter den Linden boulevard with its numerous places of interest. The Reichstag with its striking glass dome is also just a few minutes' walk from Brandenburg Gate.

Heads up! This information in this Prenzlauer Berg travel guide was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.
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Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business (www.NewNormalConsulting.com) built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
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