Berlin is a city with some pretty rough edges, which is exactly what makes it such an interesting and exciting place to visit. However, amidst all the scruffy corners with their rundown buildings and graffiti there are some very pretty streets too. Below are 10 of my favourite streets in the German capital. From under-discovered shopping streets in central Berlin to pretty leafy roads a bit more off-the-beaten-track – each of these streets has their own character and is totally worth exploring!
Alte and Neue Schönhauser Strasse
The Alte Schöhauser Strasse and its extension the Neue Schöhauser Strasse lie in the heart of Mitte. Compared to the nearby grey and brutalist Alexanderplatz these two streets feel cheerful and cozy. They offer a range of cool fashion and design shops – both independent and chains – and some brilliant easygoing restaurants and coffee shops. YamYam at number 6 does some of the best bibimbap in town and you can get great coffee and German bread at Zeit für Brot at number 4.
Prenzlauerberg is characterised by its wide, leafy and tranquil streets and in that sense the Oderbergestrasse fits in perfectly. The beautiful pastel-coloured buildings in this street house some of the neighbourhood’s prettiest cafes and terraces. Bonanza Coffee Heroes at number 35 is known across town for its great coffee and PAR Creamery at number 38 is a nice ice cream bar.
The elegant Kastanienallee in Prenzlauerberg is a joy to walk through. Flanked by chestnut trees (‘Kastanien’ in German), this street has some of the nicest independent stores, coffee shops and lunch bars in the area. Sababa at number 50 is a great place to try some lovely Israeli food, Babel at number 33 sells some of the best Lebanese kebabs in town and Cat Tuong at number 89 is the go-to place for vegans. For nice coffee and ice cream head to Glücklich am Park at number 54 What’s more, Kastanienallee is home to one of Berlin’s nicest beer gardens – Prater Garten at number 7-9 is a hidden green oasis and a great place to sit down with a drink on a sunny day!
A much lesser known street in Prenzlauerberg, but one of my favourites precisely for that reason. Hufelandstrasse is a classic Prenzlauerberg street with beautiful apartment buildings partly hidden behind large trees. The bigger crowds may not yet have found their way to this corner but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on. On the contrary – there are some lovely coffee shops and restaurants, including the brilliant vegetarian bar Satt & Glücklich at number 3 and Portuguese restaurant A Cabana at number 15.
Located in eclectic Friedrichshain, the Simon-Dach-Strasse feels worlds apart from the much busier and congested Warschauerstrasse, which runs parallel to it. Both sides of this cobblestone street are lined with unpretentious bars and cafes, popular among the many students living in this sometimes scruffy yet lively neighbourhood. This place is especially worth checking out on a Thursday or Friday evening!
Kreuzberg is one of Berlin’s most multicultural neighbourhoods and that’s reflected in the Oranienstrasse. The street is full of Turkish, Vietnamese, Iranian and Italian shops and restaurants. The diversity of this street is what gives it its special vibe. At night, life continues in one of the street’s many bars. Café Luzia at number 34 attracts many regulars and at number 190 you’ll find SO36, one of Berlin’s most legendary music venues, made famous by David Bowie and Iggy Pop.
Kreuzberg has some horrendously looking apartment blocks, but they’re nowhere to be seen in the Bergmannstrasse. Its wide pavements are used by shops to display their goods and by bars to line up their terraces. It’s a perfect spot for a drink and some people watching. Knofi at number 98 is one of my favourite places here: they sell Turkish produce and dishes that can be eaten on their lovely terrace.
Schlesische Strasse is quite busy in terms of traffic, but I’ve included it here because of its huge number of lively bars and snackbars. Wendel at number 42 is a great Berlin-style bar (read: rundown and graffiti walls) and for a late night snack you have to try the famous hamburgers of Burgermeister, an iconic burger joint based in a former public bathroom underneath the iron arches of the overground metro.
The Weserstrasse, between Kreuzberg and Neukölln, may seem rather unremarkable at first sight, but look beyond the gritty facades, the shut window blinds and the messy pavements and you’ll find some pretty cool new shops and bars as well as good old kebab places. This area, including the surrounding streets, is busiest in the evenings, when the hipsters come out to play. Vin Aqua Vin at number 204 is a popular wine bar and KADUKA at number 207 is a perfect spot for a drink in a cozy, homely environment.
Schöneberg is not on most visitors’ radar – surprisingly, because I think this pretty Berlin neighbourhood is much underrated. It was good enough for David Bowie after all! Avoid the neighbourdhood’s bigger roads and instead try to explore some of the smaller side streets, such as the Akazienstrasse. This nice and relatively quiet street not only has some nice small shops and bars, you can also find some of the best coffee in town here at Double Eye at number 21.