Share the love at Roamers, where the vibe and food is Insta-worthy. (Photo: Elena Peters)
Once a gritty, graffiti-covered part of Berlin dominated by abandoned warehouses and döner kebab stalls, Neukölln’s cultural cachet has skyrocketed in recent years thanks to an influx of international hipsters.
Fortunately, the neighborhood has retained much of its original character and diversity.
As a result, visitors to these eclectic streets can enjoy a beguiling blend of new and old Berlin, where third-wave coffee shops and art galleries coexist peacefully with mom-and-pop Turkish bakeries.
Here are some of the best places to soak in its shabby-chic aesthetic and effortless cool.
Dine on Instagram-Worthy Brunch Fare
From the avocado toast to the pale purple smoothies, picture-perfect dishes at Roamers in Neukölln’s laid-back Reuterkiez district seem to come with the Valencia filter already added.
Luckily, this cozy café’s appeal goes well beyond aesthetics.
Specials like French toast with caramelized pears and maple bacon are the ultimate hangover antidote and there’s a neighborhood vibe that makes lingering over another flat white almost irresistible.
Try Natural Wines and Nose-to-Tail Cooking
Bold, whole-animal cooking is what’s on the menu at the perpetually packed Industry Standard.
For those who shy away from tongue, marrow and blood pudding, not to worry. Chef Ramses Manneck and his team treat vegetables here with the same level of reverence as meat.
Just down the street, the same international crew launched Wild Things, a watering hole with an impressive selection of natural wines.
Unlike most vino bars, this one is refreshingly free of pretense, as the friendly staff, funky murals and a succinct menu of short-rib toasties and other comfort food can attest.
Eat the Best Ice Cream Ever
They may not enjoy the same level of international stardom as their Italian counterparts, but Berlin’s sweet scoops can hold their own against the finest in Rome, Florence and Venice.
Swing by Gelateria Mos Eisley for terrific regular and vegan Eis (ice cream), as well as addictive ice cream sandwiches on homemade cookies courtesy of Zwei Dicke Bären in Schillerkiez. Or head to Fräulein Frost for eccentric flavors like Gorgonzola-pear or carrot-ginger.
Go Kite-Surfing or Bicycling by an Old Airport
Tempelhofer Feld might be one of the world’s most unusual and fiercely loved city parks.
Once the site of the city’s main airport, the land morphed into a public space after the last plane landed.
Today, kite-surfers, cyclists and rollerbladers glide down the old airstrip.
It’s all the more special given how close it came to disappearing — in 2015 a community-driven petition and movement saved the sprawling park from the hands of developers.
On long summer evenings, join Berlin’s barbecuers, guitar players, taiko drummers, amateur techno artists, dancers and dreamers on this glorious green expanse in the heart of the city.
Soak In the View from a Hidden Rooftop Bar
Although it’s no longer quite the local secret it once was, Klunkerkranich, an open-air bar hidden on top of a mall, is still the loveliest place to be on warm summer evenings.
Breeze past the generic fast-fashion chains and fluorescent-lit halls until you arrive at a rooftop sporting a lush urban garden and ramshackle bar where DJs spin chilled-out house music.
Check Out an Art Gallery
Even among the many heavy-hitters in Berlin’s constantly evolving gallery scene, Cell63 artplatform is worth a trip for its exceptionally curated collections.
Regular workshops and salons make it a gathering point for both local and international artists.
Embark on an Epic Bar Crawl
Berlin may be famous for its thundering techno clubs, but Weserstrasse and the surrounding cobblestone streets host an equally compelling nocturnal scene.
Here you’ll find more than a dozen living room–style speakeasies illuminated by flickering candles.
Options range from old-school Kneipen (pubs) to elegant craft cocktail dens.
Fuel up for a long evening at Beuster Bar, where both the beef tartare and the buttery steamed mussels come with a side of utterly addictive shoestring fries.
Feel free to wander into just about anywhere here, as some of the best spots lack so much as a sign.