Kreuzberg, Berlin is known as the alternative and bohemian heart of the capital of Germany. And surely, the district is full of cultural institutions, small restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world, (street) art and everything else you can expect in this kind of place.
But Kreuzberg offers so much more than it seems at first. The district is really diverse and whether you are looking for alternative spots, charming corners, or typical tourist attractions you will find something for yourself here since the list of things to do in Kreuzberg is really long.
This area was incorporated into Berlin fairly late, only in 1920. After the Berlin Wall was erected, Kreuzberg became part of West Berlin however surrounded by the Wall from three sides.
Since the living standard and the location weren’t very attractive here the district became popular among immigrants, artists, and students who created a peculiar mix that influenced the atmosphere of the place. Today Kreuzberg is slowly changing but the bohemian and multicultural vibe is still very much present there.
Table of contents
- 1 Where is Kreuzberg
- 2 Things to do in Kreuzberg
- 2.1 Discover Oranienstrasse
- 2.2 Discover amazing street art
- 2.3 Enjoy the foodscene at Markthalle Neun
- 2.4 Admire the funky architecture at Kottbuser Tor
- 2.5 Try food from all over the world
- 2.6 Enjoy art at Bethanien
- 2.7 Find the Treehouse on the Wall
- 2.8 Enjoy Engelbecken Park
- 2.9 Visit Museums
- 2.10 Eat probably the best kebab in Berlin
- 2.11 Enjoy Viktoriapark
- 2.12 Discover Bergmannkiez
- 2.13 Slow down at Landwehrkanal
- 2.14 Visit Checkpoint Charlie
- 2.15 Visit Topography of Terror Museum
- 3 Travel Resources
Where is Kreuzberg
Getting to Kreuzberg is really easy as the district is served by a few metro lines with numerous stops. You can get here by U1, U2, U6, U7, and U8.
I recommend getting Berlin Welcome Card for your trip to Germany’s capital – not only you can get discounts in numerous places (such as museums, restaurants, etc) but you can also use public transport for free.
Things to do in Kreuzberg
Below you can find my favorite things to do in Kreuzberg. Many of them were recommended to me by my local followers so you can be sure these are well-researched tips.
I also found Visit Berlin’s app “Going Local” very useful when exploring the neighborhoods – it’s easy to use and includes so many great places that make each of Berlin’s districts special.
Oranienstrasse, especially its section between Moritzplatz and Görlitzer Bahnhof is the unoficial center and heart of Kreuzberg. That’s where you will find numerous cafes, restaurants, and small shops as well as that’s where you will most likely go out in the evening in Kreuzberg.
If you are looking for a wide selection of international cuisine at affordable prices – Oranienstrasse is your place to go. No matter what time of the day, the street is always vibrant and packed with people, adding up to the atmosphere of the place.
Sit down in one of the cafes lining the street, to watch the world go by and to enjoy the undeniable Kreuzberg vibe before you start your Kreuzberg sightseeing.
Discover amazing street art
Street art in Berlin is epic and the city is known as the street art capital of Europe and there is no better place to get to know it than Kreuzberg. Since the district is a bit on the alternative and edgy side, you will find plenty of street art around, of various shapes and forms.
There are some of the best-known murals in Berlin are located in Kreuzberg, such as “Astronaut Cosmonaut” by French artist Victor Ash or famous paintings of animals by Belgian artist ROA. But basically, you can see street art around every corner of Kreuzberg and it’s up to you what kind of gems you will find there.
Unfortunately, the icon of Berlin street art – the murals by Italian artist BLU – were painted over in 2014 as his way to protest against changes happening in Kreuzberg and inflated prices of flats in the area.
Enjoy the foodscene at Markthalle Neun
Markthalle Neun is the market hall dating back to the 19th century that serves mostly locals but also getting more and more popular among tourists. It focuses on delivering fresh produce from local suppliers that you can buy on site.
Besides shopping for food you can also try numerous dishes served in the small restaurants and bars located in the hall. Markthalle Neun is also known for its events, such as Street Food Thursday when you can eat regional food from all over the world, Coffee Festival, or Cheese Festival.
Even if you are not very hungry it’s impossible to resist some of the delicious food available in Markthalle Neun. The place is also worth visiting for its atmosphere, so typical for diverse Kreuzberg.
Admire the funky architecture at Kottbuser Tor
I’m a big fan of weird architecture and the buildings surrounding Kottbuser Tor definitely fall into this definition.
The social housing estates here are really spectacular in shapes and forms and I’m sure all fans of modern architecture will appreciate them. They date mostly to the 1970s and 80s when Kreuzberg was still part of West Berlin, even if its poorest part. T
he most famous of the buildings is the so-called Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum, dominating the northern part of the square (that’s the structure towering above Adalbertstrasse) but other buildings around aren’t too shabby either.
Try food from all over the world
It’s not difficult to find delicious food in Berlin and Kreuzberg seems to be the real heaven for all the foodies.
Besides already mentioned Oranienstrasse and Markthalle Neun you can find small restaurants on every street and most of them serve delicious yet affordable food from all over the world. Doesn’t matter if you feel like trying some dishes from Africa, the Middle East, or Asia, chances are your next dining place is just a few steps away.
Enjoy art at Bethanien
Bethanien is the top spot for contemporary art in Berlin but this place has a long and interesting history.
In the past this oldest building in the district (dating back to 1847) used to be a hospital and afterward, in the 1970s, it became the squatters center and the hub of alternative culture. Today it’s a prominent art place with exhibitions, workshops, and more.
Even if you are not interested in art it’s worth visiting Bethanien for its original 19th-century architecture and the vibe of the place. The green space surrounding the buildings is perfect for relaxing a bit too.
Find the Treehouse on the Wall
Baumhaus an der Mauer (the Treehouse on the Wall) is one of the quirkiest spots you can find in Kreuzberg.
The house was built in the 1980s when the Berlin Wall was still present. Although this area officially belonged to East Berlin technically it was West Berlin since the border wasn’t curved very well in that place.
Osman Kalin who built the small hut and created the surrounding garden was constantly under the observation of security services who nevertheless allowed him to live there. When the Berlin Wall collapsed the place was in danger of destruction but the local community helped save it.
Today the structure barely stands still but it’s still a weird place to see and to be reminded of the crazy times of divided Berlin.
Enjoy Engelbecken Park
Engelbecken Park is one of the green oases of Kreuzberg. Even if it’s fairly small it is such a pleasant place to visit and relax in.
In the past, the Luisenstädtischer Canal was going through this part of Berlin but in 1926, due to the noise and smell, the canal was filled and eventually turned into the green space it is now. Only a small part of it, Engelbecken pond, remained until today.
The place is full of flower compositions and rose gardens as well as small details like fountains. There are plenty of benches to sit at and relax as well as a cafe. The townhouses surrounding the park are among the prettiest you can find in Kreuzberg.
Kreuzberg is home to some really interesting museums and it would be a pity to miss them when you explore the district.
My personal favorite one was Berlinische Galerie with one of the best collection of modern art in Berlin.
Nearby you can also visit the Jewish Museum (fans of concrete architecture will appreciate the building itself too) – unfortunately, I didn’t manage to see this one as the tickets were already sold out for a few days in advance (hence it’s better to plan your visit there properly and buy the ticket in advance).
Other interesting museums include FHXB Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum, German Museum of Technology, and Berlin Story Bunker.
Eat probably the best kebab in Berlin
Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap might look low-profile but it’s a well-known institution on Berlin’s food scene. The small stand next to the Mehringdamm metro station has a line of hungry customers from late morning till late night hours.
The selection is rather small, you can choose between meat and vegetarian options, but the ingredients are fresh, well-balanced, and simply delicious.
Sometimes the line can get really long (like 3 hours waiting time) but if you are not in hurry it’s definitely worth the wait as the kebab served here is simply outstanding.
Viktoriapark is kind of a hidden gem of Kreuzberg. I didn’t know about it until recently too but this is such a lovely green space I’m sure I will be returning there during my next visits to Berlin.
Even if the park is not too big it has some unique and interesting spots.
The main spot is the Kreuzberg hill – the name of the district comes actually from the name of this very place. There, on the top, you will find the impressive, Neo-Gothic memorial from 1821, dedicated to the victorious campaign over Napoleon Bonaparte and the liberation of Europe from French domination. It’s worth going up to see the memorial from close but also to admire the panorama of Berlin from this high point.
Another unique place in Viktoriapark is the charming waterfall – the replica of the waterfall from the Krkonose mountains (now on the border of Poland and the Czech Republic).
Overall, this park is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and definitely a place to catch a breath during your Berlin sightseeing.
Each of Berlin’s districts is divided into smaller ones, so-called “kiez”. One of those kiez you can find in Kreuzberg is Bergmannkiez. It’s like a completely different world to the well-known Kreuzberg of Oranienstrasse and its surroundings.
This area of the district is full of beautiful houses, a vibrant yet laid-back atmosphere, numerous cafes, restaurants and small boutique shops. This is also one of the few places in Berlin that survived World War 2 undestroyed and still today has the charm of the old times.
Be sure to visit Bergmanniez for a stroll around, to enjoy its atmosphere and see this different face of Kreuzberg.
Slow down at Landwehrkanal
Landwehrkanal is one of the canals in Berlin, connecting Charlottenburg, Tiergarten and Kreuzberg district. The Kreuzberg part of the canal is really picturesque and charming, perfect for a stroll.
Along the way, you can admire beautiful townhouses, enjoy one of the cafes and restaurants (some of them located on the boats) and simply enjoy the green space. You can also hop across the bridge and shop at the Turkish market that takes place here on Tuesdays and Fridays (technically that’s already in the Neukölln district).
Visit Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie is the most popular crossing between East and West Berlin, the entry point from Mitte to Kreuzberg, and today it’s one of the biggest of Berlin tourist attractions. It was the third checkpoint opened by Allies hence its name (taken from the NATO phonetic alphabet).
Checkpoint Charlie is widely popular in numerous movies and books that take place in divided Berlin. Today it’s a great place to learn more about the recent history of Berlin and the Wall that was such a crucial part of the city in the 20th century.
Visit Topography of Terror Museum
This is one of the most important museums in Berlin, located in the place where Gestapo, SS and Reich Security Main Offices were located between 1933 and 1945.
The institution focuses on the crimes organized by these institutions and how they affected the history when Nazis were in power. There are three permanent exhibitions and then temporary ones.
I believe it’s important to visit this kind of museum during travels, so we can learn more about the difficult and tragic history and try to make sure it will not be repeated. Be sure to include Topography of Terror in your Berlin itinerary.
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Disclaimer: my recent trip to Berlin was in partnership with Germany Travel. As always all opinions and experiences described above remain my own.
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