Neukölln, Berlin is often in the shadow of its more popular neighbor Kreuzberg yet it shouldn’t be. The district has this cool multicultural vibe and offers plenty of attractions that will surely keep you entertained when you visit Neukölln.
Until recently Neukölln was the area of Berlin I barely knew. For some reason I kept postponing my visit there, always focusing on nearby Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain. But when I finally gave Neukölln a proper chance I was really disappointed in myself for keeping this part of Berlin undiscovered for such a long time. Better late than never, though.
Even if I was really unlucky with timing (it was in the middle of summer and many Neukölln attractions I wanted to check out were temporarily closed) I still enjoyed my time there. And so today I’m happy to share with you my favorite things to do in Neukölln, Berlin.
Table of contents
- 1 Where is Neukölln
- 2 Why visit Neukölln
- 3 Things to do in Neukölln, Berlin
- 3.1 Visit UNESCO listed Horseshoe Estate
- 3.2 Visit beautiful Britzer Garten
- 3.3 Shop at the Turkish Market
- 3.4 Relax at Körnerpark
- 3.5 Enjoy the old-times vibe at Rixdorf
- 3.6 See the show at Neuköllner Oper
- 3.7 Walk down Karl-Marx-Straße
- 3.8 See Sonnenallee, both movie and street
- 3.9 Relax in the Stadtbad Neukölln
- 3.10 KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art
- 3.11 Have a drink with the best view
- 3.12 Enjoy all the cafes and restaurants
- 3.13 Wander around the neighborhood
- 4 Final thoughts on visiting Neukölln
- 5 Travel Resources
Where is Neukölln
Neukölln is located in the southwest part of Berlin, not too far from the center of the German capital. In the times of the Berlin Wall, it was part of West Berlin but neighboring the East districts.
Getting to Neukölln is easy with public transport options. You can use metro lines U7 and U8 or sbahn lines S41, S42 or S47.
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.
Why visit Neukölln
While the majority of visitors in Berlin are interested in the edgy and alternative Kreuzberg, Neukölln offers a similar atmosphere yet with fewer tourists and more multicultural spots. Neukölln is like this gem that surely will be discovered soon.
If you are interested in alternative culture, artistic and multicultural vibe, international food options, and UNESCO-listed architecture then Neukölln is definitely a place you can’t miss during your trip to Berlin.
Things to do in Neukölln, Berlin
Below you can find my favorite things to do in Neukölln. 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.
Visit UNESCO listed Horseshoe Estate
This was one of the biggest surprises for me in Neukölln (or Berlin in general) since I completely forgot there are awarded modernist estates in the city.
The Hufeisensiedlung (known also as the “Horseshoe Estate”) is one of the six modernist housing estates in Berlin that were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008. It was designed and built in 1925-1933 when the city was going through a major population increase and industrialization hence the new housing solutions were much needed.
There are 1072 flats in the estates, some 600 of them are in the three-story blocks, and the rest are in the houses. The center of the neighborhood is the horseshoe block with the pond in the middle. All the buildings are very neat and visually esthetic, painted in bright colors and architecture details typical for that period and designers (like door patterns).
It feels like the Hufeisensiedlung is one of the most underrated and forgotten Berlin’s attractions – when I visited this fascinating place I was the only tourist around, wandering the streets, admiring the architecture, and observing the Saturday’s afternoon life going by.
If you are interested in architecture this is an absolute must-visit place when you are in Berlin, it definitely deserves its UNESCO title.
Visit beautiful Britzer Garten
Britzer Garten is one of the most beautiful recreational spaces you can find in Berlin. Located in Britz part of Neukölln, it was established in 1985 to be a new green area for the citizens who were not allowed to easily go to the countryside at that time (Neukölln was part of West Berlin before the Berlin Wall fall).
Britzer Garten was designed in the English style, with a few special gardens designed in the harmony with the whole place (i.e. herbs garden or rose garden). You can also find there the largest sundial in Europe (it has 99 meters in diameter).
Since the park is rather large you might use the narrow-gauge that can take you through the area, it has 5 stops and the whole journey at a leisure pace takes around 50 minutes.
This is such a perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of Berlin.
Shop at the Turkish Market
It’s not a secret that there is a big Turkish community in Berlin and there is no better place to get to know it than the Turkish Market. It takes place every Tuesday and Friday at Maybachufer Strasse, along the Landwehrkanal, on the border with Kreuzberg.
It’s the open-air market, the largest Turkish market in Berlin, stretching for almost a kilometer. You can feel there a bit like in Istanbul, with all sorts of best Turkish goodies available for you at the spots. Besides food, you can also get there fabrics, leather goodies, electronics, and more.
You can also try all the delicious street food. It’s a perfect place to just wander around, enjoy the vibe, people-watch and get your belly full.
Relax at Körnerpark
Körnerpark is such a perfect place to slow down and relax. It even feels a bit surreal since it’s so idyllic yet surrounded by the busy city.
It was designed and established at the beginning of the 20th century, in the Neo-baroque style and still today it has this old-time charm. With the cascade, fountains, orangery, and cherub figures it feels a bit like the palace garden.
Körnerpark is a popular place for the locals to hang out, have a picnic with friends, or just relax (I myself spent way too much time there too, just reading a book and enjoying the place). If you are lucky you might even attend a free concert or live performance there.
Enjoy the old-times vibe at Rixdorf
It takes only a few steps into the backstreet to transfer from the busy street life of Neukölln into the charming old village vibe of Rixdorf. The area was established in the mid-18th century and can give you a good look into the old Berlin’s look, with historical houses, cobbled streets, yards with gardens, and winding lanes.
The center of this area is Richardplatz where you can sit down in the cafe or restaurant and enjoy the vibe that is so different from the rest of the neighborhood. In the Christmas season, you can attend one of the famous German Christmas markets that take place at the square.
Rixdorf is yet another place where you can easily escape from the hustle and bustle of the city yet still be in central Berlin.
See the show at Neuköllner Oper
Hidden in the courtyard at Karl-Marx-Straße, Neuköllner Oper is a perfect place to go if you would like to see a live music performance. You rarely can see here the classical and well-known shows, instead, the institution focuses on more alternative and contemporary productions or modern interpretations of famous operas.
The building itself is interesting too as the Neuköllner Oper is located in the former Rixdorf assembly rooms. For more details and current events check the Neuköllner Oper’s website.
Walk down Karl-Marx-Straße
Karl-Marx-Straße is the main street of Neukölln and its main commercial hub. You will find plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants along the way as well as some fine architecture (such as the beautiful Neukölln Town Hall).
This is a great place to get an overall feel of the neighborhood with its multicultural vibe so be sure to walk even a part of the street during your visit to the area.
See Sonnenallee, both movie and street
Sonnenallee, the 5 kilometers long street connecting Neukölln and Treptow-Köpenick neighborhoods might be just a random street in Berlin for many. But I knew I have to see it when I visit Neukölln since that’s where one of my favorite German movies – “Sonnenallee” – took place.
The 1999 movie tells the story of teenagers living on this street in the 1970s when it was still divided by the Berlin Wall. It is a rather light and funny movie but under all the humor it shows the reality of life in the divided Berlin.
Today Sonnenallee (especially its part in the central Neukölln) is a bit like Karl-Marx-Straße, with a multicultural vibe and numerous shops and restaurants.
Be sure to watch the movie before your trip to Berlin and then compare it with how it is now.
Relax in the Stadtbad Neukölln
If you feel like relaxing in the water you should definitely visit Stadtbad Neukölln.
This is not your usual swimming pool. When it was opened in 1914 it was considered one of the most beautiful swimming pools in Europe and still today it impresses with the beautiful interior. It was designed as the ancient thermal bath, with high ceilings and pillars or mosaics.
In such a surrounding you can easily forget you are in Berlin and not ancient Greece or Rome.
KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art
This is the place fans of contemporary art simply can’t miss. Located in the former brewery, KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art is a wonderful cultural institution that focuses on modern art.
You can see here various exhibitions and performances, admire paintings or installations, and more. The space itself is pretty impressive, it might feel a bit overwhelming, with 20 meters high ceiling, but at the same time, it gives a great surrounding to all the art you can enjoy it.
Even if you are not into contemporary art but appreciate industrial sites this is a place for you since inside you can still find numerous remnants from the brewery.
Have a drink with the best view
Klunkerkranich is kind of the legend of Neukölln. The rooftop bar is located on top of the Neukölln Arcaden shopping center and the entrance is a bit hidden (it is available through the parking lot, take the lift to the 5th floor and then continue on the stairs).
Once you get there you will be welcomed by the beautiful panorama of Berlin and a cozy look of the rooftop bar. But that’s not the only reason to visit Klunkerkranich.
The place is kind of a cultural institution where you can also enjoy concerts, poetry readings, and more.
Leave the visit at Klunkerkranich for the end of your time in Neukölln so you can spend more time here, enjoying the beautiful view and the great vibe of the place.
Enjoy all the cafes and restaurants
Just like neighboring Kreuzberg, Neukölln is also full of cafes, bars, and restaurants offering a variety of culinary experiences and hang-out options. You will find streets north of Karl-Marx-Straße towards Landwehrkanal literally packed with places you can sit in but the whole district has good places to eat.
Since Neukölln has a strong multicultural influence there are restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world so whatever you feel like eating you can be sure to find it in Neukölln.
Wander around the neighborhood
As always, my favorite way to get to know the place is just wandering around, without a map, just following my intuition. And that’s what I recommend doing in Neukölln as well. This way you can get the feel of the area, see how it’s different from other parts of Berlin and what makes it special.
It was this random walk around when I fully appreciated the place and understood why it’s getting more and more popular.
Final thoughts on visiting Neukölln
As you can see, Neukölln really has a lot to offer and the local attractions are really diverse. If you are looking for another alternative yet not so popular part of Berlin, Neukölln is your answer. Don’t miss it during your next trip to Berlin!
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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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