Berlin is one of the most popular European touristic destinations. But it is also probably the largest European artistic center, full of young (and not so young) people with progressive ideas who are creating, innovating and leading the vanguard trends. There’s always something important going on in Berlin, so forget for a while the TV Tower and the Brandenburg Gate, and make a visit to the core of East Berlin, the place where things are happening.
You won’t need the usual one-day transport pass, as you’ll be going for a nice, long walk around the Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg neighborhoods. Here you can find murals, art houses, veggie food and second-hand clothing shops.
Begin your stroll by meandering through Mühlenstraße where the largest preserved section of the Berlin Wall stands. Coming from Berlin Ostbahnhof station, this can be a nice way of starting the day, setting the stage for what awaits. Where the wall ends, turn right to cross the Oberbaumbrücke Bridge, stopping for a second to enjoy the nice view and the Molecule Man installation that stands on the river. Once on the other side of River Spree, you are already in Kreuzberg, a place full of excellent bars and cafes. Remember to keep your head up to enjoy the various murals on the walls of the buildings, including some by the great BLU.
Are you hungry already? After a walk through Gorlitzer Park, it’s a good moment for a nice veggie lunch. At Wiener Straße 19, you will find Yellow Sunshine , a vegetarian fast food restaurant with bio products and tofu or seitan hamburgers for a good price.
Now it’s time to cross the river again and head towards Frankfurter Alle, the center of Friedrichshain. But first, make a stop at Revaler str. 99, the site of The Raw Tempel, a former railroad works and now a huge art complex where music, theater, clubbing and politics live together. Take a moment to look around – to see what is going on, and what’s scheduled for the night.
If you suddenly feel the urge to go shopping, then you’re in luck. On the corner of Frankfurter Alle and Peterburger Strasse you will find Humana, a huge second-hand store. With four floors of second-hand clothes, this shop is tidily organized and items are labeled. You will surely find it hard to leave empty-handed.
Moving up through Peterburger Strasse, you are now in a neighborhood of students and artists, political activists, and squatters. Turn right on Rigaerstrasse to take a look at the squats, painted doors and banners hanging from the windows. If you feel like drinking a beer, there are some small and interesting bars in this area where you can get one for a cheap price.
If you haven’t found any interesting night-time activity at the Raw Temple, it is then time to visit one last spot in the city. Bad news though: you will have to hop on the transport to Mitte; but this place is certainly worth it. Kunsthaus Tacheles is located in the center of the city (if such place exists in Berlin), a huge building squatted during the 90s and which now works as a multi-functional art complex. Cafes, bars, exhibitions, screenings and even a metal workshop are part of what you can find in this five-story building. Get lost in the halls of the place, and finish your day enjoying an experimental installation or underground party. You are experiencing Europe’s avant garde at it’s edgiest!
Friday 23rd of April 2010
Nice post. Great to see someone bothering to get off the beaten track. Just so you know though - Kreuzberg is West Berlin :)
Germany Travel Info
Friday 23rd of April 2010
Very informative article. East Berlin can indeed provide one with an art-filled experience.
Friday 16th of April 2010
Great post! Kunsthaus Tacheles sounds like a really interesting place to visit.