Synonymous historically with punks, riots and cheap rent, Kreuzberg may be Berlin’s smallest borough but it’s certainly got the most spunk. While things may have changed over the last decade (rents have risen dramatically and there’s more street parties than riots these days), there’s still plenty to sink your teeth into. Here’s our 12Hours guide to help you make the most out of one of Berlin’s coolest neighbourhoods.
10am: Le Bon
Only five years ago you’d struggle to find a poached egg brunch in Berlin, but top-notch, breakfast-focused cafes have popped up all across the district and the city. Le Bon is one of the best. Right on the border of Kreuzberg and Neukolln these guys serve up some serious eggs and breakfast cocktails. Go easy on those though, it’s only 10am and we’ve got a big day ahead of us.
11am: Jewish Museum
Next up we’re heading to the Jewish Museum – an iconic architectural feature of the city. The striking design is steeped in symbolism and references the tense history of German-Jewish relations while reflecting the exhibitions and events it hosts inside. The permanent exhibition is due to reopen in Spring 2020 but up until then there is a superb line-up of temporary exhibitions, talks and events – so still plenty to see and do.
Once out of the museum head eastwards to Modular. Designers, makers, creators and stationary geeks out there, welcome to heaven. Modulor is three floors of everything you could ever want and need to have the best crafting day ever. It’s hard to describe just how extensive the range – just the place to flex your imagination and get the creative juices flowing. For the purposes of our itinerary, we’re giving you half an hour but beware: people can get lost for days in here.
1pm: Cocolo Ramen
For lunch we’re heading over to Cocolo for a bowl of Berlin’s best ramen. This place is heaving by dinner time – proof of how good the food is here. If it’s sunny grab a spot outside, if it’s chilly cosy up on a table inside. Whatever the weather, it’s always soup season at Cocolo.
2pm: Brammibals Donuts & The Cosmonaut
Yes we’ve only just had lunch, but it would be a crime to walk past Brammibals and not pick up one of their scrumptious vegan donuts. If you are struggling to choose just one, it’s okay to get a box of six – we won’t judge. Whatever you decide, get them to go and wander over the bridge towards Mariannenstrasse and take a look at Victor Ash’s iconic street art mural The Cosmonaut. Hopefully all that sugar doesn’t leave you feeling spaced out.
2.30pm: Voo Store
Shopping and social media cred is on the agenda next, with a visit to the Voo Store. One of the more obvious signifiers of Kreuberg’s recent gentrification, Voo classes itself as concept store and stocks a well-curated selection of fashion, sneakers, books and magazines.
Walking further east down Skalitzer Straße we’ll hit the river and the Oberbaumbrücke. This iconic bridge has become a symbol of German unity as it connects the previously divided boroughs of Kreuzberg and Freidrichschain. Ironically though, as this is a 12hrs in Kreuzberg, we can’t allow you to cross it. You’ll still be able to spot Thorsten Goldberg’s neon installation Rock – Paper – Scissors from where you are. The game is powered by a random generator and symbolises the arbitrary nature of political decisions that determine immigration, both in the past and present day.
3.30pm: Markthalle Neun
Walk back on yourself a short ways to hit Markthalle Neun. A staple amongst locals, this place is home to a glorious food market with stalls run by Berlin’s finest foodies. Get the best meat, bread, cheese and vegetables knowing that it comes from small businesses and farmers who cherish the respectful treatment of animals, people and the environment. On Thursday nights there is a street food market too, so worth coming back on another day if you like what you see.
Continuing with our locals vibe, let’s head down to Biererei and spend some time poring over their selection of over 500 local and international craft beers. If you’re really into craft beers, check their events page on Facebook as they regularly put on showcases for those that are hops-mad.
It’s still early, so take your favourite beer from the Biererei and wander over to Admiralbrücke to sit and do some people watching. If the sun is out this bridge and the banks on either side of the canal are a hotspot for Kreuzberg’s residents to wile away an early evening until dinner time.
6.30pm: Max und Moritz
Those Brammibals donuts seem like a long time ago now, don’t they? For dinner we’re heading to Max und Moritz, a traditional German tavern situated in an old ballhouse. It has great atmosphere, generous portion sizes and serves up classic German cuisine right in the heart of Kreuzberg. If you’re in a group, it’s worth making a booking in advance.
Forgo the Apfelstrüdel at Max und Moritz and save some space in your belly for one of Ora’s divine cocktails — it’s the only way to start a Kreuzberg night off right. Ora only uses only local ingredients and prepares your drink fresh, right in front of you. Cocktails here are an artform, designed to be savoured not slurped. Take your time.
Now it’s time to leave behind the panache of Ora and dive into what Kreuzberg is really about. Monarch is a dingy little club with a big sound. Putting on concerts and gigs covering everything from disco and hip-hop to jazz and experimental music this is the place to lose yourself to the dance floor. Enjoy your night!