An urban beach along the River Spree in the Friedrichshain district, a former working-class area of East Berlin that has gone rapidly upmarket since reunification. Its empty apartments were a target for squatters soon after the Wall came down and a strong counter-culture remains, with lots of cafes, bars, clubs and media companies.
Neighborhood Spotlight

Friedrichshain: the ultimate fusion of all things Berlin

Photo by Franck Guiziou

Neighborhood Spotlight Friedrichshain: the ultimate fusion of all things Berlin

With chic Prenzlauer Berg to the north and alternative Kreuzberg to the south, the former working-class neighborhood of Friedrichshain combines a bit of both.

James Hiam
James Hiam Editor

 

With two-thirds of it destroyed during the war, the architecture consists of mainly GDR-era (German Democratic Republic) wedding-cake-style relics along busy Karl-Marx-Allee and buildings including the Stasi headquarters. Don’t miss the ornate, neo-Gothic double-decker Oberbaumbrücke Bridge which connects the area to Kreuzberg and, of course, the outstanding East Side Gallery along the River Spree. Billed as a symbol of hope, friendship, and freedom, its satirical murals are creative, colorful and often cutting.

Take your time walking along the 1.3km-stretch, and then experience Friedrichshain as it comes alive at night. Revaler Strasse or Simon-Dach-Strasse transform from tree-lined calm to street-party cool, thanks to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and bars. For clubbers, that sought-after ticket to Berghain nightclub in a former power plant should seal the deal.

Best places to stay

From the homey feel of Hotel The Dude to the imaginatively designed Ackselhaus Blue Home, Friedrichshain is stacked with hotels reflecting the neighborhood’s unique vibe. Hotel Indigo Berlin is a trendy colossus right on central Alexanderplatz, while monbijou Hotel sets the city’s spa standard.

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molecule-man-2575722

The Molecule Man sculptures consist of three humans leaning towards each other, the bodies of which are filled with hundreds of holes, the holes representative of "the molecules of all human beings coming together to create our existence". Photo by Nils von der Assen

Nils von der Assen

Nils von der Assen

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The Molecule Man sculptures consist of three humans leaning towards each other, the bodies of which are filled with hundreds of holes, the holes representative of "the molecules of all human beings coming together to create our existence".

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