Despite the obvious difficulty in spelling the area’s name (where does that ‘s’ actually go?!), be sure sure that this neighbourhood is a must-visit for anyone coming to Berlin.
Even if gentrification continues apace, the district has kept what made its success: open mindedness and an intense alternative culture. Let’s have a look at ten (among others) reasons why Friedrichshain is still a contender for one of the best districts to live on earth.
1. The Wall
Probably the most famous tourist area in the city, known worldwide, it reminds me every morning that not so long ago, Berliners weren’t free to go where they wanted. For them, it symbolizes the deep division which broke the city in two for 28 years. It allows you to mesure how lucky we are to be free to go everywhere. Plus, it turned into a street art masterpiece called East Side Gallery that boosts its libertarian symbolism.
Credits photo : Mike McHolm
2. Paved streets
You will find paved streets in the heart of Friedrichshain. In addition to the obvious aesthetic asset, the district streets are a real relief. They’re also proof of the pedestrian’s dictatorship in the ‘hood meaning less cars, happy Earth and so on…
One of the best parks of the city, if not the best. You can light your barbecue there, watch a really beautiful sunset and you can even play beach volley! A good place to chill out and relax thanks to mother nature, for free!
Credits photo : Robert Agthe>
4. Many kitchens and types of food
The district’s centre is full of little, mainly inexpensive, restaurants all nationalities: Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Russian, Italian, Vietnamese and even German! The list is long and I haven’t tried everything yet. All budgets available, all levels of hunger are allowed and many open till late at night. Perfect if you have an empty fridge at home.
On Saturdays, Boxhagener Platz market is about food and it’s definitely the best deal in the neighbourhood. You can also find food events nearby Neueheimat if you’re lucky.
5. Flea markets
2 of them take place in the heart of Friedrichshain. The first is located on Boxhagener Platz, the second nearby Revaler Str. You can find everything and, easily, the weirdest stuff on earth, from a bald Barbie doll to German albums, whose weird sound is equally matched to their weird cover art. When the ugly turns sexy they say…
Credits photo :Der Scholt
6. Cool shops
Between record stores, art galleries, Scandinavian influenced clothing shops, book stores or bike shops the only difficulty you will meet will be the choice! There are lots of things to be discovered for reasonable prices. Cool.
7. Paper advertising for events promotion
One of the last walls dedicated to poster advertising. It helps you remember that, not so long ago, it was in the streets where we found the info about what’s going on in the ‘hood. The ads give colors to the street and are really convenient to keep abreast of what’s going on in Berlin, the old school way.
8. Transportation network
The area is services by the U-bahn (underground), S-bahn (the equivalent of the Paris’ RER), buses and even a tramway. The district is perfectly connected to the rest of Berlin, and it’s really convenient when your laziness prevents you from biking.
Credits photo :Peter McConnochie
One of the best places in the world if you want to party. The neighbourhood is full of great bars and clubs. The most (in)famous: Berghain. You’ll be able to reach the end of the queue in a second…but whether you reach the front is a very different story.
Credits photo : Michael Mayera>
10. Strollers and punks
A calm environment, a plurality of styles: young parents and party animals share the space with tattooed punks. We are open minded, we respect any style and every community, we are a great example of how living together can work!