Walk This Way© - Berlin's best interactive neighborhood maps

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These maps have been put together for the sole purpose of helping newcomers discover the best places in Berlin without having to spend 20 € on a guide book. All of the recommendations found within have been handpicked by me and my fellow ex-pats, as well as Berliners. As a New Yorker-turned-Berliner pounding the pavement here for over a decade I have had a unique opportunity to witness this city transform itself once again into a world-class capital. As a tour guide I learned the overwhelming historical significance of Germany’s first capital. From my Berlin family and friends I learned what makes this such an amazing post-Wall city. As Tom Mueller explains in the Smithsonian magazine, Berlin is a city in transition, “a city still finding its identity and is a place of almost impossible contradictions: fixated with the past yet still impatiently pursuing the future, impoverished yet artistically rich, a former capital of dictatorship and repression that has become a homeland of social freedom.” or as the mayor Klaus Wowereit put it, “Poor but sexy!”

Map of Northern Mitte Historically known as Spandauer Vorstadt, what was once the center of a thriving Jewish community is now one of the hippest neighborhoods in all of Berlin. Oranienburger Str. is rapidly becoming known as the red light district for its bawdy nightlife while on the side streets art galleries and cafes can be found en masse.

 

Map of Mitte With the near complete destruction of the historic city center during WWII the ghosts of Berlin’s illustrious Prussian past are hard to fi nd. It was only in the 1980’s that the GDR began in earnest to tear down the bombed out ruins and dilapidated buildings left since the end of the war and replace them with the nondescript prefabricated architecture. Nowadays the Mitte is still trying to defi ne itself with a boom of art galleries, concept bars and restaurants, along with the brand names which can be found in most major western cities.

 

Map of West Berlin In the roaring twenties Charlottenburg experienced the heady thrills that came to defi ne the Weimar Republic. Here you could find the artists living the hedonistic high life mingling with the upper class of the Jewish community. After the division of the city the West Berliners were quite content to be an island surrounded by the GDR, today many still fail to see how they benefited from the fall of The Wall, although few will admit it.

 

Map of Prenzlauer Berg Once the farmlands to the north of Berlin known for the purity of its water which led to numerous breweries (even vineyards for a time) making their home here. Nowadays Prenzlauer Berg is becoming an exclusive residential district and with more and more money moving in the charm of the quiet streets is being replaced by the upscale (ueberhip) clique moving in from the West.

 

Map of Friedrichshain Along with the industrial revolution in the 19th century came the workers tenements and housing projects in Berlin’s east. In GDR times Friedrichshain experienced a bit of a revival as the entire city focus moved east but since the fall of the wall Friedrichshain has become the refuge of the counter-culture who are not buying into the capitalization of Germany’s new government center.

 

Map of Kreuzberg Named after a 60 meter rise in the beautiful Viktoria Park Kreuzberg is split between the more affl uent Kreuzberg 61 (one of two former postal districts) in the West and Kreuzberg 36 for the anarchist punks and hipsters in the East. Still a part of West Berlin though with the completion of the Berlin Wall in 1961 much of Kreuzberg found itself more east than west and has since rapidly become the home of Berlin’s burgeoning Turkish population. After the fall of the wall it fell a bit into the shadow of the new Berlin but a unique vibe still exists here well worth experiencing.

 

Map of Potsdam Potsdam was mainly spared from the carpet bombings during WWII which is why the meeting of the Big Three was held here in 1945. Nowadays it is one of the only places to get an understanding of the importance of Germany’s easternmost kingdom, once known as Prussia. Absolutely stunning gardens and palaces make this a must see!