The former East German neighborhood has grown in popularity over the years, and its juxtaposition between DDR grandiosity and Berlin underground life has made it a unique and memorable part of Berlin real estate. Rolling down Karl Marx Allee, one is greeted with a 90 meter-wide and rather ostentatious street punctuated by Frankfurter Tor and the grand fountain in the middle of Strausberger Platz. If you’re into German cinema, just a little bit down the road you’ll find the Karl Marx book store from the film Goodbye Lenin.
After the fall of the wall, what was once the prized place to live for East Berliners became squat haven for young Germans. While it still retains that counterculture flair, the neighbourhood has taken on a trendy personality over the past few years, becoming the place to buy for millennials, young tech professionals and others looking to make Berlin their home. Move down the river and find the new café and club culture that brightens up Revaler Street. Keep going just a bit past Ostkreuz, and the relaxed and refreshing calmness of Rummelseburger Lake will welcome you for a picnic or a swim.
While the entire neighborhood is a Berlin art project in and of itself, Friedrichshain is also the site for one of Berlin’s most famous pieces of public art – the East Side Gallery. The strip of the Berlin Wall, which sits along the Spree River, is covered in large panels of social artwork. Now updated and repainted, the East Side Gallery is a fascinating blend of both history and Berlin’s famed street art.
The Eastern neighbourhood is also home to one of the city’s most beautiful parks and the best flea market. Volkspark Friedrichshain is Berlin’s oldest public park and the fourth largest in the city. The park is covered in monuments as well as the gorgeous Fairytale Fountain that’s well worth a visit. Berlin loves its flea markets, and the Boxhagener Platz market is a true gem that has somehow manages to remain off of the major tourist lists.
City centre: 5-10 minutes with the U-Bahn or S-Bahn to Alexanderplatz.
Nearest airports: easy public transport connections to both Tegel and Schönefeld in under an hour.