On a whole, the Kreuzberg neighborhood is still raw in a lot of ways, giving off an edge that reminds you of the city's past. Be sure to spend time on Oranienstraaße, and grab a drink at a cafe on Bergenstraße to see how the new meets the old. Another major attraction is in the adjacent neighborhood of Friedrichshain, an old railway complex known as "RAW," appropriately named for its sub-cultural vibe. The complex today is a gathering place for the bohemian type and provides plenty of color (shown in the two photos above), including a flea market, rock climbing wall, skate park, outdoor theater, nightclub, and a beer garden.
The nightlife of 90s Berlin has been talked about around the world for over two decades, and it still lives on today in the city's nightclubs. Don't picture the dance halls of Vegas or New York, though. You don't have to get dressed up beyond a T-shirt to go to most clubs in Berlin, and some literally never close between Friday night and Monday morning. Dancing as the sun rises is a right of passage in Berlin, and the unregulated, let-loose atmosphere at places like Ritter Butzke keeps the spirit of the city's underbelly up all night.
Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb
Because Berlin's housing laws are so tenant friendly, some of the city's past remains where it is no longer wanted. Legally, a property owner cannot renovate a building without consent from the tenants. This means that some buildings still look like they did ten or fifteen years ago, even though all the others around it have been remodeled. Be sure to keep your eye on the infrastructure as you cruise through neighborhoods like Mitte and Friedrichshain.
[Photos: Will McGough/Will McGough/Ritter Butzke/Will McGough]