Old buildings and night owls.

Wilmersdorf – © Fridolin Freudenfett Wikimedia

If you are looking for a break from the busy shops on Kurfürstendamm, just take a turn into the side streets and head south. You are now entering Wilmersdorf, one of the middle-class residential districts in Berlin near the Kudamm that has many shops to visit and cafes to relax in.

With its red bricks and monumental character, St. Ludwig church was built in 1895 and is one of the few freestanding Catholic churches in Berlin. Falcons nest on the tower of this church that is right in the middle of the city. But that is not the only unusual thing about it - monks lead the community. The Franciscans live in a monastery directly on Ludwigkirchplatz, named after the church. However, the expression "monastery" may give visitors the wrong impression. There are no old fortress walls just minutes away from City West. The monastery is on the fifth floor of a post-war building. But the Franciscan monks do wear habits and sometimes you can see them walk across the square.

Ludwigkirchplatz is a large square with seven road junctions. But in truth, it is the heart of Wilmersdorf that became a district of Berlin in 1920 and was then combined with the Kudamm area of Charlottenburg to become Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. This has cast a shadow over Wilmersdorf. Here there is much to discover like the oldest mosque in Germany, built in 1922, or cultural institutions such as Bar jeder Vernunft and the neighbouring building of the Berliner Festspiele where every May there is a traditional theatre meeting.

Wilmersdorf has always been a middle-class artist district. George Grosz, Egon Erwin Kisch, Heinrich Mann, Anna Seghers and Arnold Zweig have all lived here. Ludwigkirchplatz is one of the most desirable residential addresses in Berlin. Dignified old buildings, cafes, restaurants, and exotic shops dominate the cityscape. There are also many families in the Wilmersdorf district. And at Ludwigkirchplatz, there is also a large playground where children can enjoy themselves while the adults sit in restaurants watching over them. But there are plenty of singles here and, of course, many night owls from other districts who visit the many restaurants, bars and cafes. In the bars around Ludwigkirchplatz, there is hardly a single empty table to find in the evening. But almost every kind of cuisine is on offer -Thai, Spanish, German, Portuguese, or even ice cream specialities.

Besides the vitality and restaurants on offer, small shops are another special feature of the square. Belly dance supplies, cheese shops and a frame shop can all be found as well as a paper shop, gay gallery, tobacconist's and a wine shop. You can even marvel at the Wilmersdorfer Rheingau pearl wine here. This wine is grown in the Wilmersdorf Stadium around the corner and in fact is only given out on the anniversary of the district.

If this article has aroused your interest to discover more about the boroughs of Berlin in general, then there are plenty of local neighbourhood stories available for you to read in our travel guide Going local, which you can order online here.