Prenzlauer Berg has long been a popular area of Berlin to live in, especially for young families. No small wonder: the Helmholtzkiez neighbourhood around lush green plazas Helmholtzplatz and Kollwitzplatz is a leafy and lovely spot to spend a day dining and strolling down stunning avenues of beautiful buildings. Neighbouring Kastanienallee is a fabulous shopping street leading down to Mitte. This festive season, discover a Berlin Christmas at a leisurely pace on a Christmas shopping trip around some of Prenzlauer Berg’s loveliest corners.
Hidden gems and cute corners for Christmas shopping
If you’re looking for great Berlin Christmas gifts, look no further than Kauf Dich Glücklich, the brainchild of a team of Berlin creatives selling quirky and stylish clothing, accessories and more. You’ll find outlets on Kastanienallee and Oderberger Straße.
For super-fresh Christmas gifts you won’t find anywhere else, Dudes Factory on Kastanienallee rules the school. Its blend of streetwear, lifestyle and cookware – all inspired by tattoos, graffiti and the skate aesthetic – is the epitome of cool. Snap up a gift or two for the coolest dudes in your life. Pauls Boutique is another hip hangout serving up an appealing mishmash of the finest vintage style – just like the iconic Beastie Boys album that gave the store its name.
Kastanienallee is a must for Christmas shopping for fashionistas. There you’ll find Mazooka, serving up their take on quality timeless style, and chic boutique Rivolta. Meanwhile, cool kids will love cute gifts from baby store Kleine Fabriek.
Nearby Sredzkistraße is another hotspot for style aficionados, with beautiful gifts to be bought at fashion boutique Kleid & Schuh and jewellery store Nautilus.
If you’re playing Santa Claus for avid readers, you’re sure to fall for Love Story of Berlin, a charming English-language bookshop on Kastanienallee, and its German sister store Buchbox. Just up the street, comic book shop Modern Graphics is well worth a visit: these specialists in graphic arts are on hand to recommend the best in this booming genre.
Sightseeing in the neighbourhood
There’s no shortage of stunning architecture to be found in the Helmholtzkiez neighbourhood and the streets off Kastanienallee. This residential area in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg is home to street after street of handsome Gründerzeit buildings dating from the turn of the twentieth century. On streets like Oderberger Straße, all you need to do is look up to enjoy a beautiful view.
At the bottom of Kastanienallee, which takes you from Prenzlauer Berg into the Mitte district, you’ll find Zionskirchplatz – a stunning square surrounding the magnificent Zionskirche. This beautiful building is a wonderfully atmospheric sight and well worth a stop for a moment of reflection on a busy day out.
Food, fabulous food
The Helmholtzkiez neighbourhood is a well-known foodie hub in the city, with plenty of delicious spots for dining out on Helmholtzplatz, Kollwitzplatz and the surrounding streets. Which is good news – because all that retail therapy is hungry work. Grab a coffee and a tasty organic bite at Tilda off Helmholtzplatz, or a plate of scrumptious eggs or pancakes from Café Krone on Oderberger Straße to fill up on energy before you start browsing. If you’re feeling even hungrier, local institution An einem Sonntag im August serves a legendary breakfast buffet at weekends.
For a fresh and delicious lunch and a taste of something different, take a break for lunch at Café Datscha. Their Russian-inspired menu features hearty soups and stews to keep you warm on a chilly day of Christmas shopping. If you fancy something equally fiery but easier to grab on the go, the Berlin Burrito Company is on hand serving delicious Mexican tortillas bursting with flavour.
After a day’s shopping and sightseeing, you’ve more than earned a hearty meal. Spice up your wintry diet at the incredible W – Der Imbiss on Kastanienallee, serving fusion food that’s out of this world. Sample delicious Vietnamese cuisine at Vietnam Village on Oderberger Straße, or opt for a little Mediterranean warmth in winter with the flavours of Sardinia at Domu Nosta near Kollwitzplatz. Wherever you choose for your festive feast, you’ll soon find the dining on offer is as eclectic and welcoming as the area itself.
- Browse ethical gifts at the weekly eco market. Every Thursday at noon for a quarter of a century, local farmers and makers have been bringing ethical produce and crafts to Kollwitzplatz, making it a veritable Berlin institution. The fabulous fruit and veg on offer at this market is often harvested the same day. Browse for sustainably sourced gifts, lovingly made to protect the planet. Don't miss the Advent edition of the Kollwitz Eco Market. In addition the square holds another market every Saturday morning.
- Take in a show at quirky Lichtblick-Kino. This 32-seater cinema on Kastanienallee is a charming spot showing a selection of carefully curated films in a temple to the silver screen. Cosy up after a long day’s Christmas shopping with a magical night of cinema in atmospheric surroundings.
- Pay homage to an artist on Kollwitzplatz. This lovely square is named after groundbreaking Berlin artist Käthe Kollwitz, whose paintings and sculptures representing the depth of human emotion are some of the most celebrated in German art history. The artist, who died in 1945, lived in the neighbourhood for decades, and a reproduction of her sculpture ‘Mother with two children’ takes pride of place in the square that bears her name.
Hop on U-Bahn line U2 to Eberswalder Straße to begin your Christmas shopping trip around the hidden gems of the Helmholtzkiez neighbourhood in Prenzlauer Berg and beyond.