Pankow offers three in one: chic and trendy Prenzlauer Berg, Prussian architectural heritage in Pankow, and a young arts scene in Weissensee.
Prenzlauer Berg has re-invented breakfast – with organic scrambled eggs until at least 4 pm! The popular and tempting cafés around Helmholtzplatz and Kollwitzplatz attract a rich mix of people for a slow, relaxing breakfast. Fortified and refreshed, you’re ready to roll – either by public transport or on a bike hired, for example, from the nearby Kulturbrauerei in Eberswalder Strasse. While at this arts centre in a converted brewery, visit the free “Everyday Life in the GDR” exhibition in the eponymous museum for an insight into life in East Germany.
Next stop by bike or tram is the much-beloved Mauerpark (Wall park), packed every weekend with a feisty mix of flea market stands, street artists and karaoke singers. Further north along the Berlin Wall Trail, you come to Bornholmer Brücke – or “Bösebrücke” (“evil bridge”) – where East-West spies were exchanged during the Cold War. On 9 November 1989, this was Berlin’s first border crossing to open, and pictures of the crowds surging across the bridge were seen all over the world. The Berlin Wall Trail is lined by cherry trees, a highlight of any spring visit and a generous gift from Japanese Berlin fans.
Tram M13 to Albertinenstrasse stops close to the Jewish Cemetery in Weissensee. At the latest when evening comes, take the city railway to Greifswalder Strasse and the M4 tram to the Bötzow Brewery. There, Tim Raue, a Michelin-starred Berlin chef, is cooking up a storm in his new restaurant La Soupe Populaire. For a pre- or post-cocktail (or both!), try Le Croco Bleu in the brewery’s converted engine room. Incidentally, the Bötzow Brewery was converted by another star – architect David Chipperfield!
Off the beaten path
Leise Park on a converted cemetery still retains some old tombstones left near new playground equipment – bizarre, but typically Berlin! leisepark.de Bruno Taut’s and Franz Hilliger’s Wohnstadt Carl Legien estate from 1928–1930 belongs to the six Berlin Modernism estates inscribed in 2008 as a UNESCO World Heritage site.