Saunter Around Schöneberg
Schöneberg flaunts a mellow middle-class identity but has a radical pedigree rooted in the squatter days of the ‘80s. Stroll from bourgeois Viktoria-Luise-Platz through Berlin’s traditional gay quarter and along streets squeezed tight with cafes and boutiques to ethnically flavoured Hauptstrasse. The best days for this walk are Wednesdays or Saturdays when a farmers market sets up on Winterfeldtplatz.
Soak up the laid-back vibe of Schöneberg’s prettiest square, Viktoria-Luise-Platz, a classic baroque-style symphony of flower beds, big old trees, a lusty fountain and benches where locals swap gossip. The hexagonal square is framed by inviting cafes and historic town houses whose facades, with their sculpture and ornamentation, invite closer inspection, especially those at numbers 7, 12 and 12a.
Nollendorfplatz & the 'Gay Village'
In the early 20th century, Nollendorfplatz was a bustling urban square filled with cafes, theatres and people on parade. Then as now, it was also the gateway to Berlin's historic gay quarter, where British writer Christopher Isherwood penned Berlin Stories (the inspiration for Cabaret) while living at Nollendorfstrasse 17. Rainbow flags still fly proudly, especially along Motzstrasse and Fuggerstrasse.
Winterfeldt Schokoladen stocks a vast range of international handmade gourmet chocolates, all displayed in the original oak fixtures of a 19th-century pharmacy, which doubles as a cafe. Kosher, raw and gluten-free chocolates are among the more unusual choices.
Goltzstrasse and its continuation Akazienstrasse teem with indie boutiques selling everything from vintage clothing to slinky underwear, antique books to handmade jewellery, exotic teas to cooking supplies. No high-street chain in sight! Wedged in between are charismatic cafes, many with pavement terraces.
Local coffee lovers are addicted to the award-winning espresso of Double Eye, which is why no one seems to mind the inevitable out-the-door queue. Since there are few seats, this is more of a grab-and-go cafe.
Möve im Felsenkeller
An artist hang-out since the 1920s, woodsy Möve im Felsenkeller is where Jeffrey Eugenides penned his 2002 bestseller Middlesex. A stuffed seagull dangling from the ceiling keeps an eye on patrons seeking inspiration from the six beers on tap. Gentrification has threatened the survival of this Old Berlin gem, but so far the owners have been able to stave off closure.
Chic boutiques give way to grocers and doner kebab shops along main artery Hauptstrasse. The Turkish supermarket Öz-Gida is known citywide for its olive selection, cheese spreads and quality halal meats. In the '70s, David Bowie and Iggy Pop shared a pad at Hauptstrasse 155.
- Charismatic cafes
- Traditional gay quarter
Getting There & Away
U-Bahn U4 to Viktoria-Luise-Platz.