The greenest metropolis in Germany? Berlin! In addition to idyllic parks and sparkling rivers and lakes, Berlin is also known for its colorful nightlife, alternative flair and high quality of life. The district Friedrichshain combines all these aspects – and is considered one of the hippest and most popular residential areas of the capital. In our portrait of the district, we tell you why Berlin-Friedrichshain is particularly popular with families, what the district has in common with Moscow, and what countless leisure opportunities are available here.
Friedrichshain belongs to the district Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. The district stretches from Volkspark Friedrichshain, which lies to the north, to the southern bank of the Spree River. It lies within the S-Bahn ring and thus in the eastern part of Berlin’s inner city.
Around 136,000 people live in Friedrichshain. With an average age of 38.6 years, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is the youngest district in Berlin and has the highest population density. It is also one of the districts with the highest per capita income, which here is above the Berlin average.
Diverse trendy neighborhood with high recreational value
In Friedrichshain, life is in full bloom: Bars, restaurants, cafés, cinemas, theaters and idyllic parks are close together here and ensure a high recreational value. While a few years ago it was primarily an artists’ and students’ district, today young professionals and families also feel at home here.
Popular with young families
The fact that the district is popular with families can be heard and seen at every corner. Between the pretty Gründerzeit buildings, many people with strollers are on the move and happy children’s voices can be heard from lively playgrounds. The statistics support this impression: with regard to the number of babies per 1,000 inhabitants, Friedrichshain is almost on a par with the family Eldorado Prenzlauer Berg (as of 2016). This is the result of an investigation by the Berliner Morgenpost.
Not surprisingly, the district offers families a good infrastructure – and not only because of the playgrounds. The density of schools and daycare centers is also very high here. For the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office shows that the childcare rate for children under 3 is above the Berlin average. The rate for children aged 3 to 6 is even above 100 percent. The childcare rate in daycare facilities is also above the average for other districts.
Friedrichshain nights are long
The gastronomic spectrum in Friedrichshain is enormous: restaurants and snack bars offer aromatic international, German and vegan cuisine. Even those with a sweet tooth get their money’s worth: whether cupcakes, cinnamon buns or waffles – sweet treats can be found on every corner here. In Friedrichshain, some of the best ice cream parlors in Berlin also serve their guests gelato creations. Family cafés offer large play corners and plenty of space for strollers.
As soon as the sun sets over Friedrichshain, the vibrant nightlife awakens here. There are hip scene bars and student cafés here as well as down-to-earth pubs. The area around the cheerful Simon-Dach-Strasse with its many bars and pubs is a popular nightlife district. Friedrichshain is also home to famous venues and clubs such as “Süß war gestern” and the world famous Berghain. It is considered one of the best clubs in the world.
Art, culture and Berlin’s oldest park
The extensive Volkspark Friedrichshain invites young and old to barbecue, picnic or bike – and adds a green oasis to the district’s high recreational value. In Berlin’s oldest park, visitors can enjoy walking and running paths, a restaurant, a playground, a climbing rock, a lookout point and the open-air cinema.
The district’s cultural landscape also has a lot to offer. Theater lovers here can choose between small theaters and the well-known Criminal Theater, whose ensemble thrills audiences with contemporary and classic crime plays. Film enthusiasts can enjoy no less than three art-house cinemas and an open-air cinema. With the Kino International on Karl-Marx-Allee, there is also a well-known traditional cinema in Friedrichshain, which opened in 1963.
Browse and be amazed at Friedrichshain flea markets
Friedrichshain is also famous for its flea markets. At Boxhagener Platz, visitors can browse through colorful stalls to their heart’s content every Sunday. Private sellers and commercial traders offer furniture, books and art as well as second-hand fashion and bags at the stalls around the square. Snack stands provide hungry visitors with snacks and drinks. The flea market is one of the most popular in Berlin – a must-see not only for Berliners, but also for tourists.
For collectors of beautiful old things, the Flea Market at Ostbahnhof, an antique and collectors’ market, is ideal. There, a high-quality assortment of antiques, such as furniture, jewelry, porcelain as well as stamps, coins and postcards is offered.
Friedrichshain: Paradise for Street Art
Another visitor magnet of Friedrichshain is known street art. Berlin’s street art is also so famous internationally that the online magazine Bombingscience named the capital one of the top 5 graffiti cities worldwide. In Rigaerstrasse, Samariterstrasse, Liebigstrasse and Scharnweberstrasse and other areas, street artists have decorated house walls with images.
Street art also includes one of the most famous witnesses to Berlin and Friedrichshain history: the East Side Gallery. After the reunification, a part of the Berlin Wall was painted by various artists. Today, this part is not only the longest remaining piece of the wall, but also the largest open-air gallery in the world – and a popular destination for tourists. The most famous motif is probably “The Brotherly Kiss” by Dimitrji Vrubel. It is still emblazoned on many postcards today.
Versatile architecture in Friedrichshain
The exciting history of Berlin can also be seen in the architecture in many places in Friedrichshain. One of the district’s most famous streets is Karl-Marx-Allee, which stretches from Alexanderplatz to Frankfurter Tor. It was built in the 1950s on the Soviet model and was originally laid out as East Berlin’s counterpart to Ku`damm.
On the Friedrichshain part of the avenue, imposing buildings in the so-called Zuckerbäcker style line the boulevard. The palatial buildings impress with many ornaments, columns and tower superstructures. The style is based on the Schinkel School and Socialist Classicism. Similar buildings can be found in Moscow with the Lomonosov University and in Warsaw with the Palace of Culture, among others.
At the time, Friedrichshain was a workers’ and industrial district – and it quickly became clear that the construction of the elaborately designed buildings was too expensive to create housing for the population on a large scale. The alternative: residential buildings of industrial design, which we know today as prefabricated housing. These were relatively inexpensive to build and were also considered particularly practical, since they could easily be extended upward if necessary. At that time, a lot of new living space was created in this way, especially in the eastern part of Friedrichshain. In the western part, old buildings still predominate today.
Global players and creative startups
Friedrichshain is now one of Berlin’s districts with the strongest economy and most diverse business landscape. International players such as MTV, Universal Music and Zalando are based here, as are many startups. Friedrichshain is also an artists’ district, as the occupational statistics of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district office show. According to these, Friedrichshain is home to around 7,063 craft businesses and 2,069 arts and entertainment companies.
Friedrichshain rents are among the highest in Berlin
The central location, many jobs, beautiful old buildings and a high recreational value ensure that the residential market is hotly contested. Rents in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg average €13.20 per square meter, according to the Housing Market Report 2021 by Berlin Hyp and CBRE. This is significantly more than the Berlin average of €10.15 per square meter. Only in the Mitte district are rents for the square meter slightly higher (€13.87).
Friedrichshain on the way to the future
Construction continues apace in Friedrichshain: A 60-meter-high wooden building is planned on Holzmarktstrasse on the banks of the Spree. Gastronomy, cultural areas and a new club are to move in here. In addition, the notorious RAW site between Warschauer Strasse and Revaler Strasse is to be redeveloped. According to plans, an approximately 100-meter residential high-rise will be built on the site. However, the owner and the architects want to preserve the artistic and alternative flair of the site.
The site of the former Patzenhofer brewery on Landsberger Allee, which has long lain fallow, is also being reactivated: The complex, which has been vacant for ten years, is to be restored and expanded over the next three years. Plans include space for offices, studios, gastronomy, exhibitions and workshops.