Berlin’s districts: Colorful neighborhood life

Neighborhood Akazienkiez, Schöneberg

Berlin is home to twelve “cities”: twelve districts with twelve different mentalities that complement each other well. The spectrum of the districts ranges from urban to middle-class to quite lavish. Each district, in turn, has several neighborhoods: small urban oases where the lives of local residents are concentrated. Each neighborhood has its own charm. 

Approximately one million “Berliners” live in the greater Berlin area, known as the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region. The well-developed public transport and the best infrastructure in Germany make it easy to live in the big city and optimally network the districts with the surrounding areas. 

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The city magazine Zitty has given Berlin's boroughs school grades to show how high each one scores in terms of neighborhood life, gastronomy, housing, nature and transportation links. Here are the results. Have fun browsing!

An overview of the Berlin boroughs

BoroughArea in haPopulation
Mitte3,947

371.407

Pankow10,301

397.406 

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf6,472

336.249

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg2,016 281.323 
Spandau9,191

239.942

Reinickendorf8,946

261.919

Lichtenberg5,229

283.121 

Marzahn-Hellersdorf6,174

262.015

Treptow-Köpenick16,842

259.524

Neukölln4,493

327.522

Tempelhof-Schöneberg5,309

346.108

Steglitz-Zehlendorf10,250304,086

Mitte: The heart of the city

Berlin-Mitte is the interface between old and new Berlin. To put it short: a dynamic and vibrant metropolis with spectacular building projects, theaters, museums, galleries, boutiques, interesting event locations and the government district. Landmarks of the borough include the Brandenburg Gate, the Gendarmenmarkt, the TV Tower, the Museum Island, the Alexanderplatz, the Hackescher Markt, the Nikolaiviertel, the Red City Hall, the Friedrichsstraße, the Reichstag, the Potsdamer Platz, the Tiergarten, Unter den Linden and the Spandauer Vorstadt. The district Mitte has about 371,407 inhabitants, the rent is between 9.50 and 12 euro per square meter.

Mitte is equally attractive for locals and tourists – a shopping paradise with lots of culture and interesting sights. The borough is home to many young entrepreneurs, group branches, exclusive stores, boutiques, creative people and the tourism sector. The locality Tiergarten is the center of power. Here is the seat of the German Bundestag, many embassies, state representations and the consulates of Barbados and Monaco. The Bellevue Palace is the official residence of the President of Germany. Inner districts: Gesundbrunnen, Hansaviertel, Mitte, Moabit, Tiergarten, Wedding

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Pankow: The family hub

Playground at the Kollwitzplatz, Prenzlauer Berg

Pankow and Prenzlauer Berg in particular has the highest population density in Berlin and is characterized by diverse restaurants and cultural venues. Pankow is considered a borough of individual lifestyles with a specific social environment. In the past years, Pankow has become more mature. The borough has increasingly gained popularity due to comprehensive refurbishing activities resulting in a rapid increase in rents. More and more people with higher income and young families move to the district. While Prenzlauer Berg adorns itself with scene locations such as the Kulturbrauerei, the Prater or the Mauerpark, the rest of Pankow is known for its green areas and woods and hardly any industry – a residential area with rental houses and mansion districts. The district Pankow has about 397,406 inhabitants, the rent is between 8.75 and 10.25 euro per square meter. Inner districts: Blankenburg, Blankenfelde, book, French Buchholz, Heinersdorf, Karo, Malchow, Niederschönhausen, Prenzlauer Berg, Rosenthal, Weissensee, Wilhelmsruh

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf: From the old city to the zoo

In Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, a structured business location meets boulevards and mall strips. Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is the meeting place of the bohemia, intellectuals and artists. But the borough also has numerous calm areas. Lietzensee and Ruhleben for instance are top residential areas – in central location and yet surrounded by nature. The diverse range of bars, restaurants, theaters and green areas is very popular, not only among the locals. The borough has a hint of decadence, a coexistence of luxury and low budget, of celebrities and ordinary people. The hot spots of the borough are the Oldenburg Palace, the Kurfürstendamm, the Berlin Zoo, the Olympiastadion, Berlin ExpoCenter City/Funkturm, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the Grunewald and the Teufelsberg. Apartment buildings decorated with stucco with green backyards dominate the center, while the western part is characterized by elegant single-family homes and mansion. The district Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf has about 336.249 inhabitants, the rent is 10 to 12 euros per square meter. Inner districts: Charlottenburg, Wilmersdorf

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Steglitz-Zehlendorf: Berlin's recreation area

Locality Lichterfelde in Steglitz-Zehlendorf

Those who want to live in a calm neighborhood and a green environment move to Steglitz. Although there are not many cultural activities, Steglitz has everything you need for life. The Schlossstraße is the place for shopping. The people in Steglitz go to the movies there too and visit the Schlosspark Theater. The Botanical Garden, which is Germany's largest facility of this kind, invites for a walk and the boardwalk at the Teltow Canal is a perfect place for jogging and cycling. The rents are high, but you get to choose between projects, townhouse and single-family home. In Zehlendorf, almost 50% of the area is covered by water and woods. The locality Dahlem is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Berlin. The locality Wannsee is the place for sailing and surfing. Many Berliners populate the waterfront of the Wannsee in summer. Another landmark is the Glienicke Palace. Steglitz-Zehlendorf is calm, big and perfect for well-heeled families. The district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf has about 304,086 inhabitants, the rent is 8.50 to 10.50 euro per square meter. Inner districts: Steglitz, Lichterfelde, Lankwitz, Zehlendorf, Dahlem, Nikolassee, Wannsee

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg: Alternative way of life

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is one of Berlin's two east-west boroughs and has blossomed into a creative borough. Innovative projects, attractive service locations, the creative and media scene, the bar and club scene, thrift shops and designer stores make Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg the scene district of Berlin. The district has about 281,323 inhabitants, the rent is 9 to 10.50 euro per square meter.

The streets of Kreuzberg are characterized by a multicultural atmosphere. Investors build one neat building complex after the other which is also a motivation for people with high incomes to settle down in Kreuzberg. Organic supermarkets are flourishing and the local language is a mixture of English, Spanish, Danish, Hebrew and Turkish.

Friedrichshain is definitely the party district of Berlin while increasingly developing into the city's media center. The investment project Mediaspree is responsible for this development. The so-called Oberbaum City is an inspiring place for service providers and creative minds. Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is mostly known and popular for the following locations: the East Side Gallery, the Oberbaum Bridge, the O2 World, the Karl-Marx-Allee, the Volkspark Friedrichshain, the Simon-Dach-Straße, the Boxhagener Platz, the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, the Viktoriapark, the Oranienstraße, the Marheineke Markthalle, the Paul-Lincke-Ufer, the Fraenkelufer and the Maybachufer. Inner districts: Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg

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Spandau: Industry location amidst nature

Spandau: the industry location amidst nature. A true "Spandauer" doesn't like to call himself a Berliner. Spandau is a close-knit community that rather evolves without help from outside. The Altstadt Spandau, the Spandau Citadel and the festival Havelfest are nourished and cherished like one's own belongings. In Spandau, people stick together. 25% of the borough are covered by woods and lakes, thus serving as a popular neighborhood for people who appreciate the rural lifestyle. At the same time, Spandau is the largest industry location in Berlin. The Siemensstadt, for instance, characterizes a whole locality. The district of Spandau has about 239,942 inhabitants, the rent is 7.75 to 8.75 euro per square meter. Inner districts: Spandau, Haselhorst, Siemensstadt, Staaken, Gatow, Kladow, Hakenfelde, WIlhelmstadt, Falkenhagener Feld

Tempelhof-Schöneberg: A borough with a place in world history

Ever since John F. Kennedy finished his speech from the balcony of the Rathaus Schöneberg with the famous phrase "Ich bin ein Berliner!", the borough has become world renowned. Tempelhof-Schöneberg has stories to tell. Schöneberg is the birthplace of Marlene Dietrich, Helmut Newton was buried here and the Comedian Harmonists were founded. Kurt Tucholsky, Günter Grass and Albert Einstein also lived in Schöneberg. The district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg has about 346,108 inhabitants, the rent is about 8.75 to 10.75 euro per square meter.

In the northern part of the borough, urban life is pulsating around the department store KaDeWe. The gay/lesbian scene is at home between the Fuggerstraße and the Nollendorfplatz. The south is a rather calm neighborhood with gorgeous mansions. The localities Mariendorf and Lichtenrade with their single and two-family homes appear quite peaceful. The highest quality of life is found in the refurbished old buildings between the Viktoria-Luise-Platz and the Bayrischer Platz. The whole neighborhood impresses by cafes, restaurants and shopping opportunities. One benefit of Tempelhof: the Tempelhof Field, the former airport which has been converted into a huge park. Be it concerts, sports events, fairs, festivals, theater, dancing, music or variety entertainment – there is always something going on in Tempelhof-Schöneberg. Inner districs: Tempelhof, Schöneberg

Reinickendorf: The borough of contrasts

Reinickendorf has two faces. On the one hand, the borough has nice living quarters with townhouses and single-family homes such as Frohnau and Heiligensee, and the Märkische Viertel on the other: a housing estate with 40,000 inhabitants. The noise pollution of the Tegel Airport and the calmness of the Lake Tegel are also in contrast to each other. About 25% of the people in Reinickendorf are over 65. The landmark of the district is the "Dicke Marie" – a 800-year-old oak. The Hallen am Borsigturm invite for shopping and are a popular meeting place for young people. The Buddhist House, Europe's most important buddhist sanctuary, is another landmark of Reinickendorf. The district of Reinickendorf has approximately 261,919 inhabitants, the rent is 8.25 to 9.25 euro per square meter. Inner districts: Frohnau, Hermsdorf, Heiligensee, Waidmannslust, Lübars, Konradshöhe, Tegel, Wittenau, Reinickendorf, Lübars

Treptow-Köpenick: Berlin's recreation zone

Aerial image, Treptow

The Treptower Park, the Plänterwald, the lively Spree riverside, the Soviet War Memorial, cafes and restaurants make a trip to Treptow always worth making. The science and business location Adlershof (WISTA), which is one of the 15 largest technology parks worldwide, is located in the southeast of Treptow. The locality Treptow offers affordable rents and is characterized by houses from the Gründerzeit era, other old buildings as well as single-family and row houses. The district of Treptow-Köpenick has about 259,524 inhabitants, the rent is 8.25 to 9.25 euro per square meter.

Köpenick is probably the most idyllic locality in Berlin with 70% of its area being comprised of water and woods. Life there is like in a small town – the perfect place for people looking to experience nature and do family activities. The flagships of the borough include the island Insel der Jugend, the Treptower Park, the townhall of Köpenick, the Köpenick Palace and the family and recreation center in Wuhlheide (FEZ). The landing stage Treptow is the center of Berlin's tourist water transport. From here, ships depart for round trips on an hourly basis. The Müggelsee in the south of Treptow-Köpenick is a popular destination for Berliners. The idyllic surrounding invites for swimming or rowing. Inner districts: Alt-Treptow, Plänterwald, Baumschulenweg, Johannisthal, Niederschöneweide, Alt-Glienicke, Adlershof Bohnsdorf, Oberschöneweide, Köpenick, Friedrichshagen, Rahnsdorf, Grünau, Müggelheim, Schmöckwitz 

Lichtenberg: An insiders' tip of the creative people

The center of the borough is Alt-Lichtenberg. Here, you are surrounded by large green areas and shopping streets. Lichtenberg is on the upswing and is increasingly departing from the image of an estate of prefabricated houses. The affordable apartments in old buildings are an insiders' tip among young creative people. Berlin's youth created their own oasis with a beach and bars in the locality Rummelsburg. Only Neu-Hohenschönhausen is characterized by prefabricated buildings, however with a positive image. In Alt-Hohenschönhausen, on the other hand, you will find yourself in a village idyll with manors and villas. The flagships of Lichtenberg include the zoo Tierpark Friedrichsfelde, the harness racing track Karlshorst, the Hohenschönhausen Memorial, the open-air bath Orankesee and the Sportforum Berlin. Lichtenberg has about 283,121 inhabitants, the rent is 8.25 to 9 euro per square meter. Inner districts: Wartenberg, Malchow, Falkenberg, Hohenschönhausen, Lichtenberg, Friedrichsfelde, Karlshorst

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Neukölln: A borough on the upswing

A Berlin backyard, Neukölln

Ever since the rents in Kreuzberg have reached the level of Charlottenburg, the north of Neukölln has increasingly gained popularity. The interface of boroughs, also called Kreuzkölln, is particularly attractive for young people. However, Kreuzkölln has higher rents than the rest of Neukölln. The international creative scene is gradually conquering other streets of Neukölln. The district has about 327,522 inhabitants, the rent is 7.75 to 9 euro per square meter.

The area between the Weigandufer and the airfield is highly coveted. The south of Neukölln and the high rise estate Gropiusstadt in particular attracts families with a low income. Rudow, Britz and Buckow, on the other hand, offer high quality of life – calm single family quarters and community gardens make a cozy impression. The hot spots of Neukölln are the Sonnenallee, the Hermannplatz and the Volkspark Hasenheide. Cultural programs are provided by the Heimathafen Neukölln, the Britz castle and the Estrel Festival Center. Inner districts: Neukölln, Britz, Buckow, Rudow

OUR TIP: Enter your location into "Place I Live" to find Wi-Fi spots, parks, museums, movie theaters, stations, sports clubs, clinics, doctor offices, daycares, schools, ATMs and supermarkets in your area in a single click, or find out what nationalities live in your neighborhood and how much the people there earn. Have a look around now!

Marzahn-Hellersdorf: A garden of prefabricated houses

Following the turnaround in 1989, the fronts of 60,000 apartments in Marzahn were painted in bright colors and green areas were planted in close vicinity. The image of the borough is significantly characterized by this color effect. Marzahn and Hellersdorf are known for their prefabricated building estates, whereas the localities Mahlsdorf, Kaulsdorf and Biesdorf make up Berlin's currently largest single-family housing area. Marzahn-Hellersdorf is predominantly populated by families. The Eastgate Berlin invites for shopping tours. Another benefit: the Gardens of the World, a 30 hectares large, neat park with worldwide unique examples of international garden art. The district has about 262,015 inhabitants, the rent is 7.75 to 8.75 euro per square meter. Inner districts: Marzahn, Biesdorf, Kaulsdorf, Mahlsdorf, Hellersdorf

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The surroundings of Berlin

Around a million "Berliners" live in the surroundings of Berlin in the capital region Berlin-Brandenburg. The surroundings of Berlin are an agglomeration area around the city which is connected to the commuter and regional train network and is located at the Berlin Ring (highway 10). Around 50 communities live here. People from Brandenburg live in Berlin and Berliners work in Brandenburg. The people commute day by day, typically of a big city. Good traffic connections allow free choice of residence within the capital region. The idyllic surroundings allures with historic towns and villages, nature parks and bathing lakes. The rents are often cheaper than in the city, but additional costs are incurred by cars (gas and maintenance costs) or tickets for the public transportation. Those who want to have their peace and be quickly out in the nature, find what they are looking for in the surroundings of Berlin. However, differences in price have to be expected here as well. The residential parks in Teltow-Fläming, Dahme-Spreewald or the communities in Oberhavel rank among the dwelling places of high-income households. But no matter which corner of Berlin's surroundings you choose, compare building and renting costs! With any luck, you will find the spot of your dreams at fair conditions.