12 Best Places to discover & Things to do in Berlin Wedding
Berlin was once known as a city protected from mass tourism. It was also said to be one of the last European capitals to have a free and independent state of mind and therefore underground. There were very affordable rents, creativity and unparalleled freedom, which is why many artists settled in Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s, such as David Bowie and Lou Reed. So there was: a Berlin state of mind.
And then. And then everything changed. The citizens of the world realized the opportunity and wanted to taste this fruit with its unique taste. Rent prices have risen sharply and the most emblematic districts of this Berlin spirit have now become landmarks for tourists disguised as hipsters, tourists in search of an authenticity they think they can find again, even though they are often among themselves, without knowing it, all disguised as they are.
But then, where is this unique state of mind in Berlin?
What if it was in Wedding? No one from Kreuzberg, Neukölln or Friedrischain will continue the conversation if you slip it with a convinced look between two bites of bratwurst or two sips of Club Maté. And even in Wedding, the locals are rather sceptical about this idea.
And it is evidence that Wedding is one of the last bastions of the old Berlin, creative, free and independent.
So here are 12 beautiful places to discover and cool things to do in Wedding (we're going to reveal some of our secrets, but maybe not all of them...).
1. An unusual bar in Wedding: Wilma
Why not go to a ruin bar for a drink? It is not only in Budapest that you can find ruin bars. There is, for example, along the Panke, this narrow house close to demolition, the Wilma bar, a timeless place, lit only by candlelight. When you enter after opening the inhospitable door, you come face to face with the barkeeper and a few privileged people who can settle where they can, while everyone else is on the floor, between broken walls, on seats, chairs, all barely survived the demolition.
2. A surprising café: the anti-café Be'kesch
Not far from there, there is the anti café Be'kesch, completely outside the usual radars, a queer place that organizes a concert, a conference or a reading almost every day. An unpretentious place but carried by a crazy energy. On Sundays there is a brunch which is free and where those who can afford it to pay a little more are encouraged to do so, so that those who have nothing can take the brunch at 0.50€.
3. The Eschenbraü Brewery
One of the city's most surprising breweries, Eschenbraü, is located in the basement behind the gates of an anonymous building in the heart of the Wedding district. When you push the door in, you discover a huge space all made of wood and smelling like coal, where students, businessmen, doctors and patients of the Charité meet right next door. And it's no small thing to say that they are the proud ambassadors of the district: one of their most popular beers, a light dark beer, is called Weddinator.
4. Eating in a bus at Café Pförtner
In front of the old Ufer studios (which are worth a trip!) and just next to the Adidas Base, next to a sculptor's studio, is the Pförtner café, a quite incredible restaurant, in terms of quality and decoration, since you can eat in an old bus, there, at the stop, where half a dozen tables are set.
5. A typical German restaurant: Uferlos
A few steps away, an excellent German restaurant with a typical and traditional cuisine (but also with many Italian or French dishes). And a touch of modernity. I still remember the delicious veal liver served in a red wine sauce with a homemade puree that I ate there. Do not go there if you are in a hurry, for example before going to a concert (see next point) because the service is a... bit... slow...
6. Listen to classical music at the Piano Salon Christophori
It should be noted that just next door, the district is full of activities. In what looks like a warehouse for wholesalers of oriental rugs or carpets, there is a very popular place for classical music concerts, the Piano Salon Christophori. An amazing place resembling a workshop for restoring old pianos with instrument parts strewn all over the walls and going up to the ceiling and then in the middle, a stage that seems to be lit by candlelight. An intimate atmosphere for a classical music concert, very different from the usual concert halls.
7. Going out in a club in Wedding: Panke Kultur
Keep going down along this narrow and joyful canal, the Panke, and you will arrive at this old industrial complex, completely redesigned, where the very urban Panke Kultur is located, with its reggae evenings and its very agitated rap battles, in crowded rooms where an electric atmosphere reigns.
8. Go dancing at the Anita Berber
Just next door is the incredible Anita Berber, named after this free and rebellious German actress, who died at the age of 29, and which is a place where all kinds of events are organized. If you get lost among the half-dozen classes, let yourself be guided by the music of an artist's studio or a dance class, organized behind a door that you can barely see, on the 4th floor stealthy silhouettes and red neon lights and then it is Vivaldi that is played. Welcome to the artistic Berlin.
9. Discover the Wedding district from an ecological point of view
Get involved and meet people. Several times a week, the Baumhaus, or the house in the tree, organizes projects, meetings or conferences in a very cosy place on the trending topic of "sustainability".
10. Explore the architecture at the Silent Green Kulturquartier
If you prefer grand atmospheres and stunning architecture, there is the completely renovated old crematorium, next to the Wedding metro station, it's called silent green Kulturquartier. And it is a place where festivals, concerts and events of all kinds are organized, at the verge of a small park where ducks roam. My tip: To try, especially for its terrace in summer, to have a coffee, a lunch on weekdays or a brunch on Sundays: the MARS café, located inside the park.
11. Going to a bar to play Kegeln
Recharge your batteries, get some fresh air and do some sports. You have already heard about Kegeln, this typical Berlin sport (well, German), and the best place to practice it is without hesitation in this completely isolated bar, in this outlying district, far from any activity, in the middle of the impressive buildings: the Kegelbahn. It's an oasis, a unique, relaxed and very trendy atmosphere, in an almost American style, absolutely everything you don't expect when you see it from afar, this bar. And in the basement, next to the dance floor and the DJ cage, there are two Kegeln tracks. Unbelievable!
12. Take a walk through Humboldthain and enjoy the view
You can then sunbathe in Humboldthain Park (or if you don't, watch the snow fall), the trees are magnificent but above all, apart from the friendly swimming pool open in summer, you have the opportunity to have one of the best views and observation points in Wedding, at 85m high, an almost unequalled summit in Berlin. But this summit is not really natural, since it is a bunker and its anti-aircraft defence system, two Flakturms built on Hitler's orders in 1940, which were completely buried at the end of the war. The ascent is very steep. On the other side of the park, the ascent is less steep since there is only one bunker, partly dynamited and buried. These steep walls are the favourite playgrounds for climbers. And right next door, in the sheltered area hidden by the trees, raves are sometimes organised, especially in summer.
Bonus. Eat in a Turkish restaurant and taste its traditional cuisine
We would only advise you to get lost in Wedding and discover its thousands of cuisines, from all over the world, and in particular the Turkish cuisine, which is omnipresent. For example, go for lunch to the Turkish restaurant (well, rather fast food) Örnek and try the pan-fried liver with spices and onions, a real treat!
You will also discover the many shops in the world, with fruits, vegetables, sauces, meats, breads, cheeses, which you have no chance to find in the traditional German supermarkets.
Welcome to Wedding.
I write novels, short stories, travel the world, take pictures, get drunk and scatter. I studied journalism and worked as a freelancer in Brussels before moving to Lisbon and now to Berlin.