Going East to start the party. Friedrichshain is an eclectic mix of alternative places, vibrant street art, pieces of Berlin history and lively squares. Is the place of the iconic East Side Gallery, the destination for techno club culture, but also the home to many Berliners and filming location for the Queen’s Gambit.
After Charlottenburg, I am continuing the Berlin series “enjoyed being also a tourist in my own city”, the river Spree, Oberbaum bridge and East Side Gallery are definitely a must for travelers and locals alike.
The connection between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain across the Spree, Oberbaumbrücke, used to be a checkpoint between the East and the West.
River Spree and Oberbaum bridge
Now Oberbaumbrücke is a place to watch the sunset, the water and locals doing SUP (in summertime). Finally, here I saw the sculptures called “Molecule Man” designed by American artist Jonathan Borofsky, installed at various locations in the world.
Visit the East Side Gallery
The East Side gallery runs for almost 1.3 km between Berlin Ostbahnhof train station and Warschaurstrasse at the river Spree. Is technically located in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, a borough created by merging former East Berlin Friedrichshain and former West Berlin Kreuzberg.
The former Berlin Wall became the biggest open air gallery, where you can admire 105 murals painted in 1990 by artists that traveled from all over the world. While walking the Gallery of the physical Wall, I always reflect on the imaginary or invisible walls, the metaphorical ones, we often all carry within us.
Many small people who in
many small places do many small things
that can alter the face of the worldAfrican saying. Berlin Wall Mural
Boxahagener Platz (called Boxi by the locals) and Simon-Dach-Strasse are two pretty and lively places in Friedrichshain. The area is great for going out for coffee or dinner, with pubs, restaurants, cafés, also with vegan and vegetarian options, and a Sunday flea market and two cinemas.
- Creative restaurant that I love – Gotcha – Asian Fusion on Simon-Dach- Strasse 6, the Portuguese Lisboa bar am Boxi, and 1990 Vegan Living on Krosenner- Strasse.
- Silo café on Gabriel-Max Strasse 4 in Boxi is the address for Australian brunch and coffee
- Nearby Fine Bagels on Warschaur Strasse 74 for Bagels and books
- And Happy Baristas a few minutes away from Ostkreuz train station, on Neue Bahnhofstrasse 32, with one of the owners a Barista Champion.
Not far is Revaler street that leads to alternative party places as Cassiopeia Berlin, the complex RAW, Urban Spree and Kegel climbing center.
The name of the neighborhood comes from the park Volkspark Friedrichshain, located at the border with Prenzlauer Berg. Is one of the largest parks, hosts an open air cinema during summer and even has a “mountain” made from WW II ruble.
As part of former East Berlin, the neighborhood has gone though gentrifications and reconstruction. Many areas from Friedrichshain have new buildings. Apart from Boxagener platz area, Samaritenviertel is worth visiting, as is lined with historical Art Nouveau buildings, preserving the charm of old Berlin.
Last, but important, some sights could seems familiar. The cinema Kino International, Frankfurter Tor area and the Rose Garden at the Soviet style boulevard Karl-Max-Allee (previously called Stalinallee) served as filming location for Moscow scenes in the “Queen Gambit” chess series sensation.