Berlin's Best neighborhoods and areas
Trendy, unique, and frenetic, Berlin is one of the most exciting cities in Germany and on the planet.
It’s also slowly becoming one of the world’s most desirable places to live, with people around the world flocking to start a new life in the capital city of Germany. And though it’s famous for its kooky counterculture, that’s not all that Berlin has to offer – for lots of different people, there are plenty of reasons to live in Berlin.
If you’re thinking about living in Berlin, we’re here to help you out. We’ve broken down Berlin’s sprawling metropolis into more manageable chunks, giving you an insight into the city’s separate districts.
Whether you want to live in a trendy nightlife hotspot, a gentrified hipster zone, or one of Berlin’s laid-back green areas, we’ve got you covered – we’ll help you work out where to live in Berlin.
No matter the type of person you are or the type of life you’re looking for in Berlin, we’ve got the perfect district for you. Want to know where to live in Berlin? Our ultimate guide to the best Berlin neighborhoods is for you. Read on!
Best places to live in Berlin for expats
Deciding where to live in Berlin is one of the most difficult parts of moving to the city, and lots of different types of people make the move – almost 800,000 non-Germans already live in the city. Later in this article, we’ve included specific districts for different types of people, but for now, here are the three best overall Berlin neighborhoods for expats:
- Berlin Wilmersdorf
- Berlin Kreuzberg
- Berlin Neukölln
All three Berlin neighborhoods are very popular with expats, with huge populations of non-natives. If you’re not sure where to live in Berlin, these three neighborhoods are a good place to begin. They’re central, they’re varied and you’ll be surrounded by lots of other expats.
1. Wilmersdorf for expats
Often grouped with the neighboring district of Charlottenburg (to make up the aptly and imaginatively-named district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf), this area has historically been a home for many English-speaking expats in Berlin.
Because Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is a little expensive, it’s also a little different to some of the city’s other central districts. Relatively more quiet, laid-back and upmarket than other central parts of the city, living in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is a great choice if you want to stay in the center of Berlin without living in hipsterville.
If you want to live in a nice apartment, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is also a good choice, as it’s at the high end of the real estate market, with some pricey but beautiful townhouses and cosmopolitan accommodations. It’s a great place to consider getting a serviced apartment in Berlin.
As an all-round district for families, middle-class professionals and anyone not explicitly looking to reside in the heart of Berlin’s hipster hangouts, living in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is an excellent choice.
2. Kreuzberg for expats
While Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is a little quieter and calm than the archetypal hipster Berlin, Kreuzberg epitomizes it. It’s trendy, gentrified, and fun, and it’s packed with unusual places to spend time.
If you want to be part of Berlin’s alternative scene while being surrounded by lots of other foreigners and expats, Kreuzberg is the best choice. A longtime hangout for expats seeking a unique lifestyle, Kreuzberg is full of street art, nightlife and endless packs of cyclists.
Though living in Kreuzberg is an option for families, the district is a better pick for younger people, both solo and couples.
3. Neukölln for expats
Neukölln is another good option for expats seeking a hipster zone in Berlin. A little cheaper and more up and coming than Kreuzberg, it’s around ten years behind its more famous neighbor and is on its way to soon becoming Berlin’s most trendy area.
Neukölln is a great place to be an expat, as it’s very multicultural. Known for pastry joints, hummus stores, and its Turkish market, it’s an area packed with students, artists, and a whole host of bizarre bohemians. Looking for a young, trendy, anything-goes population on a budget? Live in Neukölln.
Again, this isn’t really a place for families, but for young couples and solo expats who want to indulge in the bohemia of Berlin, it’s an excellent place to be.
But depending on what type of person you are – and your priorities – you might be seeking something a little more specific. Coming up, we’ve considered the best places to live in Berlin according to these three categories:
- Affordable, cheap places to live in Berlin
- Best Berlin neighborhoods for families
- Best places in Berlin for young professionals
Affordable, cheap places to live in Berlin
Our three picks for affordable living in Berlin are:
- Berlin Neukölln
- Berlin Wedding
- Berlin Marzahn-Hellersdorf
1. Living on a budget in Neukölln
We’ve already covered Neukölln above, but it’s an excellent place to live in Berlin on a budget. For now, rents are still pretty cheap (though they might not stay that way for too much longer!), and it’s easy to eat and drink affordably. If you want trendy, hipster, central Berlin on a budget, it’s your best choice.
For more detail about the area, check our section on Neukölln above.
2. Living on a budget in Wedding
Within Berlin, living in Wedding is a choice that comes with an unfair reputation. Yes, Wedding isn’t as hip, happening, and interesting as some other parts of Berlin, but it’s very central, so it’s a good option if you want to live close to all of Berlin’s cultural quirks without residing in the heart of them.
It’s also a good choice if you want to live on a budget. Because Wedding has a reputation for being a little dull compared to some other parts of Berlin, prices are a little lower than many other districts.
And don’t let Wedding’s reputation fool you – though it might not be the most exciting part of the city, living in Wedding still offers plenty to keep you busy.
If you’re looking for a cheap place to live with a family, Wedding can also be a good choice. It’s relatively affordable, it’s pretty quiet and it has lots of green spaces.
3. Living on a budget in Marzahn-Hellersdorf
If you don’t mind living on the outskirts of Berlin, Marzahn-Hellersdorf is our top pick. Largely residential but very affordable, eastern Marzahn-Hellersdorf is excellent. More eastern bloc than other parts of Berlin, it’s all high-rise apartments and vast parks.
But though Marzahn-Hellersdorf is outside of Berlin’s center, it’s easy to access central Berlin from here, and it’s a great place to enjoy a quieter side to living in Berlin. Again, because it’s a pretty quiet place to live, it can be a good place to live with a family – but it’s also suitable for any people wanting to live in Berlin on a budget.
Best Berlin neighborhoods for families
Berlin can be a great place to settle with a family. Though the city has a reputation for being a hipster paradise (which is of course true), that’s certainly not all that the city has to offer.
With lots of green spaces, great quality of life, excellent levels of safety, and lots of green spaces, Berlin can be a great place to live with kids, and you don’t even have to make them join a circus troupe or get dreadlocks if you don’t want to.
Our three top picks for where to live with kids in Berlin are:
- Berlin Marzahn-Hellersdorf
- Berlin Prenzlauer Berg
- Berlin Tempelhof
1. Living with a family in Marzahn-Hellersdorf
As covered above, living in Marzahn-Hellersdorf is an excellent choice for anyone looking to save money. It’s an even better choice for anyone looking to save money while living with their family. It’s affordable, it’s quiet, it’s full of green spaces and it’s not too far from the center. For raising a family outside of Berlin’s central area, Marzahn-Hellersdorf is your best choice.
For more detail on the area, check our section on Marzahn-Hellersdorf above.
2. Living with a family in Prenzlauer Berg
The northeastern part of central Berlin is a haven for families who have a little extra money. With kids’ stores, great green spaces, lots of playgrounds and plenty of fun attractions for kids, it’s a fantastic place to rear some little ones.
And because it’s relatively removed from Berlin’s party hotspots, it’s a great place to live if you want to be in central Berlin without being endlessly subjected to the pounding beats of Berlin’s non-stop nightlife.
It’s certainly not Berlin’s cheapest district, but for families with kids, it’s fantastic.
3. Living with a family in Tempelhof
Quiet, quaint, and peaceful, the southern district of Tempelhof is an excellent choice if you want lots of green spaces for your kids to enjoy. The area’s epicentre is its big park, which was once the site of a vast airport. If you and your kids want green areas in the city of the centre, living in Tempelhof is fantastic.
Tempelhof neighbors some of Berlin’s trendier areas, offering a great compromise between quiet safety and trendy hipster hangouts.
Best places in Berlin for young professionals
Berlin is one of the world’s best cities for freelancing and being a young professional. With excellent coworking spaces, endless work-friendly cafes, a young population and a relatively low cost of living, it’s built for young professionals.
Here are our favorite three districts for young professionals in Berlin:
- Berlin Schöneberg
- Berlin Mitte
- Berlin Friedrichshain
1. Living as a young professional in Schöneberg
If you’re a young professional, living in Schöneberg is brilliant.
This southwestern district is a little more upmarket than some other parts of Berlin, and it’s not quite as trendy or rough around the edges as some of its neighbors. But because it’s close to some of the city’s trendier districts, you can enjoy the edgy, alternative parts of Berlin while living in a pleasant, upmarket, somewhat suburban area.
With upscale stores and eateries, Schöneberg is a great choice for young expats who aren’t looking solely to party. Here’s what young professionals might be looking for in Schöneberg:
2. Living as a young professional in Mitte
Berlin’s central borough, living in Mitte is great if you have some money. For those trying to save money, it’s not a great place to be, but if you’re a young professional with a pretty good salary, living in Mitte is fantastic.
Sprawling, vast and busy, Mitte is home to lots of the city’s central attractions and areas of interest, including Brandenburg Gate and lots of art galleries. A perfect combination of great nightlife, stylish boulevards, and fantastic architecture, it’s (a pricey!) Berlin in miniature.
If you’re keen to be a cosmopolitan city hopper, living in Mitte is excellent.
3. Living as a young professional in Friedrichshain
If you’re a young professional seeking a compromise between upmarket living and great proximity to Berlin’s underground counterculture, living in Friedrichshain is incredible.
Home to several huge world-famous clubs such as Berghain along with countless flea markets and some surprisingly serene chillout spots, Friedrichshain is like Kreuzberg but with a little respite. Slightly more upmarket than its habitually-hipster neighbors, Friedrichshain is the best place to live for young professionals who want to work hard and play hard.
If you want to live relatively sensibly in a fun place, quiet but chaotic riverside Friedrichshain is a fantastic choice.
All of the above Berlin districts are excellent places to live. But there are many other great places to live in Berlin, depending on what you’re looking for. Of the ones we haven’t already mentioned, we also recommend:
Living in Spandau
Famous for parks and waterways, quiet Spandau has a fantastic old town which history buffs will love. Looking for somewhere relatively quiet to stay on the west side of Berlin? Spandau is a great choice. One of Berlin’s biggest districts, living in Spandau is a great option for families and others seeking a relatively quiet life.
Living in Lichtenberg
Sandwiched between the nightlife of Kreuzberg and the chilled-out tower blocks of Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Lichtenberg is one of East Berlin’s biggest areas, and is a hub of multiculturalism, with a huge Vietnamese population. Looking for an area that is busy but doesn’t necessarily revolve around nightlife? Try living in Lichtenberg.
Living in Pankow
Living in Pankow is a great choice for families. It’s upscale, it’s leafy and it’s full of kid-friendly attractions. Its northern location also keeps it pretty far removed from much of Berlin’s biggest nightlife scenes.
There you have it – where to live in Berlin!
Pick one of the neighborhoods we’ve listed and you’ll have a fantastic time living in Berlin.
But no matter which part of Berlin you live in, all of the city’s areas weave and intertwine, so you’ll be able to enjoy hanging out in all of its separate spots.
A city of hundreds of different vibes and many different districts, Berlin’s areas and atmospheres combine to make up a city full of chaos and contradictions. While all of its districts offer something different, they all co-exist to concoct an endlessly-exciting city packed with diversity and fun.
Choose your Berlin district, choose your Berlin apartment, and choose a brand new life in one of the planet’s most exciting cities.
If you’re having trouble planning your relocation, check out our Berlin relocation guide detailing all the important things you need to know while moving to Berlin
Finding apartments in Berlin that meet your requirements
Finding an apartment in Berlin is fairly easy if you know what to look for. We’ve prepared a detailed guide with tips on things you need to know about renting in Berlin. If you’re ready to take the plunge, here are some apartments that you might like.