They’ve always been around, these epicenters of cool: urban islands where the inhabitants already know what tomorrow’s new trend will be. They flock to these small spaces in usually run-down neighborhoods where no one wanted to be before, and start opening up the coolest bars, shops, hotels, and restaurants in the city.

The neighborhood around the Weserstraße is a prime example—in the once shady Reuterkiez, in Weserkiez, even in infamous Rollbergviertel. Next to stuffy old pubs and hookah bars, cheesecake shops, designer cafés, happening wine bars with live bands, secret basement-clubs, Japanese soup kitchens, and pop-up restaurants in derelict buildings have opened their doors. There’s certainly no shortage of creative ideas here. Neukölln is going through its very own golden age for individualists: fashion victims seek out Berlin-based designers, small farmers’ markets and fruit stands replace supermarkets, quaint bars and cafés make chains seem like a thing of yesterday, and international artists give the entire neighborhood a facelift. Enjoy a raspberry scone at Katie’s Blue Cat in the morning, then browse the treasures at Vintage Galore. Late risers will relish in the decadent shakshuka served by the (handsome) waiters at Roamers. Looking for the perfect clutch to go along with your evening outfit? Sing Blackbird has got you covered. Stop for a glass of wine pre-dinner in Galatea before enjoying the molecular dishes at Txokoa or eins44. Night owls can head out to what’s sure to become their new favorite stomping ground: the industrial Palast Neukölln.

Is this Berlin’s very-own Brooklyn? From rundown, broke, and not entirely safe to creative, chic, and hip? Though Berliners are better known for understatement, we definitely think that Neukölln’s evolution and diverse neighborhoods deserve an A for effort, and are a must for any visit to Berlin.

Our insider tips in Neukölln: discover cafés, restaurants, clubs and shops in the neighborhoods around the 48 Stunden Neukölln festival.

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