Neukölln has always been Berlin's most challenging district. A hundred years ago it was infamous for its dodgy taverns, music halls and weekend revelry. In 1912 it was renamed Neukölln, to clear its bad name and survived the war relatively undamaged. But between 1961-1989, as a part of West Berlin, it was cornered against the Berlin Wall, and became a neglected, immigrant district. Now Neukölln is being revamped and rediscovered, and there are plenty of quirky sights, great cafés and interesting bars.
1 Katie's Blue Cat
Friedelstrasse 31, +49 178 806 97 01, www.katiesbluecat.de
A lovely, relaxed pastel-blue daytime café with good coffee, juices and Anglo-American cookies, cakes, and bagels. Perfect for relaxing with a book and a slice of cheesecake.
2 Maybachufer Market
Fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, snacks and clothing are all stacked high on the stands of the Turkish market by the canal (Tuesday and Friday). The Stoffmarkt on Saturdays has cloth, fashion, food and crafts. The Nowkoelln Flowmarkt, with antiques, crafts, food and live music, takes place a little further down the street on 5 and 19 August.
Hobrechtstrasse 66, +49 30 37 30 58 06, huettenpalast.de
Neukölln's coolest sleep is inside this former vacuum cleaner factory, now an indoor campsite with several lovingly restored GDR-era caravans and wooden cabins (all with shared facilities), and a delightful café and garden.
Weserstrasse 202, www.kuschlowski.de
One of many small and popular bars on and around Weserstrasse, Kuschlowski has low red lighting, buckets for stools, exposed brickwork, tatty wallpaper, no closing time and a lethal selection of vodka.
Tempelhofer Freiheit: once an airport, now an activity park
5 Tempelhofer Freiheit
Tempelhof was the world's first modern airport; it was built by the Nazis and later played a key role in the Soviet Union's 1948 blockade of West Berlin. Since closing in 2008, the 1.3km-long terminal is used for tours and large events, but the huge airfield has been turned into a fantastic and much-loved park. Rent a bike or Segway to zoom down the old runways then fly a kite or grill sausages with the locals.
6 Café Rix
Karl-Marx-Strasse 141, +49 30 686 90 20, www.caferix.de
Dating back to the 1870s, this beautiful high-ceilinged neo-baroque and Jugendstil café is a fantastic find in a calm courtyard off the busy street. After decades of neglect, it was saved from demolition and restored in the 1980s. Come for the great breakfasts, cakes and café meals.
7 Alt Rixdorf
A medieval village that was swallowed up by the metropolis long ago, Old Rixdorf still retains a village atmosphere, with cobbled streets, a working blacksmith and a tiny church from 1481. Refugee Protestants from Bohemia settled along Richardstrasse and Kirchgasse after 1737, and these days a few buildings remain.
8 Café im Körnerpark
Schierker Strasse 8, +49 30 89 75 25 23, www.café-im-koernerpark.de
A great cafe with terrace that overlooks Berlin's most beautiful little park, in a former quarry several metres below street level.