When German magazines want to illustrate a particularly beautiful street in Berlin, they often end up with a shout out of Gräfekiez. And still, for some reason, this part of the city isn’t on most travel guides. During the evenings, the scenery conjures a mix of Italy and Berlin. At night, the Admiralbrücke Bridge bustles with people noshing on pizza from the nearby Italian restaurant and drinking local brews from the Spätshop convenience stores. You can spend a warm Berlin summer night like an actual Berliner here, listening to music performances and enjoying some good vibes. And if you’re lucky, someone will have moved a piano onto the bridge, too.
Meet your local
Rick is originally from Dresden, a two- to three-hour drive from Berlin, and moved to the German capital in 2017, following stints after high school in France, Washington and London.
Where I live: Schöneberg, a quirky district that has it all: fancy shopping streets, hipster cafes and bars and quiet parks.
Best way to get around the city: In summer, bike-sharing services, which you can easily download on your phone. The public transport network is excellent and inexpensive, too.
Don’t leave without having: An experience of the one thing Berlin is really known for across the world: its nightlife. On a weekend morning in Berlin, you’ll often wonder where all the locals are. Well, either they’re still partying or they’re still in bed. Unless you love empty cities, stay out as long as you want.
But the local favorite is really: The history that keeps casually popping up in front of you. It’s a reminder that things used to be a lot worse, at least in this part of the world.
If I moved, I’d most miss: The beer gardens, beloved even by Berliners who don’t drink beer.
Brandi Espresso Bar
Start your day with some Italian breakfast and espresso, just like the Germans living here. (We’ve long acknowledged: German breakfast is good, but Italian breakfast is better.)
Brandi Espresso Bar, Dieffenbachstrasse 63, 10967 Berlin
This former airport rebuilt by Adolf Hitler is now a free public park, with grills, a communal garden and a paradise for bikers or “kite-surfers” (on wheels). You can also tour the airport building, if you pre-book.
Tempelhofer Feld, Tempelhofer Damm 9, 12101 Berlin
Verena is a contributing photographer for The Washington Post based in Berlin. She moved from the western part of Germany to Berlin in 2009, attracted by friends’ inexpensive and spacious apartments … back then, it was easy to find one. She fell in love with the juxtapositions and imperfection of Berlin, and loves Treptower Park.