Living in Pankow has its upsides and its downsides. On the one hand, the neighbourhood is peaceful; on the other, it often feels far-removed from “the rest of Berlin”. Personally, I firmly believe in the untapped energy of the M1 line: Along the tram tracks are some real gems, one could even say jewels, that are often ignored in favor of venues elsewhere in the city that require long, complicated transport routes. In this piece, I’d like to introduce you to some such M1 Jewels, a few of which I have personally visited for you. Starting in the north end of this great transit line, here are some recommendations for eats, sights and delights that are close to an M1 stop, simple to reach, and worth your time.
In today’s installment, we explore the upper north of the Schillerstraße-bound tracks.
Nordend – Location: Botanischer Volkspark + Café
If you take any recommendation from this installment of M1 Jewels, please make it this one! A twenty-minute walk from Nordend station is the Botanischer Volkspark, a 34-hectare park which is the oldest of its kind in Berlin according to their website. The park holds a communal vegetable garden, diverse flora in both the park and the greenhouses, as well as animals such as sheep and deer that you can feed in the warmer months. Lots of the plant species within, as well as the greenhouses themselves, are protected for their rarity and age. In the same structures as the greenhouses the small Café mint* offers up delectable coffee and a delicious vegan chocolate cake.Entry to the park will set you back just one euro.
The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset. Café mint* is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays as well as on holidays from 11am-5pm.
Kuckhoffstraße – Location: Café Kubitza, Shotokan Kyokai Pankow
Spok is great, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve heard time and time again that students wish there were more English-speaking exercise opportunities close to campus. The Shotokan Kyokai on Blankenburgerstraße, close to the Kuckhoffstraße station, offers both karate and simple self-defense courses for complete beginners, in English. However, if you’re not feeling sporty, you can settle, perhaps more realistically, for a delicious Windbeutel (puff pastry with cream filling and cherries) at Café Kubitza closeby. In the warmer months, this is also one of the few places close to campus where you can get some decent gelato. Opening times vary; more information can be found here.
Hermann-Hesse-Straße/Waldstraße – Location: Let’s Curry / Let’s Burger
Hermann-Hesse-Straße/Waldstraße station is home to a delicious and affordable bite to eat close to the dorms that is often overlooked: Let’s Curry serves fries, burgers, and a very recommendable Scandinavian-style hotdog. They have also recently begun selling something called the “Hangover Burger” — if that isn’t pandering to first year students, I don’t know what is.