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 heart of Pankow with the Bürgerpark to Masurenstraße stretch of the line.
Bürgerpark Pankow – Bürgerpark, Kurt Lade Klub
If you haven’t been to the Bürgerpark and need a quick green escape close to campus, this is your best bet: Except for the few planes cruising by overhead, it’s a quiet place where you can stroll, chill by the Panke river or admire the beautiful statues. By the entrance close to the Bürgerpark tram station is, most notably, a striking memorial for Czechoslovakian writer and activist Julius Fučik. There’s a small petting zoo around, as well as the children’s farm Pinke Panke where one can often see baby animals — human and non-human alike.
If you want something more up-beat, look out for the Kurt Lade Club, a youth club that hosts environmentalist meetings, a scuba diving collective, as well as artists, offering tons of free events for people of all ages.
Rathaus Pankow – Stück vom Glück, Museum Alte Bäckerei
Rathaus Pankow is a great area to explore if you want to see a lot but don’t want to stray too far. When it comes to coffee, I’d recommend Stück vom Glück. Here, you could even eat an exiled American’s biggest small solace — the bagel. For culture, visit the Museum Alte Bäckerei. This museum details the experience of being a child in Pankow in the 1900s as well as the old bread-making tradition of this very house: for 125 years the same kind of loaves have been made here.
Pankow Kirche – Schloss Niederschönhausen, Buchlokal, Kiezladen Pankow
From the Pankow Kirche stop, you can easily walk to the Schlosspark and take a look at Schloss Niederschönhausen, which is a baroque castle and was a summer home to royalty in the 18th century. To be frank, it’s not that much of a looker from the outside, so buy a ticket to peek inside. On the way there, I recommend visiting the cute neighbourhood bookstore Buchlokal. A little walk further from both these locations is the Kiezladen Pankow, an organic co-op selling local produce and fair trade goods… like coffee.
S+U Pankow – Schillerburger, Liebes Bisschen
Getting good food close to S+U Pankow is easy: there’s Schillerburger, which serves delicious personalisable treats (read: burgers!) and Liebes Bisschen, a cute cafe where you’ll particularly enjoy the cream cheese brownie. The latter is also recommendable as a place to study — In the past I’ve found it to be quiet but not too isolated.
Masurenstraße – Berta Block Bouldering
Berta Block offers shoes and chalk for rent and walls for bouldering; upstairs you can find a small gym equipped with weights, and you can sign up for bouldering and yoga courses (taught in German) as well! If you need a break or to get some homework done in-between climbs, there’s a small cafe inside the hall. Your student ID gets you a discount, and you can climb every day of the year until 11pm.
Vinetastraße – Hokey Pokey
Hokey Pokey, a local favourite originally found only on Stargarderstraße further down the M1 line, has recently opened another spot right by the Vinetastraße tram stop. At both franchises, there’s always a line out front for some of the best ice cream Berlin has to offer, with flavours like “Banana Dulce Leche” and “Chocolate Sorbet”.
Hope you enjoyed the ride for this installment of the M1 Jewels. Join me in the next installment, where our sugar rush makes us dribble table tennis balls and belt our hearts out to Mariah Carey.