Schöneberg is leafy elegance and turbulent history, a haven for artists and intellectuals and the playground of the 1920’s cabaret scene all at once. Neighbouring Charlottenburg is the eclectic and interesting district of Schöneberg. Although the hotel is, strictly speaking, in Charlottenburg, part of our street – Augsburger Strasse – sits in Schöneberg so we like to lay a small claim to both.
Some of the world’s most famous and beloved creative minds chose Schöneberg as home at one time or another, including Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Today the city’s LGBTQ population have made it theirs, officially confirmed by the rainbow Pride coloured lighting over Nollendorfplatz train station in the heart of the district.
Schöneberg has a history of middle to upper class residents and some of Berlin’s finest historic residences can still be admired in the leafy streets around Viktoria Luise Platz and Bayerischer Platz. Much of this area – the Bavarian Quarter – was created during the Prussian era and despite heavy damage during WWII, there are still wonderful examples of pre and post war architecture along Martin Luther Strasse, in various stages of restoration. It’s also in this area, around Münchener Strasse, that more than 16,000 Jews were deported to concentration camps.
The greatest landmark of Schöneberg must surely be its grand town hall – Rathaus Schöneberg. An impressive structure just near the lovely tranquil oasis that is Rudolf Wilde park, the Rathaus was made famous in 1963 as the site of US President John F. Kennedy’s passionate speech, declaring America’s support for West Berlin to a crowd of thousands. The dominant feature of the Schöneberg skyline is the gasometer on the infamous Rote Insel and today fascinating new architecture is taking shape around the gasometer, bring a new contemporary edge to the neighbourhood.
The famous KaDeWe department store also calls Schöneberg home and it’s elegant architecture and history hark back to the city’s glamorous past. Berlin in the 1920’s was a sparkling blur of feathers, sekt and cigars as cabaret fever took hold and many of the city’s bourgeoisie made – including Christopher Isherwood and Sally Bowles herself – took up residence around Nollendorfplatz. Also in the area is the wonderful Winterfeldplatz weekend market bursting with local produce and fresh flowers.
For more insights into our local neighbourhood, why not hire a bike and explore city west with our personalised guide.