Lichterfelde Sud/ Ost
How long have you been living there?
Just over 2 years
What do you like most about your neighbourhood?
It’s quiet and you can ‘escape’ into the countryside but at the same time it has great connections into the city. Lichterfelde Ost and Steglitz both provide most of the shops we need. We moved here because we wanted a house rather than a flat and our own garden, which this area offers. We also wanted to be on the edge, rather than in the middle of everything as we’d never lived in a city before.
Are there any aspects you don’t like about your neighbourhood?
Some more cute cafes and a few boutique shops wouldn’t go amiss. Also, there isn’t really a ‘centre’ in Lichterfelde Sud. Despite the great transport links, it strangely takes 2 buses and 35-40 mins to get to Zehlendorf (when it only takes 10 minutes by car!)
Where do you most like to go in your neighbourhood during the Spring / Summer months with the kids?
When the cherry blossom is out the Mauer Weg is at the end of our road and it is stunning. You can walk south towards Teltow or north to the Teltow Canal, which is also lovely to walk along and also has one of Berlin’s best hidden parks. At Linden Strasse is a really great ice cream parlor – La Dolce Vita – which sells awesome sundaes. (Within 10 mins: Take the M85 bus for 10 minutes to Bakerstrasse and you find a really lovely public outdoor pool. Head up the S25 to Priesterweg and there is a really cool nature reserve in an old train depot that costs only €1. You can also find another great public outdoor pool)
Where do you most like to go in your neighbourhood during the Autumn / Winter months with the kids?
We tend to take the train for 3 stops (about 5 mins) to Lankwitz to use the Pool or the Ice Skating Rink. There is Pandaland (previously Bambooland) on Goerzallee, where the old US Army base was, which is a big soft play and lazer quest place. There is another in Teltow too called Kinderoase and a Winterspielplatz called Kinderkiste on Lankwitzer Strasse in Lichterfelde Ost.
Are you aware of many other international families living in your neighbourhood?
Yes: because there are a lot less of us, we seem to know each other, but you need to be more willing to make friends outside of your immediate few streets. My closest friends live in Teltow, Zehelendorf and Kleinmachnow.
Do you think your neighbourhood is suitable for families who can’t yet speak German?
Most local people are German and many are a lot older, which makes it hard to integrate. You have to expect to use at least some German very early on. We came here with absolutely zero German and still don’t really know any ‘locals’. Our friends are mostly expats or work colleagues.
Is it easy to get around your neighbourhood with public transport or is having a car more vital where you live?
We have the s25 train and several buses, including M85 which goes right through the town. However, there are less choices as there are no trams or u-bahns. We don’t have a car and cope fine but it would be easier with one.
What is the quality of playgrounds in your neighbourhood and do you have a favourite?
The one opposite my house is rubbish! They just took most of it down and haven’t rebuilt. On the plus side, it has a baby swing! However, there is another small one along the Mauer Weg and a really great wooden one like a sinking pirate ship by the Teltow canal. There are several along the canal, including an awesome one at Vianville strasse (10 mins from our house on the 186 bus) and a cute one near my daughter’s kita at Goerzallee on the M85.
Did you find it easy to attain a suitable childcare spot in your neighbourhood?
I think if we went for a German one it would be easy but we wanted bilingual and that limited our options. We love the one we have and it’s only 12 mins by bus but costs €300 extra per month on top of Gutschein!
Are there any bilingual schools / kitas in your vicinity?
Nanny’s Place is in Lichterfelde Ost. Mary Poppinz have 2 sites in Lankwitz and Lichterfelde West. Otherwise, if you have a car you can choose maybe one of the kitas in Zehelendorf, but they would be too far by bus. Schools: you’d have to go for Quentin Blake. If we stay that long we’d either need a car or to move closer.
Do you have a favourite child-friendly restaurant or cafe nearby?
Ristorante Il Campo on Feldstrasse is Italian and they are very welcoming to families. La Dolce Vita does fab ice creams. There aren’t any Kindercafes in our part of town.
Can you describe your neighbourhood in five words / adjectives?
Quiet, Residential, ‘German’, Settled, Outskirts
Do you have any tips for a family considering a move to your neighbourhood? Assess what you want from living in a city like Berlin. If you want to be in the thick of things, near lots of expats or near trendy cafes etc this isn’t the area for you. If you want somewhere quiet but good access into town, where you can potentially afford a house and garden then it might be perfect.