How long have you been living there?
What do you like most about your neighbourhood?
Everything we need is just a short walk away, which gives a sort of ‘village-y’ feel to the place. There is a good mix across the generations too, which I personally like.
Are there any aspects you don’t like about your neighbourhood?
People tend to cycle on the pavement/sidewalk more often than I’d like. And they let their dogs crap everywhere, which is gross. That’s not much different than in the rest of the city though, I don’t think.
Where do you most like to go in your neighbourhood during the Spring / Summer months with the kids?
Bürgerpark is a short walk from our house so we tend to hang out there a lot. The grass there is lovely and green and there are goats and chickens and other birds to visit, as well as a nice playground with a small water area and the Pinke Panke farm. We also have playgrounds very close to us, which we visit on an almost daily basis.
Where do you most like to go in your neighbourhood during the Autumn / Winter months with the kids?
Café Schönhausen, which is a well-established ‘Kindercafé’ is around the corner from us so we spend rainy days there when mama needs coffee! There’s also Familiencafé Tinchen, which is a little further away but nice for a change. At the Stadtteilzentrum there’s a café with a small play corner for the kids and the winter playground takes place there regularly too so we visit once in a while.
Are you aware of many other international families living in your neighbourhood?
Yes, we have a small Facebook group of Pankow and Weissensee expats, who meet relatively regularly. Our older son visits the Platanus bilingual KiTa so we also have a few international connections through that. More and more expat families seem to be moving to Pankow. Perhaps it’s the ‘poor man’s Prenzlauer Berg’?
Do you think your neighbourhood is suitable for families who can’t yet speak German?
I can’t really say because I speak fluent German. Knowing people here who speak little to no German, I think it’s a struggle but people here are friendly enough, even if they speak Russian as a second language, as opposed to English!
Is it easy to get around your neighbourhood with public transport or is having a car more vital where you live?
We are really in a well-connected area. The S-Bahn and U-Bahn are closeby and there are various trams, as well as buses covering the more local stops.
What is the quality of playgrounds in your neighbourhood and do you have a favourite?
I can think of at least seven playgrounds within a maximum of 10-15 minutes’ walk away. That’s a LOT! The quality is also good. We are frequent visitors the Dusekestraße playground with its’ large tube slide, hanging bridge and plenty of places to play hide-and-seek.
Did you find it easy to attain a suitable childcare spot in your neighbourhood?
I don’t think it’s easy anywhere. It’s certainly getting more difficult in Pankow but in response to demand, more and more kindergartens are opening up. We found our spot in this way (a newly-founded kita).
Are there any bilingual schools / kitas in your vicinity?
Yes, Lara Kindergarten on Berliner Straße and Platanus School on the same street, which has a Kindergarten right around the corner from us, which our oldest son visits. A little further away is the ‘Krippe’, also under the Platanus name, which our youngest son will start in September. Not too far away is Berlin Kids International and Robin Hood forest Kindergarten.
Do you have a favourite child-friendly restaurant or cafe nearby?
Café Schönhausen is a big hit for coffee and cake. We really like the friendly, family-run Italian restaurant, ‘Firenze’ on Florastraße for brunch and summer al fresco dinners with the kids. Café Rosenstein in Bürgerpark is basically a Biergarten and is a good place to hang out while the kids play. The guy who runs the Bratwurst stand there is very amusing- well worth a trip!
Can you describe your neighbourhood in five words / adjectives? Family-friendly, green, relaxed, village-like, cross-generation (sorry for the hyphenation- is that cheating?)
Do you have any tips for a family considering a move to your neighbourhood?
As much as moving close to the S & U-Bahn stations feels convenient, you will pay a lot more in rent. The bus and tram connections are second-to-none further up into Niederschönhausen / Französisch Buchholz / Rosenthal so it’s worth looking a little further afield to get more for your money.