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Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Germany's insider take:

After 1989, Berlin's bohemians came to settle in this former East German working-class neighborhood of gray, unrenovated tenements, many of them with coal ovens instead of central heat. Moving into illegal squats and opening up secret unlicensed bars and clubs, so-called "Geheimtips" (secret tips), they helped define the "Wild East" days of Berlin in the 1990s. More recently, significant gentrification has taken its toll: The facades have been given a pastel-hued makeover, the interiors have been brought up to code, and now they rent for high sums. Still, "Prenzl Berg," as it's affectionately known, remains indisputably hip. The wide tree-lined boulevards, particularly those around Kollwitzplatz, Helmholzplatz, and Kastanienalle, are packed with cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops that attract the nouveau bourgeois in droves.

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