Street Art Alley in Hackescher Markt, Berlin

Courtyard, Hackescher Markt, Berlin

When I see an alley it immediately presses my curiosity button. What does it lead to? What will I see? Who will I see? Will I get murdered? These are just a few of the thoughts running through my head before I take a creep through the unknown.

Hackescher Markt in Berlin is a labyrinth of alleys leading to all kinds of interesting things to see and do but the most exciting one can be found on Rosenthaler Straße, by the side of Cinema Café. Once you’ve walked through, you’re welcomed with a courtyard filled with street art and doors leading to exhibition spaces, cafes, bookshops and a curious basement called MonsterKabinett.

MonsterKabinett is a basement filled with bizarre ‘monsters’ made from machinery, and apart from a few dimly coloured lights it is otherwise set in the dark. This assault to my senses added to the trippy spectacle – honestly, I didn’t know what the hell I was looking at the whole time. Well, that’s not completely true, I knew what I was seeing – metal monsters that moved around squirting gas and making noises – but it felt more like a weird dystopia where robots rule the world. To see the monsters you have to go on a small group tour that lasts for about 20 minutes and costs 8 Euros, it’s definitely pricey but the money goes towards the artists who create it so I didn’t feel ripped off. Instead I left feeling dazed and confused which isn’t a bad thing every now and again.

Monsterkabinett, Berlin

I’ve visited this alley on two occasions, once at the beginning of 2011 and again in the summer of 2013 and I was surprised to see the street art on the walls had completely changed. If anyone knows whether they get changed on a yearly basis or just on random occasions then let me know…!

Street art in Hackescher Markt, Berlin

During the summer a bohemian atmosphere fills the courtyard as musicians perform to people drinking and talking amongst themselves. I struck up a conversation with a man originally from Vietnam who had been living near the courtyard for over 20 years; he said most days he wandered through the alley to play chess with a group of locals. He also said he came to Berlin because he was attracted to the laid-back atmosphere and the affordable rent was a bonus. It’s not an expensive city unlike most of Western Europe’s capital cities and I’m sure most visitors who come to Berlin are surprised by this. However, I’ve heard other cities in Germany are more expensive so bare that in mind if you’re planning on travelling around Germany.

Courtyard, Hackescher Markt, Berlin

Street Art, BerlinAnne Frank street art in BerlinStreet art in Berlin
Street art in Berlin
When you find this alley make sure you open up every door in the courtyard to see where it might take you. There’s one door in particular that you shouldn’t leave until you’ve seen what’s behind it because it leads to a stairway covered with a crazy amount of street art, well, I would say it’s more graffiti than street art but because it’s behind a door it doesn’t feel so destructive as graffiti can sometimes be, and it fits in with the creative energy that comes sweeping through the alley and mysteriously remains.  If you follow the stairway to the top you’ll find a spacious bookshop filled with all kinds of books and magazines dedicated to design, art, photography and illustration.


Bookshop in Hackescher, Berlin
Do you enjoy taking an unreserved turn down an alleyway? You never know what you might find…

A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.

'Street Art Alley in Hackescher Markt, Berlin' have 16 comments

  1. February 7, 2014 @ 1:01 am Away with Lily

    Amazing street art! I miss walking along alleyways and seeing them – especially in Europe. Love that stairway and the new layout of your blog 🙂


    • February 7, 2014 @ 6:04 pm admin

      Hi Lily! Yes, there are some great cities in Europe which know how to dress up their alleyways! Although not necessarily filled with street art, I think Rome and Venice are high up on the alleyway list!

      I’m really pleased you like the new layout of my blog. I’m rubbish with computers and codes so your feedback lets me know it was worth the effort! 😀


  2. February 7, 2014 @ 6:40 am jenny@atasteoftravel

    I love finding streets or alleyways full of street art! I can’t believe I missed this one when we were in Berlin! There’s a particular alley way in Melbourne that whenever you walk down it, the art always seem to have changed! I think it adds to the fun of it.


    • February 7, 2014 @ 8:36 pm admin

      I’d love to go back to Melbourne and do a (walking) marathon through all the alleyways, it looks like it’s good some seriously good street art! And you’re right, changing the street art really adds to the fun of it, and gives another reason to return.


  3. February 7, 2014 @ 9:46 am Lizzie

    Must. Go. Here.

    This is exactly my kind of place and now I’m raring to go back to Berlin to check it out! I love the mishmash of art on display, and as for those monster things – well… I bet that is an experience! Loving the new site design by the way Shing 🙂


    • February 7, 2014 @ 9:33 pm admin

      Haha I really don’t know what to think of those ‘monster things’ Lizzie! I wouldn’t pay to see them again but I was amused by the whole spectacle nonetheless!! I’m raring to go back too, Berlin’s a very liveable place, don’t you think?

      I’m pleased you like my new site design, it means the frustration was worth it! 😀


  4. February 7, 2014 @ 4:49 pm Mike | Earthdrifter

    Carrying and being ready to use some mace could be a nice way to ward off that potential alley sociopath.

    Looks like there was a serious evolution in trip-like art in two and one-third years.


    • February 7, 2014 @ 10:26 pm admin

      Scream and run would be my first reaction! I know, right? I love how these walls are perpetually changing! I love how street art often makes a statement of the times too.


  5. February 8, 2014 @ 9:30 am Mike

    You had me at Berlin! I would love to explore these back alleyways with a local…a trusted local…who could open those otherwise unnoticed doors. This is the kind of stuff that fascinates me, Shing. Whether it’s artwork, food, music…show me the stuff that many tourists would normally walk right past. The best hidden gems. My favorite part was you mentioning “creative energy”. Another amazing post, our friend! So wonderful to see a post from you. I was thinking about just that earlier in the week. Yes, I keep tabs on my favorite bloggers. I mean that 🙂


    • February 8, 2014 @ 2:03 pm admin

      I’d love a local to show me the trickier areas to discover too Mike! Although…. my cousin moved there last month so next time I’m there I’ll have one whoop! Ahhh thank you, I can easily say the same about you. Thanks for visiting me 🙂


  6. February 10, 2014 @ 12:31 am Colleen Brynn

    I’m such a sucker for street art. This was a treat for the eyes!


    • February 15, 2014 @ 12:19 pm admin

      I’m a sucker for it too, especially in cities like Berlin and Lodz where it’s like a symbol of liberalism too!


  7. June 2, 2014 @ 3:04 pm Sallamari Hälikkä

    Excellent post and very informative! Berlin is a amazing city to explore street art, also in different districts. If you are interested in to gaining more info about street art, Original Berlin Tours organizes free alternative tours where the guides tell stories about the works of the street artists and also historical background. The tours include also introduction to local, alternative life in Berlin and you can get tips where to eat, hang out and party. Here is the website: Feel free to join one of the free tours, when you are in Berlin!


    • January 9, 2015 @ 9:59 am admin

      Hi Sallamari, sorry for the (Very!) late reply. Next time I’m in Berlin I’ll definitely give one of your tours a whirl! Thanks for the information!


  8. June 23, 2015 @ 3:30 pm Locations for 108 scenes in 'Sense8' opening credits

    […] Street art in Berlin’s colorful Hackescher Markt. “It’s just a cool, weird, beautiful Berlin […]


  9. September 10, 2015 @ 2:26 pm kami

    oh my, I loved this place! I’ve heard it’s nice but I didn’t expect to see that much great street art, it was mindblowing! Until now it’s still one of my fave spots in Berlin and it’s kind of funny how it is centrally located yet (fortunately) not many tourists get there!


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