Dresden has all the vibrancy of the capital, but you’ll find most of the action crammed into a few blocks
The story of the Dresden district of Neustadt, literally “New Town”, is a peculiar one. First, it has the anachronistic privilege of being older than Dresden’s baroque Altstadt (Old Town), which was all but wiped out by Allied bombing during the second world war. As the GDR authorities set about reconstructing the city with their customary architectural flair (big, square and grey please), Neustadt’s late-1800s Gründerzeit townhouses, spared by the bombing, were largely ignored. The rent dropped, the gifted-but-broke moved in, and things started to bubble.
Since the fall of the Wall, Dresden has mimicked Berlin’s frenzied creative emancipation, but while the German capital can sometimes feel like an avant-garde labyrinth, Neustadt seems to have taken the whole city’s quota of cool and crammed it into a handful of streets.