While downtown Bremen may offer more in the way of night life and city feeling, it boasts slightly higher rents and a 21 min. train ride to Jacobs University (one way). Nevertheless, more Jacobs students live downtown since it boasts a lively cultural and social life. Students who are in joint university programs with the Universität Bremen also prefer the spilt in the commute to both universities. Here are descriptions of the main neighborhoods in Bremen.
More information about the neighborhoods from the City of Bremen (in German) can be found here on their official website.
Viertel (called 'Steintorviertel', but nobody bothers to use the long term) is probably the youngest of Bremen's downtown living quarters. Years ago it used to be the place where lots of anarchists and punks lived, but it has now become an extremely peaceful and lively fusion between students, young workers and former 'Viertel-inhabitants', with some remains of the red-light district flavour. It is filled with fun bars and cafés (also some of the GSA's favourites like Hegarty's).
The 'Ziegenmarkt' (goat's market) in the centre turns into a marketplace for wonderful vegetables, cheeses, flowers and other fresh products from the region three times a week. In case you miss the market, one of the Turkish food stores will provide you with equally fresh veggies and bread. Two of Bremen's nicest movie theatres with interesting non-commercial programmes are right on the 'Steintor', the 'Schauburg' and the 'Cinema am Ostertor'. If you just want to wander around on the weekend or do shopping loads of very individual little shops offer everything you might want to look for.
For football fans, this is the place you want to live, as the 'Weserstadion' is only ten to fifteen minutes walk from the Viertel. It is the home of 'Werder Bremen' the current German Football Champions. Downtown with a big shopping street is also only fifteen minutes walking distance or five minutes by tram. All in all, if you would like to live in a lively, energizing and multicultural ambiance, the Viertel is the right place for you!
For many students Neustadt is a real alternative to the Viertel. Of course, it doesn't burst with diversity as the "Viertel"; in exchange the rents are significantly lower here. That's why students make up a large part of the population but in general you will find people of basically any age. As all quarters of Bremen, the Neustadt provides a good public transportation system. It is located very close to the historic downtown and the Schlachte and also the central station is not too far away. If you consider moving here, make sure not to end up in the adjacent industrial region. The most charming area of the Neustadt is the so called "river quarter", where all streets are named after rivers.
Findorff is a green and friendly residential area northwest of the central station. Most houses are quaint three-storey buildings (including the ground floor) with a flat on each floor. Findorff certainly does not boast of an exciting night life, but it has quite a good high street (Hemmstraße) with supermarkets, hairdressers, opticians, drugstores etc. and there is also a large outdoors market (Findorffmarkt) to which even people from other parts of town go to for their fresh groceries. There are students, but also many young families and retired people living in Findorff. The atmosphere is not particularly 'studenty' but if you are looking for a quiet, not too expensive and convenient place to live, Findorff is the right place for you.
Schwachhausen is certainly the ‚jewel' among the town quarters in Bremen. It is located northeast of the central station. In Schwachhausen you will find many beautiful old town houses next to smart apartment blocks and city mansions. Schwachhausen is very green borders the Bürgerpark. Trams and buses take you to the city centre. Not surprisingly, there are many wealthy and settled families living in Schwachhausen. Yet, it also offers possibilities for students, who often live in flatshares to split the rent for an apartment.
Vegesack (3km from Jacobs University) is the main shopping area of Bremen Nord; though a small town, it is not at all rural and even has its own mall. However, at 22:00 the sidewalks are empty and while Vegesack has a few nice restaurants, it does not offer much in the way of night-life.
St. Magnus (Bremen-Nord)
St Magnus is a quiet and peaceful residential area. Ideally located between Grohn, the buzzing shopping streets of Vegesack and Lesum, it borders the IUB Campus and Knoops Park , allowing easy and quick access to the university as well as to the beautiful nature along the banks of the river Lesum. With good connection to the public transportation network of Bremen Nord and downtown Bremen, living in St Magnus easily combines the enjoyment of nature with the cultural and commercial variety of modern urban living.
Schönebeck is a nice and quiet residential area approximately 10 minutes away from Jacobs University, located next to Vegesack and St. Magnus. In between green areas, it offers nice opportunities for cycling and walking.