Frankfurt (German: Frankfurt am Main; ) is the business and financial center of Germany and the largest city in the German state of Hesse. The city is known for its futuristic skyline and the biggest German airport.
Located on the river Main, Frankfurt is the financial capital of Continental Europe and the transportation centre of Germany. Frankfurt is home of the European Central Bank and the German Stock Exchange. Furthermore, it hosts some of the world's most important trade shows, such as the Frankfurt Auto Show and the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Frankfurt is a city of contrasts. Wealthy bankers, students and granola drop-outs coexist in a city that has some of the highest, most avant-garde skyscrapers of Europe next to well maintained old buildings. The downtown area, especially Römer square and the museums at the River Main, draw millions of tourists every year. On the other hand, many off the beaten track neighborhoods, such as Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and Sachsenhausen, with their intact beautiful 19th century streets and parks, are mostly neglected by tourism and lesser visited by tourists.
Frankfurt is the largest traffic hub in Germany. This is the place where Germany's major Autobahns and railway-connections intersect. About 650,000 people commute to the city each day, not counting the 660,000 people who really live here. With a huge airport — the second-largest in Europe — it is the gateway to Germany and for many people also the first point of arrival in Europe. Further, it is a prime hub for interconnections within Europe and for intercontinental flights. These prime traffic connections have made Frankfurt the city with the highest percentage of immigrants in Germany: about 25% of Frankfurt's 660,000 people have no German passport and another 10% are naturalized German citizens. With about 35% immigrants, Frankfurt is the most diverse of German cities.
Frankfurt is home to many museums, theatres (among them the first-class "English Theatre"), and a world-class opera.
The best times for Frankfurt are late spring to early autumn. The summers tend to be sunny and warm around 25°C (77° F). Be prepared, however, for very hot summer days around 35 degrees (95° F) as well as for light rain. The winters can be cold and rainy (usually not lower than -10° C/14° F), but there is hardly any snow inside Frankfurt itself.
If you intend to stay overnight, you may wish to avoid times when trade fairs are held, as this will make finding affordable accommodations a challenging task. The biggest are the Frankfurt Motor Show (Automobil-Ausstellung) in every two years in mid-September (next in 2011) and the Book Fair (Buchmesse) yearly in mid-October; see Fairs for details.
Frankfurt is the heart of central Germany and as such, it is the national transportation hub. It has excellent connectivity between railways, airlines and motorways. Reaching and leaving Frankfurt is easy.
Frankfurt Airport (IATA: FRA) is among the busiest in Europe — second in passenger traffic after London Heathrow (LHR) — and one of the busiest airports in the world. Frankfurt is the banking center of Germany and hosts numerous international trade fairs. Therefore all major airlines and all airline alliances fly frequently to Frankfurt and connects it to every continent and major city in the world. The German flagcarrier Lufthansa is the main airline in Frankfurt and offers the best connections.
The airport has today two terminals (Terminal 3 is under construction). Terminal 1 is the home of Lufthansa and the Star Alliance airlines (All other airlines depart from Terminal 2!). Terminal 1 is separated into Concourses A, B and C. Terminal 1 is a multi-level maze with poor signage & changing entries due to ongoing construction work due to insufficient capacity. Lufthansa tries to ease the confusion, therefore Business Class passengers (+ Gold & Silver Star Alliance Card Holders) have a designated check in area in Terminal 1 A. First class passengers of Lufthansa & Swiss Int'l Airlines (+ LH HON Circle card holders) are allowed to check-in in the separate First Class terminal next on the right side of Terminal 1 with an own driveway. All Star Alliance economy class travelers are checked in in Terminal 1B & 1C. The terminals are connected to each other by the Sky Train on landside.
The restrooms near the gates are during peak hours insufficient for the size of the airport accommodating only one to three users at a time, so go early or hold it until you're on your plane. The departure gates themselves have some of the most innovative seating around, with bench seats facing many directions and cafe-style tables and chairs for those who wish to whip out their laptops (sans coffee, alas). Passengers requiring special assistance should be advised that they might have to descend several flights of stairs to get to a bus that takes them to the plane, rather than disability-friendly ramps, so talk to the gate agent early if stairs are a problem.
Want to shower after a long flight? Terminal 1 has public showers for €6 (includes towel, foot mat, shower gel, and hair dryer). One location is in the B Departures area, in the Shopping Boulevard, across from "TUMI". The other is in the secure area of B Concourse (good for transit passengers), Level 2, near gate B 30 and the duty free shopping.
The airport has a long visitor terrace on top of terminal 2 (adults €4). It also offers 45-minute airside(!) bus tours (adults €6, hourly from 11 (holidays) or 1-4PM, ticket booth is at the bridge between terminal 1 and "Frankfurt Airport Centre", follow signs and information for Flughafen Erlebnisfahrten ("Airport Experience Tour"). Recommended for aviation enthusiasts.
The airport is connected to downtown Frankfurt by taxi, bus (Line 61 to Frankfurt Südbahnhof (Frankfurt South Station), and most easily by S-Bahn (fast commuter trains). To get to the city, take lines S8 or S9 direction Offenbach Ost or Hanau at the Regionalbahnhof (regional train station) in Terminal 1 (entrances in section A and B): interactive route planner . The lines S1-6/8/9 travel through the cornerstone of the system, an underground tunnel (the Citytunnel) through central Frankfurt. If you want to change to long-distance trains get off at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof(Frankfurt Central Station) or Frankfurt Südbahnhof (Frankfurt South Station), if you want to go downtown, get off at Frankfurt Taunusanlage, Frankfurt Hauptwache or Frankfurt Konstablerwache, which are in the heart of the city. The ride from the airport to the central station takes 14 minutes. Be sure to purchase a ticket at the vending machines in the train station before boarding the train.
If you want to go to the airport via S-Bahn, take the S8 or S9 direction Wiesbaden. Don't take the S1 - while it has the same general direction and leaves the central station at the same platform, it will go along the wrong side of the river Main. The line S1 does not stop at the airport.
The Frankfurt airport also has connections for inter-city trains. Regional trains to Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Hanau stop at the same place as the S-Bahn to Frankfurt. Connections outside the Frankfurt region have a separate train station, the Fernbahnhof ("long-distance train station"). Here, you can board high-speed trains to Cologne, Munich and other destinations.
Frankfurt has just one airport but the smaller airport called Frankfurt/Hahn (IATA: HHN), mostly used by no-frills airlines, advertise with the proximity to Frankfurt. However, Hahn is far away from Frankfurt and it actually takes about 2 hours to drive from downtown, so allow for that airport more time into your travel plans and budget. A bus from Frankfurt/Hahn to Frankfurt main airport and on to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (Frankfurt Central Station) costs about €12 and leaves roughly every hour, tickets are available from the kiosk, outside in front of the main entrance.
Frankfurt has three major train stations, the main station (Hauptbahnhof), the South Station (Südbahnhof) and the Airport (Flughafen Fernbahnhof); however, inter-city trains that stop at the airport will usually (not always!) also stop at Hauptbahnhof. The Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is one of the biggest and busiest train stations in Europe, so it's definitely worth a visit. Frankfurt has connections to most German cities - and some international destinations - via InterCity and high-speed InterCity Express trains. There is no problem to get a connection to any train destination from Frankfurt.
Be aware that Frankfurt train stations (other than at the airport) are very large, confusing, labyrinth-like places for newcomers. Allow plenty of extra time to locate the boarding area of your train. It's likely you'll have to ask someone for help the first time. There is a large departures signboard above the main exit/entrance with destination and platform information. You can also get information from the railway travel office in the station.
From the main ticket office at Frankfurt you can buy 5 and 10 day rail travel cards which allow you to travel around Germany using all train services, including the Intercity ones. The 5 day ticket costs €189 and the 10 day ticket €289. You cannot buy the ticket from regional train stations. These are a significant saving on individual train fares.
Frankfurt is connected to several autobahns and can be easily reached by car. Try to avoid rush-hour and especially snowy days, as car traffic can easily break down. Parking is definitely a problem in most areas. Especially during big conventions—such the Internationale Automobilausstellung (International Automobile Exhibition) in September, or the Frankfurter Buchmesse (The Frankfurt Book Fair) in mid-October—you should consider using the well designed park-and-ride system.
Frankfurt is serviced by various trans-European buslines like Eurolines . The main terminus is the central station (Hauptbahnhof). If you are on a tight budget, this will be a good way to reach Frankfurt.
The best way to travel around Frankfurt is the subway system (U-Bahn), tram and bus. For connections to the suburbs use the S-Bahn. You can get individual, group, day and week tickets. The metro stations are signed with a white capital "U" on a blue background. To go to the suburbs or airport use the S-Bahn, signed with a white "S" on green background. All lines come together in a tunnel (Citytunnel) in central Frankfurt (beside line S7, which ends at Central Station).
Fares tend to be average— €5.40 for a ticket for one day for one adult. You don't want to get caught without a ticket, as the conductors will charge you €40 and you can get into considerable trouble, especially if you have no ID card or passport on you. Subway trains and trams are checked quite seldom, the S-Bahn trains quite often. It is not possible to buy tickets in an S-Bahn, tram or subway. The ticket machines can be a little confusing if you do not know how to use them. Basically, you have to press Einzelfahrt Frankfurt for a single trip in the city and Tageskarte Frankfurt for a day ticket in the city. If you want to ride to airport, you have to press Einzelfahrt Frankfurt Flughafen or Tageskarte Frankfurt Flughafen. If your destination is outside Frankfurt, you have to look up your destination on the list provided at the machine, enter this number with the numeric keypad, then press the button for the type of ticket you want (Einzelfahrt - single trip; Tageskarte - day ticket). Also, every station has some stations listed as "short distance" destinations (Kurzstrecke, code "97"); tickets to those are cheaper.
If you have the opportunity, ask a bystander to explain the vending machines to you the first time you want to buy a ticket. Unlike in other German cities, tickets purchased are valid immediately. You cannot purchase tickets in advance, to be validated just before travel.
Consider buying a Frankfurt Card . It allows unlimited travel on Frankfurt's public transport system (including airport) and discounts in many museums. The Frankfurt Card is available as a one day and two day ticket, and for a single person or a group of up to five (1 person 1 day, €8.90; group 1 day, €18.00). It is not sold at the vending machines though. You can buy the Frankfurt Card at the airport (arrival gate B, terminal 1), at travel agencies, rail way stations, at the tourist information desk at Hauptbahnhof or at the tourist information desk at Römer.
The S-Bahn, run by the German train company, is notorious for its delays. If you need to get somewhere on time, allow for some buffer time. In the morning rush-hour, delays of 10-15 minutes are common. If you are catching a plane or have another similar time-critical appointment, allow an extra 30 minutes to be on the safe side.
Other services (subway, tram and bus) are usually more punctual.
Frankfurt has plentiful taxi drivers to service the many business travellers. The city is not too big, so fares tend to be reasonable. Watch out for taxi drivers that take detours if they notice that you do not know the city. Still, for door-to-door transportation, taxis are a way to go. Most taxi drivers love to drive to the airport because it's longer than inner-city fares, but not all taxi drivers are actually licensed to go there. They tend to drive very fast because most German business travellers expect them to do this. If you feel uncomfortable just let the driver know and he will slow down.
In the main tourist areas downtown there are also human-powered "bike taxis" that convey one or two passengers. For those not too keen on walking this may be a convenient way of seeing the sights.
Avoid using your car in the city, or especially in the tourist "hot spots" like Sachsenhausen (especially on a Saturday) because of parking space. It's very limited, and people tend to park in places they're not supposed to. This ends up costing a fair bit if your car gets towed, which it often will. If you want to enter the city, your best bet is to use a Parkhaus (parking garage) (which charges a fee of €1 per hour or €8 for the whole day) and then either walk, or take public transportation.
Many areas are reserved for local residents, in and outside the city. You will see the areas marked by parking signs that indicate a local permit is needed during certain hours during the day. The wording to be aware of is "Parkausweis Nr.X" (where X is a number). If you park in these spaces you risk a fine.
Also remember that Germany has strict DUI (driving under the influence - alcohol) driving laws, only allowing 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per milliliter of blood. That is just about one beer or glass of wine. And even if there are Autobahns without speed limits, when there are speed limits, these are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent. Heavy on-the-spot fines can be levied. Recently the laws (and fines) pertaining to tailgating have been sharpened, and the fines have gotten larger.
Frankfurt is bike-friendly, featuring an expansive network of bike lanes. While there are various rental-bike companies in Frankfurt, they are relatively rare and situated in inconvenient areas of the city for travellers. A more convenient source of rental bikes may be Deutsche Bahn. Look out for their rental bikes, marked in the colors red and white and the letters "DB."
These bikes are available from April to December and can be found pretty much anywhere in the city - especially at street corners, which are the major pick-up and drop-off points. You can rent these bikes 24/7 just using your cell-phone and your credit card. German citizens can also sign-up for direct debit from their checking account. For instructions on how to use this service, call the number on the bike or go their website.
Römerberg is a central, old place in downtown Frankfurt. It features various buildings and a church from the 14th and 15th century (in theory; the buildings were mostly destroyed during World War II but completely rebuilt afterwards). The Römer itself is the town hall of Frankfurt. Cafés and shops can be found at the square itself and in the vicinity. A definite tourist attraction. Within walking distance of the Zeil shopping area and the Main river, it is located just north of the Eiserner Steg bridge. Next to the cathedral, at the Archäologische Garten, you can see the remains of the Roman settlements that gave this place its name. At the Römer, you can also visit the Alte Nikolaikirche (12th century church, current form since the 15th century). Walking towards the Main river, you can also see the Rententurm (Wharfinger's Tower), an old 15th century fortified tower in late Gothic style, which is connected to the Saalhof, an old 12th century castle building that was later modernized but never completely destroyed.
Dom (Saint Bartholomeus' Cathedral): the main cathedral, built in Gothic style in the 14th century. From 1562 to 1792, emporers of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned in the cathedral. Located right next to the Römerplatz (U4 Dom/Römer).
The Eiserner Steg (Iron bridge) - Relatively well-known bridge for pedestrians, built in 1869. It is just a minute away from the Römer. Crossing the bridge leads you to Sachsenhausen and provides good views of the skyline.
Alte Oper (Old Opera) - Renaissance Opera Building in the center of the city (take U6 or U7 station Alte Oper, or any line to Hauptwache and walk a few minutes); a busy square with fountains can be found in front of it. Originally opened in 1880, it is not used for operas any more since the rebuilding after the war, but for concerts, congresses, and similar "fancy" events.
Börse (Frankfurt Stock Exchange): Frankfurt stock exchange building, still in use, see the bull and bear statues just outside. You cannot enter the building unless you have registered for a guided tour in advance.
Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) was the seat of the first democratically elected parliament in Germany in 1848. It is located just north of the Römer place.
Sachsenhausen: crossing one of the bridges from the city centre you reach the Sachsenhausen part of the city south of the Main river. The old town part, Alt-Sachsenhausen, at Affentorplatz is famous for its old cider bars (see the "Drink" section for more information). You can also walk along the river bank or visit the Schweizer Straße (see the "Buy" section).
Museums in Germany are generally closed on Mondays (there are exceptions); the exact opening hours on other days depend on the museum. If you want to visit a museum on a public holiday, check with them before to be sure they open on that day.
The museums in Frankfurt offer a wide range of exhibits. Many museums are clustered on both banks of the Main in a district called Museumsufer. To get there, take the subway to Schweizer Platz (southern bank) or Willy-Brandt-Platz (northern bank), then walk towards the Main river. You can see the downtown skyscrapers when you leave the station Schweizer Platz, that's the direction you have to take. There are enough museums in Museumsufer to keep you occupied for a while, and it is especially suitable if you are staying in Frankfurt only for a short time.
Architektur Museum (German Architecture Museum), Schaumainkai 43, +49 69 21238844, fax +49 69 21237721, (email firstname.lastname@example.org), . The Architecture Museum displays various types of exhibits about buildings and architecture. Their tagline is "From Primordial Hut to Skyscraper". There's also a small cafe in the DAM. Mon closed, Tu, Th-Su 10AM-5PM, We 10AM-8PM. €6.00 for adults. The museum is closed until Oct 2010.
Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum), Schaumainkai 41, +49 69 21238830, fax +49 69 21237881, (email email@example.com), (German only). The German Movie Museum displays—as the name implies—the art and history of film making. Mon closed, Tu,Th,F,Su 10AM-5PM, We+Sa 10AM-8PM. €4.00 for adults, €1.50 for children.
Städel-Museum, Dürerstrasse, +49 69 605098-0, fax +49 69 610163, (email firstname.lastname@example.org), . Fully named the "Staedelsches Kunstinstitut" (named after Johann Friedrich Staedel), the museum displays various works of arts, both modern and old. There are also varying exhibitions at any time. Behind the museum is the Städelschule, an art school with a cheap cafeteria. Mon closed, Tue, Fri, Sun 10AM - 5PM, Wed + Thu 10AM - 9PM. €8.00 for adults; students € 5.00; children under 12 free.
Museum Giersch (Museum of Regional Historic Art and Culture), Schaumainkai 83, +49 69 63304-128, fax +49 69 63304-144, (email email@example.com), . The broad exhibition range covers all types of art – painting, photography, sculpture, graphic art, architecture and applied arts. Usually the exibitions focus on artist that have some sort of connection to Frankfurt or the Frankfurt region. It presents works on loan from public and private owners, which are often stored in depots or private collections and therefore not otherwise accessible to the general public. There are also varying exhibitions at any time. Public guided tours for groups such as pupils or adults by arrangement. Tu-Fr 12-7PM, Sa + Su 11AM-5PM, Monday closed €4.00 for adults, €2.00 for children.
Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts) Schaumainkai 17, +49 69 212-34037, fax +49 69 212-30703, (email firstname.lastname@example.org), . The museum for applied arts and design hosts just that in a beautiful Richard Meier designed building. The small park around it is a popular hangout in summer and there is a small posh restaurant on the ground floor. Mon closed, Tue, Thu-Sun 10AM - 5PM, Wed 10AM-9PM. €5 adults, €2.5 children.
Liebighaus (Liebig House), Schaumainkai 71, +49 69 212-38617 (email: email@example.com, fax: +49 69 212-30701) . Large collection of sculptures and statues from all over the world. Very nice cafe in the garden. Mon closed, Tue, Thu-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM, Wed 10 AM - 8 PM.
Museum der Weltkulturen (Museum of World Cultures), Schaumainkai 29-37, +49 69 212-35913 (''email: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 69 212-30704) . Due to a lack of space and funding currently doesn't display its permanent ethnographic collection but rather shows well-made exibitions. Mon closed, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sun 10 AM - 8 PM, Wed 10 AM - 8 PM, Sat 2 PM - 8 PM.
Museum für Kommunikation (Museum of Communication), Schaumainkai 53, +49 69 6060-0 (fax +49 69 6060-666) . Formerly known as the postal museum, it explains the history of communication with a strong focus on postal services and telecommunication. A lot of old telegraphs, phones, fax mashines etc. can be tried out so it is fun for not too young kids. Don't miss the small but impressive art collection, hosting works with communication themes from the early 19th century up until today. Mon closed, Tue - Fri 9 AM - 5 PM; Sat-Sun 11 AM - 7 PM. € 2 for adults; € 1 for children.
Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum), Untermainkai 14/15, +49 69 21235000 (email: email@example.com, fax: +49 69 21230705), . This is not on the actual Museumsufer but on the other (north) bank of the river. - The Jewish community in Frankfurt can look back on over 850 years of history in Frankfurt and is the second oldest community in Germany. The well funded museum in the old Rothschild (they originate from Frankfurt) palais pays reference to this history with a strong focus on the holocaust. Mon closed, Tue-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM, Wed 10 AM - 8 PM. Adults 2.60 Eur, children 1.30 Eur. NB.
Museum Judengasse is part of the Jewish Museum, but at a differing address (not anywhere near the Museumsufer), Kurt Schumacher-Straße 10, +49 69 2977419 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 69 21230705) . Here are exhibited the foundations from the Jewish Ghetto dating back to 1462, as well as information about life as a Jewish person in this ghetto during the Middle Ages. Info is in English & German. Outside of this museum is the "Holocaust Memorial Wall" with over 11,000 names of Frankfurts' murdered Jewish citizens on it. It surrounds the medieval Jewish cemetery dating back to 1272. There is another outpost of the Jewish museum near by, which hosts exibitions on a regular basis. It is housed in a 4 story world war II overground bunker. Mon closed, Tue-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM, Wed 10 AM - 8 PM. Adults 2.0 Eur.
There are many other museums in Frankfurt:
Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Nature Museum Seckenberg), Senckenberganlage 25, +49 69 75420 (fax: +49 69 746238) Mo-Tu and Th-Fr 9AM-5PM, Wed 9AM-8PM, Sa-Su 9AM-6PM. Commonly just called Senckenberg museum it is one of the most famous museums of Frankfurt. The Senckenberg has various exhibits on natural history; plants, animals, minerals, and so on; the biggest attraction are the dinosaur skeletons and the collection of preserved animals that were hunted and stuffed in a less enlightened age. Highly recommended for anybody interested in the subject. Also suitable for children, who can touch some of the exhibit (like replicas of Dinosaur skeletons). To get to the museum, take the tram or subway to Bockenheimer Warte, then walk. There are no parking spaces available at the museum. €6.00 for adults, € 1.50 for children.
Museum für Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art), Domstraße 10, +49 69 212-30447 (fax: +49 69 212-37882, mail: email@example.com) Mon closed; Tue, Thu-Sun 10AM-5PM, Wed 10AM-8PM. € 6.00 for adults, € 3.00 for children. The building was designed by Hans Hollein to resemble a boat, which is most notable when approaching it from the back (east). Apart from well-known artists in the permanent collection, e.g. Roy Liechtenstein and Andy Warhol, the museum has changing exhibits that often include very recent work. The museum has an associated restaurant Triangolo.
Deutsches Ledermuseum (German Leather Museum). The leather museum is actually in Offenbach.
Geldmuseum der Deutschen Bundesbank (Money Museum of the German National Bank). Wilhelm-Epstein-Strasse 14, +49 69 9566-3073 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) Mon, Thu-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM, Wed 1 PM - 9 PM. A museum about money and its history.
Archäologisches Museum (Archaeological Museum), Karmelitergasse 1, +49 69 212-35896 (fax: 212-30700, mail: email@example.com) Mon closed; Tue-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM; Wed 10 AM - 8 PM. € 4 for an adult; € 2 for a child. Located in a building which formerly housed a Carmelite monastery.
Portikus exhibition hall located in the Leinwandhaus building, Weckmarkt 17 (Subway statiom Römer), +49 69 219987-60 and +49 69 219987-59 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 69 219987-61). M closed, Tue-Sun 11 AM - 6 PM, Wed 11 AM - 8 PM, also closed when there is no current exhibition and on some public holidays. Admission free.
Frankfurter Apfelweinmuseum (part of the Historisches Museum)
Haus der Stadtgeschichte
Kommunale Galerie im Leinwandhaus
Stoltzemuseum im Stoltzeturm
Struwwelpeter-Museum In the same building as the Schirn Kunsthalle (see above). This small museum specializes in the famous children's story.
Three special events are associated with Frankfurt's museums.
Every Saturday morning there's a flea market until noon at the Museumsufer.
Once a year (mostly in August/September), a festival called Museumsuferfest is organized at the Museumsufer with food, music and various other activities. It is quite popular locally and offers a good chance to mingle with the locals.
Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of Museums) One night a year (in the End of April), most Frankfurt museums are open to the public until the early morning of the next day. Special bus lines will take visitors from one to the next. Various special events are organized; for example dances, music performances, special exhibits, games, and so on. It is very crowded but also highly recommended; be prepared for very long lines. Buy a ticket in advance so you do not have to waste time during the night of the event on this, and do not forget to pick up a schedule of the events and map of the bus routes. Similar events are organized in other German cities as well.
Frankfurt has some of the tallest buildings in Europe (the Commerzbank tower is the highest office building of Europe), and the tallest in Germany. Its skyline is unique for the country as the high-rises are concentrated in a relatively small downtown area, giving Frankfurt the looks of a metropolis. The skyline is the reason why Frankfurt is sometimes called by the nickname Mainhattan.
For a view of the skyline try the Main river bridges. The eastern bridges offer the best view. Also, when you approach the city from the airport via the subway, stay to the right side of the train. Just before the train approaches the Frankfurt central station it enters a big curve, and from here you will have a nice first glance of the skyline.
Take a walk from Schweizer Platz northwards for another good view of the skyscrapers.
The Main Tower (Subway station Willy-Brandt-Platz or S-Bahn-station Taunusanlage) building is special as it is the only Frankfurt high-rise that is open to the public. For 5.00 Euro, you can take the elevator to the viewing platform at a height of 200 meters. From here, you will have a good view of Frankfurt and the surrounding area. Make sure to go on a clear day, and if you're in Frankfurt in Fall or Spring you might wish to try to go up a short while before sunset. That way, you can witness how the city changes from day to nightlife. The Main Tower is something that you should not miss during your stay. The viewing platform will be closed during severe weather.
The European Central Bank in downtown Frankfurt (Subway station Willy-Brandt-Platz) - easily recognized by its hexagonal layout and the big neon color € statue in front of the entrance - might be of some special interest as this is the seat of European financial power and decisions. It's not open to the public, although a small gift shop downstairs will sell you all the Euro-related memorabilia you want.
The Henninger Turm , located in Sachsenhausen, is a 120m (330 ft) tall grain storage silo tower. Inaugurated in 1961, it remained by far the highest silo tower in the world until 2005. The top part used to have rotating restaurants and observation decks, but unfortunately the tower has been closed to the public since 2002.
Frankfurt can have quite beautiful sunsets. Caused by the air pollution gathered in the valley it is situated in, they are a good photo opportunity, especially with Frankfurt's skyline. Good vantage points are the bridges, or of course the Maintower high-rise.
There are various fireworks displays throughout the year. Many major events - like the Museumsufer festival are ended with very well done fireworks. Check your local event schedule; if you are in the city these are always worth your time. The exception are the New Year fireworks, which are unorganized and less than spectacular. Good vantage points are the Main bridges, or the river banks.
Zoo : Alfred-Brehm-Platz 16 (take subway U6 (towards Ostbahnhof) or U7 (towards Enkheim), get off a Zoo station), tel. +49 69 21233735. Winter: Daily 9AM - 5PM, Summer: Daily 9AM - 7PM. €8 adults, €4 children.
Palmengarten ("palm garden"): Botanic gardens. Siesmayerstraße 61 (Entrance Palmengartenstraße: subway U4, U6 (towards Praunheim Heerstaße), U7 (towards Hausen) Station Bockenheimer Warte; Entrance Siesmayerstraße: U6, U7 Station Westend), tel. +49 69 212-33939 (fax: +49 69 212-37856). Nov-Jan: Daily 9AM-4PM; Feb-Oct: Daily 9AM-6PM. The Palmengarten is Frankfurt's botanic garden. There are special exhibitions and events throughout the much of the year. €5 adults, €2 children. Prices during special events & exhibitions: €7 adults, €2.50 children. (German language part of the website has a lot more information than the English part)
Grüneburgpark: This is Frankfurt's largest public park. Even though there are many parks in Frankfurt, the Grüneburgpark is probably the most liked. Located close to two campuses of the university, many young people meet there, and many business people jog there after work.
Campus Westend: architecturally interesting campus of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University. Includes the IG Farben building (), the former corporate headquarters of IG Farben and largest office building in Europe from 1930 until the 1950s. Just east of the Grüneburgpark.
Frankfurt Airport has a public viewing platform. Bus tours of the airport are available. Take S8/S9 direction Wiesbaden.
The RMV offers a tour of the city in the so-called Ebbelwei Express , a special tram that offers music, apple wine, and pretzels. Probably very stereotypical and more suited for people who do not mind "tacky" tourist traps.
St. Leonhardskirche (St. Leonhard’s Church): old late Romanic church built in 1219 and later transformed in accordance with the Gothic style in the 15th century. English-language Catholic mass service on Saturdays and Sundays.
Bornheim: A nice residential quarter with a lively market and beautiful medieval houses which survived the war intact (unlike the city centre). The most important and lively street is the Berger Straße, which runs from downtown all the way to the oldest parts of Bornheim. The more central downtown part of the Berger Straße (actually in the Nordend district) features a variety of small and often trendy little stores, cafés, and restaurants, whereas the older parts of Bornheim are famous for its historic Ebbelwoi (a local cider) taverns.
Goetheturm: an old 43 metre wooden tower with viewing platform offering nice views of the skyline. Located in Sachsenhausen. Open daily 10:00-18:00 from April through September.
Staufenmauer: remains of the old city wall (1138–1254) can be seen in the Fahrgasse and at the Liebfrauenkirche. More prominent examples of the city fortification built in later years include the Eschenheimer Turm (1428) near Hauptwache and the Friedberger Warte (1478, rebuilt 1637), which is located on the Friedberger Landstraße a bit outside the main city centre.
Palais Thurn und Taxis: 18th century palace of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis. Unfortunately, apart from the front facade, most of it is reconstructed. In Große Eschenheimer Straße (1 minute walk north from Hauptwache towards the Eschenheimer Turm).
Hauptfriedhof: main cemetary, where you can find several mausoleums, over 150 year old tombstones, as well as the final resting places of philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Theodor W. Adorno.
Katharinenkirche: (St. Catherine's Church): Baroque style Lutheran church at Hauptwache. Constructed 1678 bis 1681 at the site of a former monastery, destroyed during World War II, and restored 1950 to 1954. The tower stands at 54m.
Liebfrauenkirche: 14th century Roman-Catholic church and monastery located at Liebfrauengasse/Neue Kräme near the Zeil
Alte Stadtbibliothek: former public library building, constructed 1820-1825 in neo-classical style.
Bolongaropalast: 18th century private palace located in Höchst
In the summer, a walk along the river Main is a nice thing to do. A lot of people will spend a sunny afternoon walking or sitting there on a lawn or playing frisbee or soccer. It's a relatively quiet area, considering it's in the heart of the city. Nearby cafes and restaurants allow you to have a drink in between. The only disadvantage is that it can be quite crowded when the weather is nice; try going during business hours on a weekday unless you're looking for a crowd.
Oper Frankfurt (Opera) - not to be confused with the historic Alte Oper building, this modern building is where to go to see an opera performance. State subsidized performances make this a relatively affordable place to see high quality productions
Go for a walk in the City Forest (Stadtwald) in the south of Frankfurt. With about 48 square kilometres, it is regarded as the largest inner-city forest in Germany. Six playgrounds and nine ponds make the forest a popular tourist attraction. The forest can be reached via tram line 14 direction Neu-Isenburg/Stadtgrenze from Frankfurt South Station (Frankfurt Süd). Trams 12, 19, 20 and 21 also connect the Stadtwald with downtown Frankfurt.
Try the local cider "Apfelwein", especially that made by Possmann. The "Frau Rauscher" edition has a pleasant natural taste with some yeast left into it.
The Saalburg is an old Roman fort just outside Frankfurt, near Bad Homburg. You can either take a bus from Bad Homburg, or take the "Taunusbahn" to station "Saalburg" and walk 45 minutes along the Limes to reach the restored fort.
The Turmpalast (Kino am Turm) shows movies in English. Take U1/U2/U3 to Eschenheimer Tor or walk from the city centre.
See a modern ballet performance by The Forsythe Company (William Forsythe)
Jet fighter flight from Frankfurt Hahn Airport , +41 44 500 50 10, +41 44 500 50 10, MiGFlug & Adventure GmbH, Badenerstrasse 286, 8004 Zurich, Jet type is Aero L-39 Albatros. The customer can fly the jet under close watch of the pilot. Ask for dates.
Go swimming at Titus-Thermen or Rebstockbad, which both also have whirlpools and sauna facilities. Or visit any of the other public indoor or outdoor pools in Frankfurt . Some of the bigger complexes outside the city limits include Taunus-Therme in Bad Homburg and Rhein-Main-Therme in Hofheim.
Go on top of the 200m high Maintower and enjoy the view over the city and the surrounding region. Entry costs 5€. Closed during bad weather.
Go on top of the Feldberg mountain, the highest mountain of the Taunus. Take a train from Frankfurt central to Königsstein and then go to the main bus place (Parkstraße). Busses via Feldberg depart every 2 hours. Get on top of the observation tower at the Feldberg. If it's cold, have a hot chocolate with cream (Heiße Schokolade mit Sahne) at the tower's kiosk.
Frankfurt's trade fairs are known to have taken place as early as in the year 1160. The Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's largest exhibition centers, hosting a continuous stream of exhibitions small, large and gargantuan — the Motor Show draws almost a million visitors. Most fairs are open to the public for at least part of the time, and can be a fascinating if somewhat overwhelming experience if you're interested in the theme. The Messe has its own train station, Messe, two stops away from the Central Railway Station (from platform 104, underground) on S 3/4/5/6, and there's also a Messe station on the U4 subway line. Advance tickets for fairs often allow free use of all RMV public transport. U4/U5 to station Messe/Torhaus; trains to the trade fairs will be announced in English.
Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurt Buchmesse) , The largest event of the world's publishing industry, held yearly in mid-October. The Frankfurt Book Fair has a long history, first being held in the year 1485, shortly after Gutenberg's printing press in nearby Mainz made books much more easily available than before. The last two days (Sat-Sun) are open to the general public, with book sales allowed on Sunday only. In recent years, the public days of the Book Fair have also drawn a vast contingent of manga/anime fans, many of whom dress up as their favorite characters! Photography is allowed, but **only** after asking permission.
Frankfurt Motor Show (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) , The world's largest motor show and Frankfurt's biggest event, held every two years, next on Sept. 17-27, 2009. (In even-numbered years, the show is held in Hannover.)
There are of course restaurants all over Frankfurt. One notable area for dining may be what is locally known as the Fressgass (a literal translation would be "eating road"). The correct name of this street is Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse. As the nickname implies, the Fressgass features many cafes, restaurant, and delicatessen food stores. It's a popular area to dine after the daily shopping. Take the subway to station Hauptwache or Alte Oper. In late May to early June (exact dates vary each year), the Fressgass Fest takes place with food stands, cheap beer and live music.
If you are looking for an in-depth paper-based restaurant guide, a popular publication is Frankfurt Geht Aus (Frankfurt is going out), a magazine style dining guide of the city. It can be bought for €4.80 at many kiosks and book stores, or at the Tourism Information at the central station.
Jade, Moselstrasse 25 (close to Hauptbahnhof, 2 blocks down Kaiserstrasse, then right, it's the one on the left). Small Chinese place with an international crowd. Excellent food served in enormous portions for a very cheap price. The menue is in Chinese, English and German. Very friendly service.
Pizza Monte Carlo, Diesterwegstrasse 2 (corner Schweizer Platz), Daily 5:30PM-11PM (open 1st - 15th of every month only). A small pizza place in central Sachsenhausen, highly recommended as long as you intend to take your food home (and most people do), but it does have room for 2-3 people to sit. The pizza is handmade and very tasty. They also serve pasta and some salads. €4-€6.
Bizim Döner, Train station Frankfurt-Griesheim (Lines S1 and S2 direction Frankfurt-Höchst). A small suburban shop with fantastic kebab. €2.50-€10.
Pizzeria Charly Braun, Röderbergweg 121, Frankfurt-Ostend (two blocks south of Habsburgerallee U-Bahn station), +49 069 49 29 41. M-F 10:30AM-10PM, closed Sundays. A small place with cheap and excellent pizza. Pasta and salad also served. Locals usually call in an order and pick up in twenty minutes. €3.60-€7.10 (depending on size).
Best Worscht in Town : place where you can try "Curry-Wurst", which is a sliced beef sausage served with ketchup and curry spices, and considered one of the most popular German fast food products. The Best Worscht in Town chain is special in that it also serves extremely spicy variants, using some of the hottest spices available from different parts of the world. There have even been televised hot sausage eating competitions with on-site medical staff to take care of the participants. Stores can be found on Berger Strasse, in the Nordwestzentrum, and other locations. These are just stands without any seating.
7 Bello, Niddastrasse 82 ,(close to the Hauptbahnhof) +49 069 236099. Probably one of the best italian restaurants in Frankfurt.
Cube, Leopoldstr. , 69 / 4856
Bodega Dali, Breisacherstr. , 69 / 97599-25
Il Borgo, Tiergarten, 69 / 1369
Drugstore, Kumlbacher Str., 69 / 7561
Golden Tweenis, Lindenweg, 69 / 20571
Nordsee, Allers Weg, 69 / 7363
Yum 2 take, Lorchheimer-Str, 69 / 24807
nastraj, Weinstr. , 69 / 21091
Restaurand Artemis, Schützenstr. , 69 / 1536
nastraj, Leopoldstr. , 69 / 24766
Nordsee, Untermarkt, 69 / 2537
Kilombo, Luisenstr., 69 / 16969
Aquapazza, +49 69 172 028, +49 69 172 028, Westendplatz 42, Italian fish restaurant with option of alfresco dining under a pergola. Good, fresh fish dishes, but pricey.
Haus Wertheym, Fahrtor 1, Am Römerberg, +49 69 28 14 32. Historic restaurant with excellent German cuisine. Reservations essential.
Taj Mahal, Schweizer Strasse 28, +49 69 620240. M-Su 11:30AM-2:30PM and 6PM-11PM. Indian-Pakistani food. Decoration is rather a bit overdone. Good service, very good food, prices a little high. Overall recommended. €30+.
Emma Metzler, Schaumainkai 17, +49 69 6199 5906, . Tu-Sa noon-4:30PM and 6PM-midnight, Su noon-6PM, M closed. A relaxed international-local cuisine with great service and changing menu. Set in the Bauhaus-Style Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts), close to the Main river, but with no view. Quite recommendable. €40.
Eatery, Neugasse, +49 69 / 793
Little India, Alte Gasse, +49 69 / 29903
Kairo, Leisberg, +49 69 / 8592
Gargantua: Liebigstr. 47. Considered one of the best restaurants in Frankfurt according to Zagat.
Alt-Sachsenhausen, a part of the suburb Sachsenhausen south of the Main river, is famous for its bars and Kneipen (a German type of Bar, really) serving the "national drink" Ebbelwoi (local dialect for "apple wine", sometimes spelled Ebbelwei). However, these days it's mostly for tourists. A better option in Sachsenhausen is along Textorstrasse, a two minute walk south, where you can still find a row of authentic places catering to locals.
Not so famous like "Alt-Sachs", but also well known, is Bornheim (located in the north) which has also some biergarden-like applewine establishments at 'Berger Straße' and the surrounding area.
Cafe & Bar Celona Holzgraben 31 (near Hauptwache). Tel +49 69 13886709 Daily 9AM-1AM, Fri & Sat 9AM-2AM. Spanish-style bar in the heart of the city. Popular, attracts a younger crowd, good for meeting people. Very crowded around 5PM-7PM. Also serves a variety of Spanish dishes. €7-20/person.
There are many clubs in Frankfurt.
Cocoon Club - probably the most famous and extraordinary techno club in the world. Definitely worth a visit, even if you don't like the music, due to the amazing modern interior design. Carl-Benz-Strasse 21-35, Fechenheim.
Along the Hanauer Landstrasse and around central station there are a lot of clubs.
Frankfurt has plenty of accommodation but during major trade fairs, prices at even the cheapest hotels will suddenly skyrocket with charges of over €300/night quite common. Plan well ahead and alternatively, consider staying in nearby cities like Darmstadt, Neu-Isenburg, Bad Homburg, Mainz or Wiesbaden which are under an hour away by S-Bahn.
Frankfurt is the banking capital of Germany so most people are business travellers with an expense account. If you intend to stay for longer periods, ask for discounts or corporate rates.
Frankfurt Hostel, Kaiserstrasse 74 (across from main train station (Hauptbahnhof)), +49 069 24 75 130, Private double with shower and toilet goes for about €40/night while a four- or six-person dorm room with shower and toilet facilities goes for as little as €16/night. Internet access is available for €1/hour, much cheaper than Internet cafes across the street. The common room has a few chairs, a couple of tables and a TV, where you can meet some fellow travelers and swap stories.
Luxor Hotel Frankfurt is 10 minutes to the historic downtown area, and 5 minutes to Sachsenhausen restaurants. Rooms are large and clean. Prices for single rooms are available from €40/night and doubles for € 50/night outside of fair dates. There is shampoo in the bathroom, shower is nice. Hair dryer and minisafe, cosmetic mirror, TV and closet in the room. Breakfast is excellent.
Hotel Kaiserhof Located within easy walking distance just east of the Hauptbahnhof (main train station). Breakfast buffet is included. Single room for 49 Euro. Affiliated with the Quality Hotel chain in the USA.
Ambassador Near the central station. Rooms are okay, proximity to the train station a plus (about 5 minutes on foot). Near the red light district which is a minus (you don't have to actually walk through the red light district to get to the hotel though).
Courtyard Frankfurt Messe , +49-69-39050, Oeserstrasse 180, Slightly older but well-maintained hotel located near the Messe exhibition center, but far from anything else. Pool and gym. Free shuttle **from** the airport, but €7 for the return trip.
Novotel Frankfurt West A good choice for the business traveller who wishes to stay close to the city, for example for a trade fair which is one subway station away. The rooms are of the normal, good Novotel quality. They do have Internet access (Ethernet) in the rooms. €100-€220/night per person. Breakfast is € 13 extra.
The Westin Grand Frankfurt Grand Hotel directly located in the city, next to shopping area Zeil. 352 rooms und 17 suites. The hotel offers 3 restaurants, Wellness- and Fitnessarea and 13 meeting rooms for up to 500 guests.
Le Méridien Parkhotel Frankfurt Hotel with historic palais and modern business wing directly located at the Wiesenheuttenplatz / Frankfurt Central Station. 297 modern guest rooms, spa, restaurant and bar and 13 meeting rooms.
Frankfurt is a great place for shopping, as it caters both to tourists and to the local population, so you can find anything from haute couture to ridiculously cheap, and most of the shopping possibilities are located in the centre. The majority of shops are open until 8PM, though some of the larger stores downtown may close at 9 or 10PM. In general, shops are closed on Sundays.
The Zeil is the main shopping street in Frankfurt and in fact one of the most frequented shopping streets in Europe. The area features department stores such as Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt, shopping complexes like the Zeilgalerie and the new MyZeil (remarkable architecture!), and many other shops. Also check out some of the surrounding streets, e.g. Liebfrauenstraße, Schillerstraße, Kaiserstrasse. Head to the Goethestraße for upscale shopping.
Kleinmarkthalle: market hall with local and international food products, located at Hasengasse 5-7 (in the city center between Zeil and Berliner Straße)
Schweizer Straße: small, traditional shops with local specialties, take U1/2/3 to Schweizer Platz.
Berger Straße: smaller trendy shops and cafés, take U4 to Merianplatz or Höhenstraße.
Nordwestzentrum: a large modern shopping mall in the north of Frankfurt, reachable using the U1 subway. Many of the shops there can also be found in the downtown Zeil area.
Leipziger Straße: smaller shops, take U6/U7 to Leipziger Straße station.
Flea Market: Saturdays along the river in Sachsenhausen
Hessen-Center: an older shopping mall targeted more at the local population, take U7 to Hessen-Center.
Farmer's Market at Konstablerwache: every Thursday (10:00-20:00) and Saturday (8:00-17:00)
Schillermarkt: local groceries market, every Friday from 9:00-18:30
Frankfurt has one of Germany's highest crime rates, though in part this is due to statistical reasons as e.g. smuggling and similar offences at the airport as well as anything concerning credit card fraud anywhere in Germany is registered in Frankfurt, since the main credit card clearing company is based in Frankfurt.
Physical crime is in general concentrated in the red light district around the central train station, which also is the hangout of the many drug dealers/junkies. Nevertheless Frankfurt is still very safe compared to large cities in many other countries and it's highly unlikely that you'll face armed robbery or other violent crimes. Use your common sense and avoid obviously drunken/aggressive people at night.
If you have a problem or are being harassed, don't be afraid to ask the police for help. The German police and the Frankfurt Ordnungsamt are not corrupt & they are competent and generally helpful. Germany is a very bureaucratic and structured country, so as long as you behave in a respectful attitude to the police you will have no problem.
Buying and smuggling drugs is a major offence and will have dire consequences.
Frankfurt is one of the better locations in Germany to start looking if you want to find a job. Not only it is a center of national and international finance, but there are also many high tech companies in the area. All of these may be more willing to accept people with no or less than adequate German skills.
Last but not least the airport and companies working for trade fairs always has need for people who speak English and other (seldom spoken) languages. Especially low skilled and very high skilled jobs are available. Make sure you have the proper permits and papers; working illegally can get you into a lot of trouble.
The PTT multi-media store is situated just outside Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (central station) 65 Baseler Strasse, on the same row as the Eurolines office; offers €2 per hour. The tricky thing is navigating the German keyboards.
Various other hotels offer Internet access; most are still a little backward and provide dialup access only.
There are a number of Internet cafes in Frankfurt of varying prices and quality. Sunday (Sonntag) is the best day to surf.
Burger King (cnr Liebfrauenstrasse / Holzgraben) near Hauptwache offers free WLAN in its restaurant
Besides public pay phones and mobile phone services, a large number of stores sell prepaid telephone cards. This is especially useful for international calls. The PTT multi-media store - 65 Baseler Strasse, offers competitive rates for international calls (10 cents per min to the UK) Some other stores also offer in house phone services. Another easy to reach store that seems reliable is in the Hauptwache subway station. You may also visit one of the plenty internet cafés, since they almost all offer cheap phone calls via internet.
The three easiest-to-reach full-service postal offices are easy to locate:-
Inside Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (central station) by the long-distance ICE/IRE trains; near McDonalds.
at the Zeil shopping area.
At the Südbahnhof (Southern Station) take exit Diesterwegplatz and cross the square; the post office is to the left.
There are two offices for tourism information. The easiest one to get to is inside the Central Station. Look for the signs: it is near the main exit, next to the German Rail (DB) service area.
The official contact data is:
Touristinfo Hauptbahnhof , (Tourist Information Central Station), Hauptbahnhof - Passage. +49 69 21 23 88 00 (fax: +49 69 21 23 78 80, mail: email@example.com). Mo-Fr 8 AM - 9 PM, Sa-Su + Holidays 9 AM - 6 PM; New Year + New Year's Eve 8 AM - 1 PM; closed on December 25th + 26th.
Touristinfo Römer , Römerberg 27. +49 69 21 23 88 00 (fax: +49 69 21 23 78 80, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Mo-Fr 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM, Sa-Su + Holidays 10 AM - 4 PM; New Year + New Year's Eve 10 AM - 1 PM; closed on December 25th + 26th.
The central station area (Hauptbahnhof) is known for being a center for homeless and perhaps drug users. It has improved much in recent years, but you will still occasionally be bothered by beggars. The drug addicts generally don't bother people, and the beggars will ask for Kleingeld (small change), which by their definition is anything between €1-2.
The best way to fend off beggers is to say you do not speak German (and this might just be true for you anyway!). They will often switch to English then, so just pretend you can not speak that either (just shake your head, or say "No English") and they will get frustrated and leave you alone.
If you think you are up to it, you may find it useful to know one or two sentences in the Frankfurter dialect to mime locals, as tourists are often regarded as confused/scared and therefore willing to give away money. Some of these phrases would be hoer uff (stop it), lass misch in ruh (leave me alone) or mach disch ab! (go away!). A polite Nein, danke (no thanks) will usually not do.
Mainz — Gutenberg's home on the Rhine, with a well-preserved old city, 45 min by S-Bahn
Wiesbaden, wealthy historic spa city and state capital, 45 minutes by S-Bahn
Darmstadt — former residence of the duchy of Hesse, picturesque old town, art nouveau architecture
Bad Homburg — spa town
Bad Nauheim — art nouveau buildings and place where Elvis Presley stayed while in the Army (1958-1960)
Heidelberg, with famous castle and charming old town
Cologne, home to the Cologne Carnival and a famous cathedral, 1 hour by ICE
Büdingen: medieval city center
If you're keen on hiking, head out to the nearby Taunus mountains, the Vogelsberg (an extinct volcano), or the Odenwald.
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