We’ve lived in Frankfurt on the Main for over two years now. It was about time, that we would present you this city, located in the heart of Germany! More than 700,000 people live in the city, more than 5.5 million people in the Rhein-Main area. Why so many? Cannot be just because of the jobs!
It’s listed regularly in Top Ten Lists for offering a high quality of life. The New York Times put Frankfurt on a list with cities that must be visited in 2014 – the only German city. (The Süddeutsche Zeitung – located in Munich – was desperate!) Frankfurt enjoys a much better reputation outside of Germany than in the country itself.
I have to admit, I had my prejudices as well. When Jan told me about the job offer from Frankfurt, I wasn’t too enthusiastic. At the same time, I didn’t really hesitate to come with him, as long distance relationships suck.
Our friends reacted in a reserved manner, like: “Why? There are better places in the world.” And my parents thought, Frankfurt was too dangerous.
What the 80s were for New York, the 90s were for Frankfurt. Highest crime rate in Germany, drugs, junkies, the red-light district near the train station – a nightmare especially for people from the idyllic rural Bavarian areas. (Of course, you can find that stuff in Bavaria as well, dear Bavarians!)
The Frankfurt Way
While some cities tried to solve the issue with a ‘cleaning up’ their inner cities (like Munich did), Frankfurt tried something else: The Frankfurt way meant integration, not criminalization – inclusion, not exclusion. It worked and was an example for many other cities in the world.
Result: They’re still there – the junkies, dealers and pimps. But not that present any more. And one doesn’t have to be afraid crossing the area around the train station – still you should be afraid at any train station during nights.
Everyone visiting us in Frankfurt was positively surprised. So dear Frankfurt Haters: Try it!
Why is Frankfurt a cool place?
What we like the most here? The city is international. People from 170 countries (according to Frankfurt’s homepage) live in Frankfurt on the Main. You can find members of any religion in the world here.
Well, and they leave their marks.
If you like Central Park in New York, you will also like Grüneburgpark. From here, you can enjoy a great view of the skyline. What most people don’t know: The city has a lot of recreation areas. Having 40 parks, one third of Frankfurt is covered with green spaces.
Another proof for Green Frankfurt is the Palmengarten – most beautiful in spring!
You want to see a Monet- or a Durer-exhibition? You have to come to Frankfurt. The Städel Museum manages to be mentioned regularly in major newspapers. The Schirn Kunsthalle, the Senckenberg Museum and all the others stacking at the Main, belong to the most prestigious in Germany and Europe.
Theaters, operas and trade fairs won’t let you feel bored.
Ok, all these things sound like upper middle class hobbies, but it’s fun doing this once in a while.
Since the Middle Ages, Frankfurt is Germany’s trade and financial centre. Especially during World War II, the city suffered a lot: 90% of the historic buildings were destroyed. Everything had to be rebuilt. Intentionally, they decided to build modern buildings as a symbol for progress. Unfortunately, that’s what is perceived to be ugly today.
AAANNND: Frankfurt is Goethe city. The city is not making a secret of its most famous son – also being Germany’s most famous poet. Frankfurt’s university with its many students is named after him.
Old vs. New
On the one hand you have – what else is Frankfurt known for – the skyscrapers in the financial district.
By the way, it’s Germany’s only skyline and is also called little New York. During week-days, a very busy place. On the weekends, it becomes a ghost town, except for the Main Tower with its great views all over the city and beyond. Especially on weekends, the queue can be very long. It’s worth it, though.
A lot of national and international companies have their headquarters or branches in Frankfurt. This means, there is an accumulation of money in Frankfurt.
On the other hand, you see the (rebuilt) older parts of the city. Partly a bit overpimped. The Frankfurter Römer with its town hall and the Samstagsberg shouldn’t be missing on your sightseeing list.
Also the cathedral, the Paul’s Church and the Alte Oper.
A little clue for you: Frankfurt-Höchst has a very cute and tiny Hessian Old Town – here you can get good value for your money in one of the restaurants and watch the beautiful half-timbered houses.
When old meets new, the result is what you find at the Eschenheimer Tor – downstairs there is a bar. The restrooms are up in the tower, in the dungeons. Coolest restrooms ever!
Shopping El Dorado Frankfurt
Shops, you cannot find nationwide, are found in Frankfurt. Due to its international population, there is a huge demand for international products.
Frankfurt’s Zeil is shopping hell at its best. At weekends, it’s really really crowded. Especially in the afternoons. At the rooftop of the Zeilgalerie, you can enjoy an awesome view. Several other malls are spread around the city.
If you want to spend more money, we can recommend the Goethe-Straße, as there are all the luxury shops. But you have to share the streets with many window shoppers.
Hessian tradional identity
You should keep in mind four things: Äppelwoi (apple wine), Handkäs mit Musik (cheese with onions), Grie Soß (herbs sauce) and Frankfurter Rindswurst (sausage) – google it. There is no one in the world, that doesn’t like Äppelwoi – you cannot avoid that when in Frankfurt. It’s extremely cheap and therefore best opportunity to get drunk. The other things are more a matter of taste.
Well, then there is the dialect. For non German speakers, it doesn’t seem important, but for us, well… If you want to learn some words in this dialect, we recommend this page: http://www.aeppelsche-homepage.de/hessisch.htm- just a randomly chosen page by us. The Hessians are strange, but not dislikeable.
In the heart of Germany, in the heart of Europe
Sounds exaggerated, but it’s just true. The Rhein-Main region is connected very well. Wiesbaden, Mainz, Bad Homburg, Königstein, Kronberg – all very close. Our favourites: Vineyards, especially those in Eltville in the Rheingau.
Connected to the whole world
For us, the most attractive thing about Frankfurt: The Airport. Frankfurt’s Airport is a European hub. As we love to travel a lot, we don’t like long ways to the airport. It takes less than half an hour from our apartment. Thank God for this airport! (And maybe for our apartment.)
So, what can you do when in Frankfurt?
A huge variety of international restaurants, Äppelwoi Pubs, Bars and Clubs make it impossible to decide. Our recommendation: Casa Rosa in Westend-Nord. Cozy atmosphere, delicious food, great wine and good prices.
Frankfurt in winter
In winter (December), you have to visit Frankfurt’s mega huge and super cool Christmas Market, where you could easily gain more than 20 pounds within a short time. You’ll find anything here. Noticeable for us Bavarians: Winemaker’s mulled wine from the Rheingau. But caution: We think, you’ll get drunk faster with that. The Christmas Market here is amazing.
Furthermore: You shouldn’t miss the Kleinmarkthalle. Whether the weather is good or not, you can buy delicious fresh food and specialties from all over the world (it’s a bit expensive, but worth it). Go to the Persian in the middle of the hall – he’s just awesome and makes you buy anything (after tasting the delicious stuff, there will be no return). And go to the Sicilians at the first floor: Amazing Antipasti and wine for reasonable prices.
Frankfurt in summer
The summer is definitely Frankfurt’s best season: Open air events, markets and festivals (like the annual Museumsuferfest). Or just sitting at the Main shore, drinking Äppelwoi or whatsoever and enjoying the view of the skyline. The atmosphere is chillaxed. The later it becomes, the more it escalates of course.
There is a Döner-boat, selling kebab to the hungry and drinks to the thirsty! There is another boat, where you can enjoy drinks and a view.
In general, the Main shore’s lay out is very beautiful – should be an example for other cities.
What we totally recommend is to hang out at Friedberger Markt on fridays. Wine, Antipasti, Hessian specialities or sausage with french fries – all in a very chilled atmosphere with people of all ages! But: The stands close at 8 o’clock and the market must be left at 10 due to residents’ complaints.
Frankfurt in autumn
Hiking in the Taunus is great, but what is even better: A huge wine festival at October 3rd in Hattenheim’s vineyards – several stands along the vineyards offering delicious wine – the food wasn’t bad either, so we were in heaven! Prost!
As we’re not Frankfurt natives, we’re open to any recommendation and will gladly complete the list!