's a tourist information office near the main exit of the Central Station. Simply follow the signs. It is next to the main German Rail service area. |+|
There informationnear the main exit of the Central Station. Simply follow the signs. It is next to the main German Rail service area.
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===Drugs and Beggars===
===Drugs and Beggars===
Revision as of 13:13, 6 June 2005
Frankfurt (German: Frankfurt am Main) is a medium-sized city in Hesse, in Central Germany, known for its high-rises and international airport. Home of the European Central Bank, it is considered to be the financial capital of Germany, if not Europe. It is also birthplace of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Frankfurt am Main Skyline
Frankfurt is a city of contrasts. Wealthy bankers and homeless people coexist in a city that has some of the highest, most avantgarde 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.
Frankfurt am Main is the major 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 - which is the second largest in Europe - it's the gateway to Germany and for many people also the first point of arrival in Europe. 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.
In Frankfurt you will find many Museums ("Museum Embarkment"), Theatres (among them the first-class "English Theatre") and a world-class opera to entertain you during your stay. While Frankfurt is not London or Paris in terms of size, it will not keep you wanting in terms of cultural activities.
When to visit
The best times for Frankfurt are late spring to early autumn. The summers tend to be sunny and warm around 25 degrees celsius. Be prepared, however, for very hot summer days around 35 degrees as well as for light rain. The winters can be cold (usually not lower than -10 ° C), but there is hardly any snow inside Frankfurt itself.
If you plan to stay overnight, you may wish to avoid times when trade fairs are held, as this will make finding affordable accommodations a challenging task.
Frankfurt is located roughly in the centre of Germany (a bit to the south-west) and as such, it is a transportation nexus. It has excellent connectivity via train, air travel, and highways and reaching - or leaving - Frankfurt is trivial.
Frankfurt am Main International Airport
Frankfurt's airport is the second busiest in Europe (after London Heathrow and before Paris Charles de Gaulle) and the seventh-busiest airport in the world according to 2002 passenger numbers. It is serviced by many major airlines and all airline alliances. Consequently, it is very easy to get to Frankfurt from anywhere in the world.
The airport is well-connected to downtown Frankfurt by Taxi, Bus (Line 61 to Frankfurt Südbahnhof (Frankfurt Southern Station)), and above all by subway. To get to the city, take lines S8 or S9 direction Frankfurt or Hanau at the "Regionalbahnhof" (regional train station). Do not leave at Frankfurt Niederrad unless it's actually your destination. Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, the central station, is in the heart of the city. Some S8 trains - those that stop at the station above ground - end at Central Station. The ride from the airport to the central station takes 12 minutes. Make sure you purchase a ticket at the vending machines in the train station before you board the train.
As is appropriate for a large international airport, Frankfurt's airport has a train station for inter-city trains as well. Regional trains to Mainz, Wiesbaden and Hanau stop at the same place as the subway to Frankfurt. However, inter-city connections beyond the region of Frankfurt have their own train station, the Fernbahnhof ("long distance train station"). Here, you can board high-speed trains to Munich, Karlsruhe and other destinations.
If you wish to fly into Frankfurt, you need to be aware that some of the so-called low budget airlines use an airport they call "Frankfurt/Hahn". Hahn is not near Frankfurt, but actually about one and a half hours away, and you need to include that into your travel plans.
Frankfurt has three major train station, the central station (Hauptbahnhof), the Southern Station (Südbahnhof) and the Airport; however, inter-city trains that stop at the airport will usually (not always!) also stop at Hauptbahnhof. 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.
Frankfurt is connected to several highways 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 times of fairs, like the "Internationale Automobilausstellung" (International Automobile Exhibition) or the huge book fair you might want to consider using the well set up park and ride system.
Frankfurt is serviced by various Trans European buslines like Eurolines. The main terminus is the central station; if you're on a tight budget this will be a good way to reach Frankfurt.
A few river boats travel along the Main, and you can reach Frankfurt from several other nearby cities. However, it's really more a sight-seeing activity than a real means of travel.
Don't overestimate the scale of Frankfurt. It is entirely possible to explore the downtown area on foot. Still, if you don't feel like walking a lot, there are many alternatives to get around town.
Frankfurt has an extensive Taxi service, mostly because there are so many business travellers. Frankfurt isn't too big, so fares tend to be reasonable. Care has to be taken though as some taxi drivers will take some detours if they notice that you do not know the city. Still, if you want hassle-free door-to-door transportation, Taxis are the way to go.
By public transportation
Frankfurt is covered by a reasonably good public transportation network (run by RMV - Rhein-Main Verkehrsverbund and its local partner 'traffiQ') consisting of trams, subways, and buses. Fares tend to be high - around 5 euros 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 Euro and you can get into considerable trouble, especially if you have no ID card or passport on your person. Subway trains (U-Bahn) and trams are checked quite seldom, the S-Bahn trains quite often. It is not possible to buy tickets in a 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 look up your destination on the list provided at the machine (it's "50" for Frankfurt itself, or "5090" for the Airport), enter this number with the numeric keypad, then press the button for the type of ticket you want (Einzelfahrt - single trip; Tageskarte - day ticket). "Shortcut" buttons exist for tickets within Frankfurt. 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.
This RMV site has basic information and timetable information available in English and other languages; you can also access rail maps:
The S-Bahn, run by the German Train company, is notorious for its delays. If you wish to get somewhere on time, allow for some buffer time. In the morning rush-hour, delays of 10-15 minutes are common. If you wish to catch a plane or have another similar time-critical appointment, allow for 30 minuts delay to be on the safe side.
Other services (Subway, tram) are usually more reliable.
You should avoid using your car in the city, or even places 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. If you want to enter the city, your best bet is to go into a Parkhaus (parking garage) (which charges a fee, of course) and then either walk, or take public transportation.
If you are in the suburbs you should be aware that many areas are reserved for local residents. You need a special ID card in your car or you risk a fine. Pay attention for signs with wording "Parkausweis Nr.X" (where X is a number).
Using a bike in Frankfurt is no problem after the city council has expanded the bike-lane network of the city in recent years. Look out for the rental bikes of the Deutsche Bahn, marked in the colors red and white and the letters "DB."
These bikes 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.
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, make sure to check with them first whether they are open on that day.
There are many museums in Frankfurt, offering a wide range of exhibits. A number of them have cafes, restaurants or bars on the premises. Many of these museums are located on the southern bank of the Main in a region called Museumsufer. To get there, take the subway to go to Schweizer Platz, then walk towards the Main river. You will see the high rise buildings when you leave the subway station, that's the direction you have to take. There are enough museums there to keep you occupied for a while; and the Museumsufer is especially suited if you are staying in Frankfurt only for a short time.
At the Museumsufer
At the Museumsufer you can find:
- Deutsches Architektur Museum (German Architecture Museum), Schaumainkai 43, +49 69 21238844 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org fax: +49 69 21237721). M closed, Tu, Th-Su 10AM-5PM, We 10AM-8PM. The Architecture Museum displays various types of exhibits about buildings and architecture. Their tagline is "from cave to skyscraper". There's also a small cafe in the DAM. €6.00 for adults, € 3.00 for children. http://www.dam-online.de/
- Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum), Schaumainkai 41, +49 69 21238830 (email: email@example.com fax: +49 69 21237881). M closed, Tu,Th,F,Su 10AM-5PM, We+Sa 10AM-8PM. The German Movie Museum displays - as the name implies - the art and history of film making. €4.00 for adults, € 1.50 for children. http://www.deutsches-filmmuseum.de/ (German Only)
- Städel-Museum, Museumsufer (postal: Dürerstrasse 2), +49 69 605098-0 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 69 610163). M closed, Tue, Fri, Sun 10AM - 5PM, Wed + Thu 10AM - 9PM. 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. €8.00 for adults; students € 5.00; children under 12 free. Behind the museum is the Städelschule, an art school with cheap cafeteria. http://www.staedelmuseum.de/
- Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of applied arts), Schaumainkai 17, +49 69 212-34037 (email: email@example.com fax: +49 69 212-30703). M closed, Tue, Thu-Sun 10AM - 5PM, Wed 10AM-9PM. €5 adults, €2.5 children. http://www.museumfuerangewandtekunst.frankfurt.de/
- Liebighaus (Liebig House), Schaumainkai 71, +49 69 212-38617 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 69 212-30701). M closed, Tue, Thu-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM, Wed 10 AM - 8 PM. Large collection of sculptures and statues from all over the world. Very nice cafe in the garden. http://www.liebieghaus.de/index.htm.
- Museum der Weltkulturen (Museum of World Cultures), Schaumainkai 29-37, +49 69 212-35913 (email: email@example.com, fax: +49 69 212-30704). M closed, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sun 10 AM - 8 PM, Wed 10 AM - 8 PM, Sat 2 PM - 8 PM. http://www.mdw.frankfurt.de/home.php
- Museum für Kommunikation (Museum of Communication), Schaumainkai 53, +49 69 6060-0 (fax +49 69 6060-666). M closed, Tue - Fri 9 AM - 5 PM; Sat-Sun 11 AM - 7 PM. € 2 for adults; € 1 for children. http://www.museumsstiftung.de/frankfurt/d311_rundgang.asp (German only)
- Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum), Untermainkai 14/15, +49 69 21235000 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 69 21230705). Mon closed, Tue-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM, Wed 10 AM - 8 PM. Adults 2.60 Eur, children 1.30 Eur. http://www.jewishmuseum.de/
- Museum Judengasse is part of the Jewish Museum, but at differing address, Kurt Schumacher-Straße 10, +49 69 2977419 (email: email@example.com, fax: +49 69 21230705). Mon closed, Tue-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM, Wed 10 AM - 8 PM. Adults 1.50 Eur, children 0.70 Eur. http://www.jewishmuseum.de/
- Haus Giersch Museum Regionaler Kunst
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, We 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. Seems 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. €5.00 for adults, € 1.50 for children. http://www.senckenbergmuseum.de/indexe.html
- Museum für Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art), Domstraße 10, +49 69 212-30447 (fax: +49 69 212-37882, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Mo closed; Tu, Th-Su 10am-5pm, We 10am-8pm. € 6.00 for adults, € 3.00 for children. http://www.mmk-frankfurt.de/. 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: email@example.com). Mon, Thu-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM, Wed 1 PM - 9 PM. A museum about money and its history. http://www.geldmuseum.de/index.en.php
- Archäologisches Museum (Archaeological Museum), Karmelitergasse 1, +49 69 212-35896 (fax: 212-30700, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Mo closed; Tu-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM; We 10 AM - 8 PM. € 4 for an adult; € 2 for a child. http://www.archaeologisches-museum.frankfurt.de/
- Fotografie Forum international
- Frankfurter Apfelweinmuseum (part of the Historisches Museum)
- Frankfurter Kunstverein
- Goethehaus und Goethemuseum
- Haus der Stadtgeschichte
- Ikonen Museum
- Historisches Museum
- Institut für Stadtgeschichte
- Kommunale Galerie im Leinwandhaus
- Kunsthalle Schirn
- Portikus Exhibition hall located in the Leinwandhaus building, Weckmarkt 17 (Subway statiom Römer), +49 69 219987-60 and +49 69 219987-59 (email: email@example.com, 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. http://www.portikus.de
- Stoltzemuseum im Stoltzeturm
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, 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, 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. http://www.nacht-der-museen.de/
High Rise Buildings & Skyline
Frankfurt am Main Skyline
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 highrises 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 Willi-Brandt-Platz) building is special as it is the only Frankfurt high-rise that is open to the public. For 4.50 Euro (price for one adult as of winter 2003/2004) 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. http://www.maintower.de/e_home.cfm
- 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.
Watch the skies
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 highrise.
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 or U7, get off a Zoo station), tel. +49 69 21233735. Winter: Daily 9AM - 5PM, Summer: Daily 9AM - 7PM. 8€ adults, 4€ children. http://www.zoo-frankfurt.de/index_e.htm
- Palmengarten ("palm garden") botanic gardens. Siesmayerstraße 61 (Entrance Palmengartenstraße: subway U4, U6, U7 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. http://www.stadt-frankfurt.de/Palmengarten/ (German language part of the website has a lot more information than the English part)
- Frankfurt Airport has a public viewing platform. Bus tours of the airport are available. Take S8/S9 direction Wiesbaden.
- The Turmpalast (Kino am Turm) shows movies in English
- The Eiserner Steg (Iron bridge) - Relatively well-known bridge for pedestrians, built in 1869. Good view of the skyline.
- 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.
- 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. http://www.vgf-ffm.de/frankfurt_ebbelwei.html
- About once a month, an old steam engine train rides along tracks on the northern riverbank of the Main. Prices vary, starting at 4€ for an adult. http://www.historischeeisenbahnfrankfurt.de/fahrplan.html (German language.)
- 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 "fancy" events.
- There are a number of trade fairs held in Frankfurt every year. From the central station take subway lines S3, S4, or S5 on platform 104 (underground) to station Messe; trains to the trade fairs will be announced in English. http://www.messefrankfurt.com/corporate/en/
Frankfurt and the river Main
- 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.
- 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. http://www.saalburgmuseum.de/
- Once every summer, there is a free open-air concert in downtown Frankfurt called Sound of Frankfurt. Exact schedules will vary every year. Performances are by German and international artists - usually worth the time. http://www.sof.de/
- The Goethe Institute has franchises in Frankfurt (after all, Goethe was born here), offering German courses for foreigners.
- The Volkshochschule offers a variety of courses taught almost exclusively in German. The VHS does offer some "German for foreigners" courses. Prices are comparatively low.
- Frankfurt is home to the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University.
Finding work in Germany is difficult if you don't speak German. However, Frankfurt is probably a good location to start looking if you want to find a job in this country. Not only is it 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 always has need for people who speak English or other languages. Make sure you have the proper permits and papers; working illegally is not only anti-social, it can also get you into a lot of trouble.
The Zeil is the main shopping area of Frankfurt. Various large department stores compete for customers here. You can spend a lot of money here on perfumes, clothes, jewelry, or really anything else you desire. While the Zeil itself is mostly populated by generic shops, nearby streets also house more exclusive - and much more expensive - stores of all kinds. To reach the Zeil, take the subway to Hauptwache or Konstabler Wache, but you can easily walk from the central station.
South-east of the Zeil is the Goethestrasse (Goethe Street), which covers the exclusive jewelry and designer shops.
There are of course restaurants all over Frankfurt. One notable area for dining may be what is locally known as the Fressgass (a "nice" 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.
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 Euro at many kiosks and book stores, or at the Tourism Information at the central station. It is also available in digital from mpresso Gmbh for Pocket PC and Palm PDA for 9.80 Euros.
- Pizza Monte Carlo, Diesterwegstrasse 2 (corner Schweizer Platz), Daily 5:30pm - 11pm. A small pizza place in central Sachsenhausen. Most people take their pizza home, but it has room for 2-3 people to sit. Pizzeria Monte Carlo makes excellent pizza, hand made, very tasty, with appropriate prices. They also serve pasta and some salads. A typical pizza ranges between €4.00-6.00. Highly recommended -- as long as you intend to take your food home.
- News Restaurant, Schweizer Strasse 25, Daily 11am - 11:30pm. A small restaurant serving a variety of Italian, Indian and International dishes. Pizza, Pasta, Rumpsteak, Schnitzel, etc. Room for around 20 guests. Main dishes range from €6.00-10.00, some up to €15.00. Drinks €2.00-4.00. Family operated.
- Maredo Spanish steak-house near Hauptwache. Decent steaks for average prices, the waiters aren't exactly rude but they do lack a certain style and professionalism. Still, it's acceptable and it's at a great, easy to find central location. €20-30 per person.
- The NYC (Schweizer Strasse) tries to be a bar/diner/American theme restaurant. It doesn't really succeed. The food isn't spectacular but okay, the prices are fair and its convenient location between Scheizer Platz and the Main river contribute to its popularity. €15-25/person.
- The Irish Pub across the street from the central station is decent; serves drinks and good food for appropriate prices. Staff speaks excellent English.
- Surf-n-Turf Steakhouse, Grunebergweg 95 (corner of Siebert-liebigstrasse), +49 69 722122. M-F 12AM-3PM, M-Sa 6PM-midnight. This is probably the best steakhouse in Germany. €30-50 (per person). http://www.the-steakhouse.de/
- Taj Mahal Schweizer Strasse 28, +49 69 620240. Mon-Sun 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM and 6:00 PM - 11:00 PM. Indian-Pakistani food. Decoration is rather a bit overdone. Good service, very good food, prices a little high. Overall recommended. €30+/person.
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. And even these days seem to come to an end now: When the US Army had a lot of troops stationed in Frankfurt those were the people who would mainly go to Sachsenhausen. Now as they have much reduced the number of soldiers, many of the bars and restaurants are empty most of the time and some are already closing down.
There are still some good bars, but it's not nearly as "in" as it used to be. You go there because you heard the name, not because you expect superb bars. And be sure you won't mind being surrounded by fellow tourists.
In all honesty, Alt-Sachsenhausen can be safely avoided; you won't miss out on much. There are other bars throughout the city that are more interesting than any found in Alt-Sachsenhausen.
- 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. http://www.cafe-bar-celona.de/
As there are numerous trade fairs in Frankfurt throughout the year, you should do your planning - and hotel bookings - accordingly. During a trade fair, prices at even the cheapest hotels will suddenly skyrocket - and charges of over 300 Euros / night are quite common.
- Stay & Learn Hostel Right across from the central train station. Private double with shower and toilet goes for about 60 Euro while a dorm room with shower and toilet facilities goes for just under 30 Euro. A free German lesson comes with your accommodation. There is a dedicated internet room with a hour of service for 4 Euro. The common room has a few chairs, a couple of tables and a TV but lacks a social atmosphere. Valid as of June 2004.
- 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).
- Novotel Airport Hotel Novotel franchise in Kelsterbach, near the Airport. Has a regular shuttle bus to/from the airport (until 9pm; about 10-15 minutes). Nice people, good but rather expensive rooms (€100-€220/night per person). Breakfast is € 13 extra
- 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
Various hotels offer internet access; most are still a little backwards and provide dialup access only.
There are a number of Internet cafes in Frankfurt of varying prices and quality.
Besides public pay phones and mobile phone services, a large number of stores sell prepaid telephone cards. This is especially useful for international calls. Some offer in house phone services. One easy to reach store that seems reliable is in the Hauptwache subway station.
The three easiest-to-reach full-service postal offices are located at the central station (inside at the long-distance trains; near McDonalds), at the Zeil shopping area, and at the Südbahnhof (Southern Station; take exit Diesterwegplatz and cross the square; the post office is to the left).
Frankfurt has one of Germany's highest crime rates. While this is still very safe compared to some other nations - you won't have to worry about getting shot at, for example - it is still a smart idea to take the usual precautions; especially if you travel alone. If you have a problem, are being harassed etc, don't be afraid to ask the police for help. German police are competent, not corrupt, and generally helpful as long as you have a correct attitude and do not become insulting etc.
There are two offices of the Frankfurt tourism information. The one easiest to reach is near the main exit of the Central Station. Simply follow the signs. It is next to the main German Rail service area.
The official contact data is:
- Touristinfo Hauptbahnhof, (Tourist Information Central Station), Hauptbahnhof - Passage. +49 69 212-38800 (fax: +49 69 212-37880, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). 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. http://www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/
- Touristinfo Römer, Römerberg 27. +49 69 212-38800 (fax: +49 69 212-37880, mail: email@example.com). 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. http://www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/
Drugs and Beggars
The central station area is known for being a center for homeless and drug users. It has improved much in recent years, but you will still occasionally witness drug users stabbing syringes into their arms and be bothered by beggars. The best advice that can be given is to ignore both. The drug addicts generally won't bother people, and the beggars will ask for Kleingeld (small change), which by their definition is anything between 1-2 Euros. While sympathy to those who are less fortunate is generally a good thing, you won't help these people by giving them any money. Many are professional beggars, and some even beg for money while holding a daytime job. Just shake your head "no" or ignore them entirely.
If you want to go to the airport via subway, 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.
From Frankfurt, several cities are just a short distance away; Darmstadt, Heidelberg, Cologne and many others should be reachable in under 60 minutes with the train.