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Frankfurt

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Frankfurt

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The skyline of Frankfurt

Frankfurt (German: Frankfurt am Main; [6]) is the largest city in the German state of Hesse, in Central Germany, known for its futuristic skyline and international airport.

Located on the river Main, Frankfurt is the financial capital of Europe and the transportation centre of Germany. Frankfurt is the place of residence of the European Central Bank and the Frankfurt 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. It is also birthplace of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


Understand

Römer square in Frankfurt am Main

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 & banking capital 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. While Frankfurt is not the size of London, 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 (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 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. The biggest are the Frankfurt Motor Show (Automobil-Ausstellung) in every two years in mid-September (next in 2009) and the Book Fair (Buchmesse) yearly in mid-October; see Fairs for details.

Get in

Frankfurt is the heart of central Germany and as such, it is the national transportation hub. It has excellent connectivity between railways, airlines and highways. Reaching and leaving Frankfurt is easy.

By plane

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 [7] 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 [8] airlines. Terminal 1 is separated into Concourses A, B and C. All other airlines depart from Terminal 2. 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 pax (+ Gold & Silver Star Alliance Card Holders) have a designated check in area in Terminal 1 A. First class pax 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 pax 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 totally 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. However, 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.

The airport has a long visitor terrace on top of terminal 2 (adults 4 euro) and offers 45-minute airside(!) bus tours (adults 6 euro, 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"). 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 [9]. 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.

Frankfurt am Main International 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 Airport website, including arrival/departure schedules [10]

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 [11] from Frankfurt/Hahn to Frankfurt main airport and on to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (Frankfurt Central Station) costs about 12 euro and leaves roughly every hour, tickets are available from the kiosk, outside in front of the main entrance. If you are flying Ryanair be wary of the tickets they sell (8€) as the buses are less regular and don't actually go to Frankfurt, they go to Hanau stopping near the outskirts of Frankfurt.

By train

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 euros and the 10 day ticket 289 euros. You cannot buy the ticket from regional train stations. These are a significant saving on individual train fares.

By car

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.

By bus

Frankfurt is serviced by various trans-European buslines like Eurolines [12]. The main terminus is the central station (Hauptbahnhof). If you are on a tight budget, this will be a good way to reach Frankfurt.

Get around

Subway (U-Bahn), S-Bahn, Tram, Bus

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— 5.4 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 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. 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 RMV [13] site has basic information and timetable information available in English and other languages.

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.

By taxi

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.

By car

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.

By bike

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.

  • Call-a-bike service [14]

See

Museums

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.

At the Museumsufer

  • Deutsches Architektur Museum (German Architecture Museum), Schaumainkai 43, +49 69 21238844, fax +49 69 21237721, (email [email protected]), [15]. 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, €3.00 for children.
  • Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum), Schaumainkai 41, +49 69 21238830, fax +49 69 21237881, (email [email protected]), [16] (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 [email protected]), [17]. 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 protected]), [18]. 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 [email protected]), [19]. 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.
  • Liebieghaus (Liebieg House), Schaumainkai 71, +49 69 212-38617 (email: [email protected], fax: +49 69 212-30701) [20]. 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: [email protected], fax: +49 69 212-30704) [21]. 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) [22]. 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 protected], fax: +49 69 21230705), [23]. 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 200 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 differing address (not anywhere near the Museumsufer), Kurt Schumacher-Straße 10, +49 69 2977419 (email: [email protected], fax: +49 69 21230705) [24]. Here mostly excavations from the old ghetto are shown. 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.

Other museums

There are many other museums in Frankfurt:

  • Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Nature Museum Seckenberg), Senckenberganlage 25, +49 69 75420 (fax: +49 69 746238) [25] 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. €5.00 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 protected]) [26] Mon closed; Tue, Thu-Sun 10am-5pm, Wed 10am-8pm. € 6.00 for adults, € 3.00 for children. 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 protected]) [27] 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 protected]) [28] Mon closed; Tue-Sun 10 AM - 5 PM; Wed 10 AM - 8 PM. € 4 for an adult; € 2 for a child.
  • Kunsthalle Schirn [29] is a museum specializing in contemporary art. It's located just off the Römerplatz. There are two exhibition spaces that rotate every month or two.
  • Portikus [30] exhibition hall located in the Leinwandhaus building, Weckmarkt 17 (Subway statiom Römer), +49 69 219987-60 and +49 69 219987-59 (email: [email protected], 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.
  • Bibelhaus [31]
  • Dommuseum [32]
  • Fotografie Forum international [33]
  • Frankfurter Apfelweinmuseum (part of the Historisches Museum)
  • Frankfurter Kunstverein [34] features varying contemporary art exhibitions
  • Goethehaus und Goethemuseum [35] located in the birthplace of Germany's most famous author.
  • Haus der Stadtgeschichte
  • Heinrich-Hoffmann-Museum
  • Ikonen Museum [36]
  • Historisches Museum [37]
  • Institut für Stadtgeschichte [38]
  • Kommunale Galerie im Leinwandhaus
  • Klingspor-Museum [39], located in Offenbach
  • Stoltzemuseum im Stoltzeturm
  • Struwwelpeter-Museum Located in the same building as the Schirn Kunsthalle (see above). This small museum specializes in the famous children's story.

Museum related events

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 [40] (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.

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 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 [41] (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 4.60 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.

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 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.

Other attractions

  • 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.
  • Zoo [42] 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.
  • Palmengarten [43] ("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. €5.00 adults, €2.00 children. Prices during special events & exhibitions: €7.00 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.
  • 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.
  • The RMV offers a tour of the city in the so-called Ebbelwei Express [44], 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.
  • About once a month, an old steam engine train [45] rides along tracks on the northern riverbank of the Main. Prices vary, starting at 4€ for an adult.
  • 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.
  • Oper Frankfurt [46] (Opera) - 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
  • Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) was the seat of the first democratically elected parliament in Germany in 1848. It is located directly next to the Römer.
  • There are a number of trade fairs [47] held in Frankfurt every year. From the central station take S-Bahn lines S3, S4, S5 or S6 on platform 104 (underground) to station Messe or subway lines U4/U5 to station Messe/Torhaus; trains to the trade fairs will be announced in English.
  • 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.

Do

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.
  • Visit the Old Town and then take a walk across the iron bridge to Sachsenhausen. Here you can walk along the river bank or visit some of the old cider bars in Sachsenhausen.
  • Go for a walk in the City Forest 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).
  • 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 [48] 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.
  • 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.

Fairs

Emperor Antoninus Pius Presides at the Saalburg Main Gate

The Messe Frankfurt [49] 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 on S 3/4/5/6, and it's also on the U4 subway line. Advance tickets for fairs often allow free use of all RMV public transport.

  • Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurt Buchmesse), [1]. The largest event of the world's publishing industry, held yearly in mid-October. The last two days (always Sat-Sun) are open to the 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. Day ticket €12.
  • Frankfurt Motor Show (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung), [2]. 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.) Day tickets €11-18.

Learn

  • The Goethe Institute [50] has franchises in Frankfurt (after all, Goethe was born here), offering German courses for foreigners.
  • The Volkshochschule [51] 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 [52].

Work

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.

Buy

Most 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 many other shops, mainly fashion. Also check out some of the surrounding streets, e.g. Liebfrauenstraße, Schillerstraße, Kaiserstrasse.
  • Nordwestzentrum: a large modern shopping mall, reachable using the U1 subway.
  • Berger Straße: smaller trendy shops and cafés
  • Leipziger Straße: smaller shops
  • Flea Market: Saturdays along the river in Sachsenhausen

Eat

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. 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.

Budget

  • Jade, Moselstrasse (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. €4.00-€6.00.
  • Bizim Döner, Train station Frankfurt-Griesheim (Lines S1 and S2 direction Frankfurt-Höchst). A small suburban shop with fantastic kebab. €2.50-€10.00.
  • 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).
  • 7 Bello, Niddastrasse 82 ,(close to the Hauptbahnhof) +49 069 236099. Probably one of the best italian restaurants in Frankfurt.
  • Cube, Leopoldstr. , [0] 69 / 4856
  • Bodega Dali, Breisacherstr. , [0] 69 / 97599-25
  • Il Borgo, Tiergarten, [0] 69 / 1369
  • Drugstore, Kumlbacher Str., [0] 69 / 7561
  • Golden Tweenis, Lindenweg, [0] 69 / 20571
  • Nordsee, Allers Weg, [0] 69 / 7363
  • Yum 2 take, Lorchheimer-Str, [0] 69 / 24807
  • nastraj, Weinstr. , [0] 69 / 21091
  • Restaurand Artemis, Schützenstr. , [0] 69 / 1536
  • nastraj, Leopoldstr. , [0] 69 / 24766
  • Nordsee, Untermarkt, [0] 69 / 2537
  • Kilombo, Luisenstr., [0] 69 / 16969

Splurge

  • Aquapazza, Westendplatz 42, +49 69 172 028 (, fax: +49 69 972 06 440). Italian fish restaurant with option of alfresco dining under a pergola. Good, fresh fish dishes, but pricey.
  • Orfeo's Erben, Hamburger Allee 45, +49 69 707 69 100, [53]. M-F noon-3PM and 5PM-1AM, Sa 5PM-1AM, Su 5PM-10PM. One of the most popular restaurants.
  • Haus Wertheym, Fahrtor 1, Am Römerberg, +49 69 28 14 32. Historic restaurant with excellent german cuisine. Reservations essential.
  • Surf-n-Turf Steakhouse, Grunebergweg 95 (corner of Siebert-Liebigstrasse), +49 69 722122, [54]. M-F 12AM-3PM, M-Sa 6PM-midnight. This is probably the best steakhouse in Germany. €30-€50.
  • 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, [55]. 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

Drink

Alt-Sachsenhausen

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.

Mid-range

  • Cafe & Bar Celona Holzgraben 31 (near Hauptwache). Tel +49 69 13886709 [56] 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.

Clubs

There are many clubs in Frankfurt.

  • Cocoon Club [57] - probably the most famous and extraordinary techno club in the world. Definitely worth a visit, even if you don't like the music. Carl-Benz-Strasse 21-35, Fechenheim.
  • Jazzkeller [58] - since the 50ies the Jazz meeting point, Kleine Bockenheimer Strasse 18a T: 069 28 85 37.
  • Velvet Club [59] - new club in downtown Frankfurt with very nice interior design. Great place for house and electronic music lovers.
  • Kingkamehameha Club [60] - one of the most famous clubs in Frankfurt. Dress to impress!
  • Monza [61] - small techno club in the heart of Frankfurt.
  • U60311 [62] - famous underground techno club in downtown Frankfurt. Hotspot for the world's most famous techno and house DJ's.
  • Living XXL [63] - club in the basement of the European Central Bank. Very famous for its after-work parties on Wednesdays.
  • Odeon [64] - beautiful club close to the "Konstablerwache". Very popular among students.
  • Clubkeller [65] - small place on Textorstrasse that has a good mix of indie music and a nice atmosphere.
  • PULSE Club [66] - popular gay club in Frankfurt with two dancefloors.
  • Batschkapp [67] - THE place for rock and alternative music. One of the oldest clubs in town.
  • Nachtleben [68] - nice Bar/café close to "Konstablerwache" with a small concert hall in the cellar (mostly rock, punk, metal).
  • Sinkkasten [69] - one of the oldest clubs in Frankfurt. Has a mixed programm from Modern Rock to 60's, 70's, 80's Disco Music, concerts...

Along the Hanauer Landstrasse and around central station there are a lot of clubs.

Sleep

Frankfurt has plenty of accommodation, but during a major trade fair, prices at even the cheapest hotels will suddenly skyrocket, with charges of over €300/night quite common. Plan ahead. If you have to arrive in Frankfurt at short notice in a peak period, check with official online hotel operators HRS [70], which almost always has last-minute rooms available. Alternatively, consider staying in nearby cities like Darmstadt, 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.

Budget

  • Frankfurt Hostel, Kaiserstrasse 74 (across from main train station (Hauptbahnhof)), +49 069 24 75 130, [71] 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.
  • Haus der Jugend (Youth Hostel), Deutschherrnufer 12 (located in Sachsenhausen), +49 069 61 00 15 0, [72]. Affiliated with Hostelling International and DJH [73], so prices will be lower with HI membership.

Mid-range

  • Best Western Leonardo Hotel Berlin, Rudower Strasse 80-82; 12351 Berlin, +49 (0) 30 - 66680 0 (), [3]. checkin: 14.00 Uhr; checkout: 11.00 Uhr. In the fray instead of being kept at bay! The Best Western Leonardo Hotel Berlin with 82 comfortable rooms is situated between Berlin city and Airport Berlin-Schoenefeld!
  • Best Western Leonardo Hotel Berlin, Rudower Strasse 80-82; 12351 Berlin, +49 (0) 30 - 66680 0 (), [4]. checkin: 14.00 Uhr; checkout: 11.00 Uhr. In the fray instead of being kept at bay! The Best Western Leonardo Hotel Berlin with 82 comfortable rooms is situated between Berlin city and Airport Berlin-Schoenefeld!
  • 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, Oeserstrasse 180, +49-69-39050, [5]. 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. From €60.
  • Memphis, Münchener Strasse 15, [74]. In city centre. Clean rooms, good breakfast, reasonable price.
  • There are six NH hotels in Frankfurt. The Frankfurt Moerfelden Hotel, Hessenring 9, D-64546 Mörfelden/Walldorf, Tel: +49 6105 2040, Fax: +49 61 05204100, [75], has a great location with easy access to the city center and the airport.
  • 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.
  • Hotel Tourist [76]. Great located middle-class hotel directly at the Frankfurt Main station and almost next to the Frankfurt Messe.
  • Pension Alpha [77]. Hostel located directly at the main station and next to the Frankfurt fair.

Splurge

  • Lindner Hotel & Residence Main Plaza [78]. Stunning views over the skyline of Frankfurt and directly on the river. One of the best hotels in Frankfurt & offers also long-term stays.
  • Sheraton Frankfurt [79]. Only hotel direct at the Airport
  • Hotel Cult [80]. Excellent 4-Star Desinghotel in Frankfurt/Sachsenhausen. Close to the City Center, the International Airport, the Römer and the Frankfurt fair.
  • The Pure [81]. Puristic but excellent Design Hotel next to central station & must stay for every style fan. Fancy lounge, great cocktails & attentive staff!
  • Frankfurter Hof' [82]. The grand old hotel of Frankfurt and known for excellent style and service for more than 130 years!

Contact

Internet

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 euros 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.

Phone

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.

Post offices

The postal service in Germany is Deutsche Post [83].

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.

Stay safe

Frankfurt has one of Germany's highest crime rates. This is due to some statistical reasons as e.g. smuggling and similar offences at the airport as well as anything concerning credit card fraud anywhere in Germany, 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 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.

Cope

Tourist Information

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 [84], (Tourist Information Central Station), Hauptbahnhof - Passage. +49 69 212-38800 (fax: +49 69 212-37880, mail: [email protected]). 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 [85], Römerberg 27. +49 69 212-38800 (fax: +49 69 212-37880, mail: [email protected]). 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.

Drugs and beggars

The central station area (Hauptbahnhof) is known for being a center for homeless and perhaps the occasional drug user. 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 Euros.

To fend off beggars it is usually sufficient to shake your head, especially if you do not know the language. 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.

Get out

From Frankfurt, several cities are just a short distance away by train:

  • Darmstadt
  • Bad Homburg
  • Bad Nauheim — art nouveau buildings and place where Elvis Presley stayed while in the Army (1958-1960)
  • Mainz — Gutenberg's home on the Rhine, with a well-preserved old city, 45 min by S-Bahn
  • Wiesbaden, 45 min by S-Bahn
  • Fulda
  • Heidelberg
  • Cologne, home to the Cologne Carnival and a famous cathedral, 1 hour by ICE

If you're keen on hiking, head out to the nearby Taunus mountains or the Vogelsberg (an extinct volcano).



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