Frankfurt is more than just a popular financial district.
From Apple Wine taverns, to opera houses and museums; from shopping streets to bicycle streets, Frankfurt is an appealing mix of modernity and tradition. The city bears the marks of a troubled past but has risen from the ashes to be ranked as the 21st among global cities by 2008 Global Cities Index. As you begin to explore Goethe’s place of birth, you find that the city thrives as a cultural and a commercial hub.
Some Nostalgia And Some Shopping
Go back in time and visit Altstadt, the old-town center of the city. Here you will find The Goethe House, the residence of the Goethe family, most notably Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The Goethe Museum is located next to the house and here you can catch a glimpse of the Frankfurt as it used to be before World War II.
Take a walk to Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street in Germany. Bordered by two large plazas, Hauptwache in the west and Konstablerwache in the east, the street is a pedestrian-only area. The street hosts a number of designer as well as boutique stores and holds the record of being the second most expensive street for shops to rent in Germany. A special attraction on Zeilgalerie, a shopping centre, is the viewing platform on the roof of the centre where you can admire the view of skyscrapers and the entire city to the Taunus Mountains.
A Gourmand’s Delight
After a hectic shopping spree head to Große Bockenheimer Straße, more popularly known as Fressgass. This pedestrian zone lies between Opernplatz and Börsenstraße and you can satiate your culinary cravings in one of the many restaurants, delis or street cafes lining the street. Most restaurants offer national delicacies as well as international cuisine. Do make it a point to try out Gruene Sosse (Green Sauce), eggs cooked in a variety of green herbs (dill, parsley, sorrel, chives and others) that was reportedly Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s favourite dish. Frankfurter Wuerstchen, a sausage dish served with mustard and a Broetchen, is another popular dish. Das Wirsthaus on the Fressgass is known to serve some authentic and tasty food.
A Classical Evening
After you have experienced the gastronomical delights of Frankfurt, head to Alte Oper, a popular opera house that is now a concert hall. The opera house built in 1880 was badly damaged in World War II. Known as Germany’s Most Beatiful Ruin till the 70’s the opera house was rebuilt because of public demand. Now it not only showcases some of the best musical talents, it also offers the guests some of the favoured cuisines of Frankfurt as well as drinks in the cafe, bar and restaurant housed inside Alte Oper Frankfurt.
Or A Wild Night
Frankfurt’s nightlife is as popular as it’s museums and food, owing to the increasing number of business travellers. Cocoon, one of the more popular clubs modelled on DJ Sven Väth’s vision hosts some of the best artistes in electronic music. Other popular nightclubs include U60311 (for a younger audience) near Hauptwache. Hanauer Landstraße is a popular street for clubbing as it houses on a number of clubs on the street. While techno music is popular, a traveller can find clubs depending on his tastes. Frankfurt also thrives on adult entertainment and is popular for its Eros centres and strip clubs. Bahnhofsviertel, is one of the largest red light districts in the world.
A trip to Frankfurt is incomplete without a visit to the innumerable galleries and museums on the southern bank of the Main River. Irrespective of your taste in art, the exhibitions of works across the galleries are bound to take your breath away. Schaumainkai, a street in central Frankfurt, abounds in art galleries and museums and is called Museumsufer (Museum Embankment). This street also hosts the city’s largest flea market.
On A Wine Trail
There’s nothing like a heady combination of art and wine, and apple wine taverns are one of the most distinct features of Frankfurt. Sachsenhausen is known for its bars, taverns and restaurants in the southern part’s old town. The main street called Schweizer Straße has the city’s most popular cider houses that produces their own apple wine (Apfelwine). An evergreen wreath on the door pf the tavern or cider house means the place has fresh produce for sale. Try the local specialties like beef with green sauce (Grüne Soße), hand cheese (Handkäs), or a takeaway pretzel with apple wine. Klappergasse with the famous Frau Rauscher fountain is the apple wine quarter of Frankfurt.
As You Say Goodbye
On your way out remember to buy a beer stein available in different sizes and colours. Most steins are handcrafted depicting the tradition and history of Germany — a perfect memento to remember the good times by.
Pageturner: A Jazzy Night
Der Jazzkeller is the place for Jazz lovers in Germany. It has hosted Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Harris and Gerry Mulligan. Located in a basement grotto on Kleine Bockenheimer Strasse 18a, you can’t miss this one if you love Jazz. You can enjoy live music on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights while sipping on cocktails. Watch out for impromptu performances by local legends.
The Cycle Days
You can use a velotaxi, which involves the operator using a tricycle with a sheltered passenger cab. There is room for two and the service covers the city centre. Frankfurt also has a network of modern cycle routes throughout city. Many of the long distance bike routes into town have dedicated cycle tracks. A number of city centre roads are “bicycle streets” where the cyclist has the right of way and where motorised vehicles are allowed access if they do not disrupt the cycle users. The city loves cycling as every first Sunday in the month a critical mass cycle event is organised at Radfahrportal which starts at 2 pm at the Old Opera.