Fodor's Germany - Fodor's (2016)
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Top Reasons to Go | Getting Oriented | What’s Where | Planning | German Sausages
Updated by Evelyn Kanter Tania Ralli
Although many consider Frankfurt more or less a gateway to their European travels, the city’s rich culture and history, dining, and amusement options might just surprise you.
Standing in the center of the Römerberg (medieval town square), you’ll see the city’s striking contrasts at once. Re-creations of neo-Gothic houses and government buildings enfold the square, while just beyond them modern skyscrapers pierce the sky. The city cheekily nicknamed itself “Mainhattan,” using the name of the Main River that flows through it to suggest that other famous metropolis across the Atlantic. Although only fifth in size among German cities, with a population of nearly 700,000, Frankfurt is Germany’s financial powerhouse. The German Central Bank (Bundesbank) is here, as is the European Central Bank (ECB), which manages the euro. Some 300 credit institutions (more than half of them foreign banks) have offices in Frankfurt, including the headquarters of five of Germany’s largest banks. You can see how the city acquired its other nickname, “Bankfurt am Main.” It’s no wonder that Frankfurt is Europe’s financial center. The city’s stock exchange, one of the most important in the world, was established in 1585, and the Rothschild family opened their first bank here in 1798.
The long history of trade might help explain the temperament of many Frankfurters—competitive but open-minded. It’s also one of the reasons Frankfurt has become Germany’s most international city. Close to a quarter of its residents are foreign, with a growing number from Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Because of its commercialism, Frankfurt has a reputation for being cold and boring, but people who know the city think this characterization is unfair. The district of Sachsenhausen is as gemütlich (fun, friendly, and cozy) as you will find anywhere. The city has world-class ballet, opera, theater, and art exhibitions; an important piece of Germany’s publishing industry (and the world’s largest annual book fair); a large university (43,000 students); and two of the three most important daily newspapers in Germany. Despite the skyscrapers, especially in the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) area and adjoining Westend district, there’s much here to remind you of the Old World, along with much that explains the success of postwar Germany.
TOP REASONS TO GO
Sachsenhausen: Frankfurt’s South Bank, with its riverbank row of world-class museums, upscale restaurants, fast-food joints, bars with live music, and traditional Apfelwein pubs, is one big outdoor party in summer.
Paleontology paradise: Beyond a huge dinosaur skeleton, the Senckenberg Natural History Museum has exhibits of many other extinct animals and plants, plus dioramas of animals in their habitats.
Enjoy the outdoors: The parks and riverbanks are popular with locals and tourists for strolls, sunbathing, and picnics.
Get some wheels: Hop on and tour the city sites from a bike; you’ll be in good company alongside locals.
Exotic experience: Head to the Frankfurt Zoo’s “exotarium,” where coral, fish, snakes, alligators, amphibians, insects, and spiders are on display.
Legend has it that the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne was chasing a deer on the Main’s south bank when the animal plunged into the river and, to the emperor’s amazement, crossed it with its head always above water. A stone ridge had made the river shallow at that point. That supposedly was the origin of Frankfurt (literally “Frankish Ford”) as an important river crossing. Commerce flourished from then on: to this day Frankfurt is an important center of business and finance.
Altstadt and City Center. Frankfurt’s downtown includes the Altstadt (Old City), parts of which have been carefully restored after wartime destruction; the Zeil, allegedly Germany’s number one “shop ‘til you drop” mile; the Fressgass (“Pig-Out Alley”); and the bank district.
Ostend. This area near the East Harbor is where you’ll find lots of corporations and banks, although there are also some sights, including the zoo, as well as restaurants, cafés, and clubs catering to those working in the neighboring skyscrapers.
Messe and Westend. The Westend is a mix of the villas of the prewar rich and a skyscraper extension of the business district. It’s a popular place for the city’s elite to live. Messe is the area around Frankfurt’s huge and busy convention center (Messe), but unless you are attending the huge book fair here or Europe’s largest auto show and need a nearby beer or meal to refuel, there’s not much reason to go.
Nordend and Bornheim. These residential areas are a great place to get away from the crowds and enjoy small neighborhood restaurants and shops.
Sachsenhausen. Just across the river from downtown, Sachsenhausen is distinguished by the Apfelwein (Apple Wine) district and the Museumufer (Museum Riverbank). The Apple Wine district, now with every sort of restaurant and tavern, is one big party, especially in summer, when the tables spill out onto traffic-free streets. The Museum Riverbank has seven museums within as many blocks along the riverfront street Schaumainkai.
WHEN TO GO
The weather in Frankfurt is moderate throughout the year, though often damp and drizzly. Summers are mild, with the occasional hot day, and it rarely gets very cold in winter and hardly ever snows. Because Frankfurt is one of the biggest trade fair cities in all of Europe, high season at all hotels is considered to be during trade shows throughout the year. Be sure to check dates to avoid paying premium price for a room or even finding yourself without a place to stay.
There are two airports with the name “Frankfurt”: Flughafen Frankfurt Main (FRA), which receives direct flights from many U.S. cities and from all major cities in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Mideast; and Frankfurt-Hahn (HHN), a former U.S. air base a full 112 km (70 miles) west of Frankfurt that handles some bargain flights, mainly to and from secondary European airports.
Flughafen Frankfurt Main (FRA). | 200 Flughafen Frankfurt am Main | 180/6372-4636 toll call | www.frankfurt-airport.de.
Frankfurt-Hahn (HHN). | 1 Saonestr. | Hahn-Flughafen | 06543/509-113 | www.hahn-airport.de.
Flughafen Frankfurt Main is 10 km (6 miles) southwest of downtown via the A-5 autobahn, and has its own railway station for high-speed InterCity (IC) and InterCity Express (ICE) trains. Getting into Frankfurt from the airport is easy, via S-bahn line Nos. 8 and 9 that run between the airport and downtown. Most travelers get off at the Hauptbahnhof (main train station, or HBF) or at Hauptwache, in the heart of Frankfurt. Trains run at least every 15 minutes, and the trip takes about 15 minutes. The one-way fare is €4.25. A taxi from the airport into the City Center normally takes around 25 minutes (double that during rush hours). The fare is around €35. If you are driving a rental car from the airport, take the main road out of the airport and follow the signs reading “Stadtmitte” (downtown).
Bohr Busreisen offers a regular bus service to and from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. It leaves every hour to every 1½ hours, 3 am to 8 pm, from the south side of the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, with a stop 15 minutes later at the Terminal 1 bus station at Flughafen Frankfurt Main. The trip to Frankfurt-Hahn takes an hour and 45 minutes, and costs €14.
BUS AND SUBWAY TRAVEL
Frankfurt’s smooth-running, well-integrated public transportation system (called RMV) consists of the U-bahn (subway), S-bahn (suburban railway), Strassenbahn (streetcars), and buses. Buses are the public-transit option between 1 am and 4 am.
Fares for the entire system, which includes an extensive surrounding area, are uniform, though they are based on a complex zone system. Within the time that your ticket is valid (one hour for most inner-city destinations), you can transfer from one part of the system to another.
Tickets may be purchased from automatic vending machines, which are at all U-bahn and S-bahn stations. Weekly and monthly tickets are sold at central ticket offices and newsstands. A basic one-way ticket for a ride in the inner zone costs €2.60 during the peak hours of 6 am-9 am and 4 pm-6:30 pm weekdays (€2.30 the rest of the time). There’s also a reduced Kurzstrecke (“short stretch”) fare of €1.60 the whole day. A day ticket for unlimited travel in the inner zones costs €6.60. If you’re caught without a ticket, there’s a fine of €40.
Some 200 European cities have bus links with Frankfurt, largely through Deutsche Touring. Buses arrive at and depart from the south side of the Hauptbahnhof and Terminal 1 at the Frankfurt Main airport. Eurolines provides tours to nearby cities, including Mannheim, Hamburg, and Hanover.
Bohr Busreisen. | Frankfurt | 0654/350-190 | www.omnibusse.bohr.de.
Eurolines. | Mannheimerstr. 15, City Center | 069/4609-2780 | www.eurolines.de/en.
Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main (Municipal Transit Authority). | Frankfurt | 069/19449 | www.vgf-ffm.de.
Frankfurt is the meeting point of a number of major autobahns. The most important are A-3, running south from Köln and then on east to Würzburg and Nürnberg, and A-5, running south from Giessen and then on toward Heidelberg and Basel.
In Frankfurt, hidden cameras are used to catch speeders, so be sure to stick to the speed limit. Tow trucks cruise the streets in search of illegal parkers. There are many reasonably priced parking garages around the downtown area and a well-developed “park-and-ride” system with the suburban train lines. The transit map shows nearly a hundred outlying stations with a blue “P” symbol beside them, meaning there is convenient parking there.
Cabs are not always easy to hail from the sidewalk; some stop, but others will pick up only from the city’s numerous taxi stands or outside hotels or the train station. You can always order a cab. Fares start at €2.80 (€3.30 in the evening) and increase by a per-kilometer (½ mile) charge of €1.75 (€1.60 after 10 km). Frankfurt also has Velotaxis, covered tricycles seating two passengers and a driver that are useful for sightseeing or getting to places on the traffic-free downtown streets. They charge €2.50 per km.
Taxis. | Frankfurt | 069/230-001.
Velotaxi. | Frankfurt | 0700/8356-8294 | www.velotaxi.de.
EuroCity, InterCity (IC), and InterCity Express (ICE) trains connect Frankfurt with all German cities and many major European ones. The InterCity Express line links Frankfurt with Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and a number of other major hubs. All long-distance trains arrive at and depart from the Hauptbahnhof, and many also stop at the long-distance train station at the main airport. The red-light district southwest of the main station should be avoided.
Deutsche Bahn (German Railways). | Bahnhof | 01805/996-633 | www.bahn.de.
Tourismus und Congress GmbH Frankfurt-Main has its main office at Römerberg 27, in Old Town. It’s open weekdays 9:30-5:30 and weekends 9-6.
The airport’s information office is on the first floor of Arrivals Hall B and open daily 7 am-10:30 pm. Another information office in the main hall of the railroad station is open weekdays 8 am-9 pm, weekends 9-6. Both can help you find accommodations.
Tourismus und Congress GmbH Frankfurt/Main. | Römerberg 27, City Center | 069/2123-8800 | www.frankfurt-tourismus.de.
DISCOUNTS AND DEALS
The Frankfurt tourist office offers a one- or two-day ticket—the Frankfurt Card (€9.20 for one day, €13.50 for two days)—allowing unlimited travel on public transportation in the inner zone, and to the airport. It also includes a 50% reduction on admission to 24 museums, the zoo, and the Palmengarten, and price reductions at some restaurants and stores.
Two-hour city bus tours with English-speaking guides are available from the Frankfurt Tourist Office throughout the year.
The one-hour Apple Wine Express tour in a vintage streetcar is offered hourly weekends and some holidays. It gives you a quick look at the city’s neighborhoods, a bit of Frankfurt history, and a chance to sample Apfelwein (a bottle, along with pretzels, is included in the fare). | 069/2132-2425 | www.ebbelwei-express.com | From €8.
Frankfurt Personenschiffahrt Primus-Linie.
Day trips on the Main River and Rhine excursions run from April through October and leave from the Frankfurt Mainkai am Eiserner Steg, just south of the Römer complex. TIP The boats are available for private parties, too. | Mainkai 36, Altstadt | 069/133-8370 | www.primus-linie.de | From €8.95.
The one thing you’re guaranteed to find wherever your travels in Germany take you: sausages. Encased meats are a serious business here, and you could spend a lifetime working your way through 1,500 varieties of German sausages, also known as Wurst.
The tradition of making sausages goes back centuries, both as a method to preserve food long before refrigeration and as the best way to use every last piece of precious meat. Sausage recipes go back for generations, and like most German cooking, sausage types vary from region to region. There’s also an abundance of ways to serve a sausage—grilled sausages are served up in a small roll, essentially just a sausage “holder”; Weisswursts come to the table after a gentle bath in warm water; cured sausages often are served sliced, while other cooked sausages are dished up with sauerkraut. Germans don’t mess around when it comes to their love for sausage, eating about 62 pounds of sausage per person each year.
Weisswurst is a delicate white sausage made with veal, bacon, lemon, and parsley. It’s traditional in the southern state of Bavaria, where they are sticklers about the way to eat them. The casing is never eaten; instead, you zuzeln (suck) out the meat. Make a slit at the top, dunk it in sweet mustard, and suck out the insides. It’s all right to slit and peel it as well.
In Germany a frankfurter isn’t something that must be doused in condiments to make it palatable, like a subpar ballpark frank—instead you’ll immediately notice the crisp snap of the frankfurter’s skin and a delicious smoky taste. Frankfurters are long and narrow by design, to absorb as much flavor as possible during cold smoking. When served on a plate for lunch or dinner, they’re normally served in a pair, and you should eat them dipped in mustard, with your fingers. Frankfurters and other Würste also are served inside a small roll, called a Brotchen. The only condiment used is mustard, never sauerkraut or other toppings.
This bratwurst dates back to 1613 and it’s clear why it has stood the test of time: it’s one of Germany’s most delicious sausages. The Rostbratwurst is a mix of lean pork belly, veal, and beef, seasoned with herbs and spices. Most families closely guard their recipes, but often use garlic, caraway, or nutmeg. You’ll smell the scent of grilled Thüringer wafting through the streets because they’re popular at street markets and festivals.
This small, narrow, and dense rectangular sausage is sold in pairs. It’s cured by air-drying, so it resembles a dry salami in color and texture. Landjäger are made of beef, sometimes with pork, and red wine and spices. Historically, fieldworkers and wine-grape harvesters liked to eat these salty sausages. Landjäger keep well, so they’re a great snack to tuck in your backpack when you head out for a day of hiking in the mountains.
Sometimes called Rotwurst (red sausage), Blutwurst is a combination of ground pork, spices, and—the key ingredient—blood, fresh from the slaughter. After it’s been cooked and smoked, the blood congeals, and the sausage takes on a dark hue and looks almost black. Depending on the region, it can be studded with bacon, pickled ox tongue, or potatoes. For most of its history Blutwurst has been considered a luxury item.
This sausage got its name when hungry students ordered it with a round of Bockbier, a style of beer, in Berlin in 1889. The sausage came from a nearby Jewish butcher, who made it with veal and beef. Bockwurst is a thick sausage seasoned with salt, white pepper, and paprika, in a natural casing. It’s usually boiled and served hot, but it can also be grilled. It’s one of Germany’s most popular sausages, so you’ll find it on menus all over the country.
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Altstadt | City Center | Ostend | Messe and Westend | Nordend and Bornheim | Sachsenhausen
Altstadt (Old City) is the historic, cultural, and culinary heart of Frankfurt, with restored medieval buildings around a huge town square, notable churches and museums, and historic restaurants serving traditional local fare. Be sure to walk to Fressgasse (eating street), a pedestrian-only street of cafés, gourmet food shops, and jazz clubs.
Alte Oper (Old Opera House).
Kaiser Wilhelm I traveled from Berlin for the gala opening of this opera house in 1880. Gutted in World War II, it remained a hollow shell for 40 years while controversy raged over its reconstruction. The exterior and lobby are faithful to the original, though the remainder of the building is more like a modern multipurpose hall. Although classical music and ballet performanaces are held here, most operas these days are staged at the Frankfurt Opera. | Opernpl. 1, Altstadt | 069/13400 | www.alteoper.de | Station: Alte Oper (U-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Fressgass.
Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse is the proper name of this pedestrian street, but it’s nicknamed “Pig-Out Alley” because of its amazing choice of delicatessens, wine merchants, cafés, and restaurants, offering everything from crumbly cheeses and smoked fish to vintage wines and chocolate creams. Check the side streets for additional cafés and restaurants. | Grosse Bockenheimerstr., Altstadt | www.frankfurt-fressgass.de | Station: Hauptwache (U-bahn and S-bahn), Alte Oper (U-bahn).
Goethehaus und Goethemuseum (Goethe’s Residence and Museum).
The house where Germany’s most famous poet was born is furnished with many original pieces that belonged to his family, including manuscripts in his own hand. The original house, which was destroyed by Allied bombing, has been carefully rebuilt and restored. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) studied law and became a member of the bar in Frankfurt, but he was quickly drawn to writing, and in this house he eventually wrote the first version of his masterpiece, Faust. The adjoining museum contains works of art that inspired Goethe (he was an amateur painter) and works associated with his literary contemporaries. | Grosser Hirschgraben 23-25, Altstadt | 069/138-800 | www.goethehaus-frankfurt.de | €7 | Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5:30 | Station: Hauptwache or Willy-Brandt-Platz (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Historisches Museum (Historical Museum).
This fascinating museum in a building in Römer Square that dates from the 1300s has doubled in size with the addition of an adjoining wing, which opened in summer 2015. The city’s oldest museum encompasses 630,000 objects and 2,000 years of all aspects of Frankfurt’s history, including what the city of the future might look like. Standout exhibits include scale models of historic Frankfurt at various periods, with every street, house, and church, plus photos of the devastation of World War II. The new wing blends in with the surrounding historic architecture with its gabled roof and carved sandstone sides, and offers both a café and city views from the top floor. | Fahrtor 2 (Römerberg), Altstadt | 069/2123-5599 | www.historisches-museum.frankfurt.de | €6, scale models €1 | Tues.-Sun. 10-6 (Wed. until 8) | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
Because the Holy Roman emperors were chosen and crowned here from the 16th to the 18th century, the church is known as the Kaiserdom (Imperial Cathedral), even though it isn’t the seat of a bishop. Officially the Church of St. Bartholomew, but called simply “The Dom” by locals, it was built largely between the 13th and 15th centuries and survived World War II with the majority of its treasures intact. The most impressive exterior feature is the tall, red-sandstone tower (almost 300 feet high), which was added between 1415 and 1514. Climb it for a good view. The Dommuseum (Cathedral Museum) occupies the former Gothic cloister. | Dompl. 1, Altstadt | 069/297-0320 | www.dom-frankfurt.de | Dommuseum €2 | Daily 10-1 and 2-5 | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
Museum für Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art).
Austrian architect Hans Hollein (born in 1934) designed this distinctive triangular building, shaped like a wedge of cake. The collection features works by artists such as Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys. There are free guided tours in English on Saturdays at 4 pm, and the museum is wheelchair accessible. | Domstr. 10, Altstadt | 069/2123-0447 | www.mmk-frankfurt.de | €16 | Tues.-Sun. 10-6 (Wed. until 8) | Station:Willy-Brandt Platz (U-bahn).
Paulskirche (St. Paul’s Church).
The first all-German parliament was held here in 1848. The parliament lasted only a year, having achieved little more than offering the Prussian king the crown of Germany. Today the church, which has been extensively restored, remains a symbol of German democracy and is used mainly for ceremonies. The most striking feature of the interior is a giant, completely circular mural showing an “endless” procession of the people’s representatives into the Paulskirche. The plenary chamber upstairs is flanked by the flags of Germany, the 16 states, and the city of Frankfurt. | Paulspl. 11, Altstadt | 069/2123-4920 | Free | Daily 10-5 | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Römer (City Hall).
Three individual patrician buildings make up the Römer, Frankfurt’s town hall. The mercantile-minded Frankfurt burghers used the complex for political and ceremonial purposes as well as for trade fairs and other commercial ventures. Its gabled facade with an ornate balcony is widely known as the city’s official emblem.
The most important events to take place here were the festivities celebrating the coronations of the Holy Roman emperors. The first was in 1562 in the glittering Kaisersaal (Imperial Hall), which was last used in 1792 to celebrate the election of the emperor Francis II, who would later be forced by Napoléon to abdicate. Unless official business is being conducted you can see the impressive, full-length 19th-century portraits of the 52 emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, which line the walls of the reconstructed banquet hall. | West side of Römerberg, Römerberg 27, Altstadt | 069/2123-4814 | €3 | Weekdays 9-noon and 2-5; often closed for events, check hrs before going | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
This square a few blocks north of the Main River, restored after wartime bomb damage, is the historical focal point of the city. The Römer, the Nikolaikirche, and the half-timber Ostzeile houses are all clustered around this huge plaza. The 16th-century Fountain of Justitia (Justice), which flows with wine on special occasions, stands in the center of the Römerberg. The square is also the site of many public festivals throughout the year, including the Christmas market in December. Kleine Krame is a pedestrian street just north of the square that’s lined with snack shops and cafés. | Between Braubachstr. and Main River,Altstadt | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
The heart of Frankfurt’s shopping district is this bustling pedestrian street running east from Hauptwache Square. It’s lined with a mix of department stores, boutiques, drugstores, cell-phone franchises, electronics shops, restaurants, and more. Stop in at the outdoor farmers’ market every Thursday and Saturday for a freshly grilled bratwurst and a beer. | Hauptwache Square, Altstadt | Station: Hauptwache, Konstablerwache (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Alte Nikolaikirche (Old St. Nicholas Church).
This small red-sandstone church was built in the late 13th century as the court chapel for emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Try to time your visit to coincide with the chimes of the carillon, which rings three times a day, at 9:05 in the morning, and at 12:05 and 5:05 in the afternoon. | South side of Römerberg, Altstadt | 069/284-235 | www.paulsgemeinde.de/alte_nikolaikirche | Oct.-Mar., daily 10-6; Apr.-Sept., daily 10-8 | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
Archäologisches Museum (Archeology Museum).
The soaring vaulted ceilings make the Gothic Karmeliterkirche (Carmelite Church) an ideal setting for huge Roman columns and other local and regional artifacts, including Stone Age and Neolithic tools and ancient papyrus documents. Modern wings display Greek, Roman, and Persian pottery, carvings, and more. Adjacent buildings house the city’s Institut für Stadtgeschichte (Institute of History). The basement, titled “Die Schmiere” (The Grease), is a satirical theater.
The main cloister displays the largest religious fresco north of the Alps, a 16th-century representation of Christ’s birth and death by Jörg Ratgeb. | Karmeliterg. 1, Altstadt | 069/2123-5896 | www.archaeologisches-museum.frankfurt.de | Museum €7, free last Sat. of month | Tues.-Sun. 10-5 (Wed. until 8) | Station: Willy-Brandt-Platz (U-bahn).
Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge).
A pedestrian walkway and the first suspension bridge in Europe, the Eiserner Steg connects the city center with Sachsenhausen and offers great views of the Frankfurt skyline. Excursions by boat leave from here. | Mainkai, Altstadt.
The attractive baroque building with a steeply sloping roof is the actual Hauptwache (Main Guardhouse), from which the square takes its name. The 1729 building was partly demolished to permit excavation for a vast underground shopping mall. It was then restored to its original appearance and is now considered the heart of the Frankfurt pedestrian shopping area. The outdoor patio of the building’s restaurant-café is a popular people-watching spot on the Zeil. | An der Hauptwache 15, Altstadt | Station: Hauptwache (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Katharinenkirche (St. Catherine’s Church).
Frankfurt’s first independent Protestant church in Gothic style was built between 1678 and 1681. The church it replaced, dating from 1343, was the setting of the first Protestant sermon preached in Frankfurt, in 1522. There are organ concerts most Sunday evenings at 6 pm. | An der Hauptwache 1, Altstadt | 069/770-6770 | www.st-katharinengemeinde.de | Weekdays 2-7 | Station: Hauptwache (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady).
The peaceful, concealed courtyard of this Catholic church makes it hard to believe you’re in the swirl of the shopping district. Dating from the 14th century, the late-Gothic church still has a fine relief over the south door and ornate rococo wood carvings and a magnificent organ inside. | Schärfengässchen 3, Altstadt | 069/297-2960 | Daily 5:30 am-9 pm | Station: Hauptwache (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Schirn Kunsthalle (Schirn Art Gallery).
One of Frankfurt’s most modern museums is devoted exclusively to changing exhibits of modern art and photography. The gallery, right beside the Kaiserdom, has a restaurant. | Römerberg, Altstadt | 069/299-8820 | www.schirn.de | €7-€10, varies by exhibit | Tues. and Fri.-Sun. 10-7, Wed. and Thurs. 10-10 | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
Frankfurt was rebuilt after World War II with little attention paid to the past. Nevertheless, important historical monuments can still be found among the modern architecture. The city is very walkable; its growth hasn’t encroached on its parks, gardens, pedestrian arcades, or outdoor cafés. The riverbank paths make for great strolls or bike rides.
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OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Alter Jüdischer Friedhof (Old Jewish Cemetery).
Containing hundreds of moss-covered gravestones, this cemetery was in use between the 13th and mid-19th centuries, and is one of the few reminders of prewar Jewish life in Frankfurt. It suffered minimal vandalization in the Nazi era, even though its adjoining grand Börneplatz Synagogue was destroyed on Kristallnacht, in 1938. That space is now part of Museum Judengasse; ask the admissions desk for the key to open the vandal-proof steel gates to the cemetery. Mayer Amschel Rothschild, founder of the banking family, who died in 1812, is buried here, along with some family members (the Rothschild mansion is now the main Jewish Museum). The wall around the cemetery is dotted with more than 1,000 small memorial plaques, each with the name of a Jewish Frankfurter and the concentration camp where they died. There is a newer Jewish cemetery at Eckenheimer Landstrasse 238 (about 2½ km [1½ miles] north). | Battonnstr. 2, City Center | 069/2127-0790 | juedischesmuseum.de/museumjudengasse | Free | Sun.-Fri. 8:30-4:30 | Station: Bornerplatz (S-bahn).
This branch of the Jewish Museum (the main museum is closed for renovation through early 2018) is built on the site of the Bornerplatz Synagogue, destroyed in 1938, and the foundations of mostly 18th-century buildings that were once part of the Jewish quarter, or Judengasse. | Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10, City Center | 069/297-7419 | www.juedischesmuseum.de/ | €3 | Tues.-Sun. 10-5 (Wed. until 8) | Station:Bornerplatz (U-bahn).
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Börse (Stock Exchange).
This is the center of Germany’s stock and money market. The Börse was founded in 1585, but the present domed building dates from the 1870s. These days computerized networks and telephone systems have removed much of the drama from the dealers’ floor, but it’s still fun to visit the visitor gallery and watch the hectic activity. You must reserve your visit 24 hours in advance. | Börsenpl. 4, City Center | 069/211-1515 | www.boerse-frankfurt.de | Free | Weekdays 9-5 | Station: Hauptwache (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Eschenheimer Turm (Eschenheim Tower).
Built in the early 15th century, this tower, a block north of the Hauptwache, remains the finest example of the city’s original 42 towers. It now contains a restaurant-bar. | Eschenheimer Tor, City Center | Station: Eschenheimer Tor (U-bahn).
Named for its location around the city’s East Harbor, the business-oriented Ostend is sprouting new restaurants and cafés, attracted by the 2014 opening of the new European Central Bank headquarters building.
Zoologischer Garten (Zoo).
Founded in 1858, this is one of the most important and attractive zoos in Europe. Its remarkable collection includes some 4,500 animals of 500 different species, an exotarium (an aquarium plus reptiles), a large ape house, and an aviary, one of the largest in Europe. Nocturnal creatures move about in a special section. | Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1, Ostend | 069/2123-3735 | www.zoo-frankfurt.de | €10, family ticket €25 | Nov.-Mar., daily 9-5; Apr.-Oct., daily 9-7 | Station: Zoo (U-bahn).
MESSE AND WESTEND
The city’s huge, sprawling convention center (Messe) is one of the busiest in Europe, and the area around it isn’t especially interesting. Westend, on the other hand, is a charming residential neighborhood dotted with some good restaurants.
Fodor’s Choice | Naturkundemuseum Senckenberg (Natural History Museum).
The important collection of fossils, animals, plants, and geological exhibits here is upstaged by the permanent dinosaur exhibit: it’s the most extensive of its kind in all of Germany. The diplodocus dinosaur, imported from New York, is the only complete specimen of its kind in Europe. Many of the exhibits of prehistoric animals, including a series of dioramas, have been designed with children in mind. | Senckenberganlage 25, Westend | 069/75420 | www.senckenberg.de | €9 | Weekdays 9-5 (Wed. until 8), weekends 9-6 | Station: Bockenheimer Warte (U-bahn).
Palmengarten und Botanischer Garten (Botanical Gardens).
The splendid cluster of tropical and semitropical greenhouses here contains cacti, orchids, palms, and other plants. The surrounding park, which can be surveyed from a miniature train, has many recreational facilities, including a small lake where you can rent rowboats, a play area for children, and a wading pool. The Palmengarten offers free tours on a variety of topics on Sunday. In summer there’s also an extensive concert program that takes place in an outdoor pavilion. | Siesmayerstr. 63, Westend | 069/2123-3939 | palmengarten.frankfurt.de | €7 | Feb.-Oct., daily 9-6; Nov.-Jan., daily 9-4 | Station: Westend (U-bahn).
Struwwelpeter Museum (Slovenly Peter Museum).
This charming little museum honors the Frankfurt physician who created the sardonic children’s classic Struwwelpeter, or Slovenly Peter. Heinrich Hoffmann wrote the poems and drew the rather amateurish pictures in 1844, to warn children of the dire consequences of being naughty. The book has seen several English translations, including one by Mark Twain, which can be purchased at the museum. The kid-friendly museum has a puppet theater and game room, and is popular for birthday parties. | Schubertstr. 20, Westend | 069/747-969 | www.struwwelpeter-museum.de | €5 | Tues.-Sun. 10-5 | Station:Westend (U-bahn).
NORDEND AND BORNHEIM
Nordend was the center of antigovernment student demonstrations in the 1960s and 1970s—it still retains a little shabby, bohemian flavor. For its part, Bornheim holds on to some of the liveliness it had as the city’s red-light district a century ago. Both have some pleasant, small shops and restaurants.
The old quarter of Sachsenhausen, on the south bank of the Main River, has been sensitively preserved, and its cobblestone streets, half-timber houses, and beer gardens make it a popular area to stroll. Sachsenhausen’s two big attractions are the Museumufer (Museum Riverbank), which has nine museums almost next door to one another and offers beautiful views of the Frankfurt skyline, as well as the famous Apfelwein taverns around the Rittergasse pedestrian area. You can eat well—and quite reasonably—in these small traditional establishments.
Fodor’s Choice | Deutsches Filmmuseum (German Film Museum).
Germany’s first museum of cinematography, set in a historic villa on “museum row,” offers visitors a glimpse at the history of film, with artifacts that include “magic lanterns” from the 1880s, costume drawings from Hollywood and German films, and multiple screens playing film clips. Interactive exhibits show how films are photographed, given sound, and edited, and let visitors play with lighting and animation. A theater in the basement screens every imaginable type of film, from historical to avant-garde to Star Wars. | Schaumainkai 41, Sachsenhausen | 069/9612-20220 | www.deutschesfilmmuseum.de | €5 | Tues.-Sun. 10-6 (Wed. until 8) | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
Ikonen-Museum (Icon Museum).
This is one of very few museums in the world to exhibit a wide spectrum of the Christian Orthodox world of images. The art and ritual of icons from the 15th to the 20th century are on display here in a collection that totals more than 1,000 artifacts. Admission is free on the last Saturday of the month. | Brückenstr. 3-7, Sachsenhausen | 069/2123-6262 | www.ikonenmuseumfrankfurt.de | €4 | Tues.-Sun. 11-5 (Wed. until 7).
Museum für Kommunikation (Museum for Communication).
This is the place for visiting the past and the future of communication technology, in an airy, modern glass building. Exhibitions on historic methods include mail coaches, a vast collection of stamps from many countries and eras, and ancient dial telephones, with their clunky switching equipment. | Schaumainkai 53, Sachsenhausen | 069/60600 | www.museumsstiftung.de | €3 | Tues.-Fri. 9-6, weekends 11-7 | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
This museum, part of Goethe University, is set in a beautiful neoclassical villa along the strip of museums in Sachsenhausen and focuses on paintings from the 19th century and early 20th century. The artists are drawn mainly from the Rhine-Main region. | Schaumainkai 83, Sachsenhausen | 069/6330-4128 | www.museum-giersch.de | €5 | Mon., Wed., and Thurs. 10-7, weekends 10-6.
Fodor’s Choice | Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie (Städel Art Institute and Municipal Gallery).
This is one of Germany’s most important art collections, covering 700 years of paintings and sculpture, with a vast collection of paintings by Dürer, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, Renoir, and other masters. The downstairs annex features a large collection of works from contemporary artists, including a huge portrait of Goethe by Andy Warhol. The section on German expressionism is particularly strong, with representative works by the Frankfurt artist Max Beckmann and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. A free smartphone app with a built-in audio guide enhances the experience. There is also a café-restaurant, Holbein’s. | Schaumainkai 63, Sachsenhausen | 069/605-0980 | www.staedelmuseum.de | €14 | Tues., Wed., and weekends 10-6, Thurs. and Fri. 10-9 | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
The German Architecture Museum is housed in a late-19th-century villa, which was converted in the early 1980s by the Köln-based architect Oswald Mathias Ungers. He created five levels, including a simple basement space with a visible load-bearing structure, a walled complex on the ground floor, and a house-within-a-house on the third floor. With more than 180,000 drawings and plans, and 600 scale models, the museum features a wealth of documents on the history of architecture and hosts debates and exhibitions on its future, including sustainable urban design. A permanent exhibit features the most comprehensive collection of model panoramas in the history of German architecture. | Schaumainkai 43, Sachsenhausen | 069/2123-8844 | www.dam-online.de | €9 | Tues. and Thurs.-Sat. 11-6, Sun. 11-7, Wed. 11-8 | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
Museum der Weltkulturen (Museum of World Cultures).
Formerly called the Museum of Ethnology, exhibits here explore the art, history, and culture of Africa, Oceania, and Indonesia through ancient and contemporary masks, ritual objects, jewelry, and sculptures. There is also an extensive photo collection. | Schaumainkai 29-37, Sachsenhausen | 069/2123-1510 | www.mwk-frankfurt.de | €7; free last Sat. of month | Tues.-Sun. 11-6 (Wed. until 8) | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts).
More than 30,000 decorative objects are exhibited in this modern white building designed by American star architect Richard Meier. Chairs and furnishings and medieval craftwork are some of the thematic sections you’ll find on the same floor. The exhibits are mainly from Europe and Asia, including nine rooms from the historic Villa Metzler, spanning baroque to art deco. | Schaumainkai 17, Sachsenhausen | 069/2123-4037 | www.museumfuerangewandtekunst.frankfurt.de | €9, free last Sat. of month | Tues.-Sun. 10-5 (Wed. until 9) | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
Städtische Galerie Liebieghaus (Liebieg Municipal Museum of Sculpture).
The sculpture collection here represents 5,000 years of civilization and is considered one of the most important in Europe. Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, classicism, and the baroque are all represented. Some pieces are exhibited in the lovely gardens surrounding the historic brick villa with its signature turret tower. Don’t miss out on the freshly baked German cakes in the museum café. | Schaumainkai 71, Sachsenhausen | 069/650-0490 | www.liebieghaus.de | €9 | Tues.-Sun. 10-6 (Thurs. until 9) | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
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Altstadt | City Center | Messe and Westend | Nordend and Bornheim | Sachsenhausen | Outer Frankfurt
Many international cuisines are represented in the financial hub of Europe. For vegetarians there’s usually at least one meatless dish on a German menu, and substantial salads are popular, too (though often served with speck, or bacon). The city’s most famous contribution to the world’s diet is the Frankfurter Würstchen—a thin smoked pork sausage—served with bread and mustard, but not with sauerkraut like the American hot dog also called a frankfurter. Grüne Sosse is a thin cream sauce of herbs served with potatoes and hard-boiled eggs. The oddly named Handkäs mit Musik (literally, “hand cheese with music”) consists of slices of cheese covered with raw onions, oil, and vinegar, served with dark bread and butter (an acquired taste for many). There is the Rippchen, or cured pork chop, served on a mound of sauerkraut, and the Schlachtplatte, an assortment of sausages and smoked meats. All are served with Frankfurt’s distinctive hard cider drink, Apfelwein, by the glass or ceramic pitcher.
Smoking is prohibited inside Frankfurt’s bars and restaurants, but allowed in most beer gardens.
Apfelwein: Frankfurt’s Local Hard Cider
Apfelwein, the local hard cider and the quintessential Frankfurt drink, is more sour than the sweet versions you may be used to. To produce Apfelwein, the juice of pressed apples is fermented for approximately eight weeks. Its alcohol content of 5%-7% makes it comparable to beer. Straight up, it is light and slightly fizzy. You can also try it carbonated with seltzer (Sauergespritzer), or sweetened with lemonade (Süssgespritzer).
Apfelwein is drunk from a lattice-patterned glass called a Gerippte. When among friends, it is poured from blue stoneware pitchers called Bembels, which range in size from big (a liter) to enormous (4 liters and up).
Popular throughout the state of Hesse, locals drink Apfelwein with pride. The largest concentration of Frankfurt’s Apfelwein establishments is in the old neighborhood of Sachsenhausen. Look for establishments with a pine wreath hanging over the door; this signifies that Apfelwein is sold. There is also an annual weeklong Apfelwein Festival in Rossmarkt square in mid-August.
Langosch am Main.
$ | VEGETARIAN | This eclectic vegetarian and vegan spot, a rarity in Frankfurt, serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks made only with organic ingredients. There’s also organic wine and beer and homemade drinks such as lemonade garnished with sprigs of fresh mint and rosemary. Homemade desserts are made with honey instead of refined sugar. Centrally located a few blocks from the Dom, the café has low lighting and rough-hewn wood tables; the rock ‘n’ roll and Motown tunes are played here at a volume low enough not to discourage quiet conversation. | Average main: €10 | Fahrg. 3, Altstadt | 069/9203-9510 | www.langosch-frankfurt.com.
$$ | INTERNATIONAL | This modern restaurant with an open-kitchen design is named for the Viennese architect Margarete Scütte-Lihotzky, who created the style in the 1920s. There are three-course prix-fixe menus both for lunch (€25) and dinner (€38), or order à la carte from an eclectic and creative menu including homemade soups, risotto, and meats with the ubiquitous Frankfurter herb sauce. The chocolate tart with bitter orange marmalade and berry sorbet is a standout. | Average main: €20 | Braubachstr. 18-22, Altstadt | 069/1306-6500 | www.margarete-restaurant.de | Station: Willy-Brandt-Platz (U-bahn), Dom (U-bahn).
$ | CAFÉ | Breakfast is the main attraction at this café near the Römerberg and Dom. The dining room is large, and in the warmer months there are also tables on a garden patio. In addition to the daily selection of tantalizing cakes and pastries, the menu features salads, pastas, and traditional German dishes. The kitchen serves until 11 pm. Reservations are accepted for dinner only, and not for the terrace. | Average main: €12 | Weckmarkt 13-15, Altstadt | 069/288-287 | www.metropolcafe.de | Closed Mon. | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
$ | FAST FOOD | Hearty soups seem to be the favorite light lunch in Frankfurt these days. The best selection can be found in this place near the Hauptwache, although the bowls seem a little small for the price. The daily selection may include such creations as Thai-style coconut chicken or lentil with sausage in cold weather and gazpacho in warm. Eat at the counter or take your soup to go. | Average main: €5 | Weissadlerg. 3, Altstadt | 069/2972-4545 | www.souper.de | No dinner. Closed Sun. | Reservations not accepted | Station: Hauptwache (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Zum Schwarzen Stern.
$$ | GERMAN | Housed in a historic half-timber house that dates from 1453, the menu focuses on traditional Hessian food, but presented in a modern way, with carefully arranged plating. The Frankfurter Teller, a sampler of sausages, pork loin, and crispy pork knuckle, is for one hearty appetite or for two to share. Lighter chicken and fish dishes also are available, and mushroom and asparagus dishes in season. Try to get a table by the windows for people-watching across the busy square. The restaurant is named for the historic six-pointed black metal star which marks the entrance. | Average main: €20 | Römerberg 6,Altstadt | 069/291-979 | www.schwarzerstern.de/en/ | Station: Römer (U-bahn).
$$ | ECLECTIC | This modern restaurant, bar, and lounge near many of the city’s largest banks makes it a natural for business lunches, but it also attracts many young professionals for after-work socializing and dinner. The moderately priced menu of contemporary dishes includes nearly two dozen varieties of pizzas, plus pastas, salads, and meat and fish dishes. | Average main: €15 | Zimmerweg 1, corner of Mainzer Landstr., City Center | 069/7409-0844 | www.embassy-frankfurt.de | Closed weekends | Station: Taunusanlage (S-bahn).
$$$ | ECLECTIC | Frankfurt’s Westhafen (West Harbor), once busy and commercial, has been transformed into an upscale neighborhood of apartments, a yacht club, and waterfront restaurants. One of the chicest is Frankfurter Botschaft, with a glass facade and a big terrace overlooking the Main River. The city’s elite descend here for business lunches, a cocktail on the terrace at sunset, or the Sunday brunch. There is also a sandy beach area with folding chairs and umbrellas. The international food is mainly organic, and even the dinnerware is of a prize-winning design. | Average main: €24 | Westhafenpl. 6-8, City Center | 069/2400-4899 | www.frankfurter-botschaft.de | No lunch Sat. | Reservations essential | Jacket required | Station: Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
$$ | MIDDLE EASTERN | The atmosphere is right out of One Thousand and One Nights at this restaurant near the train station, with belly dancers performing every Saturday night urging patrons to join in. Those who are so inclined can retire to the lounge and smoke flavored tobacco from a water pipe. The Middle Eastern menu is largely vegetarian and heavy on garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Meat dishes favor lamb, including the house-made lamb sausage and marinated chops grilled over charcoal. Save room for dessert, either baklava, flaky pastry layered with honey and nuts, or amar eilden, apricot pudding dotted with raisins. | Average main: €18 | Ramada Hotel, Weserstr. 17, City Center | 069/2400-8686 | www.lemir.de | Reservations essential | Station: Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
$$$$ | GERMAN | On the 53rd floor of the skyscraper that houses the Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen, this popular cocktail bar and high-end restaurant captures an unbeatable view. Through 25-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, you can take in all of “Mainhattan.” The cuisine is part global, part regional. Dinner is a three-course prix fixe at €79 per person, not counting drinks or the €4.50 fee for the elevator. Lunch is an open menu with no minimum, as is the lounge for drinks and bar snacks, which opens at 6 pm. Both the restaurant and the Tower Lounge are open until midnight. | Average main: €40 | Neue Mainzerstr. 52-58, City Center | 069/3650-4770 | www.maintower-restaurant.de | Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch Tues. or Sat. | Reservations essential | Jacket required | Station: Alte Oper (U-Bahn), or Taunusanlage (S-Bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Vinum Weinkeller.
$$ | GERMAN | Housed in a former wine cellar that dates from 1893 in one of the alleys off Fressgasse, Vinum specializes in regional wines, by the glass or bottle, and the burnished brickwork and low lighting adds to the charm. The wine-themed decor includes such items as glass bowls filled with wine corks. Menu choices focus on wine-friendly dishes, including cheese platters, as well as German specialties more often associated with beer, such as wursts and sauerbraten with dumplings and red cabbage. | Average main: €15 | Kleine Hochstr. 9, City Center | 069/293-037 | www.vinum-frankfurt.de | No lunch. Closed Sun., Oct.-Apr.
$ | GERMAN | There are few inner-city restaurants that brew their own beer, and the Twelve Apostles is one of the pleasant exceptions. Enjoy homemade pilsners in the dimly lighted, cavernous cellar, and sample traditional international and Croatian dishes. Servings are large, prices are reasonable, and you can have a small portion at half price. | Average main: €11 | Rosenbergerstr. 1, City Center | 069/288-668 | www.12aposteln-frankfurt.de | No credit cards | Station: Konstablerwache (U-bahn and S-bahn).
MESSE AND WESTEND
$ | CAFÉ | The ambience of an old-time Viennese café pervades this popular spot, where there’s a lovely garden in summer—as well as some of the city’s best freshly baked pastries and cakes year-round, best teamed with a cafe mit schlag (coffee with whipped cream). Homemade soups, quiches, and wurst plates also are on the menu. The café closes at 7 pm. | Average main: €8 | Bockenheimer Landstr. 67, Westend | 069/727-912 | www.cafe-laumer.de | No dinner | Station: Westend (U-bahn).
$ | GERMAN | This sleek establishment is at the Palmengarten, accessible either from the botanical garden or from the street, for fresh-baked pastries throughout the day and a limited prix-fixe lunch menu that changes daily, with a splendid garden view. There’s also the Linden Terrace for snacks in season, and the elegant and pricey Restaurant Lafleur for dinner. Note that the café closes at 7. | Average main: €14 | Siesmayerstr. 59, Westend | 069/9002-9200 | www.palmengarten-gastronomie.de | No dinner | Station: Westend (U-bahn).
Tasting German Riesling
Germany’s mild, wet climate and a wine-making tradition that dates back 2,000 years combine to produce some of the world’s finest white wines.
The king of German varietals is Riesling. Grown on the banks of Germany’s many rivers, most notably the Rhine, the grape produces wines of stunning variety and quality. Rieslings are noted for their strong acidity, sometimes-flowery aroma, and often mineral-tasting notes—stemming from the grape’s susceptibility to influences from the soil. Riesling made its name throughout the world through sweet (lieblich) wines, but many Germans prefer them dry (trocken). Importers, especially in the United States, don’t bring over many dry German Rieslings, so take the opportunity to sample some while in Frankfurt.
Sip It Here
The Bockenheimer Weinkontor (Schlossstr. 92 | 069/702-031 | www.bockenheimer-weinkontor.de | Station: Bockenheimer Warte [U-bahn]) is nearby the Messegelände (Exhibition Center), in the Bockenheim area. Through a courtyard and down a set of stairs, the cozy bar offers 15-20 reasonably priced local wines by the glass. The trellis-covered back garden is a treat.
For prestige wines, head to Piccolo (Bornheimer Landstr. 56 | 069/9441-1277 | www.weinbar-piccolo.de | Station: Merianplatz [U-bahn]), where the bilingual staff make solid recommendations. Try a glass from the Markus Molitor or Alexander Freimuth wineries. Along with wine, they serve a range of snacks and main courses. The space is small, so make reservations if you plan to dine here.
Fodor’s Choice | Erno’s Bistro.
$$$$ | FRENCH | This tiny, unpretentious place in a quiet Westend neighborhood seems an unlikely candidate for the best restaurant in Germany. Yet that’s what one French critic called it. The bistro’s specialty, fish, is often flown in from France, as are the wines (the wine list is 600 choices). It’s closed weekends, during the Christmas and Easter seasons, and during much of summer—in other words, when its patrons, well-heeled business executives, are unlikely to be in town. | Average main: €45 | Liebigstr. 15, Westend | 069/721-997 | www.ernosbistro.de | Closed weekends and for 6 wks during Hesse’s summer school vacation | Reservations essential | Jacket required | Station: Westend (U-bahn).
$$ | SPANISH | This quaint Spanish restaurant is inside the dimly lit basement of a Westend residential building. (Appropriate, as the name means “wine cellar.”) Instead of the somewhat pricey entrées, make a meal of several smaller plates of tapas and one of the mussel or clam dishes, or the three-course prix-fixe lunch for €10.50. True to its name, La Boveda offers an extensive wine menu. Reservations are recommended on weekends. | Average main: €20 | Feldbergstr. 10, Westend | 069/723-220 | www.la-boveda.de | No lunch weekends | Station: Westend (U-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | M Steakhouse.
$$$$ | STEAKHOUSE | Many say the M Steakhouse serves the best steak in Germany, all of it imported Nebraska beef, most often ordered as American-style porterhouse, sirloin, and rib eye. A set of steps leads down into the restaurant’s beautifully lit outdoor patio, a perfect setting for a private romantic dinner. The main dining room inside is warm, welcoming, and intimate. Prices are in line with the quality of meat, and the sides complement the dishes perfectly. The restaurant doesn’t serve any seafood main courses, but the same restaurant group operates Surf ‘n Turf a few blocks away, with similar prices and ambience, and seafood dishes in addition to the steaks. | Average main: €30 | Feuerbachstr. 11a, Westend | 069/7103-4050 | www.mook-group.de | No credit cards | Closed Sun. No lunch Sat. | Reservations essential | Jacket required.
$$ | GREEK | This cozy cellar serves the city’s best Greek cuisine. If you have a big appetite, try the Omonia platter, with lamb cooked several ways and accompanied by Greek-style pasta. Vegetarians go for the mestos sestos, a plate of lightly breaded grilled vegetables served in a rich tomato-and-feta sauce. This family-owned place is popular, so make a reservation for one of the few tables. | Average main: €15 | Vogtstr. 43, Westend | 069/593-314 | www.omonia.de | No lunch | Reservations essential | Station: Holzhausenstrasse (U-bahn).
$$$$ | STEAKHOUSE | This staple among businesspeople and steak connoisseurs alike is in a residential area near the Grüneburgpark. The restaurant feels intimate and warm, with dark leather, wood paneling, and small tables scattered throughout the main dining room. The beef is imported from Nebraska, and each cut of meat is presented to guests before taking their orders. The waitstaff is knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly, making this as great a place for a romantic dinner for two as for a casual business lunch. Highlights on the menu include the beef carpaccio with truffles and the yellowfin tuna tartare. | Average main: €30 | Grüneburgweg 95, Westend | 069/722-122 | www.mook-group.de/surfnturf | No credit cards | Closed Sun. No lunch Sat. | Reservations essential.
$$$$ | JAPANESE | Hailed as a sort of pan-Asian supper club, this large restaurant with Buddha heads and other Asian decor has a bar scene that’s just as good a reason to visit as its exceptional food, especially its sushi. Beef lovers also will find plenty to choose from, including sliced hangar steak with Japanese barbecue sauce. The equally innovative cocktails at the bar include a lemograss martini and the Balsamic Touch, and there’s a smokers’ lounge, rare in smoke-free Frankfurt, featuring Japanese vodka. | Average main: €30 | Taunusanlage 15, Westend | 069/9708-6908 | www.mook-group.de/zenzakan | No credit cards | No lunch. Closed Sun. | Reservations essential.
NORDEND AND BORNHEIM
$ | MEXICAN | Some of Frankfurt’s best Mexican cuisine is found in this festive little place. Warm and colorful, this restaurant serves a variety of fruity margaritas and is well known for its hearty chicken-wings appetizer, fajitas, and extensive selection of tequilas. The dimly lighted dining room is fairly small; reservations are recommended on weekends. | Average main: €14 | Sandweg 79, Bornheim | 069/446-988 | www.el-pacifico-ffm.de | No lunch Mon.-Sat. | Station: Merianplatz (U-bahn).
$$ | ECLECTIC | The Nordend is noted for its trendy establishments, and this corner restaurant, which is often crowded, is one of the best. The name translates as “megalomania,” which says it all. The menu is creative, with German, Greek, Italian, and French elements. Reservations essential on weekends. | Average main: €15 | Lenaustr. 97, Nordend | 069/599-356 | www.cafe-groessenwahn.de | No lunch | Reservations essential | Station: Glauburgstrasse (U-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Weisse Lilie.
$ | SPANISH | Come to this Bornheim favorite for the delicious selection of tapas, paella, and other Spanish specialties and reasonably priced red wines. The dark interior has wooden tables brightened by fresh-cut flowers and candles, making it a good spot for an intimate dinner. In summer you can dine outside, German style, at long tables. | Average main: €10 | Bergerstr. 275, Bornheim | 069/453-860 | www.weisse-lilie.com | No lunch | Reservations essential | Station: Bornheim Mitte (U-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Adolf Wagner.
$ | GERMAN | With sepia-tone murals of merrymaking above the dark-wood wainscotting, this Apfelwein classic succeeds in being touristy and traditional all at once, and it’s a genuine favorite of local residents. The kitchen produces the same hearty German dishes as other nearby taverns, only better. Try the schnitzel or the Tafelspitz mit Frankfurter Grüner Sosse (stewed beef with a sauce of green herbs), or come on Friday for fresh fish. Cider is served in large quantities in the noisy, crowded dining room. Reservations recommended on weekends. Warning: it serves no beer! The family also operates a hotel upstairs. | Average main: €12 | Schweizerstr. 71, Sachsenhausen | 069/612-565 | www.apfelwein-wagner.com | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Doepfner’s im Maingau.
$$$ | GERMAN | Chef Jörg Döpfner greets you himself and lights your candle at this excellent restaurant. A polished clientele is drawn by the linen tablecloths, subdued lighting, and such nearly forgotten practices as carving the meat at your table. The menu includes asparagus salad with homemade wild-boar ham, braised veal cheek with wild-garlic risotto, and some vegetarian dishes. The place also has a cellar full of rare German wines, and a small outdoor area in season. | Average main: €22 | Schifferstr. 38-40, Sachsenhausen | 069/610-752 | maingau.de/de/restaurant | Closed Mon. and Tues. | Reservations essential | Jacket required | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
$ | GERMAN | The menu is typical of Old Sachsenhausen: apple wine and sauerkraut are served, but the interior is bright and modern and the Frankfurt specialties are a cut above the rest. As proprietor Kay Exenberger puts it: “We’re nearly as fast as a fast-food restaurant, but as gemütlich (quaint) as an apple wine locale must be.” It’s so popular that reservations are a good idea even at lunch, and everything can be wrapped up to go. Many rave about the chocolate pudding with vanilla sauce. | Average main: €8 | Bruchstr. 14, Sachsenhausen | 069/6339-0790 | www.exenberger-frankfurt.de | No credit cards | Closed Sun. | Reservations essential | Station: Südbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
$$$ | ECLECTIC | On the ground floor of the Städel art museum, Holbein’s changes from a casual bistro at lunch to an elegant restaurant open until midnight. Lunch features pastas and paninis, or a prix-fixe three-course business lunch. The dinner menu changes every two months to take advantage of seasonal items such as chanterelles, but always includes German favorites such as schnitzel and international favorites including sushi. The café is open between lunch and dinner for coffee and pastries. | Average main: €22 | Holbeinstr. 1, Sachsenhausen | 069/6605-6666 | www.meyer-frankfurt.de | Closed Mon. in July | Reservations essential | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
$$ | SEAFOOD | This small restaurant is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The menu, dramatically different from those of its neighbors, includes mostly seafood. Oddly, lobster’s not on the menu, but it does occasionally come up as a special or sauce on other dishes. The fish and shellfish are prepared in a variety of styles, but the strongest influence is French, including lamb Provençale. For dessert, try the vanilla ice cream with warm raspberry sauce. There’s an extensive choice of regional wines by the glass. Reservations are strongly recommended on weekends. | Average main: €17 | Wallstr. 21, Sachsenhausen | 069/612-920 | www.lobster-weinbistrot.de | Closed Sun. No lunch | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
Pizza Pasta Factory.
$ | ITALIAN | This restaurant started off with a proven theory: if you offer your food cheaply enough, you can make up the difference by selling a lot of it. So between 11:30 am and 4 pm and after 10 pm, this place sells its pizzas with three toppings, and pastas (except lasagna), for only €4.80. There are 37 possible toppings, including some unlikely ones like pineapple, corn, and eggs. Prosecco and espresso are a bargain €1.80 all day, and there’s a play area for the stroller crowd. | Average main: €5 | Martin Luther Str. 33, Sachsenhausen | 069/6199-5004 | www.pizzapastafactoria.de | No credit cards | Station:Lokalbahnhof (S-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Zum Gemalten Haus.
$ | GERMAN | There aren’t many classic Apfelwein locales left, but this is one of them. It’s just as it has been since the end of the 19th century: walls covered with giant paintings darkened with age, giant stoneware pitchers called Bembels, glasses that are ribbed to give greasy hands traction, long tables that can seat 12 people, schmaltzy music, hearty food with daily specials, and, as is traditional, no beer. Try this one if you want to truly capture the spirit of Old Sachsenhausen. | Average main: €8 | Schweizerstr. 67, Sachsenhausen | 069/614-559 | www.zumgemaltenhaus.de | Closed Mon. and 1st 2 wks Aug. | Station:Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
$$ | GERMAN | The Old Customs House was built in 1775, and remains an excellent example of a half-timber house. Excellent versions of traditional German and international specialties are served. If you’re here in season, try a game or mushroom dish. In summer you can eat in the beautiful garden. Menu specials change monthly. To get here, take Bus 30 from Konstablerwache to Heiligenstock, or drive out on Bundestrasse 521 in the direction of Bad Vilbel. Reservations recommended, especially for the outdoor garden. | Average main: €18 | Friedberger Landstr. 531, Seckbach | 069/472-707 | www.altes-zollhaus-frankfurt.de | Closed Mon. No lunch Tues.-Sat.
$$ | VEGETARIAN | This sunny establishment is a feature of Frankfurt’s Ökohaus, which was built according to environmental principles (solar panels, catching rainwater, etc.). It’s mainly vegetarian, with such dishes as a vegetable platter with feta cheese or curry soup with grated coconut and banana. Meat, fish, and poultry dishes include goose, not often found on German menus these days. Much of what’s served, including some of the beer, is organic. | Average main: €15 | Kasselerstr. 1a, Bockenheim | 069/707-5859 | www.arche-nova.de | No dinner Sun. | Station: Westbahnhof (S-bahn).
$$ | GERMAN | So beautiful that it inspired works by Goethe, a frequent visitor, this 14th-century building is now a restaurant once again, and the century-long-plus tradition of hiking or biking to the chestnut-tree-shaded, riverside beer garden has returned. The garden is as nice as ever, and there’s an indoor restaurant, guest rooms, an attractive bar with the original stone walls, burnished leather chairs, and even a bust of Goethe. The specialty of the house is frankfurters with Grüne Sosse. Reservations recommended on the weekend. | Average main: €20 | Gerbermühlestr. 105, Oberrad | 069/6897-7790 | www.gerbermuehle.de | Station: S16 to Oberad (S-bahn).
$ | GERMAN | Named for the huge Rad (wagon wheel) that serves as a centerpiece, this is one of the few Apfelwein taverns in Frankfurt that makes its own apple wine, which it’s been doing since 1806. It’s located in the villagelike district of Seckbach, on the northeastern edge of the city. Outside tables are shaded by chestnut trees in an extensive courtyard. The typically Hessian cuisine, with giant portions, includes such dishes as Ochsenbrust (brisket of beef) with the ubiquitous herb sauce, and several kinds of schnitzel. Reservations recommended on weekends. | Average main: €10 | Leonhardsg. 2, Seckbach | U-4 to Seckbacher Landstr. then Bus 43 to Draisbornstr. | 069/479-128 | www.zum-rad.de | No credit cards | Closed Tues. No lunch Mon.-Sat.
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City Center | Messe and Westend | Nordend and Bornheim | Sachsenhausen | Outer Frankfurt
Businesspeople descend on Frankfurt year-round, so most hotels in the city are frequently booked up well in advance and are expensive (though many offer significant reductions on weekends). Many hotels add as much as a 50% surcharge during trade fairs (Messen), of which there are about 30 a year. The majority of the larger hotels are close to the main train station, fairgrounds, and business district (Bankenviertel). The area around the station has a reputation as a red-light district, but is well policed. More atmosphere is found at smaller hotels and pensions in the suburbs; the efficient public transportation network makes them easy to reach.
$$ | HOTEL | One of the nicest hotels in the neighborhood around the main train station, this stylish choice features modern, minimalist decor in soothing earth tones, and air-conditioning adds to the appeal. A daily breakfast buffet is included in the room rate, and weekend packages include a local transportation card. Pros: lobby bar is open 24 hours; beautiful garden patio; recently installed air-conditioning. Cons: unappealing neighborhood; small rooms. | Rooms from: €150 | Ludwigstr. 15, City Center | 069/242-390 | www.bristol-hotel.de | 145 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Hilton Frankfurt.
$$$$ | HOTEL | This international chain’s downtown Frankfurt outpost has all the perks the business traveler wants, from secretarial services to video conferencing facilities and a hip lobby bar, Gekkos, which is definitely worth a visit. Smoking rooms are available. Because this is primarily a business hotel, rates are lower on weekends. Pros: child-friendly and pet-friendly facilities; indoor pool; large terrace overlooking a park. Cons: expensive; small bathrooms. | Rooms from: €260 | Hochstr. 4, City Center | 069/133-8000 | www.frankfurt.hilton.com | 342 rooms | No meals | Station: Eschenheimer Tor (U-bahn).
$$ | HOTEL | This beautiful Victorian building close to the main train station is filled with antiques and hand-painted murals by the owner, and features a lovely roof garden with a view of the skyline. Its small size (26 rooms) gives it the feel of a B&B. Pros: antique furnishings; roof garden with shrubbery and a view of the skyline; very comfortable. Cons: the hotel is in the Bahnhof district, which can be a bit seedy at night; not all rooms have a private bathroom. | Rooms from: €110 | Elbestr. 10, City Center | 069/242-5380 | www.hotelnizza.de | 26 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Willy-Brandt-Platz (U-bahn and S-bahn) or Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Ibis Frankfurt Centrum.
$$ | HOTEL | The Ibis is a reliable budget hotel chain, and this location offers simple, straightforward rooms on a quiet street near the river. Rooms are small but efficiently decorated, and the hotel is air-conditioned, a bonus in this price category. Pros: short walk from the station and museums; 24-hour bar; family rooms and wheelchair-accessible rooms. Cons: far from stores and theaters; small rooms. | Rooms from: €105 | Speicherstr. 4, City Center | 069/273-030 | www.ibishotel.com | 233 rooms | No meals | Station: Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | InterCity Hotel.
$ | HOTEL | If there ever was a hotel at the vortex of arrivals and departures, it’s this centrally located one in an elegant old-world building across the street from the main train station. InterCity hotels were set up by the Steigenberger chain with the budget business traveler in mind. Rooms are small but efficient, and the station’s underground garage is at your disposal. Pros: free passes for local transportation; discount rates for seniors. Cons: on a busy street so can be noisy; no restaurant. | Rooms from: €70 | Poststr. 8, City Center | 069/273-910 | www.intercityhotel.com | 384 rooms, 2 suites | Breakfast | Station:Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
$ | HOTEL | Across the street from the main train station, this modern, sparkling hotel has its own underground garage. The rooms are some of the least expensive in town. This is part of an international chain with locations throughout Europe and in Israel. There is a pleasant lobby bar and a bistro/restaurant. Pros: underground garage; quiet summer garden. Cons: on a busy street; parking expensive. | Rooms from: €68 | Münchenerstr. 59, City Center | 069/242-320 | www.leonardo-hotels.com | 106 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
$$ | HOTEL | Get to all parts of town quickly from this centrally located hotel. Rooms are fairly spacious and modern, and all rooms are nonsmoking. There’s no restaurant, but the hotel’s bar is open around the clock and there are several places to eat nearby, including the huge food court in the Bahnhof. Pros: close the main train station; all rooms non-smoking and air-conditioned. Cons: no restaurant; neighborhood can be somewhat seedy at night. | Rooms from: €100 | Düsseldorferstr. 10, City Center | 069/269-5970 | www.manhattan-hotel.com | 60 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
$ | B&B/INN | Quiet, solid comforts come with a modest price and a friendly welcome at this pension near the river. Frau Kraus, the owner, was born in this house and is always eager to share city history and sightseeing recommendations with you. Pros: economical; near the station. Cons: need to reserve well in advance. | Rooms from: €62 | Gutleutstr. 94, City Center | 069/252-596 | www.pension-aller.de | 10 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Hauptbahnhof (U-bahn and S-bahn).
Fodor’s Choice | Roomers Hotel.
$$$ | HOTEL | This lively boutique hotel features modern and sleek designs everywhere you look, including rooms heavy on black lacquer furniture offset by white bedspreads and chairs and large, airy windows. On arrival, guests are greeted with a glass of cider or sparkling wine in the dark yet welcoming lobby. The unusual spa includes relaxation tubs filled with tiny glass beads that provide a mini-massage. The hotel bar and adjacent restaurant are popular places to be seen in Frankfurt, including the outdoor terrace in season. Grab a cocktail in the hotel bar between 5 and 9 pm and you’ll receive a variety of complimentary appetizers for each drink order . Pros: trendy design; convenient location close to train station and museums. Cons: expensive; probably not the best choice for families. | Rooms from: €220 | Gutleutstr. 85,City Center | 069/271-3420 | www.roomers.eu | 116 rooms | No meals.
Fodor’s Choice | Steigenberger Hotel Frankfurter Hof.
$$$$ | HOTEL | The neo-Gothic Frankfurter Hof is the first choice of visiting heads of state and business moguls, who keep coming back because of its impeccable service and luxurious rooms. It fronts a grand courtyard, which turns into an outdoor café in season, and there’s little that guests desire that isn’t available: massive suites in dark woods and brass with air-conditioning (still rare in Germany); marble baths with whirlpool tubs; slippers; mirrored walk-in closets; 24-hour room service; and a day spa and gym. It’s one of the city’s oldest hotels, but its modern services earn it kudos. Equally upscale is the new Breeze restaurant, opened in 2015, with an Asian fusion menu, in addition to its classic Restaurant Francais with a French-inspired menu. Pros: old-fashioned elegance; central location close to Altstadt and museums; fresh flowers; thick carpeting. Cons: expensive rates. | Rooms from: €249 | Am Kaiserpl., City Center | 069/21502 | www.frankfurter-hof.steigenberger.de | 280 rooms, 41 suites | No meals | Station: Willy-Brandt-Platz (U-bahn).
$$ | HOTEL | Those who like downtown Frankfurt will appreciate the Westin’s location, just steps from the famous Zeil shopping street, plus all the features of a high-end chain hotel, including a fitness room, spa, pool, and sauna. It’s a Westin, so each room has a Westin Heavenly Bed (they’re also available for your dog). There is an impressive collection of museum-quality vintage cars in the lobby, and in an unusual retreat from the public areas, where smoking is forbidden, a swanky cigar lounge. Four restaurants, including Sushimoto with a Japanese menu, are on the premises. Pros: kids stay free; handy to downtown; loaner work-out gear for the gym. Cons: on a noisy street; chain hotel feel; free in-room Wi-Fi only for members of Starwood frequent-stay rewards program. | Rooms from: €165 | Konrad Adenauer Str. 7, City Center | 069/29810 | www.westingrandfrankfurt.com | 371 rooms | No meals | Station: Konstablerwache (U-bahn and S-bahn).
$$ | HOTEL | This recent addition to the “Mainhattan” skyline caters to business guests with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning (unusual in German hotels), and great city views from floor-to-ceiling windows. Large rooms are decorated in neutral, muted tones. The lobby bar has an open-pit fireplace. Pros: central location; modern decor. Cons: expensive; busy lobby. | Rooms from: €139 | Wilhelm-Leuschner-Str. 32/34,City Center | 69/9074-5335 | www.wyndhamgrandfrankfurt.com | 285 rooms, 8 suites | No meals.
MESSE AND WESTEND
$$$$ | HOTEL | This is the choice of many businesspeople, not just for its location across from the convention center but also for the air of class that pervades its handsome interior. Many of the public area furnishings are antiques once owned by the family of the princes of Hesse. The Sèvres Restaurant, so called for the fine display of that porcelain arranged along the walls, features excellent contemporary cuisine, and Jimmy’s Bar is one of the most popular in town. Recently renovated rooms and a day spa with a sauna, steam room, and gym equipment add to the appeal, as does its location close to the recently opened Skyline Plaza shopping mall. Pros: close to the convention center and public transportation; site of Jimmy’s, one of the town’s cult bars. Cons: lobby can be crowded; expensive. | Rooms from: €250 | Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 40, Messe | 069/75400 | www.hessischer-hof.de | 110 rooms, 7 suites | No meals | Station: Messe (S-bahn).
$$ | HOTEL | It’s so close to the Messegelände (Exhibition Center) that you can reach the exhibition halls, as this top-notch business hotel puts it, “with dry feet.” It has its own underground garage, a sauna, steam bath, and indoor pool, and a sushi bar that draws many non-hotel guests. The executive floor has splendid views, especially at night, plus a lounge with breakfast and complimentary snacks, state-of-the-art business services, and many other amenities. Maritim is a well-regarded European-based hotel chain. Pros: direct access to the convention center; indoor pool. Cons: online booking site is German only; hectic during fairs. | Rooms from: €110 | Theodor-Heuss-Allee 3, Messe | 069/75780 | www.maritim.de | 519 rooms, 24 suites | No meals | Station: Messe (S-bahn).
$$ | HOTEL | This luxuriously modern hotel, held in the same family for three generations, occupies a renovated art nouveau building dating from 1890. The high-ceiling rooms retain the elegance of the old building, and modern decor is enhanced with a sprinkling of antique furniture, such as an armoire or chair, in each room. Pros: near the Palmengarten; less expensive than similar hotels. Cons: no restaurant; top floor can get very hot. | Rooms from: €165 | Bockenheimer Landstr. 89-91, Westend | 069/753-0060 | www.palmenhof.com | 45 rooms, 37 apartments, 1 suite | Breakfast | Station: Westend (U-bahn).
NORDEND AND BORNHEIM
$$ | HOTEL | Frankfurt’s first eco-hotel features modern, natural-wood furniture, including canopy beds, and organic cotton sheets and towels. Rooms are decorated in warm tones of orange and blue, and have spacious bathrooms, some with free-standing tubs. The high-ceiling lobby and breakfast room of this 1914 villa are decorated with modern art. The organic breakfast is served on a terrace in good weather, the staff is friendly and accommodating, and a library includes some English-language books. Rates are lower on weekends. Pros: certified BIO hotel with organic furnishings and food; on a quiet residential street; all rooms are smoke-free. Cons: hard beds; not close to museums and shopping. | Rooms from: €158 | Hebelstr. 1, Nordend | 069/405-840 | www.villa-orange.de | 38 rooms | Breakfast | Station:Musterschule (U-bahn).
$$ | HOTEL | This pleasant hotel in the middle of the lively Sachsenhausen quarter has recently renovated rooms that are modest but comfortable; the nightly rate includes a substantial breakfast buffet. The restaurant, Doepfner’s im Maingau, is pricey, but is also one of Frankfurt’s best. Pros: close to nightlife; fantastic restaurant; smoke-free hotel. Cons: on a busy street. | Rooms from: €100 | Schifferstr. 38-40,Sachsenhausen | 069/609-140 | www.maingau.de | 78 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Schweizer Platz (U-bahn).
$$ | HOTEL | In the heart of Bockenheim and near numerous cafés, bars, shops, and the Messe (trade center) this hotel is a good deal, especially on weekends. Rooms are bright and modern and the nightly rate includes a full breakfast and a discount at a nearby fitness studio. Pros: fairly low rates, especially weekends. Cons: outside the city center; small rooms; no restaurant. | Rooms from: €134 | Falkstr. 38A,Bockenheim | 069/7191-8870 | www.hotel-falk.de | 29 rooms | Breakfast | Station: Leipzigerstrasse (U-bahn).
$$$$ | HOTEL | This huge hotel is connected to one of Frankfurt Airport’s terminals. No need to worry about noise, though, since the rooms are all soundproofed. A 24-hour business center offers everything businesspeople are likely to need, including video projectors and simultaneous interpreters. In addition to three restaurants and snack shops, there is a cigar bar and lounge, and a busy lobby bar called Lemons and Limes. Pros: close to the airport and the autobahn; 24-hour amenities including business center. Cons: smoke-free rooms not always available; long walk to the elevator; expensive; free Internet in lobby only. | Rooms from: €559 | Hugo-Eckener-Ring 15, Flughafen Terminal 1, Airport | 069/69770 | www.sheraton.com/frankfurt | 1,008 rooms, 28 suites | Breakfast | Station: Flughafen (S-bahn).
Steigenberger Airport Hotel.
$$$ | HOTEL | The sylvan beauty of this skyscraper hotel is surprising, considering that it’s just a half mile from the airport and connected to it by a steady stream of shuttle buses that operate 24 hours. It’s right on the edge of the city forest out of which the airport was carved, and has lots of paths for hiking, running, and biking (the hotel rents bikes), plus a 250-year-old forest house that is now a hotel restaurant. There’s a rooftop terrace and a spectacular view of the airport and the Frankfurt skyline. Pros: conveniently located near the airport; indoor pool and gym; four restaurants, including a 24-hour bistro. Cons: restaurants are expensive; far from downtown. | Rooms from: €200 | Unterschweinstiege 16, Airport | 069/69750 | www.steigenberger.com/en/Frankfurt_Airport | 550 rooms, 20 suites | No meals | Station:Flughafen (S-bahn).
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Nightlife | Performing Arts
Most bars close between 2 am and 4 am. Nightclubs typically charge entrance fees ranging from €5 to €20. In addition, some trendy places, such as King Kamehameha, enforce dress codes—usually no jeans, sneakers, shorts, or khaki pants admitted.
Sachsenhausen (Frankfurt’s “Left Bank”) is a good place for bars, clubs, and traditional Apfelwein taverns. The fashionable Nordend has an almost equal number of bars and clubs but fewer tourists. Frankfurt was a real pioneer in the German jazz scene, and also has done much for the development of techno music. Jazz musicians make the rounds from smoky backstreet cafés all the way to the Old Opera House, and the local broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk sponsors the German Jazz Festival in fall. The Frankfurter Jazzkeller has been the most noted venue for German jazz fans for decades.
The lager style that most of the world has come to know as “beer” originated in Germany. However, Germans don’t just produce one beverage called beer; they brew more than 5,000 varieties in about 1,300 breweries. The hallmark of the country’s dedication to beer is the Purity Law, das Reinheitsgebot, unchanged since Duke Wilhelm IV introduced it in Bavaria in 1516. The law decrees that only malted barley, hops, yeast, and water may be used to make beer, except for the specialty Weiss or Weizenbier (wheat beers). Although the law has been repealed, nearly all breweries continue to follow its precepts, even if some modern brewers are tinkering with flavorings including spices.
The beer preferred in most of Germany is Pils (Pilsner), which has a rich yellow hue, hoppy flavor, and an alcohol content of about 5%. Frankfurt’s local Pils brands are Binding and Henninger, but Licher, from the village of Lich nearby, is especially well balanced and crisp. The area is also home to Schöfferhofer, which brews Germany’s number two style, Hefeweizen (wheat beer), which is cloudy, since it is unfiltered, and yeasty. Light, or helles, is sweeter than dunkel, or dark.
Few German bars offer more than one type of Pils or Weizen on tap, so you’ll need to hit a few bars to sample a good variety. Not a bad proposition.
Quaff It Here
Begin a night at Klosterhof (Weissfrauenstr. 3 | 069/9139-9000 | www.klosterhof-frankfurt.de | Station: Willy-Brandt-Platz [U-bahn]), a traditional restaurant and beer garden in the City Center, where you can try Hessian favorites like Handkäs mit Musik (literally, hand cheese with music, a strong soft cheese served with chopped onions, oil, and vinegar), as well as their custom-brewed Naturtrüb, an unfiltered (and thus naturally cloudy) lager.
Eckhaus (Bornheimer Landstr. 45 | 069/491-197 | Station: Merianplatz [U-bahn]) is the perfect neighborhood bar to down a cold Binding or two. The restaurant, in a great location just off the Berger Strasse strip in leafy Nordend, offers a solidly executed menu of standards like schnitzel and roast chicken, along with a few creative specials.
Dance and Nightclubs
This nightclub in the heart of the Zeil attracts a mostly young crowd with its live music performances by international musicians. It’s open Thursday from 8 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 pm. Concert tickets from €21. | Zeil 85-93, City Center | 069/9494-7770 | www.gibson-club.de.
The type of crowd depends on the night. The large club hosts student nights on Thursday, a “27 Up Club” on Friday (exclusively for guests 27 or older), disco nights on Saturday, as well as “Black Mondays”—a night of soul, hip-hop, and R&B. It’s housed in a beautiful white building that looks like a museum. There’s lots of neon and pulsing lights, including under the see-through dance floor. | Seilerstr. 34, City Center | 069/285-055 | www.theodeon.de.
Der Frankfurter Jazzkeller.
The oldest jazz cellar in Germany, Der Frankfurter Jazzkeller was founded by legendary trumpeter Carlo Bohländer. The club, which once hosted such luminaries as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, now offers hot, modern jazz, at a cover of €5 to €25. There are jam sessions on Wednesday and “Latin-funky” dances on Friday. Jazzkeller is located on a difficult-to-find alleyway off “Fressgasse,” which just adds to its charm and legend. | Kleine Bockenheimerstr. 18, City Center | 069/284-927 | www.jazzkeller.com | Closed Sun.-Tues. and last wk Aug.
Sinkkasten, a Frankfurt musical institution, was renamed Zoom in 2013. By any name it is a great place for blues, jazz, pop, and rock. Saturday nights are Hit Happens, with hip-hop and techno-electro music. There are live performances nightly. Zoom is open from 9 pm to 1 am every day but Monday. | Brönnerstr. 5, City Center | 069/280-385 | www.zoomfrankfurt.de.
With posters of Chairman Mao on the walls, time seems to have stood still at the Jazzlokal Mampf. It looks straight out of the 1970s, but with live music to match, many don’t think that’s so bad. Since it opens at 6 pm for dinner and drinks, there’s a lively after-work crowd on weekdays. Live jazz performances begin at 8:30 pm. Closed Wednesday and Thursday. | Sandweg 64, Ostend | 069/448-674 | www.mampf-jazz.de | Sun.-Tues. 6-1, Fri. and Sat. 6-2 | Station: Merianplatz (U-bahn).
An important address for jazz, rock, salsa, and disco, the “Bread Factory” really is set in a former bakery in an area of town that’s still primarily industrial. The building houses two stages, a concert hall, two restaurants, three not-for-profit projects, an ad agency, and a gallery. | Bachmannstr. 2-4, Hausen | 069/2479-0800 | www.brotfabrik.info | Station: Fischstein (U-bahn).
MESSE AND WESTEND
Champion’s - The American Sports Bar and Restaurant.
Like the rest of the Marriott Hotel, this sports bar is designed to make Americans feel at home. The walls are lined with team jerseys, autographed helmets, and photographs of professional athletes. The 23 TVs can be tuned to the American Forces Network, which carries the full range of American sports. Food leans toward buffalo wings, hamburgers, and brownies. | Hamburger Allee 2, Messe | 069/7955-8305 | www.champions-frankfurt.de | Festhalle/Messe (U-bahn).
Fox and Hound.
Frankfurt is teeming with Irish pubs, but there is an occasional English pub, too. A good example is the Fox and Hound. Its patrons, mainly British, come to watch the latest football (soccer to Americans), rugby, and cricket matches. Enjoy the authentic British pub food; 35 whiskies, bitters, and stout; and the basket of chips. Monday is steak night, with American-style sirloins and rib eyes. | Niedenau 2, Westend | 069/9720-2009 | www.foxandhound.de | Station: Festhalle/Messe (U-bahn).
Jimmy’s Bar, the meeting place of business executives since 1951, is classy and expensive—just like the hotel it’s in. There is live piano music, mostly jazz, every evening from 10 pm to 3 am, and the kitchen is open just as late. You must ring the doorbell to get in, although regulars have their own keys. | Hessischer Hof, Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 40, Messe | 069/7540-2461 | www.hessischer-hof.de/en/hotel-bar-frankfurt.
University students and young professionals frequent this bar in a cellar beneath a narrow Sachsenhausen alleyway. DJs usually spin the music, although there are occasional live acts on weekends. There’s a tiny dance floor if you feel like showing off your moves. | Abstgässchen 7, Sachsenhausen | 069/617-116 | www.stereobar.de | Station: Offenbach (S-bahn).
The spacious club has an intimate feel, as candles are just about the only source of light. The proprietor is Anita Honis, an American singer from Harlem, who likes to get out her acoustic guitar and perform on occasion. Everyone is invited to sing or play on the piano, which is set up for impromptu and scheduled performances. | Schifferstr. 3, Sachsenhausen | 069/612-226 | Station: Bus 36 to Affentorplatz.
One of Germany’s most revered electro-techno DJs, Sven Väth, spins regularly at what was formerly known as Cocoon Club. This ultramodern nightclub has four spacious dance floors that play different types of music, three bars, and two restaurants serving Asian-European dishes. Comfort is a priority throughout the expansive club filled with reclining chairs and couches, some of which are built into the walls. Techno is the presiding music genre and draws a mostly young crowd; the club is open Thursday to Saturday only. A night out here will take a toll on your wallet: a taxi is required to reach its location on the eastern edge of town, cover charges average €15, and cocktails are pricey. | Carl-Benz-Str. 21, Fechenheim | 069/900-200 | www.moon13.de.
The Städtische Bühnen—municipal theaters, including the city’s opera company—are the prime venues for Frankfurt’s cultural events. The city has what is probably the most lavish theater in the country, the Alte Oper, a magnificently ornate 19th-century opera house that’s now a multipurpose hall for pop and classical concerts, and dances. (These days operas are presented at the Städtische Bühnen.)
Tickets for theater, concerts, and sports events can be purchased from Best Tickets downtown in the Zeilgalerie. | Zeil 112-114, City Center | 069/20228, 069/296-929 | www.journal-ticketshop.de.
Theater, concert, and sports event tickets are all available, online or by phone. | City Center | 069/134-0400 | www.frankfurtticket.de | Weekdays 9-7, Sat. 10-3.
BALLET, CONCERTS, AND OPERA
The most glamorous venue for classical-music concerts and ballet is the Alte Oper, one of the most beautful buildings in Frankfurt. Tickets to performances can range from €20 to nearly €150. There is a bar or bistro on each level for drinks, coffee, and pastries during intermission, and the elegant Restaurant Opera for dining before or after performances. | Opernpl., City Center | www.alteoper.de.
Frankfurt’s ballet company performs in the Bockenheimer Depot, a former trolley barn also used for other theatrical performances and music events. | Carlo-Schmidt-Pl. 1, Bockenheim | www.bockenheimer-depot.de/.
The huge glass-domed Festival Hall, commissioned by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1905, Festhalle is the scene of many rock concerts, horse shows, ice shows, sporting events, circus and other large-scale spectaculars including trade fairs. It is on the city’s fairgrounds, just 10 minutes from downtown by subway. Tickets are available through Frankfurt Ticket. | Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, Messe | 069/9200-9213 | festhalle.messefrankfurt.com/frankfurt/en/besucher/willkommen.html | Station: Festhalle/Messe (U-bahn).
Widely regarded as one of the best in Europe, the Frankfurt Opera is known for its dramatic artistry. Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss both oversaw their own productions for the company, now housed in a modern glass-walled building in the city center. In an effort to introduce a new generation to opera, there are special family programs with free tickets for children and teens to 19. | Städtische Bühnen, Untermainanlage 11, City Center | 069/2124-9494 | www.oper-frankfurt.de | Station: Willy-Brandt-Platz (U-bahn).
The city is the home of the Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt, part of Hessischer Rundfunk. Considered one of Europe’s best orchestras, it performs regularly in the 850-seat Kammermusiksaal, part of that broadcasting operation’s campuslike facilities. | Bertramstr. 8, Dornbusch | 069/155-2000 | termine.koeln.de/frankfurt-am-main/124341_frankfurter-sparkasse-von-1822-kammermusiksaal-frankfurt-am-main.
Theatrical productions in Frankfurt are usually in German, except for those at the English Theater.
For a zany theatrical experience, try Die Schmiere, which offers trenchant cabaret-style satire and also disarmingly calls itself “the worst theater in the world.” The theater is closed in summer for a “creative break.”|Seckbächerg. 4, City Center | 069/281-066 | www.die-schmiere.de.
For English-language productions, try the English Theatre, continental Europe’s largest English-speaking theater, which offers an array of musicals, thrillers, dramas, comedies, and poetry readings with British or American casts. The bar, James, is open before and after performances. | Gallusanlage 7, City Center | 069/2423-1620 | www.English-theatre.org | Closed July.
Internationales Theater Frankfurt.
The Internationales Theater Frankfurt bills itself as presenting “the art of the world on the Main.” It has regular performances in English, as well as in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Russian, and concerts by international jazz, folk, and pop rock musicians. | Hanauer Landstr. 7, Ostend | 069/499-0980 | www.internationales-theater.de | Station: Ostendstrasse (S-bahn).
This cultural center hosts an eclectic mix of concerts of all kinds, as well as plays, dance performances, and exhibits. | Waldschmidtstr. 4, Nordend | 069/4058-9520 | www.mousonturm.de | Station: Zoo station (U-bahn).
The municipally owned Schauspielhaus has a repertoire that includes works by Sophocles, Goethe, Shakespeare, Brecht, and Beckett, along with more contemporary plays. All are performed with modern, even avant-garde staging. | Willy-Brandt-Pl., Neue Mainzer Str. 17, City Center | 069/2124-9494 | www.schauspielfrankfurt.de | Station: Willy-Brandt-Platz (U-bahn).
There’s not much that doesn’t take place at this international variety theater. Guests are entertained by international cabaret performers and the Palast’s own variety orchestra. There’s an excellent French restaurant that has been awarded a Michelin star, and the cozy Palastbar, under the basement arches, looks like an American bar from the 1920s. Despite pricey show tickets, shows often sell out, so book tickets as far in advance as possible. Dinner and show packages start at €70. It’s located one block from the Zeil pedestrian shopping area. | Heiligkreuzg. 16-20, City Center | 069/920-0220 | www.tigerpalast.de | Closed Mon.
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Bicycling | Jogging | Swimming
Despite an ever-growing number of skyscrapers, Frankfurt is full of parks and other green oases where you can enjoy wide-open spaces.
In the Seckbach district, northeast of the city, Frankfurters hike the 590-foot Lohrberg Hill for a fabulous view of the town and the Taunus, Spessart, and Odenwald hills. Along the way you’ll also see the last remaining vineyard within the Frankfurt city limits, the Seckbach Vineyard. Take the U-4 subway to Seckbacher Landstrasse, then Bus 43 to Draisbornstrasse. | Frankfurt.
South of the city lies Sachsenhausen, the huge, 4,000-acre Stadtwald (city forest), which makes Frankfurt one of Germany’s greenest metropoles. The forest has innumerable paths and trails, bird sanctuaries, impressive sports stadiums, and a good restaurant. The Oberschweinstiege stop on streetcar Line 14 is right in the middle of the park. | Sachsenhausen.
The Taunus Hills are a great getaway for Frankfurters. Take U-bahn 3 to Hohemark.
There are numerous biking paths within the city limits. The Stadtwald in the southern part of the city is crisscrossed with well-tended paths that are nice and flat. The city’s riverbanks are, for the most part, lined with paths open to bikers. These are not only on both sides of the Main but also on the banks of the little Nidda River, which flows through Heddernheim, Eschersheim, Hausen, and Rödelheim before joining the Main at Höchst. Some bikers also like the Taunus Hills, but note that word, “Hills.”
The Anlagenring (“Cityring”) consists of two parallel roads that were formerly the city walls. Both are one-way streets, with the inner ring running clockwise and the outer counterclockwise to form the city center. Today it is a popular running route along many of Frankfurt’s sights. | Frankfurt.
The often-crowded Brentanobad is an outdoor pool open in the summer and surrounded by lawns and old trees. There’s a kids pool, a playground, a space to play beach volleyball and a beer garten | Rödelheimer Parkweg, Rödelheim | 069/27108-92200.
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City Center | Westend | Sachsenhausen
Frankfurt, and the rest of Germany, no longer has the restrictive laws that once kept stores closed evenings and Saturday afternoons, the very times working people might want to shop. Stores now can stay open until 10 pm, but pretty much everything is still closed on Sunday except for restaurants and bakeries.
The tree-shaded pedestrian zone of the Zeil is said to be one of the richest shopping strips in Germany. The section between Hauptwache and Konstablerwache is famous for its incredible variety of department and specialty stores. But there’s much more to downtown shopping. The subway station below the Hauptwache also doubles as a vast underground mall. West of the Hauptwache are two parallel streets highly regarded by shoppers. One is the luxurious Goethestrasse, lined with trendy boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores, and antiques shops. The other is Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse, better known as the Fressgass (“Pig-Out Alley”), an extension of the Zeil that’s lined with cafés, restaurants, and pricey food shops.
One gift that’s typical of the city is the Apfelwein. You can get a bottle of it at any grocery store, but more enduring souvenirs would be the Bembel pottery pitchers and ribbed glasses that are an equal part of the Apfelwein tradition. Then there is the sausage. You can get the “original hot dog” in cans or vacuum-packed at any grocery store.
Peek & Cloppenburg.
At this huge branch of the clothing chain, men and women can find what they need for the office, gym, and nightclub. Prices range from easily affordable to sky-high for top designer labels. There’s also a branch at the new Skyline Plaza shopping mall near the Messe. | Zeil 71-75, City Center | 069/298-950 | www.peek-cloppenburg.de/ | Closed Sun.
Find upscale designer day wear, evening wear, jeans, handbags, and other accessories for women, ranging from classic to trendy. While there’s mostly well-known brands such as Valentino and Diane von Furstenburg, new, innovative names on the fashion scene are also well represented. Everything is displayed elegantly, and personal service is impeccable in this three-story shopping destination. Pfüller has separated its equally upscale children’s collection to a separate multifloor store directly across the street, called Pfüller Kids. Both stores have the same opening hours. | Goethestr. 15-17, City Center | 069/1337-8060 | www.august-pfueller.de/en/women | Closed Sun.
The Schillerpassage shopping area is lined with men’s and women’s fashion boutiques. | Rahmhofstr. 2, City Center.
FOOD AND WINE
Reminiscent of a traditional coffeehouse, this café offers all types of sweets and pastries, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Open daily, it’s on a quiet, tucked-away street that’s steps from the main shopping area, Zeil. | Töngesg. 23, City Center | 069/291-954 | www.cafemozart-frankfurt.de/english.
The large and airy Kleinmarkthalle is a treasure trove of stands selling spices, herbs, teas, exotic fruits, cut flowers, meats, live fish flown in from the Atlantic, and more varieties of wursts and cheeses than you can count. Plus, it offers all kinds of snacks in case you need a break while shopping. | Haseng. 5-7, City Center | 069/2123-3696 | www.kleinmarkthalle.com | Closed. Sun. | Station: Hauptwache (S-bahn), Dom (U-bahn).
Weinhandlung Dr. Teufel.
Weinhandlung Dr. Teufel is well known for its wide selection of regional wines, many priced under €10, plus rare vintages costing three figures or more. There are also chocolate and cigars, a complete line of glasses, carafes, corkscrews, and other accessories, and books on all aspects of viticulture. The store also has a location in the Westend. | Kleiner Hirschgraben 4, City Center | 069/448-989 | www.weinteufel.de.
SHOPPING MALLS AND DEPARTMENT STORES
One of Germany’s biggest and most popular department stores, the Galeria Kaufhof carries clothing, jewelry, sports equipment, cosmetics, toys, and more. The Frankfurt branch has a food hall on the bottom floor; the restaurant on the top floor has great city views. | Zeil 116-126, City Center | 069/21910 | Closed Sun. | Station: Hauptwache (U-bahn).
One of Germany’s biggest department store chains, Karstadt is known for both its upscale brand-name designer offerings, including popular German designers Betty Buckley and Gerry Weber (for women), and its splendid food and drink department, with plenty of opportunity to try the offerings. | Zeil 90, City Center | 069/929-050 | www.karstadt.de/jsp/filialen/frankfurt-zeil.jsp | Closed Sun.
The moderately priced multilevel MyZeil shopping mall has dozens of clothing and electronics shops and a food court. | Zeil 112-114, City Center | 069/2972-3970 | Closed Sun.
Opened in 2015 in the Messe section of the city, this multilevel shopping mall contains more than 170 shops, including clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories, and the biggest food court in Frankfurt. Unfortunately, it feels like an American mall, with all its familiar food and fashion chains dominating the European and German brands. Head to the roof garden for a picture-postcard view of the skyline year-round, and outdoor dining in season. | Europa-Allee 6, Messe | 069/2972-8700 | Closed Sun. | Station: Festhalle/Messe (U-bahn).
The pastry shop at Café Laumer has local delicacies such as Bethmännchen und Brenten (marzipan cookies) and Frankfurter Kranz (a kind of creamy cake). It’s open daily. | Bockenheimer Landstr. 67, Westend | 069/727-912 | www.cafelaumer.de.
Flohmarkt (Flea Market).
Sachsenhausen’s weekend flea market is on Saturday from 9 to 2 on the riverbank between Dürerstrasse and the Eiserner Steg. Purveyors of the cheap have taken over, and there’s lots of discussion as to whether it is a good use for the elegant, museum-lined riverbank. TIP Get there early for the bargains, as the better-quality stuff gets snapped up quickly. Shopping success or no, the market can be fun for browsing. | Southern bank of the Main River between Eiserner Steg and Holbeinsteg, Sachsenhausen | 069/212-48562.
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Bad Homburg | Kronberg | Höchst
Destinations reachable by the local transportation system include Höchst and the Taunus Hills, which include Bad Homburg and Kronberg. Just to the northwest and west of Frankfurt, the Taunus Hills are an area of mixed pine and hardwood forest, medieval castles, and photogenic towns many Frankfurters regard as their own backyard. It’s home to Frankfurt’s wealthy bankers and business executives, and on weekends you can see them enjoying their playground: hiking through the hills, climbing the Grosse Feldberg, taking the waters at Bad Homburg’s health-enhancing mineral springs, or just lazing in elegant stretches of parkland.
12 km (7 miles) north of Frankfurt.
Emperor Wilhelm II, the infamous “Kaiser” of World War I, spent a month each year at Bad Homburg, the principal city of the Taunus Hills. Another frequent visitor to Bad Homburg was Britain’s Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, who made the name Homburg world famous by associating it with a hat.
Getting Here and Around
Bad Homburg is reached easily by the S-bahn from Hauptwache, the main station, and other points in downtown Frankfurt. The S5 goes to Bad Homburg. There’s also a Taunusbahn (from the main station only) that stops in Bad Homburg and then continues into the far Taunus, including the Römerkastell-Saalburg and Wehrheim, with bus connections to Hessenpark. Bad Homburg is about a 30- to 45-minute drive north of Frankfurt on A-5.
Kur- und Kongress GmbH Bad Homburg. | Louisenstr. 58 | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe | 06172/1000 | www.bad-homburg.de.
About an hour’s walk through the woods along a well-marked path from the Römerkastell-Saalburg is an open-air museum at Hessenpark, near Neu-Anspach. The museum presents a clear picture of the world in which 18th- and 19th-century Hessians lived, using 135 acres of rebuilt villages with houses, schools, and farms typical of the time. The park, 15 km (9 miles) outside Bad Homburg in the direction of Usingen, can also be reached by public transportation. Take the Taunusbahn from the Frankfurt main station to Wehrheim; then transfer to Bus 514. | Laubweg 5 | Neu-Anspach | 06081/5880 | www.hessenpark.de | €6 | Mar.-Oct., daily 9-6; Nov., daily 10-5.
A short bus ride from Bad Homburg takes you to the highest mountain in the Taunus, the 2,850-foot, eminently hikable Grosser Feldberg. | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe.
Bad Homburg’s greatest attraction has long been the Kurpark, in the heart of the Old Town, with more than 31 fountains. Romans first used the springs, which were rediscovered and made famous in the 19th century. In the park you’ll find the popular, highly salty Elisabethenbrunnen spring as well as a Thai temple and a Russian chapel, mementos left by royal guests—King Chulalongkorn of Siam and Czar Nicholas II. | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe | www.bad-homburg-tourismus.de/en/entdecken/freizeit_kurpark.htm.
Römerkastell-Saalburg (Saalburg Roman Fort).
The remains of a Roman fortress built in AD 120, the Römerkastell-Saalburg could accommodate a cohort (500 men) and was part of the fortifications along the Limes Wall, which ran from the Danube to the Rhine and was meant to protect the Roman Empire from barbarian invasion. The fort was restored more than a century ago. The site, which includes a museum of Roman artifacts, is 6½ km (4 miles) north of Bad Homburg on Route 456 in the direction of Usingen; there’s a direct bus from Bad Homburg. | Archäologischer Park, Saalburg 1 | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe | 06175/93740 | www.saalburgmuseum.de | €5 | Mar.-Oct., daily 9-6; Nov.-Feb., Tues.-Sun. 9-4.
The most historically noteworthy sight in Bad Homburg is the 17th-century Schloss, where the kaiser stayed when he was in town. The state apartments are exquisitely furnished, and the Spiegelkabinett (Hall of Mirrors) is especially worthy of a visit. In the surrounding park look for two cedars from Lebanon, both now about 200 years old. The museum holds artifacts from much earlier, including from archeological digs on the site. | Schloss | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe | 06172/926-2148 | www.schloss-homburg.de | €5 | Tues.-Sun. 10-5.
Spielbank Bad Homburg.
This casino boasts with some justice that it is the “Mother of Monte Carlo.” The first casino in Bad Homburg, and one of the first in the world, was established in 1841, but closed in 1866 because Prussian law forbade gambling. Proprietor François Blanc then established the famous Monte Carlo casino on the French Riviera, and the Bad Homburg casino wasn’t reopened until 1949. Classic table games such as roulette and blackjack have been joined by poker variations Texas Hold ‘Em and Three Card Poker, plus slot machines and other electronic games including electronic roulette. A bus from the south side of Frankfurt’s Hauptbahnhof leaves every 60 to 90 minutes between 2 pm and 1 am. Buses back to Frankfurt run every one-two hours from 4:30 pm to 4 am. The trip takes one hour each way. The €10 fare will be refunded after the casino’s full entry fee has been deducted. A passport or other government-issued identification is required for admission. | Kisseleffstr. 35 | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe | 06172/17010 | www.spielbank-bad-homburg.de | Slot-machine area free, gaming area €2.50 | Daily 2:30 pm-3 am.
WHERE TO EAT AND STAY
$ | GERMAN | This simple restaurant serves traditional dishes accompanied by potatoes cooked every way imaginable. The potato-and-broccoli gratin and the potato pizza are excellent. For dessert, try potato strudel with vanilla sauce. The charming decor includes colorful art deco dishes and lamps. | Average main: €9 | Audenstr. 4 | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe | 06172/21500 | www.kartoffelkueche.com | No lunch Mon.-Thurs.
Maritim Kurhaus Hotel.
$ | HOTEL | The hotel offers large, richly furnished rooms with king-size beds and deep armchairs. Some rooms have balconies. This is a resort hotel with indoor pool, spa and gardens. Guests get discounts for the two nearby golf courses. The cozy Bürgerstube serves both solid German cuisine and international dishes. Ask for a seat by the windows overlooking the gardens. Pros: quiet location near Kurpark; indoor pool. Cons: expensive parking. | Rooms from: €100 | Ludwigstr. 3 | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe | 06172/6600 | www.maritim.de | 148 rooms, 10 suites | Breakfast.
Steigenberger Bad Homburg.
$$$ | HOTEL | This hotel, which opened in 1883, was renowned for catering to Europe’s royalty in its pre-World War I heyday, and it’s still good at pleasing a well-heeled clientele. Charley’s Bistro evokes Paris elegance with literary dinners and jazz brunches. Ask for a non-smoking floor. Pros: old-world class; handy to the Kurpark; fitness equipment and sauna. Cons: expensive; parking is difficult; access to pool, sauna, and steam room is a whopping €60 daily fee. | Rooms from: €180 | Kaiser-Friedrich-Promenade 69-75 | Bad Homburg vor der Höhe | 06172/1810 | www.bad-homburg.steigenberger.de | 148 rooms, 17 suites | No meals.
15 km (9 miles) northeast of Frankfurt.
The Taunus town of Kronberg, 15 km (9 miles) northwest of Frankfurt, has a magnificent castle-hotel originally built by a daughter of Queen Victoria, and an open-air zoo. Kronberg’s half-timber houses and crooked, winding streets, all on a steep hillside, were so picturesque that a whole 19th-century art movement, the Kronberger Malerkolonie, was inspired by them.
Getting Here and Around
Kronberg is easily reached by the S-bahn from Hauptwache, the main station, and other points in downtown Frankfurt. It’s about a 30- to 45-minute drive north of Frankfurt on A-66 (Frankfurt-Wiesbaden) to the Eschborn exit, following the signs to Kronberg.
Bürgerbüro Kronberg. | Berlinerpl. 3-5 | 06173/7030 | www.kronberg.de.
Established by a wealthy heir of the man who created the Opel automobile, the large Opel Zoo has more than 1,400 native and exotic animals, plus a petting zoo and an area where birds fly freely. There’s also a playground, a geological garden, and a picnic area with grills. Camel and pony rides are offered in summer. The zoo is spread across a large area and requires quite a bit of walking or outright hiking, so wear comfortable shoes. | Königsteinerstr. 35 | 06173/325-9030 | www.opel-zoo.de | €14 | June-Aug., daily 9-7; Sept., Oct., Apr., and May, daily 9-6; Nov.-Mar., daily 9-5.
WHERE TO STAY
$$$$ | HOTEL | This magnificent palace was built for Kaiserin Victoria, daughter of the British queen of the same name and mother of Wilhelm II. It’s richly filled with furnishings and works of art and is surrounded by a park with old trees, a grotto, a rose garden, and an 18-hole golf course. It’s one of the few hotels left where you can leave your shoes outside your door for cleaning. Jimmy’s Bar, with pianist, is a local rendezvous (as is the Jimmy’s Bar in sister hotel Hessicher Hof in Messe/Westend). Or opt for a traditional British afternoon tea. Pros: fit for royalty; shuttle service to the airport; adjoins a golf course (golf packages available). Cons: expensive; additional €23 for breakfast. | Rooms from: €260 | Hainstr. 25 | 06173/70101 | www.schlosshotel-kronberg.de | 51 rooms, 7 suites | No meals.
Take S1 or S2 suburban train from Frankfurt’s main train station, Hauptwache, or Konstablerwache.
Höchst, a town with a castle and an Altstadt right out of a picture book, is now part of Frankfurt. It wasn’t devastated by wartime bombing, so its castle and the market square, with its half-timber houses, are well preserved. It’s a romantic place for outdoor dining and drinking. For a week in July the whole of Altstadt is hung with lanterns for the Schlossfest, one of Frankfurt’s more popular outdoor festivals.
Frankfurt’s oldest building, this interesting church dates from the 7th century, and is part early Romanesque and part 15th-century Gothic. The view from the top of the hill is well worth the walk. The organ concerts here are famous. | Justinuspl. at Bolongerostr., Höchst | Apr.-Oct., Tues.-Sun. 2-5; Nov.-Mar., weekends 2-4.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotelschiff$ | B&B/INN | Peter Schlott. This “hotel ship” is moored on the Main River, close to the Höchst Altstadt. Guest cabins are on the small side, but the river views more than compensate, and there’s a common room with a television. The restaurant serves traditional German meals along with great scenery. Pros: pleasant river view; not good if you’re subject to seasickness, but ideal if you like to be rocked to sleep. Cons: small rooms; hard-to-navigate stairs. | Rooms from: €65 | Batterie (Höchst Mainufer), Höchst | 069/300-4643 | www.hotelschiffschlott.de | 19 rooms | Breakfast.
Lindner Congress Hotel.
$ | HOTEL | Americans like this hotel, which is a 15-minute drive from the Frankfurt airport: if not for the American food it proudly offers, then for the sports bar and its giant TV screens. With a location on the river Main, there’s ample opportunity for jogging or biking along the river. Pros: perfect for the business traveler; in a pleasant district; free use of gym, sauna. Cons: removed from downtown; requires payment in full in advance. | Rooms from: €95 | Bolongarostr. 100, Höchst | 069/330-0200 | www.lindner.de | 258 rooms, 18 apartments | No meals.
Höchster Porzellan Manufaktur.
Höchst was once a porcelain-manufacturing town to rival Dresden and Vienna. Production ceased in the late 18th century, but was revived by an enterprising businessman in 1965. The Höchster Porzellan Manufaktur produces exquisite and expensive tableware, home decor items including vases and animal figurines, Christmas ornaments, and even cuff links and bottle stoppers. Designs are sleek and modern or replicas of 18th-century items. You can tour the workshop and shop at the store. | Palleskestr. 32, Höchst | 069/300-9020 | www.hoechster-porzellan.de/en | €10 | Weekdays 9-5; tours Tues. at 3 | Shop: weekdays 9:30-6, Sat. 9:30-2; tours: Tues. at 10 and 3 | Station: S2 to Frankfurt-Hochst, plus a 5 minute walk to factory/store.