Frankfurt is a key European financial center, it is a very cosmopolitan city with vibrant nightlife and a myriad of cultural events. It is relatively close to some of Germany’s favorite tourist destination so you can either take day trips or use Frankfurt as a starting point for your German vacation. Frankfurt is a city with two faces: on the one hand it is the cut-throat financial capital of Germany and on the other it is a civilized place which spends more per year on the arts than any other city in Europe. And although other German towns have done a better job in preserving their beautiful traditional city centres, a stay in Frankfurt will permit you to discover a very lively and international city with many things to do, both during daytime and at night.
Each year, Frankfurt hosts a multitude of overseas and domestic visitors. It is a dynamic European metropolis and a melting pot of cultures, languages and lifestyles.
==== FRANKFURT – SIGHTSEEING
Saint Bartholomeu’s Cathedral – This is a Gothic building which was constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries on the foundation of an earlier church from the Merovingian time. It is the main church of Frankfurt. From 1356 onwards, kings of the Holy Roman Empire were elected in this church, and from 1562 to 1792, emperors were crowned here. Since the 18th century, Saint Bartholomeu’s has been called the cathedral by the people, although it has never been a bishop’s seat.
Roemer – The name of the city hall means Roman. In fact, nine houses were acquired by the city council in 1405 from a wealthy merchant family. The middle house became the town hall and was later connected with the neighbouring buildings. In the upper floor, there is the Kaisersaal (Emperor’s Hall) where the newly crowned emperors held their banquets. The Romer was partially destroyed in World War II and later rebuilt.
Saint Paul’s Church – St. Paul’s Church (Paulskirche) is a national historic monument in Germany with great political symbolism, because it was the seat of the first democratically elected Parliament in 1848. It was established in 1789 as a Protestant church but was not completed until 1833. Its importance has its root in the Frankfurt Parliament, which met in the church during the revolutionary years of 1848/49 in order to write a constitution for a united Germany. The attempt failed because the monarchs of Prussia and Austria did not want to lose power, and in 1849 Prussian troops ended the democratic experiment by force of arms and the parliament was dissolved. Afterwards, the building was used for church services again. Today it is not used for religious services, but mainly for exhibitions and events.
Old Opera House – The famous old opera house (Alte Oper) was built in 1880 by the architect Richard Lucae. It was one of the major opera houses in Germany until it was heavily damaged in World War II. Until the late 1970s it was a ruin, nicknamed Germany’s Most Beautiful Ruin. There were even efforts to just blow it up. Former Frankfurt Lord Mayor Rudi Arndt called for blowing it up in the 1960s, which earned him the nicknamed Dynamite-Rudi. Today it functions as a concert hall, while operas are performed in the Oper Frankfurt.
Zeil – The Zeil is Frankfurt’s main shopping street and one of the most crowded in Germany. The street is a pedestrian-only area and is bordered by two large plazas, Hauptwache in the west and Konstablerwache in the east.
==== FRANKFURT – SHOPPING
There is a flea market on the banks of the river Main every Saturday morning with all sorts of odds and ends, antiques and clothing. The central shopping area is in the Zeil district which is always very busy. If you want designer items head to Goethestrasse and Fressgass. Fresgass offers a great array of gourmet foods if you get tired of shopping.
The multicultural Berger Strasse, Leipziger Strasse and Schweizer Strasse are home to little boutiques, second-hand stores and cafes.
==== FRANKFURT – FOOD AND DRINK
You can get every type of food you desire in Frankfurt, funnily enough, more international cuisine than traditional German food. The Adolf Wagner serves traditional regional specialties like Handkas and Scheegestober, Appler (cider) and Apfelwein, another Frankfurt specialty. There are so many restaurants, you are sure to find something you like.
==== FRANKFURT – GETTING THERE
Frankfurt is home to Europe’s second largest airport and is the biggest international hub for air traffic into Germany. The city is connected to Deutsche Bahn with stations at the airport and the main station (Hauptbahnhoff). The public transportation system (RMV) is excellent and easy to navigate with the S-Bahn, U-Bahn and buses running most of the day and night. Driving in Frankfurt is not difficult and while parking is expensive it is not a problem.