Big business, banks, boring. These “B’s” are pretty common when thinking about Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital. As noted in my post on Canberra (or Can-boring), I’m not one to write off a destination just because of other people’s perceptions. Quite the opposite actually. I like to find the good where others see bad. With that in mind and armed with a Frankfurt Card, I searched for a little fun in Frankfurt.
Turns out I didn’t have to look too hard.
Finding fun in Frankfurt began at my accommodations – The 25Hours Goldman Hotel. This quirky hotel features unique rooms, a great bar, and so many more awesome features that it warrants a post of its own.
Old Town Walk
My time finding fun in Frankfurt began with touring the historic old town. Although completely destroyed by Allied bombs during World War II, the old half-timber homes of Altstadt (literally translates to Old Town) have been re-created to spec. The result is Römerberg, one of the most scenic not-so-old-towns in Europe. It was made even more magical during the Christmas market season of my visit.
Seriously. This place on its own is a sight to see but throw in a few Christmas lights and some glühwein and you have one heckuva festive time.
Fun in Frankfurt – Only for the Rich?
Of course, there’s more fun in Frankfurt to be found then in the old town. Strolling the high-end shops of Goethestrasse was a bit of a surprise until thinking about how the banks tie to the city. Then there are the ties to the middle east. With German airline giant Lufthansa calling Frankfurt home, wealthy families from the middle east escape the hot summers for a little fun in Frankfurt. Suddenly the high-end shops like Prada, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co makes sense here. This connection is so popular that there is one of only a handful of Jumeirah hotels outside of the middle east in Frankfurt. Those unfamiliar with this chain shouldn’t feel bad. The close as I got to it’s 7-star hotel in Dubai was from above in a helicopter.
Then there is the autobahn. It is not uncommon for a wealthy Sheikh to fly in his favourite sports car while vacationing so he can take a high-speed rip on this no limits highway.
But I digress.
Yes, the wealth that flows through this city is present for all to see. This doesn’t mean Frankfurt is pretentious and stuck up. I continued this thought even after stumbling on this odd gem:
Located near Römerberg is the Schirn Kunsthalle art exhibition. There you will find a rotating art display featuring local talent. This began the tour of art and culture side of Frankfurt that I wasn’t expecting. Just around is Saal Lane, known for its row of townhouses that are incredibly unique as they were each designed by different architectures. The result is an interesting mix showcasing Frankfurt’s bold style – one that is on display for all to enjoy.
In contrast, we found ourselves wandering through the once seedy Bahnhofsviertel part of the city. Although legalized brothels and prostitution are still found in this area, so are some of the cities trendiest restaurants bars and clubs. This interesting mix also includes some of the areas best artists, proving once again that fun in Frankfurt is closer than you think and not stuck-up at all.
Take in The Views
After touring the town I decided to get a birds-eye view from above. On top of the Main Tower, Germany’s 4th tallest (guess where the other 3 are!), you get a glimpse of one of the more interesting downtowns in Europe. Frankfurt’s core is very compressed making the scenery beyond the skyscrapers accessible. The Altstadt, Main and Rhine rivers, and both train stations are clearly visible from on top of the Main Tower.
Food & Drink
When thinking about food in Frankfurt naturally Frankfurters come to mind. Shockingly, while visiting the city I didn’t have one of these. I was surprised by the culinary diversity which made other local (and nonlocal) specialities more appealing. In the Christmas market, it was raclette, a dish I first sampled in Austria but actually comes from Switzerland. Strolling the Kleinmarkthalle market, it became clear just how diverse the Frankfurt food scene is. From shwarma to nigiri, it can be found here. A little closer to home there were bushes of herbs for sale that seemed very popular. “Green sauce” is the purée mix of 7 fresh herbs and it’s delicious. We sampled this local dish at Apfelwein-Wirtschaft Fichtekränzi. Then there is the apple wine (apfelwein) the restaurant is so famous for. Like many locals I talked with, I didn’t care for apfelwein, but then again I sampled the cheapest blend. This restaurant carries apfelwein from throughout the country with bottles priced at over €100.
Get to Know Frankfurt
Frankfurt is consistently one of the most livable cities in the world. Surely finding fun in Frankfurt isn’t difficult. “It’s like a Swiss Army Knife,” chimed our Frankfurt city tour guide while discussing the boring stigma. “Frankfurt has everything, but it’s not always easy to find.” With bold architecture mixed with old and a diverse population (only 20% are native), Frankfurt has the makings of an electric town yet small enough to easily enjoy in a few days. It’s both rich and down to earth, refined and rough around the edges. Kind of like me? I suppose that’s why we got on so well.
Either way, you will get along too as long as you put a little “fun” in Frankfurt. So raise your apfelwein and let’s all say “Prost” to Funkfurt!
There you go Internet, that’s a thing now.
Fun in Frankfurt Good to Know
Frankfurt Card: Start at 10,50 €. For full menu see here.
- Free and unlimited travel on Frankfurt’s public transport system within the city districts and Frankfurt International Airport (Zone 50 und 5090)
- up to 50% discount on admission to 26 Frankfurt museums
- 50% discount on admission to the Palmengarten (Botanical Gardens) and Frankfurt Zoo
- 20% discount on admission to the MAIN TOWER, Rebstockbad, Titus Therme and Brentanobad (water parks)
- 20% discount on motorized city tours, daily city walks, weekend theme walks and river cruises
- Discounts on admission to Oper Frankfurt (Frankfurt Opera), Schauspiel Frankfurt (Playhouse Frankfurt), The English Theatre, Papageno Musictheater at Palmengarten,
Die Komödie, THEATER DIE SCHMIERE – Cabaret and satire and Fritz Rémond Theater
- Various discounts at participating restaurants
- Various discounts at participating retail stores
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Although my time finding fun in Frankfurt was made possible by Frankfurt Tourism,
the experience, opinions, and moniker are my own.