Country: Germany
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Peak Season: March-September
Shoulder Season: November-February
Median Temperature: 10.50 C / 50.9 F
Main Languages: German, French, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, S-Bahn, U-Bahn, tram, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 3 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $200.00/day
Tourist Passes: Frankfurt Card
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The resident number crunchers and MBA’s over at Frankfurt truly have a knack for impressive urban planning: where in Germany could you find blinding avant-garde skyscrapers aligned with harmoniously with medieval structures. Indeed, a trip to Frankfurt is endearing (albeit being costly), but be assured of top-notch pampering while being treated to Europe’s most lavishly decorated cities. But Frankfurt’s beauty wasn’t all gold and glitters during its rise among the greats—it suffered debilitating damages during the Napoleonic Conquests and World War II, despite its long-withstanding neutrality. At present, the city is favored internationally for its trade fairs and classy commercial districts, and it also has its own Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Not only that, it has maintained a reputation of keeping a hefty slice of the urban landscape “green” to improve sustainability over the next couple of decades. Frankfurt is a trendsetter in almost every category, be it fashion, business, technology and even education.

Innenstadt, Frankfurt’s central business district is where all the nitty gritty of trade and commerce boils down, while nearby Altstadt (old town) contains much the historical and conventional buildings, as well as housing museums and restaurants for the weary workers of Innenstadt. Both districts cater tumultuously to tourists, each serving its own obvious purpose. The Westend area also flourishes with business, while the Nordend is visited for its café culture and the Bahnhofsviertel being flocked for its brothels and residential ambiance. Frankfurt doesn’t come as modest destination. In fact, it will make you witness oft-stereotyped Germany in a different light: cosmopolitan and colorful.

Packing List

  • Local currency, credit cards, extra duffel bags/trolleys in case you splurge on a few designer items; the trade fairs are a good way to get sizeable discounts on retail and wholesale from international traders
  • An umbrella for the sudden drizzles, sunglasses, walking shoes/slippers and anything utilitarian that doesn’t cause a fashion faux pas; bring a city map to get you along easily through the bustling streets
  • Snappy, formal apparel to keep you poised and blended in as you navigate the streets and boulevards; during hot summers, one can trot t-shirts and shorts at business districts, while winters demand layers
  • A decent camera, plenty of film and batteries for the historical buildings and edifices; staples, drugs and high-end electronics are costlier here than most of Europe due to the imposition of value-added tax
  • Essential medication and toiletries, including those to ward off weather-related illnesses; you’ll save a whole lot more making your own meals by buying the ingredients from the local deli and grocery stores

Things to Do

  • Enjoying the relaxing vibe of tropical plants, shrubs and trees inside the greenhouses of Palmengarten; the estate has an expanse of 50 acres and is beautifully landscaped and it evokes classicist architecture
  • Getting an undeterred, panoramic view of the city’s skyscrapers and greenery at Maintower’s observatory; completed in 1999, the building, comprised of two adjacent towers, is Frankfurt’s 4th tallest
  • Walking around quaint old Romerberg at Altstadt, which contains much of the old town’s most tantalizing buildings, including the: Romer, Ostzeile, Fountain of Justice, and Historisches Museum
  • Tagging along family and friends to Zoo Frankfurt, where more than 4500 animals reside within 32 acres; roughly 400 species populate the estate, which resembles a mansion more than it does a zoo
  • Exploring fossils from the ancient world and antiquity at the Naturmuseum Senckenberg; displayed on the lawns are replicas of large dinosaurs, and inside, housed is the skeleton of the famous hominid, Lucy

DON'T

  • Explore the city without a map—you’ll get lost (but you can be assured that most signages are bilingual); still, expect downtown to be somewhat harder to navigate, with punctuality being put to consideration
  • Forget to put added weight to German business and social etiquette: shake hands firmly, initiate eye contact, cut straight to the chase, and learn a few German words to get on the locals’ good side
  • Go here haplessly–coincide your stay with major events to make it meaningful; major trade fairs include Buchmesse (Book Fair) and Musikmesse (Music Fair), and a suite of others catalogued on the internet
  • Wear silly and pompous clothing on the streets—unless you have the bone structure of a supermodel, you won’t turn heads; Frankfurters like to keep it trim and decent, especially in business meetings
  • Get drunk, because you’re in tactful Frankfurt—not Munich, not Hamburg, and most certainly not Berlin; if your alcohol tolerance is low, skip onto the light beers, as appearing drunk in public is a social disgrace