Frankfurt boasts the largest financial center on the continent and the success of the city is evidenced by the bold and modern skyscrapers towering over the Main River. Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank, the German Stock Exchange and the biggest airport in Germany. When a metropolis is the financial capital of continental Europe, it has the right to be avant-garde. Curiously, however, the highrise lifestyle here is set against a backdrop of contrasts. Side by side with the modern towers are the old and well-cared-for buildings in Romer Square. Even the local population is a study in differences, with wealthy bankers walking the same streets as those struggling to get by (common in the U.S., perhaps, but not so much in Germany.) This mix of opposites makes Frankfurt a fascinating city.
Start a day's tour at the Romerberg, the most charming square in Frankfurt's old city center. Here you can see the Alte Nikolaikirche, a 12th century church, and the Gothic Wharfinger's Tower, which is connected to the Saalhof, a 12th century castle. From there, make your way to Saint Bartholomeus' Cathedral, where you can see the skull of St. Bartholomeu on Sundays, holidays and St. Bartholomeus' Day. You can take in a concert (and the impressive fountains out front) at the Alte Oper. Don't miss the chance to cross the Eiserner Steg, the landmark iron pedestrian bridge across the Main built in 1869. For a heavy dose of art and culture, head to the Museumsufer district, where many of Frankfurt's best museums are located. Three of the most interesting are the Deutsches Filmmuseum, the Judisches Museum and the Senckenberg Natural History Museum. Bring the kids to the Frankfurt Zoo and don't forget to check out the Grzimek House, where dark is simulated so that nocturnal animals can be seen while they're awake.
In nice weather, the family might enjoy spending a day at scenic Palmengarten or Gruneburgpark. Kids will enjoy a visit to the City Forest, where they can have their share of fun among its six playgrounds and nine ponds. If swimming is your idea of R&R, head to the Titus-Thermen thermal baths, an elaborate complex of saunas, warm baths and swimming pools, or the dramatic Rebstockbad indoor pool complex. If you want to work up a sweat, spend some time at Sportpark Kelkheim, where you'll find venues for badminton, squash, tennis and more. To check out the festive trade fairs that have been part of Frankfurt since the late 1100s, the Messe Frankfurt is the place to go.
Shopping and Dining
Get a taste of the original Frankfurter sausages and apple wine in any of the cafes, restaurants and deli food stores that line Fregasse (literally "Eat Alley"), Sachsenhausen and the Bockenheim district. The best shopping can be found along Frankfurt's most popular shopping street, Zeil. Goethestrasse (full of high-end boutiques) and Schillerstrasse provide many options as well, from designer clothes to antique buys.
Vilbeler Straße 31