Frankfurt’s often more known for business over pleasure, but we don’t think it should be. What most travelers don’t realize is that this city houses a collection of internationally prestigious museums, an eclectic Hessian foodie culture, and an insanely trendy red-light district (how often do you hear that?). Here’s your non-business guide to Frankfurt, Germany.
The Stay: No matter which neighborhood you stay in — be it the Bahnhofsviertel or Sachsenhausen — each provides a distinct experience of the city. Those looking for a party-centric atmosphere, and appreciate a trendy boutique, will enjoy the 25 Hours Hotel in the heart of the city’s red light district (from $73 per night). In addition to the rooftop terrace, there’s the Chez Ima restaurant and an entire Gibson music room at this property owned by America’s favorite jeans icon, Levi’s. For visitors in need of a quieter but still walking-friendly location, Villa Oriental is near the water and a quick bridge-walk from the beautiful Sachsenhausen museums (from $68 per night).
The Culture: Although Frankfurt has over 30 museums, the best spot to hop from art to artisan would be along the riverbank in Sachsenhausen. The area between Eiserner Steg and Friedensbrücke features 10 museums, and, on Saturdays, the streets close for the city’s largest flea market. But Frankfurt’s best cultural events are arguably October’s Frankfurter Buchmesse, the world’s largest book fair ($29 for a weekend pass), or the Museumsuferfest in late August, during which museums remain open late into the night and the city turns into a hectic Hessian party along the Main (entry $8).
The Cuisine: Germany might be known as the land of beer and sausage, but Frankfurt might be an exception. Here, it’s all about apfelwein — literally apple wine, though the drink more resembles a beer-like cider — and grüne sosse, or green sauce. Your best bet for authentic, Frankfurter fare is at an Apfelweinwirtschaft, and our personal favorite is at Wagner’s on Schweizer Strasse (near U-bahn Schweizer Platz). Here, a hearty portion of Frankfurter schnitzel with grüner sosse and fried potatoes will run you $14. Add in an apfelwein for $2 a piece, and you’ve had a filling, affordable dinner. Looking for even cheaper eats? Stick near Schweizer Platz and venture into the Worscht Company for a currywurst, fries, and a beer for a grand total of $8.
The Up-and-Coming: Frankfurt consistently ranks among the most dangerous cities in Germany, largely due to the red light district that’s historically been ridden with crimes. But that reputation is quickly changing, and the Bahnhofsviertel is becoming one of the coolest spots in this country. Kitschy restaurants like hidden supper club Club Michel — which serves up ever-changing à la carte menus ($22), with plenty of veggie options — are giving the neighborhood its edge. Nearby is the aforementioned Chez Ima at 25 Hours Hotel, perfect for late-night cocktails, Sunday brunch, or even dinner (mains around $16). And if you’e looking for a post-dinner drink, we suggest a margarita at the La Mex Lounge.