What do you know about Frankfurt?
August 28, 2008 12:42 PM   Subscribe

What do you know about Frankfurt?

It seems that I will be spending some time in Frankfurt this Fall. Looks like 3 weeks or so in October. Some arts education for myself.

Looks like I'll need to go to Willy-Brandt Platz every day.

Any tips on how to find an inexpensive place to stay? Could I live near there? And currently I live in Canada.

Also, any other tips would be welcomed. How to get around, what the city is like, how is it for English speakers, all those kinds of things.

Help me have a great time. Thanks.
posted by miles1972 to Travel & Transportation around Frankfurt, Germany (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The World's Biggest Bookfair occurs the 15th through the 19th of October, with the general public allowed in the 18th and the 19th. Other than that I know nothing at all about Frankfurt.
posted by Caduceus at 1:13 PM on August 28, 2008

When I was there (one day layover) the one thing I wanted to see was the Holocaust museum, which is said to be excellent (and a downer, of course) but it was closed Mondays. Otherwise, I know little about Frankfurt other than it was a very open, modern, rather generic city.
posted by Rumple at 1:39 PM on August 28, 2008

It's very businessy, very 'international'. If you've ever been to the City of London or lower Manhattan, its projects some of that ambience, which is why Frankfurt has a reputation for being a bit dull, especially in terms of nightlife. Once you get out to Sachsenhausen or Bockenheim, though, you're away from the bits that cater to International Businessperson On Expense Account.

(A friend of mine did a podcast travel guide [mp3] to Frankfurt for the Guardian back in 2006 for the World Cup.)
posted by holgate at 1:42 PM on August 28, 2008

There's a porn shop in the airport. That is all I know about Frankfurt.
posted by Iteki at 1:56 PM on August 28, 2008

I was in Frankfurt for the book fair some years ago. It is a very business/commercial oriented modern city. There's a nice square with some good restaurants and the old town is cool for night time bars and other restaurants. The book fair is a very very big deal so if you are there I think it would be fun to check out.
posted by marylynn at 2:23 PM on August 28, 2008

There is no Holocaust museum, only a Jewish museum which also covers the Holocaust. Generally, there are lots of great museums in Frankfurt with many special exhibits all the time. Should be easy to find on the city website. The book fair is great, indeed, but also very crowded on the days it's open to the general public.

Frankfurt is one of the best places in Germany for English speakers because the large financial companies attract lots of international business travelers.

Living near the Willy-Brandt-Platz on a budget is not really possible. Sure, the red lights district (near the central station) is not too far away and I guess apartment rent or rooms in small pensions are cheaper there than elsewhere but you don't want to live there. The nicest parts of the city are Bornheim, Nordend, Bockenheim and Sachsenhausen. That's where university students etc. live. Frankfurt is, however, one of the most expensive places in Germany and as a general rule, the further you stay from the centre, the cheaper it gets. You may, however, want to avoid some of the more run-down suburbs where crime is higher.

It's quite hard to find an apartment in Frankfurt even on a long-term basis, so if you have any contacts in Frankfurt, you may want to ask them to help you find something. A single ensuite in the Youth hostel is €40/night.

In terms of nightlife, it shows that Frankfurt is a city where people drive in for work and leave in the evening rather than where people life. There is some nightlife but nothing really spectacular.

How to get around: Public transport is excellent, though a little expensive (I feel there's a recurring theme here...) - preferable to all alternatives in any case. At the weekend, buses run around the clock and are safe, so you can go out partying and still take public transport home.

Hard to give more specific advice without knowing what you are exactly looking for.
posted by criticalbeaver at 2:42 PM on August 28, 2008

You're quite close (45 minute train ride, if I recall correctly) to Wiesbaden and Mainz, which have fascinating sorts of history and opportunities to explore. There's much in the way of beautiful country side to tromp through as well, if you're in to that sort of thing.
posted by Haruspex at 2:43 PM on August 28, 2008

There is no Holocaust museum, only a Jewish museum which also covers the Holocaust.
Thanks criticalbeaver, my mistaken memory. link. I recall having read a review of it at the time that was extremely favourable and was quite disappointed not to see it.
posted by Rumple at 3:11 PM on August 28, 2008

Criticalbeav, that's what I'm looking for that's great. I will adjust my budgets accordingly. Sounds like I'm going to be sharing something.

What about a cheap bike to get around? Is that possible? or is more like Manhattan where that's just crazy.
posted by miles1972 at 8:41 PM on August 28, 2008

There is, or was a few years ago, in the red light district, what is essentially an dormitory full of sex workers. It's worth a walk through, as they tend to hang out in front of their rooms and can be pretty entertaining (and, in some instances, depressing). It was a pretty unique experience.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:52 PM on August 28, 2008

Oh yes, getting a bike and getting around on a bike is both quite easy. It's really not a big city and reasonably flat. And big university = lots of people to buy bikes from. Traffic is also not too dangerous and there are lots of bike lanes.

Sharing an apartment is of course the ideal solution if you know someone. This website seems also quite useful. "WG" is the acronym for "shared apartment", almost exclusively involving uni students. Set "Zwischenmiete" (sublet/temporary) to "nur Zwischenmiete" and try to find your way from there. "Innenstadt" means city centre, and in Germany rent is always given on a monthly basis.

And you can also take regional trains and commuter trains to nice towns (Mainz, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt) around Frankfurt, or go hiking in the Taunus (a nearby mountain area). There are Roman ruins to see, the monastery where "The name of the Rose" was filmed, and lots of nice things I cannot think of at the moment. But it should be pretty well covered by the usual guidebooks.
posted by criticalbeaver at 3:10 AM on August 29, 2008

Wiesbaden and Mainz aren't cheap enough to make it worth it, as I recall.
posted by oaf at 8:56 AM on September 8, 2008

"If God had shat a pile of concrete, the result would have been Frankfurt." - Gunter Grass
posted by JJ86 at 9:48 AM on September 10, 2008

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