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Frankfurt, Germany

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Personality Types that Like it Best

Did You Know … ?

  • The city was first named Francono Furd because it was near a natural ford in Franconia.
  • Frankfurt was the birthplace for novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749) and Anne Frank (1929).
  • Frankfurt hosts the world’s oldest (1478) and biggest book fair (300,000 titles).
  • Residents of Frankfurt are Frankfurters, and yes the sausage got its name from the city.
  • In 1240, Frankfurt officially became the world’s first trade fair city by imperial decree.

Financial center with flair

Frankfurt is well known as a major financial and business center, as the host to humongous and varied trade fairs and as a transportation hub for travel within Germany and well beyond. Those features don’t say, “Come hither,” to prospective tourists — unless they listen closely.

For one thing, the skyscrapers that are so emblematic of Frankfurt’s financial district have morphed into an attraction in their own right and can be seen for miles. The trade fairs, which extend back more than 800 years, attract interested consumers by the hundreds of thousands. The famed auto show and book fair are examples. Finally, destinations that are easy to get to have a certain appeal, and Frankfurt — a hub for both air and rail travel — is that kind of place.

Of course, there is more, roughly summarized in this list: Old Town, apple wine, outdoor festivals, museums, performing arts, the Main and Rhine rivers, pretty suburbs and a wine region.

Key attractions in the small Old Town (much of it rebuilt after World War II) are the City Hall (Romer), a former banquet hall for emperors; Frankfurt Cathedral, where emperors were crowned, and St. Paul’s Church, cradle of German democracy because the country’s first assembly met there (1848).

Apple wine is an old and popular tradition — with a kick. Street festivals, especially the Christmas markets and the Dippemess (a parish fair and crafts market), fall into the same category.

Frankfurt boasts a rich choice for museums, and because of generous funding for such enterprises, it is known for its performing arts, too.

As to the rivers, Frankfurt sits on the Main but close to the junction with the Rhine, a convergence enhanced by a smartly developed riverside. The rivers give ready access to short sightseeing cruises, as well as considerably more ambitious river trips in the region.

Visitors also head out of town to suburbs like the charming Hoechst and its ceramics factory and to the Rheingau wine region with its picturesque castles and vineyards — but the Rheingau Wine Festival itself is staged in Frankfurt.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Find your way to one of the city’s several jazz or other live music venues.
  • Cycle on the path that follows the Nidda River (tributary of the Main) out of Frankfurt. Cycle upriver, and you will wind up in the Taunus Mountains.
  • Join Tuesday Night Skating, a regular event from March through October. On Tuesdays during those months, the city opens 18 miles of streets to in-line skaters with a different route each time. This is not for beginners.
  • Join the hundreds of thousands who come to see the latest in design and power at the Frankfurt Auto Show (formally, the International Automotive Exhibition), held in September of odd-numbered years.
  • Take a guided tour of the Frankfurt airport, including a visit to its fire department for a behind-the-scenes look at its work.
  • In June, attend the Waldchestag annual fair. There is entertainment plus lots of beer and apple wine for consumption.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Take a self-guided walking tour of the historic city center, starting at Romerberg, the square in front of the City Hall. See the inside of the City Hall, site of the coronation banquets for the Holy Roman Emperors.
  • Take a day trip to the Rheingau wine-growing area. Include time in the heart of Rudesheim with its collection of half-timbered houses.
  • Spend an evening in a traditional apple wine pub in the Sachsenhausen district.
  • Get acquainted with the communications businesses in town. During a tour, talk with editors at the daily newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Visit radio and TV broadcasting studios as part of a tour of the Hessian Broadcasting Company. Or, tour ZDF, Germany´s public Channel 2.
  • Experiment with some of the oldest types of film technology at the German Film Museum. Also, consider spending time studying renowned historic and contemporary photography at the Fotographie Forum International.
  • Come to Frankfurt just before Christmas for the annual holiday markets. Alternatively, come for the spring or autumn Dippemess, a folk festival, which, like the holiday markets, dates back to the 14th century.

 Things to do for Authentics

  • Take a guided tour of the porcelain factory in nearby Hoechst, then buy an appropriate souvenir in the factory shop.
  • After engrossing yourself in the Gold Museum, head to the shop to buy cleverly packaged wads of shredded euros.
  • See Wolfgang von Goethe’s birthplace (a reproduction, actually). Continuing the theme, see the Goethe Museum, too.
  • Take the kids to the Frankfurt Zoo.
  • See the city’s skyline from atop the Goetheturm in the Stadtwalk or from the Main Tower. Or, take another approach, literally, with an evening stroll along the Museum Embankment to admire the lighted skyline.
  • Take a cruise on the River Main to neighboring riverside towns with their half-timbered houses.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Frankfurt Tourist and Congress Board at www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/en