Before I came to Frankfurt, a lot of people asked me how I intended to spend my time here.
“What will you see in Frankfurt?”
“It’s the business capital, there’s nothing to do.”
And I’d love to tell you that the city completely wowed me and exceeded my expectations, but, it did not. I’m sure a lot of you must’ve enjoyed visiting Frankfurt but I don’t really think the place is made for tourists. Frankfurt is a lot like Bombay, in that sense. It has brilliant people, a great vibe and is buzzing with activity, but as a tourist- you’d be done seeing the city in a day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Frankfurt is a bad place, not at all. It’s just not built to welcome people on a holiday. It has a life of it’s own and it doesn’t prioritize catering to tourists. The city means business. You’d be walking down a street of beautiful, old buildings when bam! Right in front of you, there are tall, glass-facade bearing office buildings. The city reminds you of a pretty, well-educated, career-oriented lady whom you have to love first before you can feel her love. She will not run after you. She will not try to please you.
Nevertheless, if you happen to be visiting Frankfurt, I’ll try and tell you what you can do.
One of the best ways to discover a city, in my opinion, is by exploring different running routes. Of course, being on a completely touristy vacation doesn’t leave much room for that sort of discovery, but one afternoon, I decided to run along the Main River and the effort was well rewarded. The banks of this river are quite lively with bikers, plenty of people, barbecues on boats, parks, music and a lot of other things. There are a number of bridges going across the river and they offer a spectacular sight of the city. This street, known as Mainkai, is probably one of the most beautiful in the city and you can easily spend the evening lazing around and drinking a beer.
Other than sitting by the Main, you can visit Goethe House, the Naturmuseum Senckenberg if you’re particularly fascinated by dinosaurs or are into paleontology, take in the views of the Old Opera House, visit the Cathedral, go to Eiserner Steg to see the love bridge and do a walking tour if you want to take in the culture. The shopping scene is quite impressive and all the stores you’re looking for can be found around the Zeil Fussgängerzone- a pedestrian street.
If you’ve come as far as Frankfurt, love cars and aren’t going to be visiting Germany again for a while, a visit to Stuttgart is a must. It’s only an hour and a half away by train and is home to the Mercedes Benz and Porsche museums. The Mercedes museum was a 6 hour trip in itself, not leaving any time to visit Porsche but it was a brilliant experience. If you look up the website a few days early, you can get tickets to the factory tour which takes you through the entire engine production process. The museum houses about a 160 cars and takes you through the history of Mercedes, complete with an audio guide and a racing car simulator. As the museum had a chronological layout, it not only takes you through the evolution of their automobiles but also has a number of displays talking about other noteworthy historical events. And just beside the Museum is the Mercedes Benz arena. This whole experience can eat up the entire day so get ready to take the last train back!
Frankfurt is different. You can’t have a temporary fling with her. You’ve to commit for a while. If you are going to move to this city, it will not disappoint you. Especially if you love big cities. But as a tourist, she lets you look but doesn’t show.