What’s cool about living in Frankfurt?

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The Life in Germany series continues. After their own attitude, the city an expat lives in has the most effect on their experience. What makes a good expat city is rarely the same that makes a good tourist city.

Ginger is an American from Wisconsin. After several jobs and study abroad experiences in Germany she landed in Frankfurt working for the American Chamber of Commerce. So she knows Frankfurt and shares her thoughts on why it is a cool place to be.

When you think of German cities, the first ones to come to mind are usually Berlin and Munich. Frankfurt, despite being the financial and transportation center of Germany with its towering banks and bustling airport, has less of a reputation among tourists and expatriates. I’ve been living in this city of 500,000 for the past nine months, and have enjoyed discovering what makes it come alive…

An international vibe

Skyscrapers (source: © PIA Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Foto: Tanja Schäfer)

When I first moved to Frankfurt, I felt less like I was living in Germany and more like I was living in a miniature version of London, where the most common language spoken just happened to be German.

As an expat, it’s very easy to get over the feeling of being “the other” when you’re living among almost 200 other nationalities. Frankfurt’s airport makes it a major hub for travelers from every corner of the world; it’s only a 15-minute train ride from the city center to hop on a plane and go anywhere you want.

With so many cultures, Frankfurt offers a huge variety of cuisines to be found in only the most cosmopolitan cities, and if I’m in the mood to whip something up myself, I know just to head to the ethnic grocery stores near Frankfurt’s Hauptbahnhof (main train station).

The clubs: Frankfurt nightlife

Frankfurt nightlife: Skyline_Stefan Clos (source: Stefan Clos)

The electronic and house music scene in Frankfurt is huge. Frankfurters (and the daily hundred thousand commuters to the city) have a serious “work hard, play hard” mentality. After hitting up one of the dozens of swanky lounges and bars in the heart of the banking district, it’s great to have the choice of almost a dozen dance clubs within walking distance. Most of them get busy between 1-2am and stay open until 5-6am or later.

I can personally recommend most of the clubs in the heart of the city, plus one in particular which lies on the outskirts: Cocoon Club. Though it’s more expensive both in getting there/back and in the cover charge, it’s worth it if you love house and have never danced in DJ Sven Väth’s own nightclub.
(Editor Comment: A short (light NSFW) video of a DJ in Frankfurt and the night life there.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SnzDArpgrg

The Main River

FFM_Main (source: © PIA Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Foto: Tanja Schäfer)

If you enjoy living near water and have to move to the middle of a mostly land-locked country like Germany, you’ll find some relief in the flowing waters of the Main. It’s the best place to be on a sunny day, as you can enjoy the paths that follow the river for kilometers whether your preferred mode of transport is on foot, inline skates, or by bike.

In the warmer months, the nicest spot for a Radler with friends or family is at the Main Café, and if you’re hungry you can always grab a snack from the “Döner Boat”, Meral’s Imbiss, and enjoy the sight of Frankfurt’s towering skyline which has earned it the nickname “Mainhattan”.

Hessian culture

Frankfurt is located in the German state of Hesse, and just across the Main in the area of Sachsenhausen is where you’ll find remnants of a quaint, German past modified to fit a touristy present. It’s fun to visit any one of the numerous Apfelweinkneipen (apple wine bars) and sample a few Hessian specialties. Even if you’ve already had the chance to eat your way through the international restaurants, it’s refreshing to remind yourself that you are, in fact, still in Germany, and have a Bratwurst with Kartoffelsalat and Handkäse mit Musik for dinner. Just be sure to order a glass of Ebbelwei (apple wine, in the Hessian dialect) to wash it down, and your experience in Frankfurt will be off to a very good start…

Römerberg (source: © PIA Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Foto: Tanja Schäfer)

For more information about Frankfurt am Main:
On the Web: http://www.frankfurt.de/
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StadtFFM
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/Stadt_FFM

10 thoughts on “What’s cool about living in Frankfurt?

  1. Interesting to hear more about Frankfurt, I think it gets a bad rap (although I’m the first to admit that I like Munich better than Frankfurt 🙂

    • It really does seem to get a bad rap. It is a big modern city which does not fit the tourist mindset of cutsy medieval Germany in really any way. Which is why it is neat to see the perspective of not a tourist, but an expat living there. To see that living in a place is different than just going through.

    • Hey Laurel, thanks for the comment. I would agree from a tourist’s perspective that I enjoy Munich much more than Frankfurt, but I think it’s actually quite nice to live in Frankfurt…you still get the international vibe, but aren’t surrounded by people snapping pictures wherever you go 😉

  2. I’ve never visited Frankfurt. However, it was the first airport I ever flew into outside of the US. I was shocked at how big and different it was from the US and this was nearly 20 years ago. Frankfurt looks like a beautiful city. I would love to get back to Germany and visit – beyond the airport. 🙂

    • Yes, do get beyond the airport. Though it is really common for people to only see that and the trainstation. The airport has gotten bigger and more modern in the last 20 years too. I remember sleeping in it many years ago too.

  3. I loved living in Germany, I only visited Frankfurt twice and would love to return. Now I will have an opportunity to see how Budapest feels as an expat city.

    • When did you live in Germany? How long? Where?
      Oooo Budapest sounds amazing. I was there for a weekend many years ago and really would like to go back.

  4. Handkaese blergh that was a horrible flashback, love love love Frankfurt. It’s a great city to live in although it is a bit pants for tourism!

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