weekend away - Frankfurt
Written by Oryx
A decade ago, Frankfurt was considered rather dull. Now the city has found its groove and is noted for fine dining, lively nightlife, and a hot cultural scene.
Travellers once just transited through Frankfurt’s huge airport en route to somewhere more glamorous. Then the German banking city decided to get with it by opening new museums, renovating old neighbourhoods, and creating a social buzz. These days, Frankfurt is attractive, chic, and very cosmopolitan.
Start off in the mostly recreated old town around lively Römerberg Square. The Gothic-era town hall is a symbol for the city. Then head to the Main River’s south bank, known as Museumsufer or ‘museum bank’ for its large concentration of museums and cultural centres. The German Film Museum is fascinating, Städel Museum has impressionist sunflowers and lily ponds, while Liebieghaus features sculptures spanning 5,000 years, including Sumerian statuettes and Egyptian reliefs.
For a change of pace, head to the Palmengarten, a 19th-century botanical garden featuring a grand palm house, and rose and rock gardens, or shop along the pedestrian Zeil, known for big-name department stores, furniture outlets, and boutiques. Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse is lined with gourmet food stores and cafés that tempt with handmade chocolates and artisan cheeses.
Though Frankfurt has gained a contemporary, arty edge, it still provides old-fashioned entertainment in this district near the museum quarter, where the party atmosphere lasts long into summer evenings in its live-music bistros. Rustic taverns serve hearty local fare; try grüne Sosse, a cream-and-herb sauce on potatoes and boiled eggs, and Handkäs mit Musik, a curd cheese sprinkled with raw onion and vinaigrette.