Business5 things to do in Frankfurt between meetings
Explore Germany’s second city
Explore Germany’s second city
Sitting on the banks of the River Main, the city of Frankfurt was once a key stronghold of the Holy Roman Empire. Today it’s one of the world’s key financial centres, with intense business energy concentrated in the Bankenviertel district. Here, you’ll find ten of the country’s tallest skyscrapers just a short walk from the Jumeirah Frankfurt. However, the city has much more to offer than just the hum of commerce, so if you’re between meetings, take some time out to explore its culture, architecture and traditional experiences. We’ve picked five great things to do that will give you a real sense of the city, whether you have an hour or an afternoon to spare.
Germany’s oldest museum, The Städel, is also one of its most comprehensive, with an impressive collection of European art ranging from the early 14th century to the present. This superb trove of artwork grew out of founder and 19th century businessman Johann Städel’s personal collection of artwork and engravings. Today it numbers some 2,700 paintings and 100,000 drawings, with a keen focus on the Renaissance, Baroque and early Modern art periods. Spend the afternoon wandering through airy modern galleries, recharging your batteries, and taking in works by artists including Vermeer, Picasso, Monet, Boticelli and Bacon.
From the outside, Baseler Eck looks every inch the traditional German tavern, with its wooden cladding and leaded windows. And it doesn’t disappoint inside either, with a menu focused on hearty German favourites such as bratwurst, schnitzel and sauerkraut, all made with locally sourced produce. The restaurant has long been a favourite with locals and travellers alike, including countless airline crews that have decorated the walls with aviation memorabilia over the years. Dinner is served around rustic wooden tables with a sociable atmosphere by genial hosts who remember names and faces of patrons from years gone by. The restaurant opens at 5pm local time, so it makes for a good place to have an early dinner while you’re waiting for a different business timezone to come online. Or, if you’ve finished for the day, go slightly later (but book ahead) and make sure you clink a stein or two over your meal.
Head to the Kleinmarkthalle – Frankfurt’s indoor food market – in the city centre to find a spectacular spread of regional delicacies. Over 160 different market stalls sell everything from cured meats and cheeses to local honey and sweet treats. Look out for Frankfurt’s renowned ‘Green sauce’, a dressing of herbs including chervil and sorrell, traditionally served over boiled eggs and potatoes. And if you want to spot the most popular vendors then look for those with the longest queues at lunchtime when locals come to stock up. Up on the second-level terrace, bursting with flower boxes, you’ll also find a small wine shop run by a family-owned local winery, which can advise you on the right wines to pair with your purchases.
In the heart of the Altstadt (the Old Town) sits Römerberg Square. Lined by medieval half-timbered houses and pretty courtyards faithfully reconstructed after WWII, the square has been integral to the city and its history. It was the site of Frankfurt’s first bank, a key centre of trade and commerce for centuries, and even hosted JFK, who gave a rousing speech there in 1963. Today, it is watched over by the Roman Goddess of Justice who sits atop the grand 19th century Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen fountain at the centre of the square.
If you’re in the city during the Christmas period, the Römerberg Christmas market is one of Germany’s finest – set around a twinkling 30m Christmas tree – selling gifts, decorations and seasonal delicacies such as hot Glühwein and marzipan cookies.
Frankfurt is blessed with three botanical gardens, but it’s the Palmengarten that is perhaps the most impressive. First opened to the public in 1871, this 22-hectare natural oasis contains over 13,000 plant species from around the world. It will take you an afternoon (at least) to see everything, although there is a small Palmengarten train that travels through the garden if you’re on a tight schedule. Don’t miss the 19th century glass pavilion housing sub-Antarctic vegetation, and the flamboyant tropical blooms in the modernist Tropicarium. Alongside these natural beauties you can also catch a number exhibitions and performances throughout the year. The most popular is Jazz im Palmengarten, which runs throughout June, July and August. It has been held there for over 60 years and is considered the world’s oldest continuous open-air jazz festival.