Exploring Frankfurt’s Underrated Food and Cultural Scenes

The country's financial center develops a personality
Steve Mirsky

The modern skyline of Frankfurt

It isn't often that Frankfurt tops the list of Germany's must-visit cities due to its often-misunderstood reputation as a staid financial services center. One of Frankfurt's most visible distinctions contributing to stereotypes like this is its impressive skyline most dramatically viewed from Main Tower's rooftop observation platform. World War II bombings obliterated downtown's original architecture, but thankfully, parts of Frankfurt’s historic old town are being restored to pre-war style.

Compared to the now-gleaming and modern downtown, the surrounding neighborhoods feature narrow cobblestone lanes leading to small squares with fountains and ornately trimmed houses. The Dom-Römer Quarter is currently experiencing a renaissance with 15 reconstructions and 20 new buildings opening between the Imperial Cathedral (Dom) and Frankfurt’s historic Römer town hall, anchored by the Stadthaus am Markt.

Steve Mirsky

The city's lush green riverfront promenade and an extensive array of parks and gardens like the Palmengarten are perfect for outdoor activities in the summer. Frankfurt’s museum district on the Main River includes 13 museums, many of them grand villas surrounded by lush gardens, cozy cafés, and top-rated eateries like Fujiwara and Parthenon.

With residents originating from more than 190 nations, Frankfurt's international status shapes the diversity of its menus ranging from Persian to Tex-Mex, but for something uniquely Frankfurt, the apple wine ritual can't be missed. While Ebbelwoi pubs are prevalent in the Rittergasse, Paradiesgasse, and Klappergasse neighborhoods, Sachsenhausen is the epicenter for pouring apple wine (Stöffche) from a traditional stoneware jug (Bembel) into the traditional ribbed glass called a Gerippte. Typically served at wooden tables flanked by long benches, you'll find yourself also ordering beef with green sauce (Grüne Soße), a creamy concoction made from seven regional herbs and reportedly a favorite of celebrated poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Snacks like hand cheese (Handkäs) and pretzels are also sold by roving merchants who make their rounds to the various pubs.


Steve Mirsky

Getting food on the run is a snap at the indoor market Kleinmarkthalle, a culinary paradise open Monday through Saturday with more than 150 stalls selling a wide range of fresh foods and produce. Bauernmarkt Konstablerwache is Frankfurt’s largest outdoor farmers market. Held every Thursday and Saturday, it serves as a popular meeting place for locals doing their weekly shopping and also sampling the latest regional wine vintages or sweet treats like Frankfurt Crown Cake (Bethmännchen), a famous local treat made of almonds and marzipan.


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