Frankfurt, Bankfurt, Mainhattan, the "smallest metropolis in the world"—call it what you will, but Frankfurt am Main is a German city with a difference. It’s the financial capital of continental Europe, Germany’s transportation center (boasting the country’s biggest and busiest airport), endowed with a skyline spiked with skyscrapers, and host to some of Europe’s biggest trade fares.
But for all its muscular economic clout, Frankfurt has a sensitive side; it is a city full of museums, artistic innovation, and great music. Cultural highlights include the Museumsufer, a collection of 11 museums lined up on either side of the Main River. The Frankfurt Opera House, meanwhile, has been named Opera House of the Year on three separate occasions.
It is also a city with great theater (check out the English Theatre and International Theatre), dance (Tiger Palace Variety Theatre), an impressive zoo, and the Römer. Of course much of the joy of this city can be found by simply strolling around its streets and taking in the juxtaposition of older buildings against the city’s gleaming skyscrapers.
Frankfurt has a fantastic restaurant scene, too. This isn’t so much to do with the moneyed bankers who fill the tables of the city’s top restaurants at night as with the local chefs who are taking the German dining scene by storm. The city glitters with Michelin stars—Sra Bua by Juan Amador, Villa Merton, Tiger-Gourmet restaurant, Carmelo Greco, Ernos Bistro, Français, Lafleur, and Weinsinn all have a Michelin star to their name.
However, you needn’t spend a fortune to eat well in Frankfurt since there are abundant appetizing options at affordable prices. And since Frankfurt boasts an exceptionally diverse population, with inhabitants hailing from all across Europe, there’s something to suit every palate. (There’s even a smattering of "beachside" establishments, such as Maincafé and Frankfurt institution King Kamehameha Beach.)
Frankfurt is bound to leave a lasting impression on you, and you’ll be just as taken with the soaring skyscrapers as you will with the city’s quaint medieval center. Frankfurt offers an invaluable insight into Germany’s past and its future, making it one of the most exciting destinations in Germany, if not Europe.