The sleek German transport and financial hub of Frankfurt is composed of 46 distinct neighborhoods. Some nod at the city's historic past while others embrace its forward-thinking personality. The inner city is compact and walkable, with even the suburbs well-connected by public transport. No matter where you center yourself you will be able to enjoy all Frankfurt provides either for a short visit or long-term stay.
The center of the city, or Innenstadt, includes many of the touristic highlights of Frankfurt. The Altstadt (old city) has the re-created Römer with impressive Rathaus (Town Hall) surrounding the square and fountain. Like almost everywhere in Frankfurt, these buildings are recreations of their pre-WWII selves, but that doesn't make them any less endearing.
To live in the heart of Frankfurt, be prepared to pay top dollar and deal with tourist crowds regularly. On the plus side, there are plenty of dining and nightlife options in places like the Freßgass (grazing street). This pedestrian-only street within the Bankenviertel (central business district) is Frankfurt's culinary main street. You can also sate your hunger for things with a shop on the Zeil, Frankfurt's most famous street.
To the northeast of the Innenstadt, Bornheim is densely populated and nicknamed das Lustige Dorf (the Funny Village) for its charming medieval architecture and small-town feel. Full of apartments, restaurants, and bars, it has a large international community and is a great place to stay.
The main street of Bergerstrasse is a shoppers' paradise with plenty of cafes and restaurants to refuel. Little streets dart off in each direction, offering a quieter, more community-oriented feel.
Altes Bornheimer Rathaus is the main attraction with its beautiful half-timbered structure, Baroque details, and history dating back to 1770. There is a farmers market every Wednesday and Saturday at the Uhrtürmchen (clock tower) with local goods and meals prepared fresh. Relax in large Bethmannpark with its Chinese pagodas and dragons.
The U4 U-Bahn line goes straight through the middle of Bornheim, meaning it is easy to get to and move around.
Old-school Sachsenhausen is across the river and spreads quite far to the south, but the closest section of Sachsenhausen-Nord is the most popular.
All cobblestone streets and small-town feel, this seemingly sleepy area lights up at night. The area is famous for its apple wine (apfelwein or ebbelwoi), and it has many traditional bars offering the drink, as well as tourist-centric clubs and nightlife, particularly on busy Schweizerstraße which also has everything from boutiques to bookshops. There are also many museum options along the Schaumainkai, as well as a massive flea market every Saturday, rain or shine.
This makes Sachsenhausen popular with the student crowd and bohemian crowds. There are some cheaper housing options, as well as some more historic buildings as it wasn't as heavily bombed as the other side of the river. The further from the river you go, the quieter, more suburban, and more affluent the population becomes.
This sizeable residential neighborhood is increasingly popular with young professionals.
It has a good mix of well-established housing, comfortable restaurants, hip bars, and bio (organic) grocers in its continuing gentrification. And Sachsenhausen isn't the only place with apfelwein bars; Nordend also features many places with the local drink. Streets like Glauburgstrasse are great for independent shops or walk through the grounds of beautiful estates now open to the public like at Günthersburgpark and moated Holzhausenschlösschen.
Families enjoy the many amenities, as well as the community feel and excellent schools. In the near distance, the lights of the skyscrapers glitter.
West of Nordend, on the edge of the inner ring, Bockenheim offers lower prices with excellent connections to the rest of the city. This has made it a trendy place to live.
Near the University of Frankfurt campus in the east, centering on the unusual Bockenheimer Warte U-Bahn station, students lounge in the areas many parks. To the west, prices increase, and there are mansions and foreign consulates. In the middle, there is a medieval watchtower with an open-air cafe that is great for people watching.
Today, this hip district has the most exciting nightlife, and some of the best international restaurants. That doesn't mean drugs and sex aren't still on offer; it is just more than lonely businessmen frequenting the area.
Stroll down Kaiserstrasse for glorious 18th-century buildings, order Japanese teppanyaki for lunch, or start your evening in an underground cabaret. This small, densely-populated area has excellent connections and lots of action.
Located just north of the Innenstadt and west of Nordend, Westend has developed a bougie reputation. People living here can expect it to be quiet and pristine, a welcome respite from the frantic energy of the financial center of the country.
Streets are tree-lined, parks are plentiful, and there is more space here than in the center of the city. The always busy convention center (messe) is also located here and adds some new faces to the moneyed permanent population of bankers and families. Expect homes, businesses, and restaurants to be upscale, although the top attraction of the Palmengarten, a botanical garden founded in 1868, is open to anyone.
Located along the Main River to the east of the Innenstadt, Ostend is a hodge-podge of architecture with a working-class background, as well as the former Jewish quarter.
Buildings range from charmless grey post-war apartments to stately 18th-century flats to modern buildings. It remains quite affordable with its busy Osthafen harbor and commercial district. The locals are relatively international, and this is the area to find those hard-to-find goods from exotic groceries to discount furniture.
The new European Central bank is a statement of the modern skyline, while the old city library harks back to its opening in 1825. It is also home to the Frankfurt Zoological Garden, the second oldest in Germany, founded in 1860.
From here, visitors can easily travel to other sections of the city or the nearby towns of Hanau, Würzburg, or Offenbach.
About six miles west of Innenstadt along the north bank of the river is Höchst. Reachable by public transport, it is easy to forget you are in a major city and feel like you've landed in a tiny dorf (village).
Officially known as Höchst am Main, it became part of Frankfurt in 1928. Its medieval, half-timbered buildings are so unique they are protected as a denkmalschutz (cultural heritage site). Along with being a pleasant place to live, there are events like the annual Höchster Schloßfest (folklore festival) and a Bolongaro Castle.