October 8, 2010 / 8:36 AM / in 7 years

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Frankfurt

<p>Skyline is seen from the top of the Frankfurt cathedral September 12, 2010. The clock tower of the cathedral was open for the first time at an open house day after years of renovation. REUTERS/Wiebke Singer</p>

FRANKFURT (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to spend in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital?

The city, dubbed Mainhattan after the skyscrapers dominating the skyline and the river Main flowing through its center, offers history and culture in addition to modern monuments to finance.

Compact Frankfurt is ideal for an amble or a bicycle ride to appreciate its low-key lifestyle.

Reuters correspondents help you get the most out of a stay.

FRIDAY

6 p.m. Start your early evening stroll through the city at the Opera square.

The Alte Oper was inaugurated by Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany in 1880, destroyed in 1944 and only reopened to the public in 1981. It no longer houses an opera company but regularly hosts concerts (see www.alteoper.de). In winter, an ice rink in front of the opera is always fun to visit.

From here you can see the latest addition to Frankfurt skyline, the 170-meter OpernTurm designed by Christoph Maeckler, across the street.

Walk along Fressgasse which leads from Opernplatz and Boersenstrasse. Take a break and have an aperitif in one of the many restaurants and bars or browse through the gourmet food shops. If you visit in June, check out the annual Fressgass’ festival, with its barrels of Rheingau wine.

7:30 p.m. In summer, don’t miss the Long Island Summer Lounge -- with the city lacking a beach, they built one on the roof of a parking garage (www.longislandlounge.de). This is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink and allows you to admire Frankfurt skyline at sunset.

8 p.m. For dinner, venture out to Gerbermuehle on the banks of the river Main. If the weather is warm, enjoy the outdoor terrace, one of the most beautiful spots in Frankfurt. Cuisine varies from continental European to local specialties -- don’t miss the schnitzel with roast potatoes and cranberries.

Or, in the city center, try Heimat on Berliner Strasse 70, a contemporary restaurant offering local cooking.

10:30 p.m. If you feel like painting the town red, Cocoon Club is one of the most high-profile Techno, House and Electro clubs in Frankfurt.

SATURDAY

10 a.m. Start the day with a sightseeing tour on a red double-decker bus.

11 a.m. Finish the tour at the Roemer, Frankfurt’s city hall in the historic old town center where half-timbered houses, destroyed in World War Two, have been rebuilt. The Roemer itself houses the office where Frankfurters tie the knot.

From late November until December 22 the Frankfurt Christmas Market takes place on the Roemerberg, a tradition dating from 14th century. It includes tonnes of sausage, gingerbread and mulled wine. A guided tour takes you on the rooftop balustrade of St. Nicholas Church if a merry-go-round ride is not enough.

If you can, squeeze in a quick visit to St. Leonhard’s Church of the international English-speaking Catholic Parish in Alte Mainzer Gasse -- a delightful church with many of the furnishings dating back to the 1800s.

12 noon You cannot leave Frankfurt without having been to Kleinmarkthalle, the food hall for locals. Those keen on trying some German sausage should make a beeline to the stand of Ilse Schreiber, a permanent fixture in the building since 1979. You cannot miss her little stall -- there is always a queue!.

1 p.m. While you are in the area, you may wish to spend some time on Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street, or on Goethestrasse, dotted with luxury boutiques.

3 p.m. Why not stop for a snack at Brot und seine Freunde (Bread and its friends) for homemade German bread as well as excellent cakes and coffee.

5 p.m. To round off your city tour, walk to Maintower and enjoy the view from the observation platform some 100 meters above the streets. The bar and restaurant opens at 5:30 p.m. and is a good place for a pre-dinner drink.

6:30 p.m. Try dinner at Jasper‘s, a popular French restaurant hidden away in a backyard in Sachsenhausen.

8 p.m. Hop in a cab to attend a concert at the Schauspielhaus or a play at the English Theater which brings productions from Broadway and London’s West End to Frankfurt.

10:30 p.m. Nightcap? Have a drink at the Brasserie & Wine Bar of the Flemings Hotel at Eschenheimer Tor. Take the doorless Paternoster lift up there!

SUNDAY

9:30 a.m. Join the locals for breakfast at Cafe Karin at Grosser Hirschgraben near Hauptwache, a prime spot for reading the paper and watching the crowds. The service is fantastic and breakfast comes at very reasonable prices.

10:30 a.m. Just across the road is one of the best museums in Frankfurt, the Goethe House, an absolute must. This is the childhood home of the author of “Faust.” It was built in typical 18th-century bourgeois style and is decorated with period furniture and paintings. Don’t miss the antique grandfather clock on the second floor and the family library.

12 noon. Head toward the Palmengarten, botanical garden dating back to 1868, set in the magnificent West End, the former Jewish quarter of Frankfurt with numerous villas and lovely quiet streets.

While there, try the pastry at Cafe Siesmayer, one of the best places in the city.

1:30 p.m. Head back to the Museumsufer, Frankfurt’s unique boulevard of museums that offers cultural delicacies ranging from applied arts and architecture to film, fine arts, Jewish history, antique sculptures and more. One of the most prominent museums is the Staedel, which includes work from Botticelli, Duerer, Picasso and Matisse.

3 p.m. Make your way back into the old town to visit the Museum Judengasse (Museum Jewish Street) at the Boerneplatz, five minutes walk behind the Dome. The museum focuses on Jewish life in Frankfurt. If you leave your ID at the reception desk, you will receive the key to the attached cemetery (closed on the Sabbath). Visit the graves of the most prominent permanent residents, including Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the founder of the Rothschild family international banking dynasty.

4 p.m. To round off your visit, try a glass of local apple wine, a typical drink in Frankfurt which is served with pretzels.

Editing by Steve Addison

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