Shopping Streets, Frankfurt

Shopping Streets (Self Guided), Frankfurt

Frankfurt may well be an international business center in the first place, but not everything, by far, revolves here around finance. The city can also provide a top shopping experience for those seeking to invest in international and best German designer merchandise.

"Frankfurt is a shopping paradise - if you're a bird!" they say. This is a humorous way of saying that Frankfurt is expensive, especially when it comes to shopping, and may not be suitable for those on a tight budget. But then again, "Frankfurt's shopping is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get." - This joking twist on a famous line from the Forrest Gump movie suggests that shopping in Frankfurt can be unpredictable and surprising, with a range of unique and unexpected finds.

The main shopping district of Frankfurt is the Zeil, a pedestrianized street running through the city center. Here you will find an abundance of department stores, fashion boutiques, and souvenir outlets. Some of the most popular names on the street include Galeria Kaufhof, Zara, and H&M.

If you're looking for luxury shopping, head to Goethestraße, home to high-end designer brands like Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. This neighborhood is known for its exclusive retailers and is a popular destination for those looking to splurge on designer goods.

Another popular destination is Neue Kräme. It gets particularly charming during the winter, lined with Christmas markets that offer a wide range of traditional holiday items, such as ornaments, handmade gifts, and seasonal foods and drinks.

Speaking of food, a popular proverb "I went to Frankfurt for shopping and came back with a sausage" offers a play on words regarding the renowned "Frankfurter" sausage, which is the most common snack to buy when out shopping.

While these sayings are meant to be humorous and light-hearted, they also reflect some of the quirks and unique aspects of shopping in Frankfurt. If you come for a leisurely shopping spree or just wish to explore the most popular and sophisticated shopping locations in the city, albeit out of sheer curiosity, take this self-guided walk and have a good time!
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Shopping Streets Map

Guide Name: Shopping Streets
Guide Location: Germany » Frankfurt (See other walking tours in Frankfurt)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Author: helenp
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Neue Kräme
  • Tongesgasse
  • Zeil (Shopping Lane)
  • Goethestrasse (Goethe Street)
  • Fressgass (Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse)
  • Schillerstrasse
Neue Kräme

1) Neue Kräme

Steeped in history, Neue Kräme is one of the main shopping streets in the densely built-up Old Town of Frankfurt. While it is home to some well-known specialty stores, unlike other thoroughfares in the city, the proportion of chain stores here is quite low. The name of the street indicates that, back in Medieval times, it was used as a marketplace (fairground) for selling crockery, glassware, and other household items. The Gothic hall on the first floor of the Römer Town Hall served as the main exhibition space, while the nearby Nürnberger Hof (“Nuremberg Court”) and Steinerne Haus (“Stone House”) served as quarters for the merchants.

On March 22, 1944, an Allied air bombing almost completely destroyed the Old Town. In Neue Kräme, however, some of the more massive commercial buildings survived the attack. After the war, the city administration launched a large-scale reconstruction according to the principles of urban modernism. The destroyed street block between Paulsplatz and Neuer Kräme, the location of the old stock exchange, was not rebuilt, so, today, Neue Kräme curbs the east side of the enlarged Paulsplatz.

In summer, part of the square is occupied by street cafes. In winter, the Frankfurt Christmas market stretches along the entire length of Neuer Kräme, from Römerberg via Paulsplatz to Liebfrauenberg. As a link between the Schnellbahn junction at the Hauptwache and the tourist attractions of the Old Town, Neue Kräme plays an important role in inner-city pedestrian traffic. Being a pedestrian zone since 1968, it connects, north to south, two major city squares – Liebfrauenberg and Römerberg, reaching all the way down, via Fahrtor, to the Main River.

2) Tongesgasse

Another major shopping street in Frankfurt's Old Town, Töngesgasse is not a designated pedestrian zone and, therefore, has less pedestrian traffic than the prime locations, like the Zeil or Neue Kräme. The street runs south, from Liebfrauenberg to Fahrgasse, parallel to the Zeil. In contrast to the Zeil, though, the Töngesgasse retailers are not part of the regional chains but are rather privately-owned specialty stores. Some of them have been in place for more than 100 years, like the W. Wächtershäuser haberdashery shop – open since 1822, the Hensler optician's shop – since 1864, the Andreas seed shop – since 1868, the Gabler leather shop – since 1877, or the Dotzert knife and weapon shop – since 1879. The local Café Mozart is one of the most famous coffee houses in the city. An ideal place to spend an afternoon.

The street was built after the Hohenstaufen city expansion in the 12th century. In 1236, the Antonine monks founded a farm in the area, to which later was added a church, the Antoniterkloster. The emerged monastery gave its name to the street (Antonius = Tönges). The monastery itself, hardly used since the Reformation, was demolished in 1803. In its place, the city architect Johann Georg Christian Hess put a number of multi-storey classicist apartment buildings in 1810.

In March 1944, almost the entire Old Town of Frankfurt, including Töngesgasse, was destroyed by Allied air raids. Among those that survived were only the Baroque rear building and the Renaissance-period octagonal stair tower of the Rosenberg house, built circa 1600, known as Schönborner Hof.

After the war, the street was rebuilt, and the urban layout and the adjacent road network changed completely. Today, local retailers are united in the Töngesgasse interest group. Each year in August, the group organizes a street festival, called the Antoniterfest.
Zeil (Shopping Lane)

3) Zeil (Shopping Lane)

Once the center of a large cattle trade in Frankfurt, this busy lane has been one of the most famous shopping venues in Germany since the end of the 19th century. The Zeil is a shoppers’ paradise where visitors with varied budgets can find a range of products suiting their pockets, from mid-priced supermarket fare to high-end merchandise. Luxury goods, designer brands, handicrafts, clothes by young Frankfurt designers, and more are found here in rich supply. There are outlets of all the major German retail chains, plus those offering products from the Frankfurt area.

The name Zeil dates back to the 14th century, and is derived from the German word Zeile, which means "row". Originally, it referred to a row of houses on the eastern end of the north side and was not extended to the entire street until later.

Prior to World War II, the Zeil hosted an array of grand buildings, most of which were destroyed and never rebuilt. Its western part, between two large plazas – Hauptwache in the west and Konstablerwache in the east, is now a pedestrian zone. These plazas serve as major intersections for underground trains, trams, and buses. Following a major renovation in 2008-2009, the Zeil pedestrian zone was extended to the west, as far as the Börsenstrasse.

The three edifices dominating the Zeil today include the Zeilgalerie, a 10-storey shopping center with a unique spiral design, home to many music- and electronic stores and restaurants. Another grand is a shopping center, called the Palais Quartier, a blend of Modern and Baroque architecture; it has a spectacular vortex-like glass façade, glass columns, and irregularly shaped ramps. And finally, the 12-storey Beehive House, a commercial and office building, which is also one of Frankfurt’s earliest skyscrapers.

Why You Should Visit:
A unique shopping experience in what could be referred to as an "outdoor shopping mall"; a perfect place to acclimate to Europe if you arrive in Frankfurt – fun to shop, eat and explore, while admiring the architecture. As a bonus, you don't need to worry about cars while crossing the street either.
Goethestrasse (Goethe Street)

4) Goethestrasse (Goethe Street)

There aren't that many cities out there where most of the world’s finest luxury labels have taken up residence in a single street. Goethestrasse (Goethe Street) is one such avenue, where even the most discerning shoppers can find everything they want, all within a few steps, making it one of the most famous and the third busiest shopping lane in Germany.

Nicknamed Luxusgasse (‘luxury lane’) or Frankfurt's Fifth Avenue, this tree-lined street provides visitors with almost 300 meters of temptation and is named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German writer and statesman. Built between 1892 and 1894, it has since survived more than one chapter of Germany’s turbulent history and is now home to a mix of classical, modernist, and contemporary buildings that play host to some of the world’s biggest brands and most revered labels.

Goethestrasse features the latest collections of top international designers, such as Armani, Bally, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Hugo Boss, Jil Sander, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp, Jimmy Choo, Montblanc, Patek Philippe, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany & Co., Tumi, Versace, and Vertu. Apart from the designer clothing, there are also high-end boutiques offering selected jewelry from exclusive brands, like Cartier and Tiffany. In addition, this shopping street also caters to those seeking art, household items, and eyewear.
Fressgass (Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse)

5) Fressgass (Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse)

Fressgass (literally, "Grazing Street") is an upmarket shopping street in the heart of Frankfurt, shared between the district of Innenstadt and the central business area, known as Bankenviertel. It is commonly regarded as Frankfurt's culinary main street. Fressgass has a broad pedestrian zone, located between Opernplatz (Opera Square – home to the Alte Oper) and Börsenstrasse (Stock Exchange Street) housing the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The street is also the direct continuation (in the western direction) of the Zeil and runs parallel to Goethestrasse, one of Germany's busiest luxury shopping lanes.

Fressgass was originally an unofficial name, adopted around 1900 by the locals for the streets Kalbächer Gasse and Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse because of their many high-end food shops, bakeries, and butcheries, making it the most famous food shopping destination serving the bourgeoisie of the Westend. Today, Fressgass is famous as the area where bankers from the Bankenviertel meet for lunch. In 1977, the word Fressgass became an official name for the streets Kalbächer Gasse and Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse. Since 1977, the Rheingau Wine Festival takes place here annually during late summer, showcasing wineries from Rheingau and Rheinhessen.

6) Schillerstrasse

Home to nearly 40 shops and several dining facilities, Schillerstrasse is, nonetheless, one of the shortest shopping streets in Frankfurt. Its main attraction is the weekly market, called Schillermarkt, held each Friday, from 9 am to 6:30 pm.

The market sits in the pedestrian lane near the Börse (Frankfurt Stock Exchange), and is not too big – some 40 or so stalls and booths only to nose around. There is a wealth of fresh produce to be found, though, as farmers from all over the north of Germany bring their meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables, and even handicrafts here, thus offering a unique and often tastier alternative to the commonplace fare available at supermarkets. Naturally, such an alternative comes at a price.

The market is particularly popular with those whose offices are close to Schillerstrasse; there is no shortage of bankers and other well-dressed folk mingling here during the lunch break or after work seeking to grab some delicious street food – a glass of wine, maybe, with a hearty farmer's sausage or some other drinks or snacks.

The overall relaxed vibe of the market, combined with a mix of colorful characters and the nice buildings of the quaint district, makes it a nice place for a walk and to see the way locals live. The adjacent Börsenplatz, with its bear and bull statues, also provides a great selfie opportunity and is definitely well worth checking out.

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