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West Innenstadt Sights (Self Guided), Frankfurt

The Innenstadt (Inner city) is the central city district of Frankfurt am Main. Germany's most expensive shopping streets and real estate are found within Frankfurt's Innenstadt. It is home to The Zeil - Frankfurt's most famous street, beautiful churches and modern skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, night clubs, and much more. Take this tour to experience the history and glamor of today's Frankfurt.
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West Innenstadt Sights Map

Guide Name: West Innenstadt Sights
Guide Location: Germany » Frankfurt (See other walking tours in Frankfurt)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: helenp
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Zeil
  • Hauptwache
  • Saint Catherine's (Katharinenkirche)
  • Cafe Karin
  • Goethe-Haus
  • Oper Frankfurt (Opera and Play House)
  • Eurotower
  • Commerzbank Tower
  • Main Tower
  • Jazzkeller
  • Fressgass (Große Bockenheimer Straße)
  • Old Opera House (Alte Oper)

1) Zeil (must see)

Once the center for large scale cattle trading, this old and busy shopping lane extends from the Konstablerwache Plaza to the Hauptwache Plaza in Frankfurt. The Zeil is a shoppers’ paradise where visitors with varied budgets can find a range of products from mid-priced supermarket fare to high-end brands.

The Zeil has been Frankfurt’s retail hub since the 14th century. The name Zeil comes from the German 'Zeile' that means row. At first, it meant a row of residential houses that later became the city’s popular marketplace. Before World War II the street had many grand buildings that were destroyed and subsequently restored.

Among the three major buildings located on the Zeil is the Zeilgalerie, a ten-storey shopping center with a unique spiral design (there are many music and electronic stores and restaurants in the building). Modern architecture and baroque are blended in another shopping center called the PalaisQuartier, which has a spectacular vortex-like glass façade, glass columns and irregularly shaped ramps. Finally – the 12-storey Beehive House, a commercial and office building which is also one of the Frankfurt’s early skyscrapers – is also located on the Zeil.

Visitors will enjoy the unique shopping experience offered by the shops at the Zeil. Products available include luxury items, designer brands, handicrafts, clothes designed by young Frankfurt designers, outlets of all major German retail chains and produce from the Frankfurt area.

Why You Should Visit:
Could be referred to as an "outdoor shopping mall", but it is so much more than that; it's the perfect place to acclimate to Europe if you arrive in Frankfurt, fun to shop, eat and explore while admiring its architecture. You don't need to worry about cars to cross the street – that's a bonus.
Sight description based on wikipedia

2) Hauptwache (must see)

The Hauptwache building lies at one end of the Zeil and adds old-world architectural charm to this busy part of Frankfurt. The Haauptwache square on which the building stands is surrounded by high rise modern buildings with the exception of the Hauptwache. The structure lies above the suburban train station and is a major intersection for the S Bahn and U Bahn trains.

The Hauptwache was designed by German master builder, Johann Samhammer. The building has a red sandstone baroque style exterior and a hipped Gothic style triangular roof with three chimneys. The original purpose of the structure when it was built in 1729 was to serve as a prison and military headquarters. At the time Frankfurt was an independent city-state. The Hauptwache played its role in Frankfurt’s history when it was stormed by student activists in a failed attempt at freeing political prisoners in 1733 called the Frankfurter Wachenstrum. The building then served as a police station. In 1904 it became a cafe that serves diners till today. Visitors, commuters and shoppers can enjoy a light refreshing meal at the Hauptwache with its quaint ambiance reminiscent of a momentous past.

If the weather permits, sit down and have a glass of beer, glühwein, or Frankfurter apple wine outside the Hauptwache.
If you're even luckier, there will be an apple wine festival when you arrive; then you could mingle with local professionals, wine-lovers and travelers alike.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Catherine's (Katharinenkirche)

3) Saint Catherine's (Katharinenkirche)

The Katherinenkirche, located near the busy Hauptwache Plaza in Frankfurt is the city’s largest Lutheran Church. The present structure was constructed between 1678 and 1681.

The Katherinekirche was built at the site of a vestal cloister and hospital run by the Teutonic Knights. Later a small parish church existed at the location and gained importance in history because in 1522, it became the setting of the first protestant sermon in Frankfurt. The church was consecrated in 1681 and dedicated to the martyred Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The building is a single vessel hall church with a tower at the side and ornamental gateways. The church was also destroyed like other well known buildings during the bombings of 1944. The parishioners and citizens of Frankfurt rebuilt the structure to resemble the original exterior although with a simple interior in 1954.

Among the well known parishioners who worshiped at Ketherinenkirche was the Goethe family and Wolfgang von Goethe was confirmed here. He is known to have spent hours at the library reading Greek literature and at the age of 22 was witness to the beheading of child murderer Susanna Margaretha Brand. Goethe described the incident in his famous work, ‘Faust’.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cafe Karin

4) Cafe Karin

Cafe Karin is located in Frankfurt's city center, directly across from the main entrance of Goethehouse. The beautiful aspect of Cafe Karin is that you can take as much marmalade as you wish for one small charge. Children will absolutely love Cafe Karin.

5) Goethe-Haus (must see)

Grosser Hirschgraben 23 in Frankfurt is the location of the house where writer philosopher Wolfgang Von Goethe was born and raised. The house was destroyed during the 2nd World War but was reconstructed by the citizens with loving care and restored to its 17th-century splendor in memory of Frankfurt’s best-known son.

Goethe house was opened to the public in 1863 and has remained a shrine for Goethe enthusiasts from all over the world. The house reflects the lifestyle enjoyed by affluent 17th century Germans. It is decorated with different art forms like baroque, neoclassical and rococo. Among the rooms painstakingly restored after the war are the library where Wolfgang Goethe’s father worked and looked out for the return of his son and the portrayal of an authentic 17th century German Kitchen. The puppet theater that Goethe treasured enough to make the focal point of his novel 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship' is also on view. One of the treasures in the house is a large classic clock on the 2nd floor that tells the time, date, lunar and solar year. The building houses Goethe’s father’s vast collection of art including paintings by well known Frankfurt artists. The adjacent Frankfurter Goethe Museum contains books, works of art and manuscripts all related in some way to Goethe.

Goethe House is open through the week and is free for children under 6 years of age. Visitors can request the help of volunteers to understand the significance of every Goethe related object on display in the building.

Why You Should Visit:
More than you'd normally expect; apart from the house itself (completely nice to see), you can visit a gallery (up the staircase) that is no smaller than some art museums you'd want to pay much to visit. Great value!

Good to either take the audio guide or make sure to grab a pamphlet at the entrance with the relevant language.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am–6pm; Sun: 10am–5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Oper Frankfurt (Opera and Play House)

6) Oper Frankfurt (Opera and Play House) (must see)

The Oper Frankfurt (Frankfurt Opera) is one of the leading opera houses in Europe and voted best "Opera house of the year" several times since 2003. Its orchestra is the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester. The present opera- and playhouse was built after World War II because the historical building was destroyed. The former opera house was reconstructed as the Alte Oper which serves as a concert hall.

Many famous singers started their career with Oper Frankfurt – including Franz Völker, Edda Moser, Cheryl Studer, and Diana Damrau – and many established artists have been engaged there in recent seasons including Christian Gerhaher, Piotr Beczała, and Jan-Hendrik Rootering.

Select your performance carefully so it includes English sur-titles (if needed) and try to avoid seats "on the sides" – pay a little more for better seats.
Sight description based on wikipedia

7) Eurotower

The Eurotower lies in the financial district of Frankfurt. The concrete tower with a light grey non bearing aluminum and glass facade, is 148 meters tall with 40 floors. Besides being of great significance in the financial sphere of Frankfurt, the structure contributes a unique visual aspect to the skyline of the city.

The Eurotower was designed by architect Richard Heil and the construction period was between 1971 and 1977. At first the tower was occupied by the Bank für Gemeinwirtschaft or the Bank for Social Economy. Later the European Monetary Institute had their offices in the building. On the 2nd June 1998, the European Central Bank became its main tenants. The tower has 78,000 meters of office space and is the eleventh tallest tower in Frankfurt.

The first Euro was made within the Eurotower and a symbol of the Euro can be seen in front of the building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Commerzbank Tower

8) Commerzbank Tower (must see)

Located adjacent to the old offices of Commerzbank in Frankfurt, the Commerzbank Tower was the tallest building in Europe until 2003, as well as the first successful skyscraper with an eco-friendly design. The tower made of steel has 56 floors, gardens, and a design to let in maximum fresh air and natural lighting into the offices within the high-rise structure.

The Commerzbank Tower was designed in the early 1990s by the English architectural firm, Norman Foster and partners. The building was the first in Germany to be constructed completely with steel. The elevators were placed at the four corners of the tower to make space for green gardens in the middle of the building. The gardens are in fact a ventilation system and make up the outer shell of the facade of the building where natural light and fresh air reaches the interior glass shell of the building. The windows of the offices can open and close when required.

The lobby has three large lifelike human sculptures by American sculptor J Seward Johnson. At night the building is illuminated with changing golden colors designed by artist Thomas Emde. The tower does not have an observation deck but visitors are welcome to view the plaza level and the magnificent atrium gardens.

Why You Should Visit:
Great landmark for navigating Frankfurt! The modern architecture is impressive and the tower is acknowledged by every person walking in the city.
Main Tower

9) Main Tower (must see)

Named after the River Main, the Main Tower is the 4th tallest building in Frankfurt and all of Germany. The tower is the only skyscraper open for public view in the city. The design is of two connected towers, one cubical with a glass facade and the other circular clad with blue colored glass.

Construction of the Main Tower began in 1996 and was completed in 1999. The tower has 55 floors with functioning windows making it an eco-friendly modern high rise structure. The Tower was planned by the Hamburg based Schweiger and partners and the design won the IMMOBILIEN award 2001 at the CIMMIT congress. The building has the offices of German Banks and several international banks making it the financial center of Frankfurt. The structure also houses a television and radio station.

There is an observation deck at the tower's highest floor and visitors are encouraged to take a map to view Frankfurt’s many landmarks from the top. One floor below is a restaurant and bar with large windows offering panoramic 360-degree views of the city. On clear days visitors to the deck can see as far as the Mainz, Wiesbaden, Hanau, and Taunus Mountains.

Why You Should Visit:
There are a few elevated places in Frankfurt which provide amazing views of the city, but the Main Tower has to be the tallest and the best amongst them.
Unlike some other observation decks, the top of the Main Tower is completely open other than a low railing. There's no glass between you and the sky.

Go before sunset to see Frankfurt in daylight and 20 minutes later in the light of a big city.
Also, please please wrap up if going during the colder months.

Opening Hours:
[Foyer: Art exhibition] Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm
[Observation deck: Summer] Sun-Thu: 10am-9pm; Fri, Sat: 10am-11pm
[Observation deck: Winter] Sun-Thu: 10am-7pm; 10am-9pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

10) Jazzkeller

Jazzkeller is phenomenal place for live jazz. Throughout the years, visitors have enjoyed some of the most underground jazz bands in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. Archie Shepp, Flora Purim, Paquito D’Rivera, Ray Brown, Lou Donaldson, and Clark Terry have all performed at Jazzkeller.
Fressgass (Große Bockenheimer Straße)

11) Fressgass (Große Bockenheimer Straße)

Freßgass (literally, "Grazing Street") is an upmarket shopping street in the city centre of Frankfurt, Germany, located in the district of Innenstadt and within the central business district known as the Bankenviertel. It is commonly regarded as Frankfurt's culinary main street. The street is a broad pedestrian zone, and located between Opernplatz (Opera Square) with the Alte Oper and the Börsenstraße (Stock Exchange Street) with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The street is also the direct continuation (in the western direction) of the Zeil, and is a parallel street of Goethestraße, one of Germany's busiest luxury shopping streets. Freßgass was originally an unofficial name, adopted around 1900 by its local population, 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 street serving the bourgeoisie of the Westend. Today the Freßgass is famous as the street where the bankers from the Bankenviertel meet for lunch. In 1977, the name Freßgass became an official name for the streets Kalbächer Gasse and Große Bockenheimer Straße. Since 1977, the Rheingau Wine Festival takes place annually during the late summer in Freßgass, showcasing wineries from Rheingau and Rheinhessen.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old Opera House (Alte Oper)

12) Old Opera House (Alte Oper) (must see)

Overlooking a beautiful plaza with a cascading fountain is this Opera House with a Renaissance facade. It is also called Alte Oper, or "the Old Opera House" as it was erected on the site of an earlier building that existed from 1880 to 1944.

The first Frankfurt Opera House, designed by Berlin-based architect, Richard Lucae was opened in 1880. The guest of honor at the opening was Kaiser Wilhelm I. The architectural style had the Renaissance grandeur required of an Opera House that royals frequented. During World War II, the building was completely destroyed. After years of deliberation by the citizens of Frankfurt, a new structure was erected similar in design to the old one. The lobby and facade have a Renaissance architectural style while the rest of the building is a multipurpose modern complex with banquet halls, concert halls, and a congress center. The Opera House serves as a cultural center and as a meeting hall for Frankfurt's citizens.

Visitors can enjoy concerts of classical and popular music at the Alte Oper. The building is particularly beautiful when lighted up at night with magnificent statues of Goethe and Mozart looking down on the plaza below.

Why You Should Visit:
Great location to spend time in Frankfurt – beautifully restored theatre in a beautifully designed square.

Both the café and the restaurant are generally busy in the evening, so try and reserve a spot in advance.
During a nice warm day, try and grab a seat outside, enjoy a cup of coffee/glass of wine and people watch.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-6:30pm; Sat: 10am-2pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Frankfurt, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Frankfurt

Create Your Own Walk in Frankfurt

Creating your own self-guided walk in Frankfurt is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Frankfurt's Parks

Frankfurt's Parks

Frankfurt is home to an amazing diversity of parks, like a park with an old residential baroque castle; a park with a Chinese garden; a park built on-top a previous airport; a park that once accommodated guests like Napoleon and Emperor Franz Joseph.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Old Town Walk

Old Town Walk

Frankfurt’s downtown, which is also the city's “Old Town”, is an ideal area to discover on foot. Though it was partially destroyed during World War II, it was nearly fully reconstructed in the years since, saving many of the original buildings. After you visit Old Town Frankfurt, you will walk away with a new appreciation of old churches, museums, squares, and shops.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
North - East Leisure Tour

North - East Leisure Tour

Frankfurt is a city young at heart, it has a very active and outgoing population. Take this tour of the city's North - East districts - Bornheim, Nordend Ost and Ostend - and visit Frankfurt's Zoological Garden and the Bethmannpark, as well as enjoy a cultural, shopping and leisure walk all in one.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Museum Embankment Walk

Museum Embankment Walk

Frankfurt is a city rich in both history and museums which celebrate it. The embankment to the south of the Main River is actually called Museumsufer or Museum Embankment because of the large concentration of museums. You will find both permanent and temporary exhibitions, but regardless of where you visit, few rarely regret the time spent inside a museum or two in Frankfurt.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
East Innenstadt Sights

East Innenstadt Sights

The Innenstadt (Inner city) is the central city district of Frankfurt am Main and is home to Germany's most expensive shopping streets and real estate. It is home to The Zeil - Frankfurt's most famous street, beautiful churches and modern skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, night clubs, and much more. Take this tour to experience the history and glamor of today's Frankfurt.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Downtown Churches of Frankfurt

Downtown Churches of Frankfurt

Frankfurt is home to a wide range of religious sites and places of worship. Religious or not, everyone is likely to be impressed by the huge cathedrals, small chapels and humble cloisters this city offers. We invite you to take this walking tour of Frankfurt's downtown and visit some of the most formidable churches in town.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles

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