Expats in Frankfurt

Expats in Frankfurt Guide 2024

Expats in Frankfurt: learn all the secrets in 10 minutes

Big enough to feel like a metropolitan city but small enough to feel like a village!  Honestly, it’s a contradiction that at times is difficult to comprehend, yet, the longer I live here the more it rings true.  And, if you’ve lived in London, New York, Johannesburg or Mumbai you’ll find being an Expat in Frankfurt is a piece of cake to some degree!

ABOUT FRANKFURT

Dubbed Mainhattan by the locals, Frankfurt currently has a metro area population in 2024 of 791,000, making it a fraction of the size of London, New York or Mumbai.  It is home to the ECB (European Central Bank) and is the business and financial center of Germany.  However, whilst it may be the epicenter of business in Germany it is far from being a concrete jungle.  Frankfurt boasts some gorgeous parks, forests, orchards and plenty of riverside meandering. If traffic is light you can get across the city in 30 minutes and, unlike London, a night out would never constitute a 2 hour commute home or a billion dollar taxi ride.

WHERE TO LIVE IN FRANKFURT

Living in Frankfurt: Bornheim

One of the biggest decisions when moving to a new country or city is ‘where to live’.  And let’s face it, it’s never an easy decision with all the factors that one needs to take into account!  However, Frankfurt has a variety of areas each with its own flavour, pros and cons.  Popular areas to live in Frankfurt within the Expat community include:

  • Westend,
  • Nordend,
  • Bockenheim,
  • Bornheim,
  • Sachsenhausen,
  • Ostend
  • Innenstadt

Now take for instance Westend, it’s very chic, close to the city and beautifully green however all this comes at a substantial price.  Next consider Sachsenhausen, it has character in droves,  plenty to indulge one’s cultural curiosities but it’s across the river and considered by Frankfurt standards to be ‘miles away’.  For more affordable living it’s worth considering areas like Bockenheim and Ostend.

My top tip for Expats in Frankfurt deciding where to live is to hit the pavement, walk it’s streets and eat and drink in it’s restaurants and cafes.

CAFE CULTURE IS EXPLODING IN THE CITY

Live in Frankfurt

Coffee culture is exploding in Frankfurt with new speciality coffee shops popping up almost daily.  And this is good news if you anything like me!   Because I can’t even begin to consider making any big life decisions until I find my regular go to caffeine stop!  Some of our favourites include Bohnerie (Nordend), Dreikaffee (Altstadt) and Oheim (Sachsenhausen).

EXPATS IN FRANKFURT, TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN GERMANY

As Expats in Frankfurt this is perhaps one of the biggest oversights.  I too completely underestimated learning the language before arriving.  I’ve moved country and continents on numerous occasions and never found it as difficult to acclimate as I did when moving from India to Germany.  3rd world to 1st world?  Piece of cake right?!  Hmmmm not so much.  So, I would highly recommend either beginning to learn German before you arrive or enrolling in an Intensive course as soon as you arrive.  Trust me, the longer you postpone it the more ‘difficult’ it is to find the time.  A fun and centrally located language school to consider is Speakeasy Language School.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN FRANKFURT

Expats in Frankfurt: public transportation in Frankfurt

Well on the whole Frankfurt is pretty well connected with a choice of buses, trams, trains (S-Bahn), underground (U-Bahn) and taxi’s to choose from.  However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is always easy to navigate.  My top tip before heading out on public transport is to really review your trip and understand how you get to where you’re going!  The RMV app does a pretty good job of mapping it all out for you and easily allows you to buy tickets directly on your phone.  However,  I’ve been lost more times than I can count and very rarely have I found someone who was able to help me in English. Hence the reason for my eagerly encouraging you to take the time to learn German.

THINGS TO DO FOR EXPATS IN FRANKFURT

Live in Frankfurt: parcs

For Expats in Frankfurt there is no shortage of things to do.  You really just need to know where to look.  Because as mentioned previously Frankfurt is a relatively small city.  Meaning that most things are easily within reach with minimal effort and time.  Like with each neighbourhood having its own flavour and rhythm so too does the entertainment.

Clubs and Bars

Bahnhofsviertel is often frightening for many, with its reputation for  being the red light district and junky epicentre.  However, if you are one for adventure there are some absolutely fabulous bars and restaurants that you shouldn’t miss.  Yaldy, The Kinley Bar (hellooo amazing cocktails!) and Maxie Eisen are some to definitely check out. High end clubs will be found in the inner city Gibson Club and Chinaski are two very popular venues.  Head east to Bornheim and Bergerstrasse and you’ll find plenty of street side eating and a more relaxed vibe.  Now if you head even further east you find bigger outdoor spaces but no less choice of party and eating out options!  For example Blaues Wasser (open only in summer) and Danzig am Platz!

Museums

 

Expats Frankfurt: Altstadt

If you head South of the river to Sachsenhausen you’ll find the Museumsufer.  Meander along following the Maine River and you will have no shortage of gorgeous museums and galleries to feed your cultural craving.  Some of our favourites include The Städel, Museum Angewandte Kunst and Liebieghaus.  It is also here that you will find many of the famous Apfelwein taverns.

Another area littered with museums and cultural experiences is the Altstadt.  Without a doubt The Schirn and Museum für Moderne Kunst are worth a visit.

Restaurants

Wonderful restaurants can be found all around the city!  Some to get you started are:

  • Oben Restaurant and Skybar (Mediterranean – Westend)
  • Moriki (Sushi – Innerstadt)
  • Yaldy (Seasonal – Bahnhofsviertel)
  • Berger Street Food (Sushi – Bergerstrasse)
  • Papanova (Italian – Nordend)
  • Oosten (Ostend)
  • Gerbermuhle (German – South of the River)

Altstadt (Old City)

No stay in Frankfurt is complete without a trip to Frankfurt Altstadt, Römer.  The old city has been beautifully renovated and offers visitors an opportunity to step back in time. It contains many of Frankfurt’s important sites, the Römerberg plaza (a definite must see) along with Römer city hall and Frankfurt Cathedral (Kaiserdom St Bartholomaus).

Frankfurt Specialities

Finally, a stay in Frankfurt is not complete without a taste of the famous  Grüne Soße, Apfelwein (apple wine) and Frankfurter sausages.  Be sure to hop on the Ebbelwei Express, it’s both a great way to taste the famous Apfelwein and experience the city!

Living in Frankfurt

Undoubtedly there is plenty to see and do for Expats in Frankfurt.  So all that’s left to do is pick up your keys, head out the door and explore the city!  Whether you choose to laze in one of the many gorgeous parks, drink a coffee in one of its many coffee shops or discover what each area has to offer by dining in its restaurants there is no shortage of things to do in Frankfurt city.  HAPPY EXPLORING!

Checkout Janice Henry number 1 guide about Frankfurt: The Frankfurt Edit

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