Concerts at Commerzbank Arena - Frankfurt

If you're lucky enough to be seeing Erasure and Robbie Williams this summer (July 19th 2017), or one of the many concerts hosted at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt then here are some tips on making the most of your time in the city.

Where to stay

Frankfurt is a great place, despite what people say, with lots of history, restaurants, bars and museums. Many concerts take place at the Commerzbank Arena (aka the Stadion) which is situated south of the city and served by good transport links so staying centrally in Frankfurt is a good option (take the S-bahn: S8 or S9 or tram line 21). Two convenient locations are the Bahnhofsviertal and Innenstadt. The Bahnhofsviertal is literally by the main railway station and offers a lively, slightly raw side of city life. However, the Bahnhofsviertal is not in the historic heart of Frankfurt. To be in the centre of town, near the shops and old town, you need to stay in the Innenstadt. The S8 and S9 run right through the Innenstadt, stopping at Hauptwache and Konstablerwache, so it offers very easy access to the Commerzbank Arena on concert night! This link has a map of central Frankfurt and tells you a little more about key hotel areas.

For public transport details go to the RMV web page. The local Station for the Commerzbank Arena is called "Stadion"

Commerzbank Arena, bottom centre of the map. Frankfurt city is to the north.

Commerzbank Arena, bottom centre of the map. Frankfurt city is to the north.

Things to do in Frankfurt

Firstly, consider a walking tour. Frankfurt is very historic but during World War 2 the medieval heart was destroyed and taking with it the memories of it's past. However Frankfurt is doing an amazing job of recreating some of it's old buildings and a walking tour highlights the best features. This links offers lots of other ideas for what to do during your time in Frankfurt. Another page worth checking out is the monthly update of events happening in Frankfurt.

Farmer's Markets

If you're only in Frankfurt for one day the key highlight has to be the Kleinmarkthalle. Buy some edible treats from the stalls downstairs and then take them upstairs to the Rollanderhof where you can buy a glass of wine, sit down and enjoy your purchases. If you are in Frankfurt on a Thursday or Saturday an alternative is the Konstablerwache farmer's market, and on a Friday, the Schillerstraße market. Both have plenty of places to buy snacks, offer various wine stands and of course the famous Frankfurt apple wine! What, you've never heard of apple wine? Here's a link offering some details on this famous Frankfurt beverage.

Places to eat and drink

This link lists some restaurants in the centre of Frankfurt and also recommends a few apple wine taverns, a speciality of Frankfurt, mainly south of the river in Sachsenhausen (take the S-bahn or U-bahn to Südbahnhof or tram lines 15, 16.  Alternatively the tram lines 14, 18 to Frankensteinerplatz)  

If you're staying near the main railway station, the Bahnhofsviertal, a few additional restaurants and bars are listed below:
Urban Kitchen - a general all rounder restaurant and bar.

Central Grill - a cheap and good Turkish grill restaurant.

Saravanaa Bhavan - excellent vegetarian Indian food. Dosa's are the best in Germany!

Chez Ima - trendy eaterie and bar. It gets busy so book via OpenTable.

Maxie Eisen - another trendy bar. Why pay 4€ forglass of wine when you can pay 7€!

Walon & Rosetti - nice eats and a bar that's not too noisy.


Where to stay in Frankfurt for maximum access to the sights

This is not a hotel guide, it's a location guide; which location to choose in Frankfurt to maximise being out and about and seeing all the highlights. Frankfurt is a small city with a great local transport system. However, if you want to step out of your hotel and walk into the old town, where do you stay?

There are three key areas that tourists find themselves in. First, the Bahnhofsviertal by the main railway station (Hauptbahnhof) which is close to the Messe for the trade fairs and highlighted in red on the map below. Second, the Innenstadt and old town which is the heart of the city and highlighted in blue on the map. Lastly, Old Sachsenhausen famed for its apple wine taverns and lively nightlife, and known as the Brückenviertal highlighted in purple on the map. 

The Innenstadt, old town and heart of Frankfurt

This is the place to stay if you want to step out of your hotel and explore the heart of the city (highlighted in blue on the map). The area is geographically identified by a green park that circles the city centre and the park is the path of the old medieval city walls. Any hotel in this area is central. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the heart of the city and all are accessible without the need for transportation. Walking to the river bank will take a maximum of 10 minutes and from there you have access to the south side of Frankfurt, Sachsenhausen, with its museums and apple wine taverns. At the end of the night, if you're too tired to walk, a taxi is going to cost less than 10€ to get you back to your hotel. From the airport, getting into central Frankfurt is easy using the S-bahn. The S8 and S9 trains from the airport will bring you to three stops in the city centre - Tanusanlage, Hauptwache and Konstablerwache. My one caveat for this area is the eastern end of the Zeil where the Zeil meets Breite Gasse. This very small, contained area is seedy and run down, so worth avoiding.

Frankfurt Bahnhofsviertal, Hauptbahnhof and Messe

The main railway station is 1km to the west of the city centre and it has the biggest concentration of hotels. Unfortunately it's also the red light district and struggles with a drug problem. The area is outlined in red on the map. The concentration of hotels is a legacy from when the railway station was first built and, at that time, the area was one of the nicest in the city. Post war, Frankfurt made a name for itself hosting World class trade fairs and the trade fair exhibition centre is about 500 metres north of the railway station. These days it is still the place where most tourists book a hotel room, but the reality is you will need to use local transportation to explore the nicer parts of Frankfurt unless you are a keen walker. The area around the station is slowly improving with a few trendy bars and some good Thai and Chinese eateries, not to mention the excellent Turkish restaurants on Münchener Strasse. The hostels in this area, which cater for backpackers, are well maintained, safe and security conscious. If you are booking a hotel close to the railway station then my recommendation is to book one south of Kaiserstrasse. The drugs and red light area tend to be north of this street. The added advantage of being south of the station is that you are close to the river bank, which offers a lovely walk into the old town.
Hotels very close to the Messe (trade fair centre) are also away from the problem areas near the main station. However, this area is geared towards the business traveller and doesn't have much to offer except chain restaurants and a sterile environment.

Old Sachsenhausen, the Brückenviertal

There is very little provision of hotels south of the river in Sachsenhausen (the area with a purple outline on the map.) The international youth hostel is here and very well located for enjoying the night life and offering a quick walk across the bridge into Frankfurt city centre. Being residential, Sachsenhausen is the sort of place to stay if you prefer quieter areas, with plenty of local bars and restaurants but without the city noise. A short walk over the Eisener Steg will bring you to the heart of the old town, or use the local transport system to get around.