For expatriates moving to the Rhein-Main region it is becoming increasingly popular once again to live in Frankfurt. If you value convenience, a short commute to work and a favorite pub around the corner, then Frankfurt is the right choice. The most popular residential areas are Westend, the Diplomatenviertel, the Holzhausenviertel, parts of Sachsenhausen and the Dichterviertel. There are, however, other areas that are worth considering, such as Bornheim and Bockenheim. These areas are less posh, but are unique in character and offer good value for money. If you consider moving to Frankfurt, you will likely have to opt for an apartment rather than a house.
Frankfurt, the largest city in the Rhein-Main region, is a melting pot of cultures, languages and lifestyles. The imposing skyline strikes newcomers first. Frankfurt's high-rise buildings conjure up images of Manhattan, leading locals to sometimes refer to the city as "Mainhattan." The modern skyline is made up of several high-rise buildings that are more than 200 meters high, including one of Europe's tallest skyscraper, the 259-meter Commerzbank Tower. But despite the city's impressive glass facades, its hectic airport and busy main railway station, Frankfurt's population of 710,000 makes it one of the smallest European metropolitan cities.
Frankfurt is Germany's most cosmopolitan city, with foreigners making up more than one-quarter of the population, meaning that the city is open-minded, tolerant and diverse. Frankfurt is an international city where newcomers settle down quickly and feel at home: people from around 180 different countries live together here. It's also Germany's number one city for international professionals - with 144 foreign banks, 127 international airlines, 85 foreign consulates and 59 foreign chambers of commerce or trade missions. More than 3,000 foreign companies are located in the Frankfurt area. And as headquarters for the European Central Bank and the home of the German Stock Exchange (which recently moved to neighboring Eschborn to save taxes), Frankfurt has solidified its position as a leading center of finance and commerce in Europe and in the world.
Frankfurt's cultural life is known for its diversity. There are renowned museums with exhibitions from all fields and epochs. Contemporary art is presented in more than 100 galleries. International stars of the theater and musical world are on stage here regularly. The Old Opera House, the Städel Museum and the Museumsufer, the museum embankment along the Main River, are recognized internationally. On warm summer evenings, people converge on the banks of the Main River to sip a cool beer in a beer garden or a glass of apple wine in one of the city's many wine taverns.
The affluent Sachsenhausen district, known in the local lingo as Dribbdebach or "the other side of the stream", once housed Frankfurt's poorest neighborhoods. But today, Sachsenhausen is known for its quaint cobble-stoned streets lined with chic restaurants, pubs and apple wine taverns, museums and the ritzy villas on the river embankment. Alt-Sachsenhausen is often the first tourist stop in Frankfurt, where rowdy and boisterous behavior is not uncommon once the sun goes down. The main shopping street, Schweizerstrasse, offers an eclectic mix of boutiques, cafes and eateries. Apartment rental prices in Sachsenhausen are expensive, but many are willing to pay the price and endure the difficult car-parking situation.
Bornheim, northeast of the city center, was nicknamed the "jolly village" in the 19th century thanks to its profusion of bistros and brothels. Today the central shopping and pedestrian zone is the Berger Strasse, a lively cosmopolitan boulevard with boutiques, bric-a-brac shops, pubs and department stores. Market days can be found on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the square Am Uhrtuermchen or Little Clock Tower.
Apartment rental prices tend to be more reasonable than in Sachsenhausen, and many young professionals, university students, families and foreigners call Bornheim home. Nordend houses a large crowd of young professionals who frequent its eclectic spirit with art house cinemas and upscale bars. This district is also known for its Bohemian mix of stores, restaurants and cafes as well as the stately Holzhausenpark - which is frequently used for concerts and exhibitions and as a dog-lover's paradise. The residential area around the park has witnessed an influx of upscale homes and well-to-do rental accommodation.
Westend is regarded as the most exclusive address in Frankfurt. Many business professionals choose to live in posh apartments and then walk to work in Frankfurt's banking district. Thanks to student protests in 1968-70, many of the historic buildings were saved from demolition so that Westend has become a mixture of high-rises and turn-of-the-century mansions. Westend is also home to Grueneburgpark, a vast park perfect for jogging, sports and picnics, as well as the Palmengarten, a botanical garden with an exquisite collection of plant specimens. Many foreign consulates are also nestled in between the attractive villas and terraced apartments of this region.
Bockenheim is primarily known as Frankfurt's student haven because the various buildings of the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University are dispersed throughout the district. Leipzigerstrasse serves as a main artery for the quarter, featuring an array of shopping possibilities, international cuisine, ice-cream shops, and many other temptations which can easily distract students from their academics. Apartment rental prices are reasonable by Frankfurt standards.