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Frankfurt is a rather compound city whose centre is easily walkable within one day. The heart of Frankfurt is the area between Konstablerwache, Hauptwache and the Main river to the south. This neighbourhood is simply called City (12,000 inhabitants) and includes Frankfurt's main shopping street called Zeil (pedestrian street only) and a few smaller streets with a variety of shops. Further south, there is Paulskirche and Frankfurt's historical heart, the Römer which has been rebuilt after World War II. Around the corner there is the Dome and the shores of the Main river.
Over a pedestrian bridge called Eiserner Steg the southern part of Frankfurt can be reached. This rather big neighbourhood is called Sachsenhausen (56,000 inhabitants) . The old part of Sachsenhausen is one of the tourism and party centres of Frankfurt. Here, "traditional" bars which offer all kinds of traditional food and beverages can be found. On weekends this area can get quite crowded with more or less severely drunk teenagers who walk from bar to bar. On the south shore of the Main river there is the so-called Museumsufer, an area full of small and medium sized museums for all kinds of special interests. But Sachsenhausen also offers some more quiet living areas. Especially the area around Schweizer Platz is a rather pleasant neighbourhood with a lot of old houses and restaurants offering food from many nationalities. Finally, the area around Südbahnhof is worth to be mentioned, because there are a number of Apple Wine bars (Frankfurt's infamous favourite drink) and a number of small basement clubs where it is possible to party in style on weekends.
Right west of the immediate centre there is the banking district. Germany's biggest banks have their headquarters here as well as the European Central Bank. Even though the district itself is rather small, it dominates the appearance of Frankfurt because of a number of skyscrapers. A few of them are accessible for tourists and one or two even include bars on the top floors where the interested traveller can have an (expensive) drink while getting a bird's eye view of the city.
The most expensive living areas are situated around the city centre. The poshest living area starts west of the Alte Oper and is called. Westend (26,000 inhabitants) . Here, some Art Nouveau houses which have been spared by the bombing of WW II can still be found and some of Germany's most prestigious banks and companies have some representative offices. There is also a number of restaurants and bars in this area, all of which are trying to offer a special flair for ...a special price...
Between Westend and Bockenheim you might want to visit Palmengarten, one of Frankfurt's biggest gardens with changing exhibitions of flowers outside and in greenhouses.
A bit further west there is Bockenheim (33,000 inhabitants) , the area where Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität (one of Germany's biggest universities) used to be - a big part of it has now moved to the so-called IG-Farben-haus in the northern part of Westend. Most of the infrastructure designed for students is still there, so if you are looking for student bars, cafés, copy shops, bookstores etc. this is one of the places to go. A walk along Leipziger Straße might be worthwhile for the small shops and a glimpse into student life in suburban Frankfurt.
North of the city centre is where young people who can afford it are trying to live. The areas Nordend (55,000 inhabitants) and Bornheim (27,000 inhabitants) offer quiet living areas with old houses and some greenery close to the city centre. Scattered between the old houses there are small cafés and bars which are mostly designed in alternative style - check out the area between Bergerstraße and Rotlintstraße if this sounds like you might like it. Here, students of the two Frankfurt Universities hang out and have a Latte Machiato or a red wine while they are playing Backgammon or chess.
East of the city centre is the Ostend which used to have a vibrant Jewish community. Look out for the little metal plates on the pavements in memory of the Jewish victims of the second world war. The Ostend is becoming more and more popular as it will be the location of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (on the site of former Grossmarkthalle right next to the river).
Finally, a place that must be mentioned is the so-called Bahnhofsviertel (2,350 inhabitants) . Even though it is a rather small district it might be noticeable for two reasons: First of all, it is the place where many tourists will arrive, because it includes the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station), one of Frankfurt's main transportation hubs and Germany's biggest terminal station. Whenever tourists plan daytrips into surrounding areas, they are likely to start their trips here. Secondly, it also includes Frankfurt's red light district. The area around Kaiserstraße is full of more or less seedy bars and hotels - and a number of night clubs and adult cinemas. Every now and then a "regular" - and very often quite trendy - bar or club opens in between, but usually never for a very long time. Even tough the red light district is not really dangerous, it is a good idea to watch your back a bit at night, because this area is also where Frankfurt's drug scene hangs out and of course this produces some drug-related crime, too. Still, the red light district is not very big and just a few streets north or south of it there are lots of reputable hotels for travellers who rely on easy access to the public transport system.