Where to shop in Frankfurt depends very much on what you’re after. In this city of skyscrapers, the shopping offer is as varied as its cityscape. From the exclusive designer boutiques of Goethestrasse to the department stores on the Zeil or the upmarket shops on Schillerstrasse selling porcelain and household goods, Frankfurt has something for everyone.
Frankfurt’s most popular shopping mile is the ‘Zeil’. This is not only where the most well-known department store chains are located, but also where a range of specialised shops offering an extensive variety of goods can be found. It is claimed that the ‘Zeil’ generates one of the highest turnover of any shopping streets in Europe, but one wonders at the basis of such a claim.
Zeilgalerie and Frankfurt Hoch 4 are two shopping centres on the Zeil, right at the Hauptwache, Frankfurt’s central point. Like most huge department stores, they sell a large range of international branded goods, cosmetics and fashions under the one roof. So that visitors do not have to haul heavy shopping bags all around with them, there is a special locker service available on the B-level of the Hauptwache, where plenty of lockers are available. On the rooftop of Zeilgalerie is an open-air observation deck which offers views of the skyline of Frankfurt and the surrounding area.
If you don’t like large department stores, there are plenty of boutiques, jewellery shops, shoe stores and electronics emporiums nestled between the two giant department stores. There are also cafes, snack bars or restaurants where shoppers can take a break and re-energise for their next shopping session. If the weather’s fine, you can even take your break outdoors and enjoy views of the Zeil’s leafy pedestrian zone.
Thursday and Saturday are the Growers’ Market Day on the Konstablerwache right on the Zeil. If you’re lucky to be in the city on either of these two days, the market is worth a visit after your shopping spree. This is where growers offer their own produce ranging from fresh vegetables and tasty cheese, to fine bottles of wine. For those keen to taste some typical regional specialities, try the Grüne Soße, a traditional sauce usually made from hard-boiled eggs and seven types of herbs.
West of the Zeil is Goethestraße, Frankfurt’s equivalent of Fifth Avenue. This is where you’ll find the international designer labels and exclusive brands such as Cartier and Tiffany. Also to be found on Goethestraße are art dealerships, household goods and opticians.
For less expensive products, go to the adjoining streets. Schillerstraße and Steinweg, for example, are popular and both are connected via a covered passageway with shops and restaurants. On Fridays, there’s a weekly market in Schillerstraße with around 50 stalls.
Food enthusiasts will love Kleine Bockenheimerstrasse, which is affectionately known as the “Fressgass” or “Glutton Lane” because of its long-established delicatessens.
If expensive designer brands are not your cup of tea, or if like most travellers you just don’t have that kind of spare cash with you, head for Bornheim, Bockenheim or Sachsenhausen. Bergerstrasse, Leipzigerstrasse and Schweizerstrasse have lots of little boutiques, second-hand stores and cafés where you can enjoy a stroll and a bit of shopping in a multicultural environment. The shopping streets of the individual districts of Frankfurt are quieter, and this is where to go for junk shops selling odd items and curios.
And finally, we’re scraping the barrel here and looking at flea markets. Well, we can’t discriminate against flea-market dwellers and every Saturday morning, on the banks of the river Main, you’ll be able to find all sorts of odds and ends, antiques and clothing.