I should probably have dealt with this a little earlier in the blog, but to be honest it took me a full year to navigate the city and find myself the perfect place to live. At some point I think I was in pretty much every district of the city at somepoint looking for the ideal place.
Frankfurt is a difficult city to find accommodation for several reasons.
Firstly, the city has a great underground network and convienient bike lanes meaning that where ever you live, you will be able to get across the city for work or study easily. Many school age children also commute across the city for their Gymnasium (high school) meaning that you don’t necessarily have to be tied to school catchment areas when choosing the perfect home. But this means that the whole city is potentially a good place to live, but the choice is huge. So you need to narrow it down in order to have any success.
Secondly, the city has a lot of population pressure with a lot of new job creation (the ECB for example) but without the necessary housing or schooling to cope with the influx. This means that when nice accommodation comes on the market, you have to move really quickly. And prices are going up, especially in Ostend where the ECB have just opened their new tower.
I will have to deal with the different residential areas in a number of posts as there are so many, but here are the top four areas in terms of desirability:
A cosy, quiet, child-friendly, leafy and rather expensive district. The south part of Westend is particularly expensive and popular with bankers given its location just next to the financial district. The north part of Westend meets the Goethe University campus and begins to have some slightly more affordable options that students might look at. In general, the accommodation is made up of old fashioned apartment blocks, with limited roadside parking. Vacancies disappear within days so be quick when you see something. Restaurants, and conveniences are few and far between so you’ll end up relying on the city centre.
Lies in between Westend and Bornheim, and is a mixture of both. It has some very nice quiet streets similar to Westend but a lot more shops and restaurants particularly near to Oederweg which offers every convenience you would need and finishes down at the trendy Eschenheimer Tor with plenty of bars and nightlife on the edge of the city. Nordend also benefits from being stuck between two, northbound U-Bahn lines making it a very convenient district.
Two districts in one. Both highly desirable for opposite reasons and target groups. Sud is ideal for richer families looking for a suburban experience with a detached house, countryside walks, safe cul-de-sacs and limited public transport. Make sure you have a car and be prepared for bored teenagers. Also, there is a bit of a noise problem with flights from the airport now cutting across the bottom of the district.
The Nord is the opposite and popular with young professionals and students. The area has some quieter streets but not really ideal for young children. The accommodation is quite reasonably priced, parking is a pain, but there are plenty of restaurants, bars and nightlife. Plus, the river bank is lined with museums and galleries and with plenty of festivals, there is always something going on.
Personal favourite and great for everyone. The central street, Bergerstrasse, through Bornheim is lined with shops and restaurants and also has the benefit of having an U-Bahn line going straight through the middle. Off from Bergerstrasse are lots of quieter side streets with a lot of more affordable properties, slightly more parking options than other areas and fairly child friendly. Once you get to Bornheim Mitte station you reach the more attractive part that begins to look more like a small old fashioned village. Very gentrified! 🙂