When I tell people that I live in Offenbach they usually respond like this: „Ohhh, really? Why?“ – as if living in Offenbach was a bad fate that has somehow befallen me involuntarily. Let me assure you: I decided to move there five years ago very consciously (and sober) and I even enjoy living in this colorful city that has way more to offer than you might expect. But I probably have to take a little more time to explain this negative reaction to all of you, who do not live in the Rhein-Main area and thus do not know anything about Offenbach.
Diversified in every detail
Offenbach is the tenth largest city in Hessen, very close to Frankfurt and the city with the highest proportion of foreigners in Germany. In December 2016 the proportion of people with a migration background was about 60 percent – which might make some people feel uneasy, although there is not need to feel this way. People expect the crime rate to be very high – although Frankfurt’s crime rate has always been on top of Offenbach’s (in fact: Frankfurt has just recently handed over the pole position in Germany’s crime ranking to Berlin). Instead of giving in to petty prejudices I suggest to focus on the great amount of diversity that all those foreigners brought to Offenbach. Offenbach has a vivid culture and arts scene, lots of international culinary hot spots and one of Hessen’s most beautiful weekly fairs.
Beautiful in an unconventional way
Due to a great amount of destruction during world war two there is not much left of Offenbach’s original buildings and houses in the city center. There is no sugarcoating it – Offenbach’s city center is ugly. But: beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you keep your eyes open you will find lots of beautiful locations that might not always correspond to the classical idea of a beautiful cityscape. For example, did you know that Offenbach has two castles (one of them hosts the Hochschule für Gestaltung), a neo-baroque town palace and an old slaughterhouse that has been repurposed to house apartments, a hotel, restaurants and a cultural center?
…and not boring at all
If you live in Frankfurt and never dared to take the four S-Bahn stops to downtown Offenbach I have two words for you: do it! There is so much to see, do and eat that all the prejudices you might have had will vanish immediately. And if not – feel free to contact me and complain 😉
Here are seven ideas for a great Saturday in Offenbach:
11am – 12am: Buy your groceries at the saturday fair
Take the S-Bahn from Frankfurt, get out at the stop “Markt” and walk to the Wilhelmsplatz. This is where the weekly fair takes place. Immerse yourself in the cheerful hustle and bustle of all the people doing their shopping, meeting friends or having a chat with the salespeople. The atmosphere is just so enjoyable and all the people are very friendly. If you want to buy something to take home I suggest cheese or fresh handmade pasta (or both).
12pm -1pm: Grab a little lunch at Wabi Sabi and a coffee at Laier’s café
Since you might get hungry after all the strolling between the stalls of delicious food I suggest you have a little lunch at one of the best Japanese restaurants I have ever been to: Wabi Sabi. It is located at one corner of the Wilhelmsplatz and thus in walking distance from the weekly fair. If you are a Sushi lover I suggest you order “Everybody’s Darling” – a nice combination of Sushi variations.
What’s after lunch? Coffee! So head over to Kaffeerösterei Laier, a nice little shop selling coffee, chocolates, tea and various other delicacies. There is a tiny café adjacent to the shop where you can get some delicious coffee – and you can also order one of those awesome little chocolates from the shop to accompany your drink.
1pm – 1.30pm: Check out the Büsingpark and the Büsing Palais
Now it is time to see some cultural highlights! In just ten minutes you can walk from the Wilhelmsplatz to the Büsing Palais, Offenbach’s neo-baroque town palace. The area around the palace is nice as well, so take some time to stroll around and explore the park.
1.30pm – 4pm: Take a bike ride to Rumpenheim’s castle
One of my favorite places in Offenbach is Rumpenheim’s castle and the park surrounding it. Here is an idea: get yourself a bike at the Büsing Palais (here is a call-a-bike station) and ride along the Main river to the castle. Especially in summer this is a very nice route for a ride that will take you past a few beautiful locations on the Main.
4pm – 6pm: Stand-up-paddling at the harbour
After having checked out the castle I suggest you ride with your bike to Offenbach’s harbor. Although this location is called “Hafeninsel” (which is hard to translate, it might be something like “harbor island”) it actually is not a harbor anymore, it rather is Offenbach’s most popular development area. At the Hafeninsel you can see modern-style architecture, eat in hipster restaurants like the Heimathafen or have a picnic on the nicely designed steps leading down to the water. But you can also rent surfboards and do some stand-up-paddling (SUP)! Most of the time the people renting the boards leave them ready for you right next to the water – so you just have to pay, get on the board and start to explore the area from the water. Ahoi!
6pm-8pm: Have a fancy dinner at Backschaft
After all the SUPping you will be hungry, which is why it will be convenient if you managed to get a table at the very awesome restaurant called “Backschaft“. Since the Backschaft is very famous it is required to reserve a table approximately four weeks in advance (I am not kidding). But it is worth the wait: you will dine exquisitely on a refurbished boat in a grandiose atmosphere.
8pm- 10pm: Open air cinema at Hafen 2
To round off a nice Saturday in Offenbach I recommend you take a nice twenty minute walk from the Backschaft, passing the Hafeninsel again, and head to Hafen 2. Hafen 2 is a café and an event location which is very popular in the summer because it hosts concerts and open-air-cinema-nights. They do not show any blockbusters, but rather arthouse and independent movies, that will inspire reflection. Check out the program in advance and find out whether there is an interesting movie – if not, Hafen 2 is also worth to visit for a casual drink with a view on the river. From there you can easily grab a cab home to Frankfurt or walk to the S-Bahn station “Kaiserlei”. If you are not tired yet – the famous techno-club Robert Johnson is right next to Hafen 2, but does not open until midnight.