Offenbach is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, the capital city of Frankfurt. Little do visitors know that this city plays an important part in German life. First of all, it is the country’s melting pot, with over 50 per cent of the population coming from countries outside of Germany. Second, it is home to the German Meteorological Service, the agency in charge of weather and climate monitoring. Finally, it is considered to be the European center of typography. Intrigued? Find out more about Offenbach and what it has to offer.
1. Appreciate town history at Wetterpark, home of the German Meteorological Service
Offenbach is the home of the German Meteorological Service, the country’s weather agency. And at the agency’s Wetterpark (or weather park in English), visitors will understand how weather systems are formed and how they are monitored. With its interactive exhibits situated outdoors, weather phenomena and measurement is best explained. The adventure path with 13 stations or exhibits offers guided tours, so although this is a favorite place to go for kids, adults will surely enjoy the park as well.
Guided tours for adults usually last for about 2 hours, and are organized for groups for up to 15 adults. For children, guided tours are usually offered for school classes, groups of children and groups of children with parents. These children tours have to be requested in advance. The visitor center of Wetterpark is open until 1 October, Tuesdays - Sundays, 9:30am - 6:30pm and until 1 November, Tuesdays - Sundays, 9:30am - 4:30pm. During winter break, special guided tours can also be arranged.
Wetterpark Offenbach - Visitor Center
Address: Wetterpark 15, 63071 Offenbach
Contact Information: Phone: +49 6983836896
Admission Fees: about 67 USD, Adults; about 62 USD, Children
2. Appreciate town history: the German Leather Museum
The unique German Leather Museum is said to be one of the largest museums of its kind in the world. It was established in 1917 by Hugo Eberhardt, a German architect who designed the main building of the Offenbach Design University. The museum has an extensive collection of shoes, and other items made of leather in its three wings: the German Shoe Museum, the Museum for Applied Art and the Ethnology Museum.
The Collection of Applied Art contains the master works of European leather design covering the Middle Ages until present time, while the Shoe Museum displays shoes and other footwear from all over the world. Finally, the Ethnology Collection showcases artifacts from different parts of the world: America, Africa and Asia. The museum also has temporary exhibits that give guests a closer look at the art of leather. Guided tours for adults in English or French can be arranged for a fee. Groups of more than 10 get discounted admission fees.
German Leather Museum (DLM Deutsches Ledermuseum Offenbach)
Address: Frankfurter Straße 86, 63067 Offenbach
Contact Information: Phone +49 698297980
Operating Hours: 10am - 5 pm, Tue to Sun; Closed on 24 and 31 December 2017. On all other legal holidays, the German Ledermuseum is open from 10 am to 5 pm
Admission Fees: about 9 USD for adults; about 5.6 USD 16 years old and older; about 3.4 USD children 3 to 15 years old
Website: German Leather Museum
3. Appreciate town history: Rumpenheim Park and Castle
The Rumpenheim Castle and Park is located near the banks of the River Main in Offenbach. This three-winged castle originally started out as a big mansion called Herrenhaus that was built in 1678 by Johann Georg Seifert of Edelsheim. The next owners of the property expanded it to a three-winged castle with extensive castle grounds. After it was destroyed during World War 2, the city of Offenbach acquired it and went about its rehabilitation.
The palace grounds were rehabilitated to their former glory where visitors can stroll around and admire the magnificent gardens and landscapes. The castle itself has been converted into luxury apartments so private residences are currently found there. Visitors are usually allowed to enter the park around the castle, which is open 24 hours a day, daily.
Rumpenheim Castle and Park
Address: 63075 Offenbach, Germany
Website: Rumpenheim Castle and Park
4. Appreciate town history: Büsing Palace and Park
The Büsing Palace is a palace found in the center of the city of Offenbach. Originally built by brothers Peter and Johann d'Orville, the mansion was also built with landscaped gardens around it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German poet, also lived in the mansion in the summer of 1775.
Adolf Büsing, a merchant from Hamburg, bought the palace in 1890, thus the name. He proceeded to rehabilitate and redesign the park and converted the mansion into the baroque palace it is today. The palace and its park is connected to two other parks, Lili Park and d'Orville Park. The palace now houses the city library and the Klingspor Museum, while some parts are being used as meeting rooms and event venues by the nearby Sheraton hotel.
Festival of Lights at Büsing Park (Lichterfest im Büsing-Park)
Address: Berliner Str. 111, 63065 Offenbach
Dates: held every August, on the occasion of the city’s jubilee
Details: Concert by the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Frankfurt, over 70,000 candles arranged all over the park, and culinary exhibits for dinner
Website: Büsing Park and Palace
5. Explore the home of German design: Isenburger Schloss
The Isenburg Castle in Offenbach is considered to be a Renaissance style castle. For art historians, this is best seen in the castle’s southern and northern facades, because they depict two different styles and designs. The castle was originally planned to have four wings but it never pushed through. It was completed in 1559 and since then has served as a residence of counts, princes and other nobles. The structure was restored after it was heavily damaged in World War 2.
Isenburg is now home of one of the best design universities in the country - the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) Offenbach, also known as the Offenbach University of Design. The school was first established as a school for craftsmen and then became a school of arts and crafts. It achieved university status in 1970 and it currently has two Schools - the School of Art and the School of Design. Because it is now part of a university, visitors do not need to pay any admission fees.
Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) Offenbach - Isenburg Castle
Address: Schloßstraße 31, 63065 Offenbach
Contact Information: +49 69800590
Website: Hochschule für Gestaltung
6. Learn about the history of European typography: Klingspor Museum
European typography and its history comes alive at the Klingspor Museum. The museum was established in 1953 based on the private collection of Dr. Karl Klingspor, who administered the type foundry Gebr. Klingspor. Working with his brother Wilhelm, they made a name for themselves in the area of typeface design and distribution.
The museum contains collections and exhibitions that showcase the art of choosing the perfect type for a book or a printed work. Among them include catalogs of type specimens of the many fonts designed by type designers. The design, development and eventual production of these fonts are documented by the museum. Book art is also on exhibit, particularly the work of one of the world’s best bookbinders, as well as the best illustrated books, painters’ books, and artists’ books collected throughout the years. The museum also has changing exhibitions
Address: Herrnstraße 80 (southern wing of the Büsingpalais), 63065 Offenbach
Contact Information: Phone: +49 6980652164; Fax: +49 6980652669
Operating Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10am - 5pm; Wednesday 2am - 7pm; Saturday, Sunday, holidays 11am - 6pm; closed on Mondays
Admission Fees: about 2.8 USD, adults
Website: Klingspor Museum
7. A different kind of adventure at Fun Forest
Fun Forest in Offenbach offers a different kind of adventure - the extreme kind. If you prefer staying indoors during your vacation, this will definitely push your limits. This attraction features 14 courses of high-rope parkour, which are mainly 13,000 meters (8 miles) of steel rope connecting over 160 trees. There are a few courses that are appropriate for children, but most are courses only for adults. There are beginner courses, as well as courses for the more adventurous bunch.
Equipped with safety harnesses and the guidance of parkour experts, guests will find the experience exhilarating. Group tours and packages can be arranged and the park has an events garden where guests can partake in a buffet meal after a day of adventure. The park occupies around 3 hectares (7.4 acres) in Leonhard-Eißnert-Park on the Bieberer Mountain.
Fun Forest Offenbach
Address: Im Leonhard-Eißnert-Park, Bieberer Str. 276A, 63071 Offenbach
Contact Information: Phone: +49 6985702000, Fax: +49 6985702001
Operating Hours: Please check the website for opening hours during the summer months
Website: Fun Forest Offenbach
8. Shop at the Wochenmarkt (weekend market) Offenbach
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The city has a weekend market that has been making a name for itself for the quality of goods on sale. From freshly harvested vegetables to homemade delicacies, the market has so much to offer guests and shoppers. Frequent visitors recommend spending some time going around to sample and see what is good to buy. If you are staying in a self-catering accommodation, you can buy heirloom vegetables like potatoes, onions and tomatoes and homemade spiced oils for salads and pastas.
There also are stands that offer Greek cheeses, sauces and even pizza, a truck that sells Vietnamese food and one that sells freshly baked bread. Fresh cut flowers can also be bought at the market. Many local farmers bring their produce here and sell them to locals and visitors.
Address: Wilhelmsplatz, 63065 Offenbach
Contact Information: +49 6980652280
Operating Hours: 8am - 2pm, Tue, Fri, Sat only
9. Dine at the Wilhelmsplatz
Aside from being the site of the weekend market, Wilhelmsplatz is a square in the city that is surrounded by old buildings and is lined with chestnut trees on its east and west sides. The square also has an old market house which is now a favorite place to gather, sit down and have apple wine, which is made in-house.
Prior to its current use, the square used to be the city cemetery, and after that, a place where public gatherings were made. It eventually became a commercial area with restaurants and cafes as well as a carpark. The market house was constructed in 1911, with a police station, toilets, health and medical services. It is considered a cultural monument of the city. It now has a restaurant that serves home cooked meals, draft beer, apple wine, as well as a wide selection of German and Austrian wines.
Markthaus am Wilhelmsplatz
Address: Bieberer Str. 9, 63065 Offenbach
Contact Information: Phone: +49 06980101883
Operating Hours: 11am - 12mn, Mon, Wed, Thu; 9am - 12mn, Tue, Fri, Sat; 11am - 10pm, Sun
Website: Markthaus am Wilhelmsplatz
Wilkommen in Offenbach
If you are planning a trip to Germany, don’t just spend time in the big city capital of Frankfurt. Offenbach, which is only a short drive away by car, train or bus, has more to offer in terms of history and cultural importance, not just for Germany but also for the rest of Europe.
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