Giessen City Life
At the same time, life in Giessen is straightforward and anything but complicated. It's comparatively easy and affordable to find a place to stay, and the cost of living in Giessen is low by comparison. Virtually any place in town can be reached fast and easily, whether you walk or go by bike or bus. And a 40-minute train ride will get you to Frankfurt to satisfy the occasional urge for big-city life.
On top of that, the vicinity of Giessen is known for its attractive scenery and natural beauty: There are extensive trails for hiking, biking and inline skating, several lakes suitable for swimming and water sports, and many popular destinations and historic sites to be visited. Among them are several former monasteries and castles which have been converted into popular cafés/restaurants (e.g., Schiffenberg, Badenburg, Gleiberg or Arnsburg Monastery). In addition, with Giessen located on the river Lahn, canoeing down the scenic river valley is another must-do.
Getting around is easy and inexpensive for Giessen University students. Shuttle bus services link all dormitories to the university, and your student ID doubles as a so-called "semester ticket". This gives you free use of public transport in and around Giessen, and it is also valid throughout the entire Rhein-Main region (including trips to Wetzlar, Marburg and Frankfurt).
Due to the choice and variety on offer, Giessen is also a popular regional shopping destination. Whether you opt for Seltersweg (a classic pedestrian-only high street with two major department stores plus many of the popular chain stores), Galerie Neustädter Tor (a full-fledged shopping mall in the city centre) or the traditional weekly farmers' market, you'll find that shopping in Giessen leaves little to be desired. But don't forget to treat yourself to a quick stop at one of the many cafés, bistros or restaurants. Alternatively, get away from all the bustle and enjoy one of the parks and green spaces located in or near the city centre (e.g., the botanical garden, Theaterpark or Wieseckaue).
In terms of arts and cultural life, Giessen punches above its weight as well. For example, it boasts the world's first interactive Museum of Mathematics (Mathematikum). Far from being a traditional museum, this unique and fun place uses lots of activities, experiments and games to involve visitors in exploring the relevance of mathematical principles in everday life. The city theatre puts on classical opera, modern plays and avantgarde dance, while the congress centre hosts perfomances of well-known bands, choirs and classical ensembles. For those with less of a high-brow taste, there are many fairs and festivals as well as several cinemas to choose from.