12 must-see things to do in Frankfurt

Römerberg Francfort

Visiting Frankfurt: what are the best things to see and do in Germany’s financial center?

Frankfurt am Main or Frankfurt am Main is for many travelers the gateway to Europe, but there’s much more to Frankfurt than its international airport (Europe’s 3rd largest). Frankfurt is Germany’s financial capital, and thanks to its skyscrapers and river Main, Frankfurt is also known as « Main-Hattan ». An international, multicultural city, Frankfurt lacks the beauty of Berlin or Hamburg. Almost entirely destroyed by Allied bombing during the Second World War, its small historic center has been partially rebuilt as it was before… But Frankfurt still has plenty to do: between art, open-air walks, old buildings and skyscrapers, here are the best things to see and visit in Frankfurt:

1. Main Tower

Vue Main-Tower Francfort

Flickr – opethpainter

What better way to see Frankfurt than from the top of the « Main Tower », the city’s only tower open to the public. Take the elevator up to the almost 200-metre-high platform for a breathtaking view of Frankfurt’s entire cityscape. You can also enjoy a snack in the Main Tower restaurant. Admission costs €6.50 for an adult.

2. The Römerberg

Römerberg Francfort

Flickr – Steve Collis

The Römerberg (« Mount of the Romans ») is the historic heart of Frankfurt and home to the town hall, which dates back to 1405. Flanked by half-timbered houses, this historic square was the site of Frankfurt’s first trade fairs in the 13th century. In the middle of the square stands the Fountain of Justice. From here, you can continue to the Eiserner Steg bridge to cross the Main and take a stroll along the river.

3. Sachsenhausen’s cider taverns

Sachsenhausen Francfort, quartier bars, pubs

Wikimedia – Dan Lundberg

If you follow the previous route (after crossing the Eiserner Steg), head for the Sachsenhausen district, near the « Frankensteiner Platz ». Frankfurt’s local drink is called « Apfelwein », or « Ebbelwoi » as the locals say: a lightly alcoholic cider produced in the regions around Frankfurt. You can find some of the best and oldest cider taverns in the cobbled streets of the « Sachsenhausen » district, south of the Old Town. It’s also a great place to start an evening out in Frankfurt, as the area is packed with party-goers.

4. Goethe House (Goethe-Haus)

Maison de Goethe à Francfort

Wikimedia – Munin2005

Frankfurt is the birthplace of Germany’s most important writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Although Goethe’s house was destroyed during the Second World War, it has been fully restored with the original furniture, paintings and books of the Goethe family. Find inspiration in the study where Goethe wrote « The Sorrows of Young Werther ». Address: Grosser Hirschgraben 23, 60311 Frankfurt

5. Museum für Moderne Kunst

Musée d'art moderne et cotemporain de Francfort

Wikimedia – Blackbow17

Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is famous not only for its extensive art collection, which includes artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Gerhardt Richter, but also for its bold architecture. Designed by Viennese architect Hans Hollering, the museum has a triangular shape and is called the « piece of cake » by locals. Admission: €12

6. Paulskirche, St. Paul’s Church

Paulskirche, Eglise Saint-Paul, Francfort

Flickr – Juan J. Martínez

St. Paulskirche, built between 1789 and 1833, is the cradle of German democracy: the church was used for political meetings and became the seat of the first freely elected German parliament in 1848. Today,St. Paul’ s is mainly used for exhibitions and special events.

7. St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral (Kaiserdom St. Bartholomäus)

Cathédrale St-Barthélemy, Francfort

Flickr – Eugene Regis

The election of emperors from 1356, and their coronation from 1562, took place in this church, earning it the title of cathedral. It was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. It is Frankfurt’s largest religious building.

Also in the Frankfurt guide:

8. A drink on the Zeilgalerie terrace

Zeil Galerie Francfort

Flickr – HEN-Magonza

There’s nothing like taking the pulse of the city and enjoying a panoramic view from the roof of the Zeil, a shopping mall where you’ll find everything you need for your shopping. A drink on the 7th-floor terrace is ideal for admiring the surroundings.

9. Frankfurt nightlife

Gibson Club Francfort

Credit – spanishmusicmafia.com

Frankfurt may not be as pretty as other German cities, but at least it has the merit of being a lively city at night. There’s no shortage of bars and discos here. As mentioned above, why not start your evening on the south bank at Sachsenhausen, where the taverns and pubs are all packed together? Then head to a club like Gibson,Odeon or Skyclub if you’re into electro music.

10. Museumsufer, the museum bank

Städel Museum Francfort

Pixabay – KarinKarin

The south bank of the river Main is known as « Museumsufer », the « museum bank ». Here you’ll find a large number of museums, including the Deutsches Filminstitut and the Städel. The area is made all the more attractive by the large flea market that takes place here on Saturday mornings. A great place to start your weekend in Frankfurt.

11. Senckenberg Museum

Muséum Senckenberg, Francfort

Flickr – Patrick Nouhailler

The Senckenberg Museum is Germany’s second largest natural history museum. It features thousands of exhibits, from amphibian fossils to Egyptian mummies, not to mention the museum’s most famous attraction: its display of large dinosaur skeletons, one of the largest in Europe.

12. Palmengarten

Palmengarten, Francfort

Wikimedia – Anna16

Founded in 1868 by a group of Frankfurt citizens, the Botanical Garden invites you on a horticultural journey through the African savannah, exotic rainforest plants and European flower gardens. In 200,000 m² of open-air gardens and greenhouses, you’ll see over 6,000 different botanical species from all over the world. Right next door, Grüneburgpark is a peaceful public park.

How do I get to Frankfurt?

Frankfurt has two airports: one is international (Frankfurt-Rhein/Main) and is served by numerous airlines such as Air France and Lufhtansa, and the other is smaller (Frankfurt-Hahn) and is a 2-hour bus ride from Frankfurt. The latter is served by low-cost airlines such as Ryanair. You’ll find the cheapest flights to Frankfurt on Ulysses.

Where to sleep in Frankfurt?

If you’re looking for accommodation in Frankfurt, you’ll need to do a bit of research into the city’s neighborhoods, as it can get expensive very quickly. For those staying in youth hostels, the Frankfurt Hostel is an excellent address, located near the train station. The shuttle bus to both airports is only a few hundred meters away. To find a cheap hotel in Frankfurt, use this hotel comparator.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Frankfurt, Germany