Exploring the best things to do in Frankfurt isn’t likely to crack a first-time Germany itinerary. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore Germany’s fifth-biggest city & financial hub either!
More well-known for its airport than its activities, Frankfurt surprises many travellers. The top tourist attractions in Frankfurt am Main embrace everything you’d expect on a trip to Germany. From blissful historical architecture to world-class museums, Frankfurt’s got it all.
Not sure where to go in Frankfurt? Discover this unexpected German travel destination with this quick guide to what to do in Frankfurt & the best places to visit Frankfurt…
What to do in Frankfurt
Wander around Römerberg
If you’ve got less than 24 hours in Frankfurt, your first stop should be Römerberg. This lovely square is the city’s historical heart and one of the coolest places to see in Frankfurt.
Whenever I find myself with a multi-hour layover, I can’t help but travel into central Frankfurt. From the airport, it’s a short 20-minute train ride into town to get swept away by Römerberg.
Römerberg is famous for its traditional German half-timbered merchant houses. Unsurprisingly, the collection bears the name the Römer.
Three distinctive gabled buildings stand out as particularly eye-catching. The middle building is the most famous. Since the early-15th century, it’s hosted Frankfurt’s Rathaus (City Hall).
As beautiful as this square is year round, the best time to check out Römerberg is in winter.
Time your visit to Römerberg with Frankfurt’s famous Christmas Market. You’ll get to experience the festive spirit that makes Germany one of Europe’s top Christmas destinations!
Sip on some apfelwein in Sachsenhausen
Frankfurt’s modern skyline might be the most impressive in Europe. Don’t let it fool you: Frankfurt’s more than glass skyscrapers and bank headquarters.
Case in point: the beautiful historic district of Sachsenhausen.
Located on the southern banks of the Main River, Sachsenhausen was once a separate town from the rest of Frankfurt.
Love traditional small-town German charm? Much like Frankfurt’s Altstadt, the narrow cobblestoned streets of Sachsenhausen burst with it. Also hidden among the atmospheric traditional architecture are Sachsenhausen’s famous apple cider taverns (Apfelweinkneipe).
Indeed, one of the best things to do in Frankfurt is to slip into an 18th-century pub in Sachsenhausen to sip on some crisp & satisfying local apfelwein. Be sure to pair it with some traditional Hessen culinary specialities.
Relax in the Palmengarten
If you thought Frankfurt was all metal and glass, whisk away to a different world with a visit to the Palmengarten. This massive 54-acre botanical garden is the largest in Germany and is one of the best places to go in Frankfurt.
Completed in 1871, this famous park assembles a botanical dream team. You’ll discover over six thousand plant species from all around the world here.
The Palmengarten’s open-air and greenhouse exhibits cover nearly every global ecosystem. The habitats range between everything from rainforests to desert.
The Palmengarten is also one of the top places to visit in Frankfurt with kids. The family-friendly attractions here include a children’s playground and boat rides around the lake. Kids will also love the Palmengarten Express, a small train that travels through the park.
Marvel at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum
You don’t have to be travelling with young ones to get a kick out of the Senckenberg Natural History Museum. It’s one of the best museums of its kind in Europe and one of the top things to see in Frankfurt.
The big attraction here is the museum’s exhibition of dinosaurs. The exhibits range from life-size replicas to full-scale reassembled fossils.
Even if dinosaurs aren’t your thing, more fun awaits at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum.
The museum hosts the world’s largest stuffed-bird collection. Among the exhibits, you’ll also find a cast of Lucy. Discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, this world-famous pre-human skeleton dates back 3.2 million years.
Peer onto Frankfurt from above at the Main Tower
When Germany’s half-timbered historical façades start to blur into one another, get a little taste of the city’s present and future at Main Tower. This 656-foot skyscraper peers onto Frankfurt northeast of Altstadt (Old Town).
Main Tower features the financial district’s only observation deck open to the public. Hanging out the 55th floor, the views from it are quite spectacular. It’s among the coolest things to see in Frankfurt!
One of the best, yet busiest, times to visit Main Tower is at sunrise. Huddle together with the crowd to admire the sun dipping below Frankfurt’s skyline.
After checking out the observation deck, venture to the 53rd-floor Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge. It’s a superb place to enjoy dinner or a drink to more incredible Frankfurt city vistas.
Dazzle at Frankfurt Cathedral
Let’s move from the city’s modern wonders to its medieval ones. On your Franfkurt visit, don’t miss out the sandy red Gothic spires of Frankfurt Cathedral.
This 16th-century masterpiece stood as an Imperial Cathedral (Kaiserdom) during the days of the Holy Roman Empire. Frankfurt Cathedral was a coronation site for emperors, making it an integral place in German history.
Although WWII destroyed much of the church, its 1950s reconstructions are no less impressive than the original.
Inside Frankfurt Cathedral, you’ll discover a multitude of important German historical treasures. Keep on the lookout for the 15th-century Mara-Schlaf-Altar in the Marienkapelle. The 16th-century Crucifixion sculpture by Hans Backoffen is also an impressive find.
Like many churches in Germany, one of the best things to see at Frankfurt Cathedral is the view from the tower.
Between April and October, ascend over 300 stairs up the tower. From the tower’s viewpoint, you’ll enjoy an unforgettable vista of Altstadt and beyond.
Where to stay in Frankfurt for sightseeing
Despite being one of the largest cities in Germany, figuring out where to stay in Frankfurt is relatively easy for travellers. The areas in & around Innenstadt, Zentrum-Altstadt, Sachsenhausen, and the Bankenviertel are the best options to start your search. Here are a few of the top hotels in Frankfurt…
- Hotel Miramar Golden Mile: This city centre hotel is among the best choices in Frankfurt for travellers on a tighter budget. It’s located two minutes from Römer Platz and the lovely Altstadt. Staying here, all the top points of interest in Frankfurt will be at your fingertips.
- Holiday Inn Alte Oper: Holding onto the brand’s reputation for reliable accommodations, this mid-range hotel is a great choice. It’s located 8 minutes from the main train station and the touristic heart of Frankfurt.
- Jumeirah Frankfurt: A top luxury pick in Frankfurt, this five-star hotel offers dramatic city views through floor-to-ceiling windows in their elegant suites.