There are plenty of things to do in Frankfurt. How long do you intend staying??
Whether getting an overview of the city, or following a particular theme, there are heaps of options for experiencing Frankfurt.
Always good for getting a quick feel for a place, Frankfurt has Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus tours. These buses have various stops throughout the city, allowing you to get on and off as you wish. On board, audio guides provide a running commentary in various languages, including English.
Of course, of you prefer a bit of exercise to sitting on a bus, or need to stretch your legs after a long flight, there are also walking tours. There are tours that run every day from outside the Information Centre next to the City Hall (Römer), conducted by English speaking guides. If you want a tour that runs at a different time, or with details you wish to specify yourself, contact a company for more information – they try to accommodate all requests.
Hint: Your Friend in Frankfurt recommends Frankfurt on Foot, for the ultimate Frankfurt walking tour experience! (This is genuine advice – we are not being paid for saying it.)
Also available are walking tours with more specific themes.
- Frankfurt has a daily undercover market (the Kleinmarkthalle) that is full of tradition. It is possible to do a tour of just the market, learning about its history and tasting some time-honoured Frankfurt specialities.
- The Central Train Station district (Bahnhofsviertel) has noteworthy buildings, plenty of history and an unexpected selection of eateries producing delicacies that are not traditionally German.
For a different view of Frankfurt, don’t just look at the Main, get out on it – hop on board a cruise ship. A trip on one of these boats gives ample opportunity to admire the amazing skyline that Frankfurt is famous for. A commentary in German and English explains the various features you sail past. Please check for availability – sightseeing cruises do not run so often during the colder months.
Want something a bit different? Why not try a segway tour. These take you through the streets at a greater pace than a walking tour, but you still get to experience the city at close quarters. It is possible to arrange a tour with an English-speaking guide.
Frankfurt, like many German cities, is cycle-friendly. Bicycles are available for rent throughout the city, making this mode of transport easily accessible. Guided city tours by bicycle are possible too – bring your own, or have your pedals provided.
The Main River
Need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Head to the Main. Join the locals and walk, run or cycle the paths that extend along either side. Or, sit on one of the bench seats (or on a picnic blanket on the grass) and people watch or simply take in the water views
There are numerous museums to explore. From traditional to modern and contemporary art, on to sculpture, history, design, caricature, architecture, money, natural history – you name it and Frankfurt probably has a museum about it.
Many of the museums are quite central, lined up along the banks of the Main (especially the southern bank). There are a few museums that require you to use public transport to reach them, but this is easily done.
Museums such as the Experimenta Science Museum and the Struwwel Peter Museum are clearly suitable for children. However, some of the more traditional museums also provide installations, exhibitions and activities that are aimed at a younger audience.
Two former Frankfurt residents have had their connections with the city recognised.
Goethe House is where the literary master and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born. Both the house and the museum, which has been built alongside it, are open to the public.
The Anne Frank Educational Centre is located in the part of Frankfurt where Anne was born and lived before the family fled to Amsterdam. The Centre houses a thought-provoking display that promotes tolerance. Both the house where Anne was born and the one where she lived as a child are quite near the Anne Frank Educational Centre. There are memorial markers outside both houses.
There are several notable churches in the heart of Frankfurt. The first version of what is now the Frankfurt Cathedral was built back in the 8th Century. Historically the Cathedral is important as the place where the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned.
St Paul’s Church is also of historical significance. It was the seat of the first German Parliament, which was elected by the public in the 1800s. This parliament developed the first national German Constitution.
Other churches right in the city include Alte Nikolai Church in the Römer, St Katherine’s Church at the Hauptwache and the Liebfrauen Church.
If you like taking in the views over a city, there are a couple of options in Frankfurt. One is the Cathedral tower. It does require leg power, but there are less steps here than at other climbable towers in Germany and beyond. And the view from the top is definitely worth the effort.
The second option requires exerting considerably less energy. One of the skyscrapers, the Main Tower, has an observation deck at the top. To reach it, simply use the elevator provided.
Is retail therapy more your thing? Frankfurt has got you covered. The Zeil, the main pedestrian zone, is lined with shops big and small and also has a shopping centre.
Enjoy the ambience of the farmers’ market on Konstablerwache every Thursday and Saturday and in Schillerstrasse, at the other end of the Zeil, every Friday.
For exclusive brand names take the short walk to Goethestrasse.
Outside the central city, there are several shopping plazas. Skyline Plaza, near the Exhibition Centre, houses many of the stores that are also found in the centre of Frankfurt, but it has a few that are not represented in the city as well. It is particularly accessible for those attending trade fairs, but is only a short ride by public transport from other parts of the city.
The Römerberg and the New Old Town
This is what the heart of Frankfurt used to look like. The buildings have been rebuilt to resemble those from long ago, providing a stark contrast to the modern architecture that Frankfurt is renowned for. Wander through and browse the shops, or stop for a coffee.
The Frankfurt Zoo is a short ride by Underground or tram from the centre of the city. It houses an impressive range of species and features programmes focussed on specific animals during the year.
The Opel Zoo is outside Frankfurt proper, but is still easy to reach using public transport. Here bigger animals have room to move.
Frankfurt’s botanical garden, the Palmengarten is a green oasis in the concrete jungle. It has a warm house and a hot house which both contain exotic species from around the world. There are seasonal plant displays. As well the garden hosts events like a summer outdoor theatre programme.
If you would like to get a little closer to the Main than simply sitting on a cruise boat, then there is always the option of stand-up paddling. This is only available during the warmer months of the year.
Need an adrenaline rush? Try House Running. Getting to the top of the skyscraper is normal enough. To get back to the ground, you run – down the outside (suspended by ropes).
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