What to see in Frankfurt: the 15 best attractions and things to do

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Modern but with an ancient heart characterized by historical places of great importance, Frankfurt is a fascinating city that alternates metropolitan corners with picturesque areas. Those who have decided to spend a few days in this German city on the Main will not have to be bored: among museums, parks, shopping streets and daily tours to discover the suggestive places, Frankfurt will not disappoint.

So let's find out together what to see in Frankfurt, with all the tips and useful information on the best attractions and things to do.


  1. Romerberg Platz
  2. Romer and Kaisersaal
  3. Palm Garden
  4. Kaiserdom
  5. Stadel Museum
  6. Main Tower
  7. Goethehaus (Goethe's house)
  8. Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church)
  9. Museumsufer (Museum bank)
  10. MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst
  11. Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Natural History Museum)
  12. Dam, Museum of Architecture
  13. Alte Oper (Opera House)
  14. The Judengasse and the Jewish Museum
  15. Zoo Frankfurt
  16. Other attractions to visit
  17. 9 things to do in Frankfurt
  18. User questions and comments

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1 - Romerberg Platz

E' the main square of the city and its symbol and in the sixteenth century it was considered the most beautiful place in the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. From here we recommend that you join a guided walking tour.

In the center stands the beautiful fountain of Justice "Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen", with the sculpture of the blindfolded Goddess and a few steps from this there is a plaque that commemorates the site of the burning of books by the Nazis in 1933. All around numerous palaces of the XV-XVII century built with the typical wooden beams, and among these the most important and beautiful is that of the Romer or Rathaus, which today is the seat of the town hall. This building has also incorporated the adjacent palaces and during your stay in the city you cannot miss a visit to the Hall of the Emperors, or Kaisersaal, on whose walls 52 portraits stand out that tell the story of the Holy Roman Empire from 800 to 1806.

Visit the old brewery: among the various historic buildings, do not miss the Ratskeller, an old brewery not far from the town hall, now home to an elegant restaurant, and the Hauptwache, an old eighteenth-century police station, where you can find one of the most renowned cafes in the city.

2 - Romer and Kaisersaal

In the northwestern corner of the Römerberg square, the Romer is located, the ancient town hall made up of three 400th century buildings characterized by half-timbered pediments. During the Holy Roman Empire, the ceremonies for the election and coronation of emperors were held in the Römer, while today it houses the registry office and the mayor's office.

This building has also incorporated the adjacent buildings and you cannot miss the visit of the hall of the Emperors, or Kaisersaal, which is reached by crossing an elegant courtyard followed by a spiral staircase in carved red sandstone. In this barrel-ceilinged room, 52 portraits are exhibited on the walls that tell the story of the Holy Roman Empire from 800 to 1806.

  • in Romerberg. It can also be reached on foot from the train station (1,5 km, 15 min) or by metro (Dom / Romer stop lines U4 and U5) or tram lines 11 and 12 (Romer / Paulskirche stop). Nearby the Museum of History, the Duomo, the Museum of Modern Art - Get directions
  • every day 10: 00-13: 00 and 14: 00-17: 00, closed during events
  • full € 2,00, reduced € 0,50

3 - Palmengarten

During a stay in Frankfurt you cannot miss a visit to this botanical garden, whose name can evoke something exotic, as translated means "palm garden". In fact, inside you can admire not only palm trees but a large and vast collection of flowers, plants of all kinds, trees of many species; of rare beauty especially the succulents.

Inaugurated in 1871, it is inspired by the pavilions of the Galerie des Machines in Paris it has over 13.000 tropical and subtropical plants, arranged according to the type in the open field or in greenhouses.

Don't miss the subantarctic section: completely different from the rest of the Garden, in this section you can admire plants from the coldest regions of the planet such as Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands and the southernmost part of New Zealand. Also, if you are in the city in December, do not miss the Christmas decorations inside the Botanical Garden.

  • in Siesmayerstraße 61, northwest of the old town. It is 2,5 km from Romerberg square (30 min walk), or with the U6 and U7 metro lines Westend stop (20 min) - Get directions
  • from February to October 9: 00-18: 00, from November to January 9: 00-16: 00
  • full € 7,00, reduced € 2,00

4 - Kaiserdom

It is the imperial cathedral as well the largest and most important Catholic church in Frankfurt. It is called the "Imperial Cathedral" because, starting from 1356, the German kings were crowned here and from 1562 also the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Although it is a collegiate church, it has always been considered a cathedral precisely because coronations took place inside.

Built between '200 and' 400, rebuilt in 1857 following a fire, it was rebuilt a third time after the bombing of the Second World War. The cathedral, with a gothic imprint, it has modest but unusual dimensions, because it is characterized by 3 very short naves and a large transept where the numerous state representatives were guests.

Guided tour: to learn more about the history linked to this church where kings and emperors were crowned, especially if you are traveling with children, we recommend guided tours. In addition, the Königsweg, the street of the kings, departed from the town hall, traveled by the new emperor together with the procession, so that he could receive the right celebrations for the banquet.

  • in Domplatz, in the historic center. Accessible on foot from the Romerberg (3 min). Nearby the Caricature Museum, the History Museum, the Town Hall and the Alte Nikolikirche. Get directions
  • every day 9: 00-12: 00 and 14: 30-20: 00
  • free, guided tours € 4,00

5 - Stadel Museum

The Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Stadtische Galerie, or Stadel Museum, is a gallery of ancient painting, modern art and contemporary art and it is one of the most important and interesting museums in the city. Built in 1815 by banker Johan Friedrich Städel, it collects numerous works that tell 700 years of European history, through 3.000 paintings, thousands of photographs, more than 600 sculptures and works by artists such as Botticelli, Rembrandt, Monet, Manet, Renoir and Picasso. Periodically, alongside the permanent exhibition, temporary exhibitions are set up with works of art by German and European artists.

The museum it also organizes guided tours, art talks and special events and, in addition to the exhibition spaces, it also includes a library-media library, a study room, a shop, a cafeteria and a restaurant. The museum complex is fully accessible to visitors with disabilities.

  • on the south bank of the Main, 1 km from the historic center. It can be reached on foot from Romerberg square (1 km, 15 min) or by metro U1, U2, U3 and U8 (Schweizer Platz stop). By tram 15 and 16 (stop Otto-Hahn-Platz) or by bus 46 (stop Städel) - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, Thu 18pm, closed Mon
  • full € 14,00, reduced € 12,00, children under 12 free

6 - Main Tower

The Main Tower skyscraper is 200 meters high and has a roof topped by a 40m communications tower. The only building open to the public to admire the wonderful skyline in Frankfurt, this skyscraper also includes five underground levels and two observation platforms.

Built between 1996 and 1999, it houses the offices of the Helaba commercial bank and television studios. The building's lobby is decorated with two publicly accessible works of art: a video installation and a wall mosaic. A tip, come around sunset time!

Dinner with a view: for a romantic dinner with a view of Frankfurt book a table at the restaurant located on the 53rd floor of the Main Tower.

  • in Neue Mainzer Str. 52-58. It can be reached on foot from Romerberg (1 km, 10 min) or by metro Lines U6 and U7 (Alte Oper station) and then walk along Neue Mainzer Str. Near the Opera House - Get directions
  • in summer Sun-Thu 10: 00-21: 00, Fri-Sat 10: 00-23: 00, in winter Sun-Thu 10: 00-19: 00, Fri-Sat 10: 00-21: 00. Closed 24-25 December and 1 January
  • full € 7,50, reduced € 5,00

7 - Goethehaus (Goethe's house)

Perhaps not everyone knows that Frankfurt is the birthplace of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, one of the most important exponents of world literature born in 1749.

The original old house where the writer grew up today it no longer exists, because it was destroyed during the bombing of the Second World War. However in the same area, in a very central position and not to be missed, a copy of Goethe's house has been perfectly rebuilt and refurbished, with his room, the rooms of his parents, his sister and the various places where the artist spent his days, which today has become an important museum. Among the things to see there is also the desk he used to write his masterpiece "The pains of young Werther".

Curiosity: access to the upper floors is through a particular staircase which was to highlight the socio-economic status of the family and the initials of Goethe's parents, JCG and CEG are shown in the balustrade on the first floor.

  • in Großer Hirschgraben 23-25. It can be reached on foot from Romerberg (300 m), by metro (Dom / Romer stops, lines U4 and U5), or by tram (lines 11 and 12, Romer / Paulskirche stop). Nearby Museum of History, the Duomo, the Museum of Modern Art - Get directions
  • Mon-Wed-Thu 10: 00-17: 00, Fri-Sun and holidays 10: 00-18: 00, closed Tues
  • full € 7,00, reduced € 3,00

8 - Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church)

The Church of San Paolo is a deconsecrated religious building that between 1848 and 1849 it hosted the first parliament of Germany, charged with issuing a liberal constitution for the country. Previously and in the years from 1852 until the Second World War, the structure was a Protestant church. After being devastated by bombing, it was decided to make it a monument to democracy and today it is home to international cultural events.

The building has a circular shape and a central body of 28 m, both built in sandstone from the River Main and the interior rooms are completely bare except for the banners of the sixteen federal states of Germany. Today this deconsecrated church is also used to host exhibitions and on information panels it broadcasts films concerning the history of this place.

  • in Paulsplatz 11. It can be reached on foot from Romerberg square (2 min) or by tram lines 11 and 12, metro lines U4 and U5 and bus lines 30,36 and 46. Nearby Museum of History, the Duomo, the Museum of Modern Art - Get directions
  • every day 10: 00-17: 00
  • free

9 - Museumsufer (Riva dei Musei)

Created in the 80s and become a trendy area where the cultural offer is accompanied by avant-garde architecture, the Museumsufer is literally the "Riva dei Musei".

It is a district with a high concentration of art galleries distributed on both banks of the River Main. On the south bank are the Giersh museum, the Liebieghaus, the Stadel art institute, the architecture art museum, the communications museum, the German film museum, the museum of world cultures, the icon museum and that of applied arts. On the north bank the Jewish museum and the historical museum. In addition to being a place to stroll or sit for a coffee, is the right place if you are in the mood for culture.

Last weekend of August: the district on the last weekend of August becomes the stage for cultural events in which many museums remain open from 19:00 to 2:00 at night.

  • in Brückenstraße 3-7. It can be reached on foot from Romerberg square (12 min) or by public transport, with the metro U1, U2, U3 and U8 (Schweizer Platz stop) and with trams 15 and 16 (Otto-Hahn-Platz stop ") - Get directions
  • always open / individual museums observe different hours
  • free / individual museums have different entrance fees

10 - MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst

The Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art, MMK, was founded in 1981 and designed externally by the architect Hans Hollein. The building has a particular structure which cost him the name of "piece of cake" due to its triangular shape.

Inside they are present 5.000 works by famous artists, such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and George Segal, which cover a period ranging from the 60s to the present day divided into 40 rooms connected to each other by plays of light and spaces. In addition to MMK1, there are two other museum spaces opposite: MMK2 and MMK3, where temporary exhibitions are set up and which were once the seat of the City of Frankfurt for the Customs offices.

  • in Domstraße 10. It can be reached on foot from Romerberg 3 min) or by underground (Dom / Romer stop lines U4 and U5) or tram lines 11 and 12 (Romer / Paulskirche stop). Nearby the Museum of History, the Duomo, the Museum of Modern Art - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, Wed until 18pm, closed Mon
  • full € 16,00, reduced € 8,00

11 - Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Natural History Museum)

Among the important museums in Frankfurt that of Natural History is certainly worth mentioning. Inside it is possible to retrace the evolutionary, biological, geological and paleontological stages of the earth. It is about a fascinating place for both adults and children, which exhibits a vast collection of animals from every age, including the dinosaur and other prehistoric species reproduced in full size.

The Australopithecus Afarensis skeleton is also preserved here, the hominid that lived in Africa millions of years ago. There are also exhibits on paleontology with fossil finds from the archaeological site of Grube Messel and everywhere there are explanations in English.

  • in Senckenberganlage 25. Can be reached on foot from Romerberg (12 min). By public transport, metro U1, U2, U3 and U8 (stop Schweizer Platz), with tram 15 and 16 (stop Otto-Hahn-Platz "ì). Nearby Experimentia (science center) - Get directions
  • Mon-Tue and Thu-Fri 9: 00-17: 00, Wed 9: 00-20: 00, Sat and Sun 9: 00-18: 00
  • full € 10,00, reduced € 5,00

12 - Dam, Museum of architecture

Located on the Museumsufer along the Rhine, within an th century building, the German Museum of Architecture, DAM, is a place not to be missed if you are a lover of the genre. Redesigned by the architect Oswald Mathias Ungers in 1984, inside it houses a permanent exhibition entitled "From ancient huts to skyscrapers" which shows the history of the development of German architecture.

There are about 180.000 architectural drawings and 600 models are exhibited, including works of modern and contemporary classics. In addition, the museum organizes various temporary exhibitions, conferences and symposia and also has a library with around 25.000 books and magazines.

  • in Schaumainkai 43, in the Museumsufer. It can be reached on foot from Romerberg square (6 min). By public transport, metro U1, U2, U3 and U8 (stop Schweizer Platz "), tram 15 and 16 (stop Otto-Hahn-Platz) - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 00, Wed until 20: 00, closed Mon, 24 and 25 December
  • full € 9,00, reduced € 4,50

13 - Alte Oper (Opera House)

In the central district of the city, Innenstadt, is the Alte Oper, the ancient opera house today used as a concert hall. Inaugurated in 1880 but destroyed by bombs in 1944, it was then slowly rebuilt in the 70s, reopening in 1981.

Since that date, the calendar of events is always very rich and those who love classical music and opera should not miss one of the scheduled concerts. It has several rooms: the Großer Saal, or Great Hall, with 2500 seats, the Mozart-Saal, with 700 seats, and smaller rooms for conferences.

  • in Opernplatz 1. Can be reached on foot from Romerberg (14 min). By public transport, metro U6 and U7 (Alte Oper stop) or by bus 64 (Alte Oper stop). Nearby is the Bockenheimer Anlage Park - Get Directions
  • Always accessible exterior / Interior based on events, consult the official website
  • according to the concerts, consult the official website

14 - The Judengasse and the Jewish Museum

All the big cities have hosted Jewish communities and even Frankfurt has some symbolic places of this population. The Judengasse, or the "street of the Jews", deserves to be remembered because here in the fifteenth century, the first Jewish ghetto in Europe was born. Although most of the houses were destroyed by the French bombing in 1796, from the remains of the houses and ritual baths brought to light you can get a sense of the everyday life of the Jewish community that lived in these places from the th to the th century.

Here is also the Jewish Museum, inside the former residence of the Rothschild family, who exhibits objects and documents that take the visitor back in time. A suggestion: to get more information and learn more about the history of these places you can ask for some information leaflets in English, ask at the ticket office, or alternatively inquire about guided tours.

  • in Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse 10. It can be reached on foot from Romerberg (600 m, 8 min). Nearest bus stop Borneplatz. Nearby the Duomo (600m) - Get directions
  • Judengasse always open / Museum Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, Wed until 17pm, closed Mon
  • Judengasse free / full museum € 3,50, reduced € 1,50

15 - Zoo Frankfurt

In the north-east of the city it is located one of the best known zoos, inside which live various species including mammals, carnivores and a special section on nocturnal animals.

Among the sections not to be missed, the most fascinating is that of the tigers, where a glass divides the animal from the human being, and that of the penguins, where the original natural habitat has been recreated. The section of nocturnal animals instead is located in a completely dark house where bats, owls, dormice and lemurs live. All the animals are in excellent condition, show absolutely no signs of torture and is the perfect place to visit even with children!

  • in Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1. Accessible by metro U6 / U7 or by tram number 14 directly from the city center (Zoo stop, 20 min) - Get directions
  • every day 9: 00-19: 00
  • full € 12,00, reduced € 6,00

Other attractions to visit

In addition to the attractions we have mentioned, Frankfurt also has other things to see during a stay. First of all it is an important European exhibition center, where, among others, the motor show and the book show are held.

If you are fond of museums, we also recommend visiting the Museum of Photography (€ 7,00), the Shirin Museum where you can see always interesting temporary exhibitions (€ 6,00), the Museum of Applied Art, with rare furniture, ceramics, tapestries, centuries past, of the Baroque and Rococo (€ 7,50), and the Cinema Museum (€ 6,00). Also worth mentioning the most innovative space in Frankfurt: that of Portikus, which gives space to contemporary German expression (costs based on exhibitions).

If instead you want to be outdoors, we recommend the following parks: Stadtwald, a 5.000-hectare forest within the city; the Gardens of the Walls which extend for 5 km; and the Gunthersbrgpark, an area of ​​over 7 hectares. Finally, if on the one hand Frankfurt has large green spaces, on the other it is a city full of skyscrapers: among these in the financial district the Silver Tower, seat of Dresdner Bank, the Commerzbank and its illuminated tower and the Eschenheimer Tor stand out.

9 things to do in Frankfurt

  1. Boat tour on the Main: See the Frankfurt skyline from another perspective on a scenic boat tour along the River Main
  2. Christmas markets: Frankfurt is also famous for the Christmas markets, set up in Romerberg square, where in addition to the numerous stalls you can take a photograph with the fir tree 30 m behind
  3. Tourist bus: move between attractions in Frankfurt with the tourist bus, while also enjoying a magnificent panoramic tour of the city
  4. A bicycle trip: Frankfurt is a very green city, full of cycle paths! For this reason we recommend that you join a 3-hour bike tour with a local guide, which will allow you to explore the city in total safety.
  5. Discover the dark side: discover the dark side of the city by joining a scary tour of Frankfurt with a guide who will tell you all the most interesting stories of the city
  6. Taste the Apfelwein, the cider of Frankfurt: especially in the Sachsenhausen area there are a lot of distilleries to try the typical liqueur of the city. Be careful not to overdo it, the alcohol content is like that of a beer, between 4,8-7,0%
  7. Visit the Sachsenhausen district and shop on Zeil Street:, the German Fifth Avenue, this is where people flock to the nightlife or to shop
  8. Visit the Kleinmartkhalle, the covered market: dating back to the nineteenth century, it is a piece of the city's history. Inside there are also murals and it is ideal for a stop at a kiosk inside. In this case, choose the historic Gref Völslings Rindswurst, the most famous sausage stand!
  9. Photo at Bockenheimer Warte underground station: because? Take a look, it's shaped like a wagon that crashed and went underground! It is the work of the innovative architect Peter Pininski, inspired by the surrealism of René Magritte

Plan your stay in Frankfurt: flights and hotels

The best time to visit is from late April to October, when the climate is milder and less rainy. However, the city even during the Christmas period it is really impressive thanks to the presence of markets, stalls and decorations.

You arrive by direct flight, about 2 hours from Rome (compare flights from € 69,00). The airport is just 11 km from the city.

As for the stay, it must be said that this German resort is not cheap, however thanks to the different types of accommodation you can choose between luxury hotels, b & bs, guest houses based on your availability (compare accommodations on Booking from € 85,00). The best solution is to stay near the historic center, to move mainly on foot and to be close to the main public transport stops (metro, tram and bus).

If you are traveling with children, you should know that Germany, and therefore Frankfurt, are well organized for families and often the various attractions offer the "Family" ticket. Among the things not to be missed with the little ones we suggest the concert of bells that takes place in the medieval church Alte Nikolaikirche and the visit of the historic center in general, the Historical Museum which offers interactive exhibitions, the Pierino Porcospino Struwwelpeter Museum (free), where you can also dress up. Of course, the boat ride, the zoo and a ride in the city parks are also not to be missed!

If you are looking for nightlife instead, you may not know that this city has given birth to some legendary clubs and internationally renowned DJs; most of the pubs, lounge bars and nightclubs are found mainly in Bockenheim, the district surrounding the university, while the Kaiserstrasse and the area surrounding the station (the Hauptbahnhof), in particular, is known as the red light district of Frankfurt. One of the districts of Frankfurt however with the liveliest nightlife is that of Sachsenhausen, south of the river.

Finally, if you are traveling low cost, you must know that Frankfurt is a rather expensive city, but some attractions are free: among them the skyline from the Main Tower, the Bolongaro palace, the Sanbartholomaus, the St. Paul's Church and every last Sunday of the month the entrance to many museums of the city as the Museum of Modern Art and the Jewish Museum is free. Moreover, to save further, we recommend the purchase of the Frankfurt Card, which allows you to move with various public transport and have discounts on attractions.

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