Things to Do in Frankfurt, Germany: Ultimate Travel Guide

Located along the River Main in Western Germany is the city of Frankfurt. The largest city in the state of Hesse, Frankfurt lies roughly 340 miles southwest of the national capital, Berlin. Frankfurt holds the distinction of being the biggest financial hub in continental Europe and the financial heart of Germany. It’s also a center for tourism, entertainment, culture, and education. Its historic charm juxtaposes the city’s modernity and is full of exciting things to do in Frankfurt. There’s a wealth of hidden gems and must-see attractions, from the serene botanical gardens to the beautiful riverfront.

This mini-guide will explore what to do in Frankfurt, especially if you’re only in town for a day or two. I traveled across Germany in my early 20s back in 2005 and fell in love with it. Frankfurt is an often underrated and underappreciated city, but it’s one of my favorites in the country. It’s even one of the host cities of the UEFA 2024 football tournament! Let’s explore the top 5 things to do in Frankfurt, Germany!

Things to Do in Frankfurt: Visit the Museumsufer

Two skeletons of prehistoric creatures in a display case at Naturmuseum Senckenberg | Davidsbeenhere
Naturmuseum Senckenberg is home to several skeletons of prehistoric animals. Photo by Nazrin Babashova on Unsplash.

Frankfurt’s Museum Embankment, known as the Museumsufer, is a must for anyone exploring German culture. The Museumsufer is a massive complex comprised of a whopping 39 world-renowned museums along the River Main. Each has its own niche and offers a fantastic array of exhibits.

I love art, so the Städel Art Museum is a great place to start. It’s one of the most prestigious art institutions in Germany and houses masterpieces from renowned artists like Rembrandt, Rubens, and Monet. Meanwhile, Naturmuseum Senckenberg focuses on natural history and is known for its impressive collection of dinosaur skeletons and other fossils.

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Another must for any world traveler looking for things to do in Frankfurt is the Museum of World Cultures. This leading ethnological museum boasts a staggering collection of over 65,000 artifacts. It dives deep into the history and culture of regions across Asia, Africa, and the Americas. I believe it’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of the human experience.

Finally, for a trip to the ancient world, check out the Museum of Ancient Sculpture. It’s hard to not be enthralled by its exquisite collection of sculptures from Asia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Visiting is the ultimate crash course in ancient art history and a fascinating experience. If you’re a history fan and wondering what to do in Frankfurt, this should be at the top of your list!

Explore the Old Town

Römerberg Square, with its cobblestone streets and traditional German buildings, is one of the top things to do in Frankfurt | Davidsbeenhere
Römerberg is the central square in Frankfurt’s Old Town, Altstadt. Photo by Joshua Kettle on Unsplash.

No visit to Frankfurt would be complete without exploring the city’s historic Old Town, or Altstadt. This enchanting district was meticulously reconstructed after the devastation of World War II. As such, it offers a captivating but sobering glimpse into Frankfurt’s past. It’s one of the best things to do in Frankfurt, especially if historical tours are your cup of tea.

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The Old Town’s central square, the Römerberg is a great place to start any tour of the area. Surrounded by half-timbered buildings and the iconic Römer (City Hall), this square is like a snapshot of most people’s idea of Germany. Its cobblestone streets make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, and its charming cafes are a great place to grab some coffee or a quick bite to eat.

Not far from the Römerberg is the impressive St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. Also known as Frankfurt Cathedral, this Gothic masterpiece is famous for its intricate spires and ornate interior. It’s been a significant religious and cultural landmark in the city for centuries. Inside, you can admire its lavish halls, stunning architecture, and religious iconography.

Another famous house of worship in the Old Town is Paulskirche, or St. Paul’s Church. This iconic building holds a special place in German history. It was here that the first freely-elected national parliament, the Frankfurter National Assembly, convened in 1849. If you’re asking what to do in Frankfurt, visiting St. Paul’s Church is a pretty good answer.

Relax at the Palmengarten

Lily pads and water lilies floating in a pond in Palmengarten, one of the best things to do in Frankfurt, Germany | Davidsbeenhere
Palmengarten is an expansive park that offers a tranquil, serene atmosphere. Photo by Florian Herzog on Unsplash.

I love visiting parks when I travel, and Palmengarten is arguably the best in Frankfurt. If you’re looking for a beautiful place to relax in town, look no further than this stunning botanical garden. It spans over 50 acres and is home to an impressive array of flora from around the world. You can see them up close in meticulously maintained outdoor gardens and tropical greenhouses.

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The serenity of the garden makes it one of the best things to do in Frankfurt. As you wander the winding paths, it’s hard not to feel at ease surrounded by the vibrant colors of thousands of beautiful flowers and plants. From the tranquil rose garden to the captivating palm groves, Palmengarten is a great spot to recharge your batteries. When people ask me what to do in Frankfurt, this oasis is always on my list!

Enjoy the Local Cuisine

A spread of German dishes, including schnitzel | Davidsbeenhere
German food is meaty and hearty and a must while in Frankfurt. Photo by shawnanggg on Unsplash.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I’m a massive foodie. I travel the world in search of unique, flavorful foods, and Frankfurt has that in spades. From traditional German food to innovative modern fare, Frankfurt is a fantastic food city. And one of the best things to do in Frankfurt is to dive deep into its culinary culture!

Two cornerstones of Frankfurt’s cuisine are grüne soße (Green Sauce) and apfelwein (Apple Wine). The grüne soße, a cold herb sauce made with seven locally-grown herbs, is a quintessential accompaniment to many classic Frankfurt dishes, such as the iconic schnitzel. It doesn’t get more authentically Frankfurt than having a schnitzel with a crisp Apfelwein!

If markets are more your speed, Kleinmarkthalle, Frankfurt’s bustling indoor market, is a must. This vibrant hub is a haven for food lovers, with vendors selling fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, homemade sausages, and more. Take some money with you and stock up on treats to take back home with you!

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Things to do in Frankfurt: Have a Main River Experience

A view over the River Main at night | Davidsbeenhere
The River Main flows through the city of Frankfurt, dividing it in two. Photo by Paul Kapischka on Unsplash.

The River Main flows through the heart of Frankfurt. The river is essential to daily life in Frankfurt, from the industries along its banks to the recreational activities it provides. One of the top things to do in Frankfurt is a scenic river cruise. These leisurely boat tours offer a unique perspective of the city and take visitos past iconic landmarks and historic bridges.

If you prefer to explore the river’s surrounding area on foot, it’s flanked by beautifully landscaped promenades and paths. Tourists and locals alike enjoy walking the tree-lined paths, admiring the stunning architecture that lines the riverbanks, and stopping by the various cafes, restaurants, and cultural attractions that dot the waterfront.

Another must on my list of things to do in Frankfurt is to see the European Central Bank. Located by the riverfront, this modern architectural marvel serves as the headquarters of the Eurozone’s monetary authority. You can visit the building to learn about its role in shaping the European economy, and marvel at its striking and unique design. It’s high on my list of what to do in Frankfurt!

Explore the Amazing Things to Do in Frankfurt

Traditional German architecture, one of the top things to do in Frankfurt, Germany | Davidsbeenhere
Traditional German architecture is one of the main draws in Frankfurt. Photo by Michelangelo Azzariti on Unsplash.

Frankfurt may not get the same attention and acclaim as other German cities like Berlin and Munich, but in my opinion, that’s a mistake. This city is a gem hidden in plain sight, and an exciting and multifaceted place to visit. After figuring out what to do in Frankfurt during my visit in 2005, I curated this list, which I hope helps you when you visit. Book a trip to Germany today to experience the top things to do in Frankfurt for yourself!

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