9 Best Things to Do in Frankfurt

Known as the financial capital of Germany, Frankfurt is also a historical and culturally important place, being the birthplace of the German writer Goethe. Frankfurt is the economic powerhouse of the country; It has Germany’s biggest Autobahn interchange, the busiest train station and the biggest airport. Frankfurt is home to the most impressive skyline in Germany as well as world-renowned museums, galleries, historical cathedrals along with stunning views. It is a food lovers dream and there is such an incredible vibe in the city. Frankfurt has an amazing dining scene, where you can find cozy taverns serving hearty regional food as well as markets selling international specialties. Frankfurt is incredibly diverse and is so much more than a financial hub.

Where is Frankfurt

Frankfurt is located in the south-western part of Germany that lies along the Main River about 19 miles upstream from Rhine River at Mainz. Frankfurt is the largest city of German state Hesse.

There are two airports serving Frankfurt, Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN). Frankfurt Airport is an international airport and the main airport serving the city and one of the largest airports in Germany. Franfurt-Hahn Airport is located in Hahn, Rhineland-Palatinate a western state in Germany. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is much smaller but it is also an international airport serving Hahn and Frankfurt. Although it is called Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, it is nowhere close to Frankfurt but it is a cheaper option to Frankfurt Airport. Both airports handle domestic and international flights but Frankfurt airport handles more flights and more airlines operate from FRA than at HHN.

Frankfurt also has a large and impressive train station; Frankfurt (Main) hbf where you can find connecting trains to almost any destination in Germany and indeed Europe. There are hourly high speed ICE trains to most other major cities in Germany including Berlin, Hamburg, Koln, Munchen and Stuttgart. Despite its size Frankfurt (Main) hbf is a comparatively easy station to use because it is a terminus station- so all long-distance trains arrive at the one level and have step-free access to the main concourse and exits.

Top Things to do in Frankfurt

1. Museumsurfer

In the 1980s the city authorities came up with the idea of a boulevard of museums – and the results were stunning. Around the Städel, a fine art museum with masterpieces spanning seven centuries, a gaggle of new museums sprung up, some in transformed historic villas, others in new purpose-built buildings. Today, the Museum Embankment (Museumsufer) hosts some of the most important museums in Germany, ranging from applied arts (Museum Angewandte Kunst) and architecture (Deutsches Architekturmuseum) to film (Deutsches Filmmuseum), Jewish history (Jüdisches Museum) and antique sculpture (Liebieghaus). Lesser-known gems include the Ethnological Museum (Museum der Weltkulturen) with historical remnants of bygone times, a ‘Bible experience’ museum or the Caricatura museum for comic art.

2. Main Tower

Get another perspective on the city at the Main Tower, the first high-rise building in Europe with a façade made entirely of glass. At 200 metres tall, it’s also the fourth tallest building in Germany and Frankfurt’s highest vantage point (plus the only one accessible to the public). When the weather’s on your side, you can enjoy spectacular panoramas from the rooftop observation deck and see as far as the hills of Taunus, Spessart and Vogelsberg, Frankfurt’s busy airport, and the Commerzbank Arena.

3. Romerberg Quarter

Many European cities have spent decades carefully reconstructing historic buildings destroyed during the First and Second World Wars, but only Frankfurt has bothered to recreate an entire district as it was at the turn of the last century. The DomRömer Quarter is Frankfurt’s ‘new’ old town, spread across 7,000 square metres between Cathedral Square and the medieval Römer building that was more than 90 percent destroyed during the wars. The development opened in May 2018 and includes 20 new buildings and 15 replicas, including the Stadthaus community and conference centre. Expect to find thriving cafés, shops and a handful of decent museums.

4. Upper Berger Strabe

Discover the best of Frankfurt café culture on the picturesque upper Berger Straße. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, a weekly farmers’ market is held near the Bornheim Mitte metro station, between the old clock tower (Uhrtürmchen) and Saalburgstraße. Pass that and head north, away from the city centre, to the dozens of restaurants and bars that offer outside seating at the first suggestion of spring in the air. The half-timbered buildings are all original and date from the 1600s. When the sun sets, the street glows with candles and lanterns. While Berger Straße is an excellent destination for a reliable German meal, you could also try Spaghetti-Eis – vanilla ice cream squeezed into spaghetti-like noodles, served with strawberry sauce – from one of many nearby ice cream parlours.

5. Schaumankai Flea Market

Every other Saturday, Flohmarkt Schaumainkai – considered by many to be Frankfurt’s best flea market – opens on the tree-lined southern bank of the Main river. Grab a coffee or piping hot apple wine and wander down the river through the bustling stalls, where you’ll find an eclectic assortment of wares ranging from second-hand toys to locally made clothing, used bikes, crafts, antique furniture and art, with the Frankfurt skyline serving as a distinguished backdrop.

6. Frankfurt City Forest

One of the last remaining vestiges of Germany’s vast Imperial Forest, Frankfurt City Forest (Stadtwald) spreads out over more than 5,000 hectares – making the city one of Germany’s most wooded urban areas. Just 15 minutes outside the centre, it draws Frankfurters with its 450-kilometre network of hiking, running and cycling trails. Within the city, you’ll also find the sprawling Günthersburgpark and Grüneburgpark: the former adjacent to the Botanical Garden (Palmengarten), the latter in the Nordend district. Head to Grüneburgpark in summer for a rich programme of theatre and live music.

7. Erzeugermarket Konstablerwache

To sample all the regional specialities Hesse has to offer in one spot (and on the cheap), head to Erzeugermarkt Konstablerwache, the state’s largest farmers’ market. Cured meat, hearty German brown bread, and assorted cheeses provide excellent sandwiches, and you can wash it all down with apple wine. Dedicated to upholding traditional techniques, the market features stalls from more than 50 of the region’s farm collectives, and many of the artisanal goods are organic. This is also an excellent place to try Grüne Soße (‘green sauce’, a tangy sour cream blended with herbs). To appreciate Handkäse mit Musik (‘hand cheese with music’), an oddly translucent cheese topped with chopped onions and caraway seeds, you’ll have to get over the (very) pungent odour.

8. Kleinmarkthalle

A culinary dream awaits at the 1,500-square-metre Kleinmarkthalle, where nearly 160 market stalls flog local food, flowers and other produce. From cured meats and wine to honey, dried fruit, nuts, handmade pasta and cheese, just about every craving is catered to here. As well as regional delicacies, you’ll find imports from all over Europe and beyond. Don’t miss the terrace bursting with flower boxes on the second level – the small family-owned plonk shop serves wines that pair very well with the food bought downstairs.

9. Shopping

The Zeil in Frankfurt am Main has been one of Germany’s best known shopping streets for more than 100 years but there are also lesser known areas to also visit if you enjoy shopping. Frankfurt is home to a wide variety of weekly markets, that are the ideal place to shop for regional products but also to meet for a bite to eat or a glass of cider or wine. At each market, farmers from the locality sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to meat, fish, cheese, and flowers. It is the perfect way to sample the local flavour of Frankfurt.

How to get to Frankfurt City Center

From Frankfurt Airport:

1. Taking the Train. To get to Frankfurt city center, take line S8 or S9 electric trains from Frankfurt Airport. The total trip duration is 40 minutes, and getting to Central railway station will take 11 minutes. An adult ticket costs EUR 4.65, a children’s one – EUR 2.8. The Frankfurt Airport train tickets can be bought from special blue ticket machines with the RMV sign on them (Terminal 1) or at Reisezentrum ticket office (Terminal 1, Floor 0, Hall В). Waiting time is 5-15 minutes. Tickets need to be punched.

S8 – 24/7
S9 – from 05:00 a.m. to 01:00 a.m.

Airport – Hauptbahnhof tief – Konstablerwache – Muhlberg – Offenbach Station Ledermuseum – Hanau Hauptbahnhof

2. Travel by Frankfurt Airport bus. You can get from Frankfurt Airport to city center by buses №61, 77, 72, 58, 62 (daytime buses), N81 and N7 (night buses). The Frankfurt Airport bus №61 reaches the destination in 30 minutes, the ticket price is EUR 4.35. And waiting time around 20 minutes. The shuttle tickets are bought from the driver right before boarding. They don’t need to be punched. Night buses from Frankfurt Airport are less frequent.

Airport – Frankfurt South station (Sudbahnhof)

3. Taking a Taxi or arrange private airport transfer such as Kiwi Taxi

From Frankfurt Main Train Station (Hbf):

Frankfurt train station (Main Hbf) is located towards the western edge of the city centre. The central and tourist areas of the city can be easily accessed by and efficient public-transport network, which will often get you to your final destination faster than a taxi. So before arriving in Frankfurt (Main Hbf) it is worth checking whether your final destination is located by an S-Bahn (local train) station or by one of the U-bahn (Metro) lines which serve the central station; U4and U5.

The quickest route between Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and the city centre is to take a S-Bahn train from the lower level station to/from Hauptwache or Konstablerwache stations. The gleis (platforms/tracks) used by the local S-Bahn trains to the city centre and to the flughafen/airport are at a lower level. There is also step-free access to these platforms by escalators and lifts.

If you are going to the historic Romerberg area take U-Bahn line U4 (direction Enkheim) or line U5 (direction Preungesheim) to ‘Dom/ Römer’ station. The U-bahn station can be accessed from an entrance at the end of the main hall, which leads off from the centre of the concourse and connects into the main street exits at the front of the station.

How to get around

Public transportation allows visitors to easily travel all over the city and is easier, cheaper, and often faster than a car. The system consists of the U-Bahn (subways), S-Bahn (commuter trains), trams, and buses. It’s run by the Rhine-Main Transport Association (RMV) and Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt (VGF), one of Germany’s largest public transport networks. The system is well-organized, safe, and fairly punctual, but it takes some practice to get comfortable.

The U-Bahn (underground) operates partly below ground and often works in connection with the tram system. Trains run every 2 to 5 minutes within the city center. Frequency slows to 10 to 20 minutes after 8 p.m., and night buses take over from 1 to 4 a.m. Use the RMV website to plan your trip, find timetables (fahrplan), and real-time departure/arrival information.

There are nine combined U-Bahn/tram lines and almost 90 stations:

U1–U3: These lines run from the southern railway station to the north of the city on one route, then split towards Nordweststadt (U1; red), Bad Homburg-Gonzenheim (U2; light green), and Oberursel (U3; dark purple).
U4 (Pink): Runs from western Bockenheimer Warte through the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) to eastern Enkheim.
U5 (Dark green): This is a combined tram and underground line from northern Preungesheim to the city center. It shares some underground stations with the U4.
U6 (Blue): Runs from Heerstraße in the west to Ostbahnhof (East Station) in the east.
U7 (Orange): Runs from the east in Hausen in the west to Bergen-Enkheim in the northeast.
U8 (Light Purple): Runs from northern Riedberg to Frankfurt-Süd. It shares tracks with U1-3.
U9 (Yellow): Starts from the north at Nieder-Eschbach to Ginnheim in Nordweststat on the shared U2 line, as well as the shared U8 line. This is the only line that doesn’t travel through the city center.

The city’s S-Bahn or Stadtbahn (city train) is the local rail which runs primarily above ground from the city center to the surrounding suburbs and cities. The area around Frankfurt is densely populated and the S-Bahn offers easy access to the outskirts of the city, as well as the surrounding cities like Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Hanau. S-Bahn runs as frequently as every three minutes during peak times, and every 15 to 30 minutes during the night or on the outskirts. Service starts at 4 a.m for some lines, with full service from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on all lines. The last S-Bahns leave Frankfurt at 1:20 a.m. The S8 and S9 lines run 24 hours a day. The tickets offer access to the S-Bahn as well as the rest of Frankfurt’s public transport system.

S-Bahn stations can be identified by the green and white “S” symbol. Enter the platform and once you have a ticket, stamp it and board the S-Bahn. Maps are available on the platform and electronic boards provide info on the next arrival.

Frankfurt Buses fill in some of the gaps in Frankfurt’s public transport system. All major routes are served by rail-based modes of transportation, but stops are closer together and buses can be a good way to orient yourself with the city. Where buses are most useful is in the north between S-Bahn stations and at night.

Bus stops are marked by a circular sign with a green “H.” They often have a small shelter and electronic sign updating arrivals, as well as posted regular schedules and routes. Tickets can be purchased from machines at S- or U-Bahns or directly from bus drivers. If you have a ticket that is not time-stamped, stamp it with the machine near the entrance of the bus.

Night Buses in Frankfurt
Between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., U-Bahns and S-Bahns have reduced or paused service and night buses replace those lines as they run 24 hours a day. Nachtbus lines have numbers beginning with “N.” Tickets cost the same as daytime transport.

Tickets on Frankfurt’s Public Transport

Regular tickets (einzelfahrt) cost 2.75 euros (1.55 euros discounted) and allows for travel on all forms of transport. Zone 50 includes most of Frankfurt, excluding the airport.Tickets are time-stamped and valid for two hours of travel beginning immediately. It allows for unlimited transfers in one direction. For example, you can travel around the city on a single ticket for 120 minutes from the time the ticket was stamped, but you can’t go in one direction then come back the same way. Children under 6 do not need tickets and reduced fare is available for children 6 to 14.

Tickets can be purchased via touch-screen ticket machines (fahrkartenautomaten) in S-Bahn and tram stations, RMV outlets, or on the RMV app. The app can be used in English. If traveling inside Frankfurt, the red button “Stadtgebiet Frankfurt” purchases a basic ticket. Machines have an English language option (as well as several others). It accepts euro coins and notes (up to 10 or 20 euros) and chip-and-PIN credit cards.

There are also other ticket options:

All-day ticket (Tageskarte): This costs just a little more than two single journeys at peak times. The fare is generally 5.35 euros (3 euros discounted). Tickets are valid from time of purchase to end of operations that day. Note that day tickets purchased at price level 3 valid for use in Frankfurt (fare zone 50) are not valid for travel to Frankfurt Airport.
A short-trip ticket (Kurzstrecke): Valid for journeys up to 2 kilometers away. It costs 1.85 euros.
All-day Group Ticket (Gruppentageskarte): This day ticket is valid for up to five people and costs 15.80 euros (it excludes airport transfers).
Frankfurt Card: For 23 euros, up to five visitors can utilize all the transport options for 24 hours plus travel from Frankfurt Airport or Frankfurt HBF, and get discounts on main attractions.
Weekly Pass (Wochenkarte): Valid for seven consecutive days.

We hope you enjoyed the itinerary and now know how to spend 24 hours in Frankfurt. Of course, when visiting a city as large as Frankfurt, one day is hardly enough so you need to just pick few things from the list which is of interest for you. I hope you enjoy Frankfurt 😉

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