Discover Frankfurt: The Ultimate Guide

Frankfurt may be known as a global financial hub, but there is so much more to this city than just banks and business. It’s a city that seamlessly combines old-world charm with modernity. The historic Altstadt (Old Town) in particular is a testament to the city’s rich history, with its picturesque squares, timber-framed houses, and charming cafes.

But Frankfurt is not just about the past. The city’s skyline, dominated by towering skyscrapers, is a symbol of its economic prowess. Keep reading to discover everything that Frankfurt has to offer, from its most iconic attractions to its numerous parks and gardens, cosmopolitan nightlife, dining and shopping options, as well as a number of family-friendly activities.

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Top attractions and landmarks in Frankfurt

The Römer, Frankfurt, Germany
The Römer

Frankfurt is home to a plethora of attractions and landmarks that are sure to leave you awe-struck. The Römer, Frankfurt’s historic city hall, is a must-see, with its stunning facade and beautiful interior making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

The Altstadt, or Old Town, is one of Frankfurt’s main attractions. Like in many German cities, the Frankfurt Old Town was destroyed in the Allied Bombing in 1944. It has since been lovingly restored, and is home to many historic landmarks and shops selling traditional souvenirs and local food. We recommend taking a guided tour, or a themed tour; options include fright tours, VR history tours and pub crawls.

Another iconic landmark is the Palmengarten, a botanical garden that spans over 50 acres. Here, you can immerse yourself in nature and explore the diverse range of plants from all over the world.

The Senckenberg Museum is another must-visit attraction, especially for nature lovers. It houses a vast collection of fossils, animals, and minerals, including the famous T-Rex skeleton.

Popular modern landmarks include the Main Tower and Deutsche Bank Park. The 200-metre-high Main Tower skyscraper offers a stunning view of the city skyline and the Main river from its observation deck. You can also enjoy a meal or a drink on the 53rd floor.

Deutsche Bank Park football stadium is the home of the Eintracht Frankfurt club. With a capacity of over 50,000 spectators and a retractable roof, it’s one of the largest and most modern stadiums in Germany, also hosting concerts and other events.

Exploring the cultural and historical sites in Frankfurt

Goethe House, Frankfurt, Germany
Inside the Goethe House

Frankfurt is steeped in history and culture, and there are plenty of sites to explore that showcase its rich heritage. Perhaps most recognisable is The Römer city hall in the Old Town, which is a symbol of Frankfurt. Consisting of three gabled houses, the medieval building has been the seat of the municipal government for over 600 years. It’s located on the Römerberg square, the historic centre of the city.

Just a short walk away you’ll find the Kaiserdom, also known as the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew. The impressive cathedral dates back to the 14th century; climb to the top of the cathedral’s tower for breathtaking views of the city.

Connecting the Old Town and the Sachsenhausen district is the famous Iron Bridge. Built in 1869, it’s one of the oldest bridges in Frankfurt. It offers panoramic views of the city and the river, as well as being home to many love locks that adorn the railings.

Another popular cultural attraction is the Goethe House. The birthplace of the renowned German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the house is a popular attraction for literature enthusiasts, allowing you to step inside the house and get a glimpse into the life of one of Germany’s greatest literary figures.

Finally, the Old Opera House (Alte Oper) is seen by many as a symbol of Frankfurt’s cultural revival. Having hosted many famous operas and concerts, the stunning neoclassical building was destroyed in the Second World War. It was rebuilt in the seventies and is now a venue for various events and performances.

Must-visit museums in Frankfurt

Senckenberg Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
Senckenberg Museum

Frankfurt is a treasure trove of museums, catering to a wide range of interests. Museumsufer is a term that refers to the ensemble of museums along the banks of the Main river, such as the Senckenberg Museum, the Jewish Museum Frankfurt and the Städel Museum. You can buy a Museumsufer ticket for around 21 euros that gives you access to all of them for two consecutive days.

For those interested in natural history, the previously mentioned Senckenberg Museum is a must-visit. Its vast collection of fossils, animals, and minerals is sure to fascinate visitors of all ages. From the towering T-Rex skeleton to the intricate displays of marine life, this museum is a true gem.

For a deeper dive into Frankfurt’s history, a visit to the Historical Museum is a must. It offers a comprehensive overview of the city’s past, from its medieval beginnings to its transformation into a modern metropolis. The museum’s exhibits are engaging and informative, providing a fascinating insight into Frankfurt’s evolution over the centuries.

You should also visit Jewish Museum Frankfurt, Germany’s oldest independent Jewish museum. It traces the history and culture of the Jewish community in Frankfurt from the past 800 years, and also hosts temporary exhibitions on various topics related to Judaism.

For art lovers, the Städel Museum houses an extensive collection of European art from the Middle Ages to the present day. From Renaissance masterpieces to contemporary works, this museum has it all.

If you’re interested in modern and contemporary art, check out the Museum of Modern Art (Museum für Moderne Kunst). With its impressive collection of works by renowned artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, it offers a glimpse into the world of contemporary art.

Outdoor activities in Frankfurt

Palmengarten, Frankfurt, Germany

Parks and gardens

Despite being a bustling city, Frankfurt offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation. The city is home to Germany’s largest urban forest, Frankfurt City Forest or Frankfurter Stadtwald, covering almost 5000 hectares. With several ponds, playgrounds, rest huts, and nature trails, it offers a variety of recreational activities. Popular options include hiking, biking, boating, and wildlife watching.

The previously mentioned Palmengarten, with its beautifully landscaped gardens and tranquil atmosphere, is one of Frankfurt’s most popular natural spaces. It features a variety of plants from different climates and regions, such as tropical rainforests, subantarctic, and alpine landscapes. You can also admire the sculptures and fountains, visit the Butterfly House or go rowing on the Boating Pond.

You can also visit numerous state parks in Frankfurt, such as Grüneburgpark, Bethmann Park, Nidda Park and Rebstockpark. Relax amongst the green spaces, playgrounds, flowers and fountains, or explore the Korean Garden in Grüneburgpark and the Chinese Garden in Bethmann Park.


Both the Frankfurt Zoo and the nearby Opel Zoo (located around half an hour outside the city) are home to hundreds of species, and thousands of animals. If visiting with children, we’d recommend the Opel Zoo- it’s generally quieter, and features a petting zoo, an adventure playground, and a panoramic restaurant.

There is also the Kobelt Zoo, which is a much smaller open-air zoo with slightly less exotic animals. Kobelt is home to creatures such as goats, donkeys and birds, and is a good option for visiting with very young children who might be overstimulated in a big zoo.

Underrated gems

One of Frankfurt’s most underrated gems is without doubt Schwanheimer Dune, a stunning natural phenomenon. This unique nature reserve is leftover from the last ice age in Europe, and features a large sand dune, a rare sight in Germany. It’s a popular recreational area for locals, and great to visit if you want to escape the tourist crowds.

Another outdoor gem is the Main River. Take a leisurely boat ride along the river and admire the city’s skyline from a different perspective, or rent a bike and cycle along the riverbank, taking in the picturesque views along the way.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, the Taunus Mountains are located just outside the city. They offer a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and even skiing in the winter months. The breathtaking views and peaceful surroundings make it the perfect escape from the city.

Shopping and dining experiences in Frankfurt

Frankfurter Kranz
German Crown Cake

Frankfurt shopping

Frankfurt is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide range of shopping experiences to suit every taste and budget. The Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street, is lined with a variety of shops, from high-end boutiques to popular chain stores and department stores. Here, you can find everything from designer fashion to local souvenirs, as well as the MyZeil shopping centre, which is home to a variety of shops and restaurants.

For luxury shopping in Frankfurt, check out Goethestraße. This street is where you’ll find brands such as Armani, Versace, Tiffany and Chanel, and is just a stone’s throw from the Zeil.

Frankfurt is also home to a number of markets. The weekly Bauernmarkt Konstablerwache farmers’ market takes place every Thursday and Saturday at the Konstablerwache square. Here, you can buy organic and seasonal products from local farmers and vendors, and enjoy street food and live music.

Frankfurter Flohmarkt meanwhile is a flea market that takes place every second Saturday along the banks of the Main river. It’s a great place to browse through a variety of items, such as books, clothes, antiques, and souvenirs, and maybe even find some hidden treasures.

If you’re looking for a more unique shopping experience then head to the Kleinmarkthalle. This bustling indoor market is the best place to find fresh produce like meat, cheese, bread, as well as other delicacies from the region and beyond. You can also sample local specialties, such as apple wine (cider), green sauce, and Handkäse (hand cheese).

What and where to eat in Frankfurt

When it comes to dining, Frankfurt offers a diverse culinary scene that caters to every palate. From traditional German cuisine to international flavours, you can find it all in this city.

The Sachsenhausen district is known for its traditional Apfelwein (apple wine) taverns, where you can enjoy hearty German dishes and sample the local specialty. Some popular German dishes on tavern menus are sausages, schnitzels, and green sauce (a creamy sauce made of a number of herbs including chives, sorrel and parsley) served with boiled eggs and potatoes.

Goethestraße and the Salzhaus district are home to more expensive restaurants, bistros and cocktail bars, although the quality of the food usually justifies the prices. If you’d prefer international cuisine, you can find a variety of African, Asian, Middle Eastern and South American options in the Bockenheim and Bahnhofsviertel districts.

Make sure you also try a slice of Frankfurter Kranz, also known as German Crown Cake, a traditional German layered cake with plenty of buttercream and jam.

Frankfurt nightlife

Sunset in Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt at night

The Frankfurt nightlife scene features an eclectic combination of live music venues, trendy bars, apple wine taverns and techno nightclubs. Bahnhofsviertel is known as the Frankfurt red light district, with a lively atmosphere and diverse nightlife options. The Gibson Club, a warehouse-style music venue, is a popular option, while the English Theatre offers a slightly more wholesome vibe.

For some of the best pubs and taverns, check out the Bockenheim and Sachsenhausen districts. Bockenheim is the Frankfurt student district, and offers plenty of cheap and cheerful options for a night out. Club Voltaire, a beatnik bar that hosts events like readings and live music, is popular with locals.

Sachsenhausen meanwhile, the traditional district, is home to beloved venues like O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, offering Guinness, fish and chips, live sports and music. You’ll also find many apple wine taverns and traditional pubs.

If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, Bornheim and Salzhaus are the places to be. Bornheim has many classy bars and restaurants; if you take a walk along Berger Straße, you’re more than likely to find something interesting.

The central district of Salzhaus offers some of the best cocktail bars in Frankfurt, with options like Luna Bar (great for DJ nights) and Moloko+ (great for cakes and seasonal bistro options).

For a unique experience, head to the Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge. This rooftop bar is the ideal place to sip on a cocktail while taking in breathtaking views of the city skyline. It’s the perfect way to end a day of exploring.

Things to keep in mind

When exploring Frankfurt nightlife options, you should keep the following in mind:

  • The legal drinking age is 18, but be prepared to show photo ID if asked. You may be asked when entering venues, or when ordering drinks.
  • Some upscale venues may have a dress code, so check beforehand or don’t be surprised if you’re denied entry.
  • Prepare to pay an entrance fee of up to 20 euros (perhaps more) to popular bars and clubs, particularly during summer and at the weekend.
  • Public transport is safe to take at night, as are licenced taxis, but it’s against the law to drink and drive in Germany- this rule also applies to cycling.

Day trips from Frankfurt

Heidelberg Castle, Germany
Heidelberg Castle

If you have some extra time then consider taking a day trip to explore the surrounding areas. The picturesque town of Heidelberg, with its charming old town and famous castle, is just a short train ride away. If you’re interested in castles you can also visit Eltz Castle, which offers guided tours and fantastic hiking opportunities in the surrounding forest.

Another popular day trip destination is the Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning landscapes and picturesque villages. Take a boat cruise along the river, visit the Lorelei rock, taste the local wine and soak in the beauty of the region.

For a taste of small-town Germany, check out Limburg or Rothenburg. Limburg is home to a stunning cathedral and well-preserved medieval centre; architecture and photography enthusiasts will love the historic market square and half-timbered houses.

Rothenburg on the other hand is one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in Germany, with a fairy-tale atmosphere and a rich history. Activities include exploring the city walls, visiting the German Christmas Museum, and trying the famous regional speciality, snowballs (a type of pastry dessert).

If you’re more interested in visiting cities, a good number can be reached within a few hours on the train. Cologne, Dusseldorf, Bonn, Essen and Dortmund are located to the north-west, while Stuttgart and Nuremberg are south-east.

Planning a trip to Frankfurt

Bockenheimer Warte U-Bahn entrance, Frankfurt, Germany
Bockenheimer Warte subway entrance


Frankfurt offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget, from high-end hotels to budget hostels. It’s worth noting that hostels in Germany are generally amongst the safest and cleanest in Europe, so this is a particularly good option.

If you want to stay in the heart of the city near the main attractions, you can choose from several options in the Downtown or Old Town districts. Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, The Westin Grand Frankfurt, Moxy Frankfurt City Centre, Steigenberger Icon Frankfurter Hof and Residence Inn by Marriott Frankfurt City Centre are amongst those with the best amenities.

For a more relaxed and cosy atmosphere, opt for one of the hotels in the Bornheim or Sachsenhausen districts. Consider Hotel Cult Frankfurt City, a stylish and comfortable hotel with a rooftop terrace, or Hotel am Berg, a charming and family-run hotel with a garden.

If you’re travelling on a tight budget you can stay in one of the hostels in the Gallusviertel or Frankfurt Airport Area districts. Here you can find cheap and cheerful accommodation with friendly staff and decent facilities, like bars and gyms. A&O Frankfurt Galluswarte and MEININGER Hotel Frankfurt Main/Airport are both good options.

Getting around

Frankfurt has a reliable and extensive public transport network, consisting of the U-Bahn (metro), S-Bahn (urban trains), trams, and buses. You can buy tickets from machines or the RMV app, and use them across all modes of transport. The public transport system covers most of the city centre and the surrounding areas, and runs frequently during the day as well as offering a night service. You can also use Uber, although this will be more expensive.

If you prefer to walk, Frankfurt is a fairly compact city, and you can reach many attractions on foot, especially in the Old Town and Downtown. You can also rent a bike from one of the many bike-sharing services and enjoy the city’s bike lanes and paths.

If you need more flexibility or want to explore outside the city, you can rent a car. We recommend comparing prices on Discover Cars and Qeeq. However, driving in Frankfurt city centre can be stressful due to traffic and limited parking. You may also need an international driving permit if your license isn’t in German or English.

Budget tips

In terms of budget, Frankfurt is relatively expensive compared to other German cities. However, it is possible to explore it on a budget by planning ahead and following some tips. Here are some budget expectations for exploring Frankfurt:

  • The average daily cost for a solo traveller visiting Frankfurt is about 100 euros. This includes accommodation, food, transport and entertainment.
  • Accommodation is by far the biggest expense in Frankfurt, with an average price of 70 euros per night for a double room. You can save money by booking in advance and using platforms like Hostelworld, Airbnb or Couchsurfing.
  • Food is another significant expense in Frankfurt, with an average price of 30 euros per day for three meals. You can save money by cooking your own meals, buying groceries from discount supermarkets like Aldi or Lidl, or eating at cheap eateries like kebab shops, bakeries, or street stalls.
  • Public transport is relatively affordable in Frankfurt, with an average price of 11 euros for a day ticket. You can also save money by using bike-sharing services or walking around the city centre.
  • Entertainment is the most variable expense in Frankfurt, depending on your interests and preferences. You can save money by visiting the free or cheap attractions, such as the Frankfurt Zoo, the Palmengarten, the Römerberg, or the Frankfurt City Forest.
  • Another great way to save money is by purchasing a Frankfurt Card. The card offers unlimited free public transport and up to 50% off various museums, attractions and activities. You can select options lasting 24 or 48 hours; get one at Tiqets by clicking this link.
  • Spring (April and May) is the best time to visit if you’re on a budget. It’s warm enough to take advantage of free outdoor attractions, and the city is less crowded than during summer.

Practical tips for visiting Frankfurt

Before visiting Frankfurt, it’s important to be aware of a few practical tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Firstly, Germany’s official currency is the Euro (€), so make sure to have some cash on hand for smaller transactions. ATMs are widely available, but check with your bank to ensure you don’t get hit with unexpected foreign withdrawal fees.

Secondly, English is widely spoken, but it’s always helpful to learn a few basic German phrases. At the very least, you should memorise please (bitte) and thank you (danke).

Thirdly, Frankfurt is a safe city, but it’s always advisable to take precautions. Keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

If you require emergency assistance in Frankfurt, dial 112 to contact emergency services.


Frankfurt offers a huge range of options to explore and enjoy. With multiple historic, cultural and outdoor attractions suitable for visitors of all ages, as well as a fantastic variety of shopping, dining and nightlife experiences, you won’t be short of things to do.

Ultimately, the contrast between the old and the new makes the city truly unique, and there are also tons of things to do in the surrounding areas. So, hopefully we’ve convinced you to start planning your trip- and if we haven’t, check out some of the options on Get Your Guide for inspiration!

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