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HLN’s best things to do in Frankfurt

Whether you fancy soaking up some culture at the Museumsufer, catching a game at Frankfurt stadium, or roaming through the city’s enormous forest, this city has something for everyone.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 12.10.2023

FRANKFURT AT A GLANCE…

One of Germany’s most popular cities is the hub for the biggest Autobahn interchange, train station and airport in the country.

Not that Frankfurt’s lacking in culture because of it. You’ll find some of the largest music, book and car festivals in the world here, along with high-end shopping, medieval architecture and a veritable hive of things to do in Frankfurt from day and night.

What to see: If music’s your thing, check out concert series Music Sneak – essentially a blind date of gigs, where acts are only revealed as they walk onstage.

What to do: Apfelwein is the name of the drinking game in Frankfurt – combine it with a tour of the city’s major sights on the weird and wonderful Ebbelwei-Express.

Eat: Discover the best of Frankfurt café culture on the upper Berge Straße. For arguably the best sushi in the city, head to Berger Streetfood.

Drink: Fans of gin should head to Logenhaus Bar – a historic villa brimming with vintage antiquities and some 80 varieties of the spirit.

Stay: The hotel. The myth. The legend. Roomers is a seductive sleeping spot termed ‘the epitome of burlesque elegance’ amid the Frankfurt metropolis.

 

HLN’S BEST THINGS TO DO IN FRANKFURT…

Christmas Markets

Being one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany dating back to the 14th century, Frankfurt Christmas Market draws in millions of visitors every year from across the world.

From the enchanting backdrops of the Römerberg and St Paul’s Square and the huge 30m Christmas tree creating snow globe scenes to countless timber stalls selling market favourites like roasted sausages, mulled wine, and unique gifts, Frankfurt Christmas Market really does have it all.

Whether you’re looking for traditional Christmas markets or fancy cooler, quirkier alternatives (including a pink Christmas market or rooftop market with skyline views),  you’re spoilt for choice with plenty of festive markets dotted around the city.

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DomRömer Quarter

Römerberg 27, Frankfurt

Known affectionately to locals as ‘the New Old Town’, the DomRömer Quarter is an entire district that has been recreated exactly as it was at the turn of the last century, before the destruction wreaked by the First and Second World Wars.

The reconstruction project aimed to salvage what remained of what was widely regarded to be one of Germany’s largest and most beautiful medieval timber-frame old towns.

As well as a photographer’s paradise, today the DomRömer Quarter is home to thriving cafés, boutiques, restaurants and museums and is well worth a visit for any newbie to the city.

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Frankfurt Museumsufer

Brückenstraße 3-7, 60594 Frankfurt am Main

Exploring the Museumsufer – or museum embankment – is arguably one of best things to do in Frankfurt: an army of some of German’s most important museums flanking the impressive Städel Museum Frankfurt on every side.

For film buffs, the Deutsches Filmmuseum; for budding architects, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum; the Caricatura Museum for fans of comic art, the Liebieghaus for antique sculpture, and the Museum Angewandte Kunst for applied arts, while ethnological museum the Museum der Weltkulturen is something of a lesser-known gem.

And, for the main attraction the Städel Museum Frankfurt itself: a fine art museum with masterpieces spanning seven centuries.

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Schaumainkai Flea Market

Every other Saturday, 9am – 2pm

Schaumainkai, Frankfurt

Head down to the tree-lined southern bank of the Main River every other Saturday and you’ll discover what many believe to be among the best things to do in Frankfurt – an eclectic cornucopia of stalls bustling with artisans selling everything from antiques and art to second-hand bikes, locally made clothing and toys at quite possibly the best flea market in the city.

There are few better spots to wander through with a coffee (or hot apple wine, if you’re feeling native) and enjoy the ultimate people-watching experience.

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Frankfurter Römer

Römerberg 23, 60311 Frankfurt 

It would be remiss to stay in Frankfurt and forgo a visit to one of the city’s most important landmarks.

The Frankfurter Römer has been the city hall of Frankfurt for more than 600 years, constructed out of a former patrician villa back in 1405. Large halls inside have hosted trade fairs throughout the ages, but it’s the building’s three-gabled roof which is perhaps most striking to visitors.

One for the history buffs and appreciators of architecture alike.

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Alte Oper Frankfurt

Opernpl. 1, 60313 Frankfurt

When it was Frankfurt’s Opera House, the Alte Oper Frankfurt saw many important works performed for the first time – including Schreker’s Der ferne Klang and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in 1937.

Bombs destroyed the building during the Second World War, but the building has been sympathetically restored to retain much of its old-world charm and elegance.

But behind its historic façade, the Alte Oper Frankfurt has a vibrant programme of upcoming live performances and engagement activities this autumn – ranging from classical music festival Fratopia to ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ legend, Bonnie Tyler.

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Explore the city by bike

Much like Amsterdam, Frankfurt have invested the right infrastructure in its centre to make exploring by bicycle a safe, effective and refreshing way to beat the crowds to all the city’s top attractions.

Bike hire comes in at no more than a few euros for the full day, integrated lanes throughout the city keep the road traffic at bay, and the 50-mile GrünGürtel-Radweg (Green Corridor Bicycle Path) encircles all of Frankfurt, so you needn’t venture off-road if you don’t fancy it.

If you’re looking for more structured things to do in Frankfurt, you can also book onto a guided bike tour – you’ll pick up plenty of insider tips about the city’s history and culture.

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Frankfurt City Forest

60528 Frankfurt

Once part of Germany’s vast Imperial Forest, today Frankfurt City Forest is a 5,000-hectare oasis for walkers, runners, cyclists, hikers and lovers of the great outdoors – making the city one of Germany’s most wooded urban areas.

It’s hard to believe such a verdant sanctuary lies only 15 minutes outside the city centre, but it’s easy to get proverbially lost amidst the sprawling 450km network of trails that will transport you from urban metropolis to rural tranquillity.

Not that you’ll ever be lost for things to do in Frankfurt when it comes to nature; within the city itself, you can also soak up some greenery at Günthersburgpark, next to the Botanical Garden, and Grüneburgpark in the Nordend district.

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Take in a game at Frankfurt Stadium

Deutsche Bank Park, Frankfurt

Much like the North East, this city is football-mad – so if you’re a fan, too, you’ll most likely want to nab a ticket to see local team Eintracht Frankfurt play in the Bundesliga.

Not that ‘soccer’ is the only football you can watch at Frankfurt Stadium. The city is also home to a huge NFL fanbase – so much so, that the American league is sending four teams over this autumn for international showcase games.

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DID YOU KNOW? Frankfurt is the main hub airport for Lufthansa, meaning it’s super easy to explore more of the world. Why not take an onward journey to destinations including Singapore, Munich, Cairo and many more…

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