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Discovering Frankfurt's Hidden Charms: Things to do in one day


things to do in frankfurt, germany


When I told friends that I was going to Frankfurt, they looked at me as though they were questioning my choice of destination. Well, I didn't quite actually choose Frankfurt as my first choice, but there were only flight tickets available for redemption from Singapore to Frankfurt to get me into the heart of Europe. Plus, I've already been to other parts of Germany like Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Bonn, and Munich. So why not discover a new city?


With that, I've decided upon Frankfurt as my first foray back into Europe after the pandemic. So what is there to do and eat in Frankfurt, Germany? Let me share with you my adventure on the things to do in Frankfurt, Germany!


How to get around Frankfurt, Germany?


Frankfurt, the bustling metropolis nestled within Germany's financial heart, has no shortage of surprises to uncover, even in just one day. Many people may use this city as a way to get to other parts of Europe or perhaps even visit on their way to France or Switzerland as it is located right at the border of these two cities.


Getting around Frankfurt is a breeze thanks to its efficient and comprehensive public transportation system. The city boasts an extensive network of trams, buses, and trains operated by the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV), making it easy to explore every corner of this vibrant metropolis.


Trams


For those looking to travel within the city center, trams are the preferred mode of transportation, offering convenient access to key attractions, shopping districts, and cultural hotspots. With frequent service and clear signage, navigating Frankfurt's tram system is a straightforward affair, allowing travelers to hop on and off with ease.


S-Bahn


Additionally, Frankfurt is well-connected by an efficient and reliable S-Bahn (suburban railway) network, providing convenient links to neighbouring towns and cities within the Rhine-Main region. Whether you're planning a day trip to nearby attractions or venturing further afield, the S-Bahn offers a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the surrounding area. For travellers arriving at Frankfurt Airport, the S-Bahn provides a direct connection to the city center (just 30 minutes!), ensuring a seamless transition from air to ground transportation.


Pro tip: Get the Frankfurt card ahead of time and get to enjoy unlimited travel on all public transportation within the city and get up to 50% discounts off museum passes!


Bikes


For those looking for a more independent way to explore the city, Frankfurt also offers a bike-sharing program, allowing visitors to pedal their way around town at their own pace. With designated bike lanes and scenic riverside paths, cycling in Frankfurt offers a unique perspective of the city while promoting eco-friendly travel. Whether you're commuting to work, running errands, or simply sightseeing, renting a bike is a fun and eco-conscious way to experience Frankfurt's urban landscape.


Hop-on-hop-off Bus


And for travellers who just want a relaxing way to explore the city, you can consider a hop-on-hop-off bus, providing you with the convenience and flexibility around Frankfurt.


By Foot


A Frankfurt Walking Tour is possible as it isn't that big a city, and in my opinion, the best way to explore is to go with your feet! I'll be outlining how you can walk around in the next section while visiting Frankfurt's main attractions. Of course, this means there's still a lot of walking and it's best to combine your stroll with one of the above modes of transportation!


What are the things to do in Frankfurt?


Frankfurt offers a diverse array of cultural attractions that cater to all interests. While trying to battle jetlag, I headed out into the city early in the morning. My first stop? I visited the heart of the city at the Römerberg.


Römerberg


romerberg in frankfurt germany

Römerberg, Frankfurt's historic square lined with picturesque half-timbered houses, is a must-visit. Because I was there early in the morning, I managed to fully soaked in the sights of each building. Otherwise, be prepared for large groups of tourists that came to the square on their tour buses.


Visit the Römer, the city hall complex dating back to the 15th century, and explore its fascinating interior, which houses the city's imperial hall and a museum showcasing Frankfurt's history.


Frankfurter Dom


The Frankfurt Cathedral, also known as the Frankfurter Dom, is located just round the corner of the Romerberg. This magnificent Gothic cathedral dates back over a thousand years and it has been a symbol of Frankfurt's rich history and cultural heritage. Its stunning facade features intricate stonework and towering spires that dominate the skyline, draws visitors from near and far to marvel at its architectural grandeur. Admission to the cathedral is free, and inside you can explore its interior adorned with beautiful stained glass windows, ornate altars and intricate sculptures.


Kleinmarkthalle


A short walk away you'll find the Kleinmarkthalle, Frankfurt's renowned indoor market, where you'll find an abundance of fresh produce, gourmet delicacies, and international specialties from around the world. Grab a bite to eat from one of the market's many food stalls and enjoy a leisurely meal in the bustling atmosphere.


Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge)


Now that you've filled your tummies, you can walk over to the Eiserner Steg, or Iron Bridge, an iconic pedestrian bridge spanning the River Main in Frankfurt. This historic bridge, with its lattice steel construction and intricate detailing, offers stunning views of the city skyline and the river below. A leisurely stroll across the Eiserner Steg provides you with a unique perspective of Frankfurt's picturesque waterfront, dotted with historic buildings and modern skyscrapers.


Furthermore, crossing the bridge offers you easy access to the vibrant district of Sachsenhausen on the opposite side of the river, known for its traditional cider taverns and lively atmosphere.


Something else that you could do if you have more time, is to go on a boat ride along the river!


Museumsurfer (Museum Embankment)


The museum embankment refers to a row of museums that sit along the banks of the River Main, including the Museum of Modern Art (MMK) and the German Film Museum. Even if you aren't interested in heading in to visit these museums, a walk along the embankment is just lovely on a bright sunny afternoon!


Städel Museum


at the top of the stadel museum

For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Städel Museum is a must. Home to an impressive collection spanning 700 years of European art, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Dürer, the Städel Museum offers a comprehensive journey through the history of art.


When we were there, it was also the opening of the rooftop observation deck and we enjoyed complimentary entry to the entire museum - what a treat!


Palmengarten


This next attraction requires you to take either a tram of S-bahn as it is located a little bit further from the city centre. The Palmengarten, Frankfurt's botanical garden, offers a peaceful oasis with diverse plant collections from around the world. It is ticketed, but it is a great way to enjoy nature in the city.


Alte Oper


Closer to the main shopping street, don't miss out on Frankfurt's historic opera house, renowned for its stunning architecture and cultural performances. We didn't have the luxury of time to watch an opera or enter the alte oper, but the area outside was bustling with activities, making it a great pit stop before you go shopping!


Main Tower


And if you have extra time, you can head over to Frankfurt city's tallest skyscraper where you can go up to the observation deck to enjoy a panoramic view of the city!


What to eat in Frankfurt?


Frankfurt's culinary scene offers a tantalizing array of traditional and international dishes that are sure to delight food enthusiasts. Here are some must-try specialties and where to enjoy them:


Apfelwein


No visit to Frankfurt is complete without sampling the local specialty, Apfelwein, or apple wine. Head to one of the many cozy taverns, known as Apfelweinlokale, in Sachsenhausen to enjoy this refreshing beverage served in traditional ribbed glasses. Pair it with Handkäse mit Musik, a tangy marinated cheese topped with onions and caraway seeds, for a quintessential Frankfurt dining experience.


Grüne Soße (Green Sauce)


Another Frankfurt classic is Grüne Soße, a creamy herb sauce made from a blend of seven fresh herbs, including parsley, chives, and sorrel. Try this traditional dish served with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs at one of the city's traditional restaurants or at Kleinmarkthalle, Frankfurt's bustling indoor market, where you can sample freshly prepared versions from various vendors.


Frankfurter Würstchen (Frankfurt Sausages)


Savor the flavor of Frankfurt with a serving of Frankfurter Würstchen, or Frankfurt sausages, served with mustard and fresh bread rolls. Head to the Hauptwache area in the city center or visit one of the many street food stalls and vendors scattered throughout the city to enjoy this beloved local specialty.


Schnitzel and potatoes


best schnitzel and sausages in frankfurt germany

This isn't quite a Frankfurt delicacy but one of our favourite meals in Frankfurt was the schnitzel with mushroom cream sauce at Romer Pils Brunnen. It doesn't look too fancy from the outside but you'll be transported into a "traditional wooden hut" when you're inside. Here, it is popular with tourists but the food - it is worth the wait!


Where to stay in Frankfurt?


When it comes to selecting accommodations in Frankfurt, safety, comfort and accessibility are key factors to consider. As a rule-of-thumb, avoid Frankfurt Main Train Station! You'll get what I mean when you actually get there.


moxy frankfurt city centre rooms


I'd recommend the Altstadt, where you'll find the main shopping district and it is within a short walking distance to the Frankfurt main attractions. I personally stayed at Moxy Frankfurt City Centre, a Marriott boutique property offering stylish and fun accommodation. It is also located right next to the Shopping Centre MyZeil so you can definitely find lots of options for shopping and food. For a more luxurious option, JW Marriott Hotel Frankfurt is located in the same area.


Other interesting places to stay in include Sachsenhausen. Here, travellers can find a mix of mid-range and budget-friendly options, such as the Moxy Frankfurt East, offering trendy rooms and a vibrant atmosphere perfect for young travelers and those on a budget. Additionally, the Lindner Hotel & Residence Main Plaza, located along the picturesque banks of the River Main, provides a tranquil retreat with spacious rooms and scenic views of the city skyline.


While Frankfurt is generally safe for travellers, it is still advisable to exercise caution and avoid accommodations near the main train station, known for higher levels of street crime. By choosing accommodations in safer neighbourhoods and selecting reputable hotels with positive reviews and strong security measures in place, you'll be able to enjoy a peaceful and memorable stay in Frankfurt while exploring all that this dynamic city has to offer.

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