Often relegated to "the gateway to Europe," Frankfurt has more to see than just the Frankfurt International Airport. Frankfurt is the financial capital of Germany and thanks to its skyscrapers and the river Main, Frankfurt's playful reputation as "Mainhattan" makes it unique within Germany.
Even though it only has 700,000 residents, Frankfurt is a remarkably diverse city —more than half of its residents are non-German and more than 100 different languages are spoken. With this in mind, it's no surprise that Frankfurt has many great things to offer, from the arts, outdoors, and shopping, to historic buildings and high-rises. Here are the 12 best Frankfurt attractions you don't want to miss.
The Römerberg ("Roman Mountain") is the historic heart of Frankfurt. It is the only part of the modern city that was recreated to look like all of Frankfurt once did.
It is home to its Rathaus (City Hall) which dates back to 1405 and is flanked by half-timbered houses. This historic square used to be the place for Frankfurt's first trade fairs in the 13th century. Today it still hosts its historic Christmas market.
There is no better way to see Frankfurt than from the top of the Main Tower, the city's only high-rise open to the public. The building is named after the German river Main, which runs through Frankfurt's city center.
Take the elevator up to the 650-feet high platform to enjoy sweeping views of Frankfurt’s skyline. Here you can enjoy a cocktail and meal at the Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge, located on the upper floor of the tower. The restaurant offers international cuisine and 26-foot panoramic windows.
Although Goethe's house was destroyed in World War II, it was fully restored with the original furniture, paintings, and books belonging to the family. Take inspiration from the writing desk, where Goethe wrote "The Sorrows of Young Werther."
The house is located at Grosser Hirschgraben 23-25, near Römerberg.
The world-renowned Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt is one of the largest museums of natural history in Germany. Popular with children and adults alike, it showcases thousands of exhibits ranging from fossils to Egyptian mummies to the museum's most famous attraction: the largest dinosaur skeleton in Europe.
The signature drink of Frankfurt is apfelwein or ebbelwoi as the Frankfurters say. It is a crisp and alcoholic apple cider that is locally produced in the regions around Frankfurt.
You can find some of the best and oldest apple cider taverns in the cobblestone streets of Frankfurt's historic Sachsenhausen district, south of the Old Town. Or combine a tour of the city with its favored drink on the Ebbelwei Express, a landmark tram that drives through the town to the tunes of traditional schlager music.
St. Paul's Church was built between 1789 and 1833 and is the cradle of German democracy: The church was used for political meetings and became the seat of the first freely-elected German parliament in 1848.
Today, Paulskirche is no longer a church and serves as an exhibition space for events like the annual awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade during the Frankfurt Book Fair. It's located in Römerberg.
Take a walk along the river Main through Frankfurt's Museumsufer, a corridor of some of the best museums in the country. Among them is the superb German Film Museum and the world-famous Städel Museum, which focuses on the fine art of the old masters.
On Saturdays, the area comes alive with other kinds of old things in the form of Frankfurt's largest flea market.
Founded in 1868 by a group of Frankfurt citizens, the Botanical Garden takes you on a horticultural journey from the African savanna and the exotic plants of the rain forests, to the blooming flower gardens in Europe. Spread across 50 open acres and various greenhouses, you can see more than 6,000 different botanical species from all around the world.
The premier place to shop in Frankfurt is the bustling pedestrian zone called Zeil. Also known as "The Fifth Avenue of Germany," this shopping street offers everything from chic boutiques to international department chains to a modern 10-floor shopping center, the "Zeil Galerie."
The Museum of Modern Art (MMK) is not only famous for its extensive art collection, which includes artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Gerhardt Richter, but also for its bold architecture. Designed by the Viennese architect Hans Hollein, the museum has a triangular shape and is called Frankfurter Küche or "the slice of cake" by locals.
Experience a Museum You Can't "See"
You go to a museum to "see" artifacts, right? Not so at Frankfurt's unique DialogMuseum.
This one-of-a-kind museum takes visitors on a one-hour tour through four pitch-black rooms. Guests will experience daily life without any visual cues, just as those are blind or visually-impaired do. All tour guides are also visually-impaired.
Skip the Meat at Vevay
Eating vegetarian or vegan food in Frankfurt seems blasphemous. After all, you're in the land of the Frankfurter!
But Frankfurt is home to Vevay, a delicious meat-free restaurant that serves up fare so hearty you won't even miss the meat. Try the colorful and filling superfood salad, loaded with quinoa, fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and sprouts, all topped with a soy-mint dressing. P.S. Bring cash!