De Römerberg: het oude centrum van Frankfurt

12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Frankfurt

This old imperial city on the River Main – hence its full name, Frankfurt am Main – is, due to its central location, an important commercial and economic center. The city’s skyline, dominated by the large cluster of high-rise buildings in the Bank Quarter, has a distinctly North American flavor, earning Frankfurt the nicknames “Mainhattan” and “Chicago on the Main.” Considered a global city – it is often ranked in the top ten best cities to live and do business – Frankfurt has also long been an important center for cultural and tourist activities. The extensive exhibition grounds, Messe Frankfurt, host major events such as the Frankfurter Buchmesse (the world’s most important publishing event).

1 The Römerberg: the old center of Frankfurt

The Römerberg: the old center of Frankfurt

In the heart of Frankfurt’s Old Town (Altstadt), the Römerberg is an irregularly shaped square with the Justice Fountain (Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen) in the center. Not only is it Frankfurt’s most picturesque public square, it is the city’s busiest pedestrian zone and home to many tourist attractions and things to do. These include the many open-fronted shops, which were once common throughout the old town, and the Römer , with its 11 beautiful buildings, faithfully reconstructed in 1954 from the original plans of the 15th to the 18th centuries. The historic Wertheim House survived the 1944 air raids that destroyed much of old Frankfurt.

The area also includes the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus), with its Imperial Hall (Kaisersaal), once the scene of splendid banquets and other notable buildings including the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) from 1908; the 14th-century Gothic Church of St. Leonhard; and St. Nicholas Church , with its carillon. Also of interest here is the Historical Museum (Historisches Museum), founded in 1878, with its collections related to Frankfurt’s rich cultural history from the Middle Ages to modern times, and the six traditional-style buildings of the Ostzeile .

Address: Römerberg 27, 60311 Frankfurt am Main

Read also: first class day trips from Frankfurt

2 The museum district

The Museum Quarter David Stanley / photo modified
The Museum Quarter David Stanley / photo modified

Frankfurt’s museum district (Museumsufer), on the south bank of the River Main, is a first-class collection of individual museums, many of which have an international reputation. Highlights include the Museum of World Cultures (Museum der Weltkulturen), considered one of Europe’s top ethnological museums. Founded in 1904, its collections include more than 65,000 artifacts from as far away as Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Another important museum is the Museum of Ancient Sculpture (Städtische Galerie Liebieghau) in the 19th century Liebieghaus , home to a large collection of Asian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman sculptures, as well as pieces from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque. The Icon Museum (Ikonen-Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main) is a rare institution with a treasure trove of more than a thousand Christian Orthodox images from across the Orthodox diaspora.

Other museums of note include the German Architectural Museum (Deutsches Architekturmuseum), with a focus on architectural design and offering more than 200,000 plans, drawings and models; the Film Museum (Deutsches Filminstitut), with exhibitions on the Lumière brothers and the history of cinema; and the Museum of Applied Arts (Museum Angewandte Kunst), MAK for short, with displays of more than 30,000 objects representing European and Asian decorative arts.

The Kunstmuseum Städel , with its excellent collection of paintings from the 14th century, is probably the top-ranked among this group of world-class museums. The collections include works by old masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Goya and in the later centuries with Monet, Degas, Beckman and Picasso. The more contemporary works include those of Bacon and Baselitz. The collection also includes prints and drawings from Durer and Cezanne to Pollock and Ernst.

Address: Schaumainkai, 60596 Frankfurt am Main

3 The Palm Garden

The Palm Garden Carsten Frenzl / photo modified
The Palm Garden Carsten Frenzl / photo modified

The beautiful 54-hectare palm garden (Palmengarten), the largest botanical garden in Germany, is located on the Bockenheimer Landstrasse. An immediate hit with audiences upon its opening in 1871, it attracted some of the best performers from around the world, including Buffalo Bill, who visited in 1890 with his Wild West show. Highlights include outdoor botanical exhibits organized by geographic location, along with a number of greenhouses displaying subtropical and tropical plant species. The gardens also offer boating, a playground and picnic areas. From Palmengarten, the Europaturm – a telecommunications tower also known as the Tower of Europe – is just a short walk away and well worth a visit for its viewing platform and restaurant.

Frankfurt’s other interesting parks include the 72-acre Grüneburgpark Botanical Garden and the even larger Nidda Valley People’s Park (Volkspark Niddatal) covering an area of ​​approximately 415 hectares on the outskirts of the city.

Address: Siesmayerstraße 61, 60323 Frankfurt am Main

4 Senckenberg Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum of Senckenberg, Patrick Nouhailler / adapted photo
Natural History Museum of Senckenberg, Patrick Nouhailler / adapted photo

In Frankfurt’s Senckenberg Gardens , the Senckenberg Natural History Museum (Naturmuseum Senckenberg) is one of the most modern natural history museums in Europe and the second largest of its kind in Germany. In addition to its numerous displays relating to the biodiversity of our planet and the evolution of organisms, the museum houses Europe’s largest exhibition of large dinosaurs, making it particularly popular with families (a number of full-size replica dinosaurs greet guests in the forecourt of the museum). It is also home to the world’s largest collection of stuffed birds, along with an extensive exhibition outlining the development of humanity. English-language tours are available and audio guides can be rented.

Address: Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main

Official site:

5 St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral

St. Bartholomew's Cathedral
St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral

The Roman Catholic St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral (Frankfurter Dom, or Dom St. Bartholomäus) was built in red sandstone in the Gothic style between the 13th and 15th centuries and at 95 meters still manages to stand out in this skyscraper city. One of the few churches in Germany to be designated an Imperial Cathedral, it was here from 1562 to 1792 that the coronation of emperors took place in the electoral chapel. Below the tower is the beautiful Crucifixionby Hans Backoffen, sculpted in 1509, while in the Marienkapelle there is the Maria-Schlaf altar from 1434. Other highlights include the tombstone of King Günther von Schwarzburg, who died in Frankfurt in 1349, as well as numerous carved side altars dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The most important remains of the cathedral is the cape of St. Bartholomew, preserved in the late Romanesque choir of Bartholomew.

Address: Domplatz 1, 60311 Frankfurt am Main

6 Small market hall

Fruit for sale
Fruit for sale

Markets are always a good place to get a feel for a city, and Frankfurt’s Kleine Markthalle, where many locals shop every day, is no exception. The current hall dates from 1954 and its 1,500 square meter house 150 market stalls offering some of the best foods in Germany. This is a good place to try Frankfurt’s famous “green sauce” ( sausage Grüne Soße), a traditional condiment made from seven spices, sour cream and egg. You can also enjoy local specialties such as sausages, cheeses and pastries.

Address: Hasengasse 7, 60311 Frankfurt am Main – Old Town

7 Goethe House and Museum

Goethe House and Museum Susanne Tofern / modified photo
Goethe House and Museum Susanne Tofern / modified photo

Frankfurt was the birthplace of Germany’s greatest writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. His childhood home, Goethe House, where Goethe was born on August 28, 1749 and lived until 1765, shows how the wealthy family and their staff would have lived. You can see everything from the luxuriously appointed dining room on the ground floor to Goethe’s writing room on the top floor, where he wrote many of his early works and where he played with his puppet theater as a child. Next door is the Goethe Museum, a 14-room gallery showcasing works of art from the writer’s time, including masterpieces from the late Baroque and Romantic periods. (Family tours of both properties are available.) Other Frankfurt landmarks that testify to the writer’s fame include the Goethe Tower , a 43-meter-tall wooden structure with stunning city views, and Goethestrasse , a high-end shopping area with lots of beautiful boutiques, art galleries and cafes.

Address: Großer Hirschgraben 23-25, D-60311 Frankfurt am Main

Official site:

8 De Hauptwache

The main guard
The main guard

In the middle of the city and one of Frankfurt’s busiest pedestrian zones, the Hauptwache – literally translated, the main guard – is famous for its mix of beautiful historic buildings and modern structures. The most striking building here is the old Baroque Guardhouse after which it is called the square. Built in 1730, it once housed the city’s militia, a prison and later a police station and now serves as a café. The square itself is one of Frankfurt’s main shopping areas, complete with a large underground shopping center. It is also the point from which the city’s main shopping and commercial streets radiate. Pedestrian-friendly sail goes to the east, and Kaiserstrasse, with many nightlife options in its side streets, runs southwest past Rossmarkt and Kaiserplatz to the Hauptbahnhof. This is the city’s main station, built in 1888 and one of the largest stations in Europe.

Address: At Hauptwache 15, 60313 Frankfurt am Main

9 Art City: the Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art

City of Art: the Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art Rupert Ganzer / photo modified
City of Art: the Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art Rupert Ganzer / photo modified

The Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art (MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt) is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most important galleries of contemporary art. The museum opened in 1991 in a beautiful postmodern building in the heart of the city and contains in its extensive collection some 5,000 fine examples by more than 450 leading artists. Spanning the 1960s to the present, works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Francis Bacon. The museum also operates MMK Zollamt, an exhibition space featuring works by younger and previously unknown artists; the Museum of Applied Arts Frankfurt(Museum für angewandte Kunst), with more than 30,000 items of European and Asian applied art, including furniture, tapestries, glass, ceramics and books; and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt , showing both modern and contemporary art.

Adres: Domstraße 10, 60311 Frankfurt am Main

Official site:

10 Zoo Frankfurt

Zoo Frankfurt Tambako The Jaguar / photo modified
Zoo Frankfurt Tambako The Jaguar / photo modified

Zoo Frankfurt, with more than 4,500 animals representing at least 450 different species, covers 32 hectares near the city’s old Friedberger Tor. Founded in 1858, it is Germany’s second oldest zoo and is known for its excellent animal enclosures, including the unique Grzimek House with exhibits on Madagascar’s diverse wildlife. Also interesting is the Exotarium, with animals from different climatic regions, including marine life, reptiles and crocodiles. The Borgori Forest has a fantastic monkey house in an authentic jungle setting. Other highlights include the Nocturnal Animals House and the Bird Hall. A variety of events and programs are offered, including family festivals, exhibitions and themed tours.

Adres: Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1, 60316 Frankfurt am Main

Official site:

11 The old opera house

The old opera house
The old opera house

In the heart of Frankfurt’s Opera Square (Opernplatz), the old opera house (Alte Oper) was built in 1880 in the Italian High Renaissance style. Destroyed during World War II, it was rebuilt and reopened in 1981 as one of the city’s most important concert halls. The city’s new opera house, Oper Frankfurt, and the theater theater, Schauspiel Frankfurt, share a contemporary, state-of-the-art venue known as Opern-und Schauspielhaus Frankfurt, about half a mile away on Willy-Brandt-Platz, near the river.

Adres: Opernplatz, 60313 Frankfurt am Main

12 The Eschenheimer tower

The Eschenheimer tower
The Eschenheimer tower

Built in the early 14th century, the Eschenheimer Tower (Turm) remains the most beautiful remnant of Frankfurt’s old city walls. At 47 meters high, it still impresses with its dimensions and dominates the Eschenheimer Gate district. Today the tower houses a café and meeting rooms used by local historical societies. Also of interest is the nearby Beurs , built in 1879 and the largest in the country.

Address: Börsenplatz, 60313 Frankfurt am Main

Where to Stay in Frankfurt for Sightseeing

If you want to sightsee in Frankfurt, one of the most convenient places to stay is the city center. Many of the main tourist attractions can be found here, such as Frankfurt’s museum embankment (Museumsufer), historic churches, quaint shops and the Old Town (Aldstadt) with its beautiful half-timbered houses and picturesque town square (the Römerberg). Below are some highly rated hotels in the city center:

  • Luxury Hotels: Jumeirah Frankfurt is in a fantastic location near the shops of Zeil Street and a short walk from the Römerberg. Offering modern luxury in the heart of the city, the Hilton Frankfurt overlooks a beautiful park, about a 12-minute walk from the Old Town. If you’re looking for a hotel with historic charm and don’t mind being a 20-minute walk from the city center, Villa Kennedy exudes all the elegance of its former life as a large family home.
  • Mid-Range Hotels : Roomers and The Pure are two upper mid-range hotels with contrasting styles and convenient locations near train stations in the city center. Pure is an eco-friendly property awash in soothing white tones, while the modern Roomers appeal to hip travelers with its sleek, dark interior. Another good mid-range hotel is the Best Western Hotel Plaza, in a central location between the River Main and the main station.
  • Budget Hotels: Within walking distance of the main station in the city center, Hamburger Hof Hotel and Ibis Frankfurt Centrum, overlooking the River Main, are great options if you’re watching your wallet. About a 10-minute walk from the Römerberg, the EXPO Hotel is another popular accommodation close to shops, art galleries and restaurants.

Tips and tours: how to get the most out of your visit to Frankfurt

  • Sightseeing: The most convenient, one-day sightseeing tour is the double-decker, open-top bus tour of the city of Frankfurt. This tour lets you hop off at any of 14 stops to explore some of the top attractions or stay on the bus and listen to audio commentary and get acquainted with the city and its sites.
  • Days out:If you have time to explore the countryside, there are some wonderful day trips from Frankfurt. One of the most popular is the Rhine Valley Trip including a Rhine River Cruise, with full-day and half-day options available. This is a bus tour through the scenic Rhine Valley and a steamboat tour along the Rhine, complete with guide and lunch. Another good option is a half-day trip to Heidelberg, with bus transport, plenty of free time to explore this medieval city and free entry to Heidelberg Castle. The Frankfurt Super Saver combines two popular tours with a visit to one of Germany’s most famous castles: Neuschwanstein Castle and the day trip to Rothenburg is a great option.

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