Frankfurt is one of Germany’s most lively and dynamic cities. The metropolis is home to a wealth of history and culture, as well as famed literary and artistic sites. A trip there promises breathtaking spectacles both inside and outdoors, with nonstop adventures to be had and plenty of options for those traveling with children. So grab an apfelwein (Frankfurt is known for being the only German city where cider tops beer as the most popular drink) and check out some of these destinations for the full Frankfurt experience.
1. Explore Frankfurt’s history at the Römerberg
If you’re planning on exploring the history of the city, you’ll probably be visiting Altstadt, Frankfurt’s historic neighborhood. The most popular area of Altstadt is the Römerberg, a square home to several major historical landmarks, including Römer, the town hall, and the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen, or Fountain of Justice. The square is also known for its reconstructed buildings or Ostzeile—half-timbered houses originally designed in the fifteenth and sixteenth century and rebuilt after being destroyed during World War II. There is even a museum, Historisches Museum, dedicated to the city’s history.
2. Take a stroll along the River Main
Get some fresh air and take in the splendor of the city as you walk along this iconic waterway. Recently, there has been an influx of eateries and bars along the way, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to rest or even grab a meal. There are also several bridges that run across the water, including two pedestrian bridges and the Alte Brücke, a stone bridge that stood as the sole passage over the river for centuries. If you can’t get enough of the view, you can even book a room at one of the hotels along the river.
3. Take in the natural beauty at the Palmengarten
If you’re looking to spend time outside, check out this beautiful botanical garden, which houses more than 13,000 different species. The Palmengarten is more than just botanical gardens, though, abiding by its motto “Plants, Life, Culture.” In addition to the breathtaking tropical and subtropical species, visitors can also catch a show at the Papageno Music Theater or grab a bite to eat at the on-site coffee house, Caféhaus Siesmayer. There are also tons of activities for children, including playgrounds, a water playground, special children’s shows and even a children’s kiosk that sells kid-friendly food.
4. Release your inner literary fan at the Goethe House and Museum
Fans of the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe will want to set aside some time to visit Goethehaus, the house he grew up in. Though much of it was reconstructed after being destroyed during World War II, there are some relics that remain, such as Goethe’s early writing desk. In addition to providing insight into the writer’s early life, the careful reconstruction, along with certain preserved relics, provides a look into eighteenth-century culture. The adjacent museum furthers this perspective, with a collection of art also dedicated to what is referred to as “the Age of Goethe.”
5. Celebrate democracy at St. Paul’s Church
St. Paul’s Church, or Paulskirche, stands as more than a religious site. This famous landmark is known for serving as the meeting-place of the National Assembly, Germany’s first democratically elected parliament, as well as the drafting site of the first democratic constitution, which was accepted by many of the German states. Visitors can explore the history of German democracy at the church’s permanent exhibit, as well as visiting the special exhibits, which are held there periodically.
6. See a show at Oper Frankfurt
If you’re looking to add a little culture to your evening plans, why not book tickets for a performance at Oper Frankfurt? There are a rich variety of options throughout the season, not to mention special events and programs. If you’re traveling with your family and looking for an adults-only night, free childcare is offered during certain performances. Or, get the little ones involved with one of the children’s programs, such as hands-on workshops, opportunities to meet members of the orchestra and even a sleepover at the opera house.