Are you in Frankfurt for one day and have no idea what to do?
Even though Frankfurt has a lot to offer, the city has a reputation for being a destination for business travellers only. It’s known for its banks and its airport, but did you know that there’s a lot more to discover? You can find so many amazing places to visit in Frankfurt that you could easily spend a few days here.
If you only have one day, you should focus on seeing the highlights. Therefore, we have put together this itinerary with the most amazing things to do in Frankfurt in one day.
One Day in Frankfurt Itinerary
Start your day at Römerberg, in the heart of the Old Town.
When standing here, in between the half-timbered houses and the Town Hall, you’ll find it hard to believe that most of this area got destroyed during the war. Almost everything was in ruins. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the city decided to reconstruct the half-timbered houses.
It took decades to complete the restoration, and when we moved to Frankfurt in 2018, we could still see some scaffolding in the New Old Town (the area east from here). But the efforts were worth it because today, Römerberg is one of the city’s most beautiful corners.
Pay attention to the Town Hall, where you can also find the tourist information. And make sure to walk to the area behind the half-timbered houses. Here, you can see more examples of classic architecture. Our favourite building is the “Haus zur Goldenen Waage” – House of the golden scale. You can find it close to the cathedral, and you’ll recognise it by its golden scale hanging outside the building.
After having enjoyed the traditional architecture, walk down to the water. Here, you can find Frankfurt’s most famous bridge, “Eiserner Steg”. Cross the bridge to the middle if you want to enjoy the view of Frankfurt’s skyline. This is also a great spot for sunset, although we think the view from the bridges located more to the east is a bit better.
Besides great views, you can find lots of locks attached to the pedestrian bridge. And if you’re lucky, you’ll run into musicians playing music. Stay for a moment and listen to them and then move on once again to the historic centre of Frankfurt.If the weather is good, go for a walk along the water. Or take a cruise on the river Main, to explore Frankfurt from a different vantage point. Ships regularly leave from next to Eiserner Steg.
Frankfurt Cathedral & Paulskirche
From the bridge, make your way back and go to see Frankfurt’s most important churches. The first one where you should stop is the cathedral, known as Frankfurter Dom.
This church played an important role in the history of Germany as well as the Holy Roman Empire because this is where the coronation ceremony for new emperors would take place. Take a moment to go inside. If you like, you can find a museum next to the cathedral where you can learn more about the church’s treasures as well as its history.
Or maybe you want to enjoy Frankfurt from above? Then climb to the top of the cathedral. Be warned, it’s a long staircase, but it’s well worth it for seeing the city. You’ll get a great overview of the historic town and, in contrast, the skyscrapers rising up behind it.
Next, make your way to Paulskirche, St Paul’s Church. The first publicly elected parliament in Germany came together in this church in 1848, which makes this one of Germany’s most prominent symbols of democracy. Go inside and take a look around.
Walk around the financial district
Your next stop should be the financial district, which you can find west of the city centre. On your way, look out for the giant Euro sign which you can see at Willy-Brandt-Platz.
Historically, you could find most of Germany’s banking headquarters in Berlin – up until WW II. With the division of Germany, many banks moved to Frankfurt, and now you can see their headquarters here.
Depending on where you’re coming from, you might not find the number of skyscrapers very spectacular. Here in Germany, though, we have such few of those tall buildings that Frankfurt is famous for them. We even call it Mainhattan.
If you didn’t climb to the top of the cathedral, you get a second chance here at seeing Frankfurt from above. Go to the Main Tower and take the elevator up to their observation deck. You’ll have an amazing view from up there.
Are you starving yet? Getting tired? Then it’s time for lunch.
Frankfurt is one of Germany’s most international cities. Here, you can find citizens with more than 180 different nationalities. That means we have at least one person from almost every country in the world living here!
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that you can find lots of excellent international restaurants in Frankfurt. We love going out and discovering different cuisines. If you want to, this is your chance to try food from all over the world.
But despite all those choices, we suggest you go more traditional and visit a market. On Thursday and Saturday, for example, you can find a huge farmer’s market at Konstablerwache. Besides fresh produce, you can also get regional food here, like freshly grilled sausages or Handkäs mit Musik (a traditional cheese from Frankfurt).
If it’s not Thursday or Friday, or if you want to stay inside, we recommend you visit the Kleinmarkthalle. At this covered market, you’ll find everything you need – from stalls selling regional produce to local snacks and dishes. And you can even buy international food here, from Japanese tea to Persian sweets.
Visit a museum
You now have a whole afternoon in Frankfurt. After having walked through the city in the morning, we suggest you go and visit one of Frankfurt’s many museums.
You can find fantastic museums all over Frankfurt, but you’ll see the largest number of them on the Museumsufer. On the southern shore of the river Main, you’ll find one museum next to each other. With so much choice, which one should you choose?
We recommend the Städel Museum, which houses one of Germany’s most significant classic art collections. Here, you can find art from all over Europe, with the oldest pieces dating back to the 14th century. That means that the museum covers more than 700 years of art history!
If you’re not much into art but love literature instead, go and visit the Goethe House. This is where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in 1749. In the museum, you can learn more about him, his family, his books and life in the 18th century.
Or maybe you want to learn more about the history of Frankfurt? Then we can recommend the Historical Museum or the Museum Judengasse. Both give you an excellent insight into how Frankfurt used to be. While the Historical Museum covers pretty much the whole history of the city, the Museum Judengasse focuses on the Jewish population. Both museums are fun to visit, so it’s up to you what to choose.
Last, if you prefer nature or natural history, take the subway to Bockenheim. In this neighbourhood, you’ll find both the Senckenberg Natural History Museum and the Palmengarten – Frankfurt’s botanical garden. The garden is famous for its giant greenhouse filled with palm trees and other exotic plants while the Natural History Museum has a huge collection of dinosaur fossils.
To get to both of them, take the U4, U6 or U7 in the city centre and go to Bockenheimer Warte. From here, you can easily walk to either the Palmengarten or the Senckenberg Museum.
Apfelwein in Sachsenhausen
Tonight, go out in Sachsenhausen.
Most of the neighbourhoods in Frankfurt used to be independent villages, and in Sachsenhausen, you can easily see traces of that history. Go to the centre, and you’ll find cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses and slate roofs.
Sachsenhausen is famous for its Apfelwein, Frankfurt’s most famous drink. If you look down, from time to time, you’ll even find apple-tiled shapes on the floor that guide you through the best areas to try the wine.
Apfelwein, which translates to apple wine, is at the same time similar to cider and very different. Both drinks are made from apples. But then the similarities end. In Frankfurt, apple wine is produced from local apple species that are so sour you’d never think about eating them. Those apples give the drink its characteristic tart aftertaste.
Besides, cider is similar to sparkling wine, with a lot of gas preserved in the drink. Apfelwein, on the other hand, is like wine – except it’s made from apples. The producers let all gas escape during the process of making it.
Now that we’ve established that Apfelwein is not the same as cider, you should go to one of the many pubs in Sachsenhausen and try a glass. If the weather is nice, try to find a table outside. Together with your apple wine, you should eat one of Frankfurt’s many traditional dishes.
We recommend Grüne Soße, a green sauce made with fresh herbs. You’ll find Schnitzel with green sauce on almost every menu, but if you’re vegetarian, opt for the eggs and potatoes with sauce.
How to get to Frankfurt
Frankfurt is one of Germany’s most well-connected cities. With its central location and Frankfurt airport nearby, it’s an easy destination to reach.
No matter where you’re coming from, the chances are high that you’ll find a good flight connection to Frankfurt. From the airport, you can then easily reach the city centre by train. The S-Bahn only takes 13 minutes to get from the airport to the main train station, and a few minutes more to Hauptwache and Konstablerwache, both conveniently located in the city centre.
If you arrive by train, you’ll find lots of connections coming from either within Germany or from neighbouring countries. Last, you can also take a bus to get to Frankfurt and the connections offered have been growing over the years.
Getting around Frankfurt
You can reach almost all destinations mentioned in the itinerary above by walking. Even though Frankurt spreads out in all directions, the inner city remains a compact area. You can even find most museums close by.
As mentioned above, if you want to see either the botanical garden or the Senckenberg Natural History Museum, you will have to take the subway to Bockenheimer Warte. Besides that, you should (almost) be able to walk everywhere.
If you get tired, Frankfurt has a net of trains, subways and trams that you can take. Look up the most important connections on the train map, or download an app called RMV. You enter your starting point, your destination, and it will spit out the fastest connection.
I’ve found the app so useful that even though we’ve been living here for a while, I still use it regularly.
Best time to visit Frankfurt
There’s no right or wrong time to visit Frankfurt. You can have an amazing day, no matter the season, and each time of the year has its advantages and disadvantages.
Summer is great because the weather will be nice enough to sit outside. On the downside, the weather sometimes gets hot, and you’ll also run into lots of tourists. Spring and autumn are great seasons because you can get nice weather and fewer tourists.
Winter is when you’ll barely run into tourists, but keep in mind that the weather can be very bleak. An option is to visit in December, during the Christmas Market, when the city comes alive with lights, stalls and hot Apfelwein.
We hope you enjoyed the itinerary and now know how to spend 24 hours in Frankfurt. Of course, when visiting a city as large as Frankfurt, one day is hardly enough. Therefore, if you have more time, we highly recommend you check out some other places. To help you plan your trip, check out our other resources:
- Top things to do in Frankfurt
- 1 Day in Bad Homburg – a perfect day trip from Frankfurt
- Your complete guide to the Frankfurt Christmas Market
- All you need to know about visiting a Christmas Market in Germany
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