Only 24-48 hours in Frankfurt
If you think the only thing to do in Frankfurt, Germany, is drink beer and eat sausage, think again. From the city's impressive skyline to its many museums, there's so much to see and do that you could spend days taking it all in. Check out these top things to do if you only have 24–48 hours in Frankfurt to make sure you see all the top attractions.
Watch a Show at the Alte Oper
If you love live music, be sure to catch a performance at Frankfurt's Alte Oper concert hall. The Renaissance-style building dates back to the late 1800s, but fires destroyed much of the original Frankfurt Opera House during World War II. Though the stunning exterior and lobby closely resemble the former structure, the interior now serves as a modern multipurpose complex with several concert halls and conference centers. The high-quality music program features everything from jazz to classical performances.
Check Out Hauptwache Plaza
If you only have 24 hours in Frankfurt, head straight to Hauptwache Plaza in the core of Frankfurt's inner city. It's the gateway to many of the city's most exciting attractions. As one of the liveliest parts of Frankfurt, most subway lines connect through the Hauptwache station, making the plaza simple to get to from just about anywhere in the city. From Hauptwache Plaza, you have easy access to Frankfurt's hottest shopping districts, including Goethestraße and the Zeil. You'll find some of the city's best shopping at Galeria Kaufhof, a popular German department store in the Zeil. So, if you're planning what to do in 1 day in Frankfurt, Hauptwache is the place to be.
The focal point of Hauptwache Plaza is a Baroque-style building, also called Hauptwache, that served as the headquarters for Frankfurt's militia in the 1700s. Today, the historic building houses a cafe where you can sit and enjoy a hot drink or a light meal while watching people pass through the bustling plaza.
Grab a Bite to Eat at Kleinmarkthalle
When it comes to dining out, there are so many options that trying to decide what to do in 24 hours in Frankfurt is a major challenge. If you're a foodie with your eye on finding the most delicious eats in all of Frankfurt, Kleinmarkthalle is the place for you, and it's just a short walk from Hauptwache Plaza. Here, you'll find an unparalleled selection of regional specialties and gourmet dishes from all over the world.
Whether you choose to pack up your favorites to take with you or try one of the many dishes prepared fresh on the spot, your taste buds will thank you for the special treat. The 16,000-square-foot market features more than 150 vendors that offer everything from handmade cheese, fresh pasta and cured meats to honey, dried fruit and nuts. You can even wash down your meal with a glass of wine from a local winery.
Take a Stroll Through the Altstadt
You may think of Frankfurt as a contemporary city, but it also boasts a charming historic area that features half-timbered buildings, traditional taverns and so much more. Although World War II raids destroyed much of the area, the Altstadt, or old town, was recently reconstructed and offers glimpses into Frankfurt's rich past. You'll definitely want to include this gem on your 1 day Frankfurt itinerary.
Must-see attractions in the old town include Paulskirche, Saalgasse, Alte Nikolaikirche, Kaiserdom and Schirn Art Hall. You'll also find the popular Romerberg Square, which is home to the Romer, Ostzeile and Fountain of Justice. Consider staying at the luxurious Intercontinental Frankfurt overlooking the River Main in the heart of the city for easy access to Römerberg Square and many of Frankfurt's other top tourist destinations.
Cross the River Main on the Eiserner Steg
If you're looking for the best place to snap a photo of the Frankfurt skyline, look no further than the Eiserner Steg. The Iron Bridge, as it's also called, spans across the River Main to connect downtown Frankfurt with Sachsenhausen on the southern banks. Known as Love Lock Bridge for the thousands of locks couples have linked to the bridge as a romantic gesture, Eiserner Steg offers panoramic views of the area. For the best photos, arrive just before sunset, but be ready for a crowd — more than 10,000 people cross the pedestrian bridge each day.
Have a Picnic in the Palmengarten
Did you know there's a beautiful 50-acre botanical garden in the heart of Frankfurt? Home to a variety of greenhouses, flower beds, statues, fountains and even a lake, Palmengarten is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon if you have 48 hours in Frankfurt.
During your visit, be sure to check out the 54,000-square-foot Tropicarium, where you'll find tropical plants from eight different biomes, including rain forests, deserts and mangroves. Pack yourself a picnic lunch and spend some time resting under one of the palm trees in the Palmenhaus, which is one of the largest greenhouses in the world.
Visit the Museumsufer
Still wondering what to do in 48 hours in Frankfurt? No 2 day Frankfurt itinerary is complete without a trip to Frankfurt's Museumsufer, or museum embankment. Stretching along the banks of both sides of the River Main, Museumsufer features diverse museums and art galleries. If you're an art enthusiast, make sure the Stadel Museum is at the top of your must-see list.
Showcasing more than 100,000 drawings, sculptures, paintings, prints and photographs that span the past 700 years, Stadel is a sight to behold. Other museums and galleries worth a look in Frankfurt's Museumsufer include the Giersch Museum, Jewish Museum, Historical Museum, Liebieghaus, Museum of Communication, Museum of World Cultures and more.
From its Gothic-style old town to its towering skyscrapers, Frankfurt showcases the unique balance between Germany's past and present. To make the most of your short time in Frankfurt, stay in a centrally located hotel so you can take in as many sights as possible. Whether you have a long layover at Frankfurt's busy airport or you're in the city for a quick business trip, take note of these top things to do if you only have 24–48 hours in Frankfurt.