With its scenic high-rise skyline, diverse population and thriving business and cultural scenes, Frankfurt is one of Germany's most vibrant cities. Whether you're attending a trade fair, catching breathtaking views from the Main Tower or exploring the endless array of museums, shops and restaurants, a visit to Frankfurt is guaranteed to be memorable.
Frankfurt: city layout
From soaring modern architecture to quaint medieval squares, Frankfurt effortlessly balances fascinating history and contemporary allure.
In the Altstadt (old city) you can visit historic Römer Square and enjoy one of the traditional pubs and restaurants. In the surrounding Innenstadt (city centre), you might explore The Zeil, Germany's longest pedestrian shopping street, or dine with the locals at one of the many upscale restaurants that line the parallel Freßgass.
South of the river, Sachsenhausen has waterside museums and food markets, while leafy and luxurious Westend offers green spaces and an exclusive ambience.
Things to see and do
Frankfurt is renowned for its architecture, which runs the gamut from ancient to avant-garde. Visit the gleaming Main Tower for sweeping vistas across the city, the red sandstone St Bartholomew's Cathedral for Gothic thrills, and the splendid Römer City Hall for a dash of medieval history.
Art fans won't want to miss a stroll along the Museumufer (Museum Embankment), which includes striking museums such as the Städel Museum, the German Architecture Museum and the German Film Museum, among others.
Prefer to indulge in some shopping? Head to The Zeil, where department stores rub up against retail chains and niche boutiques. Slightly farther on is Goethestraße, which offers luxury designer brands.
The concierge recommends…
Frankfurt's hotels cater for every kind of budget, style and location, whether affordable or upscale, riverside or close to the city's conference centres.
The area around Hauptbahnhof (the main train station) is characterised by dramatic skyscrapers and abundant bars, shops and restaurants. Hotels here are highly convenient for business and leisure travelers alike.
South of the river, the charming Sachsenhausen district is good for families seeking Frankfurter tradition, as is Westend thanks to its parks. To the northeast, Bornheim is a buzzy district with cafés, restaurants and a weekly farmers' market.
The city's great public transport system means you can get pretty much anywhere in and around the city within 30 to 40 minutes. Alternatively, pick up one of the red-and-silver Deutsche Bahn bikes; costs range from €0.06 per minute to €15 per day.
There's much more to Frankfurt than the eponymous sausage snack. The city's culinary scene reflects both its traditional heritage – local pubs and restaurants – and its current international demographic. Given the generally high standard of living, there's lots of fine dining too.
Much of the culinary action takes place in the Innenstadt (city centre). Here you can pick up fruit and vegetables (or a takeaway sausage) from more than 150 stalls within the covered Klein Markthalle, feast on local dishes at an Altstadt pub or tuck in with the locals along upscale Freßgasse.
Alt-Sachsenhausen, especially the tree-lined Schweizer Platz, offers local delicacies like Grüne Sosse (green sauce) and Ebbelwoi (apple wine). Bornheim is an increasingly popular district for weekend brunch.
The chef recommends…
From vintage to budget, indie to luxury, you can find every kind of retail experience in Frankfurt – including some excellent shops for local handicrafts and souvenirs.
In the Innenstadt, The Zeil has abundant department stores, Goethestraße offers shopping from some of the world's most famous haute couture designers and Schillerstrasse has mid-range stores and plenty of gift shops.
For funky, hip and second-hand items, head to Berger Straße from Bornheim Mitte U-Bahn Station, or explore the area around Bockenheim's Leipziger Straße. The Saturday flea market at Mainufer hawks everything from books to bicycles.
Tip: Most shops are closed on Sundays with the exception of some souvenir shops on Römerberg and some shops at the train station and airport.
Souvenir hunting in Frankfurt
It would be easy to get the impression that Frankfurt is all business and no fun. Not so. As well as a rich cultural heritage that includes world-renowned museums, galleries and opera houses, the city has a positively thumping nightlife scene that ranges from underground jazz spots to mainstream dance clubs.
Most of the city's theatre and opera stages are within easy reach of the city centre. These include the English Theatre as well as the venerable Alte Oper and Frankfurt Opera.
The big draw for art lovers, the Museumsufer (Museum Embankment) is an ensemble of 10 museums set in a mix of historic villas and contemporary buildings. It is just across the river in Sachsenhausen.
Slick neon bars and cocktail spots populate the Bahnhofsviertel (train station area). Traditional bars can be found in and around Alt-Sachsenhausen, and mainstream clubs and dance spots line Hanauer Landstrasse.
Frankfurt's best museums
Many of Frankfurt's abundant kid-friendly attractions – most of which are fun for adults too – are conveniently located within the Innenstadt. The city's hotels, restaurants and cafés are generally family-friendly as well, with many offering separate children's menus.
In good weather, Frankfurt is an open-air playground for families, with the opportunity to take a boat trip along the Main river, visit Frankfurt Zoo or enjoy a picnic in one of the large and leafy parks. Westend's Grüneburgpark has the added bonus of a Botanical Garden.
A rainy day in Frankfurt won't mean staying at home. Take the kids to the Children's Museum for a range of interesting and interactive exhibitions on historical and cultural topics. Or make a full afternoon or day of it at the Science Center and Senckenberg Museum of Natural History, which are handily located right next to each other.
Best family activities in Frankfurt