With summer just around the corner, it’s time to plan your next adventure. Frankfurt, Germany has a rich culture and history, great dining, and plenty of entertainment options, making this less-travelled (but oh-so Instagrammable) gem a must-book destination.
Frankfurt combines the modern glass and steel skyscrapers of their large finance and business community with charming neighborhoods full of outdoor cafes, parks and street art.
While Frankfurt remains relatively cool year-round, between April and October you’ll find pleasant temps with sunny days that rarely top 80 degrees. From MSP, Condor Airlines has seasonal flights to FRA, operating multiple times per week through early October.
With no time to waste, here are some must-hit hot spots to get your trip planning started:
Where to stay: The Pure and Roomers are two mid-range hotels with differing styles and convenient locations near train stations in the city center. The Pure is an eco-friendly property decorated in neutral tones, while the contemporary Roomers appeals to stylish travelers with its sleek, dark décor.
How to get around: The city center itself is walkable, and there are trains, trams and buses to help you explore beyond that. Frankfurt’s public transportation system is a breeze to navigate and consists of the U-bahn (underground subway), the S-bahn (suburban railway), streetcars and buses. Public transportation is the most cost-effective way to explore the city—plus it’ll give you a taste of local life.
Where to eat: The dining options in Frankfurt reflect its diverse population. While it’s true that Frankfurt is home to the famous Frankfurter (long, thin, lightly-smoked pork sausages), locals tend to eat anything but traditional German food—Indian, Thai and Italian cuisines are well-represented in the city. Stop by Ebert’s Suppenstube, a small soup and sausage shop in the city center, for a traditional German sausage. For a nice sit-down dinner, head to Holbein’s. This beautiful restaurant on the River Main offers a variety of dishes from sushi to more classic German fare. Im Herzen Afrikas is a favorite amongst locals, serving up East African platters of food that are meant to be shared and eaten by hand.
Best Beer Gardens: While not as famous as Munich for its beer gardens, Frankfurt is home to a handful of traditional ones. Zur Sonne has been around since 1768 and the huge garden is the perfect place to sample some authentic Frankfurt beers. To drink with the locals, head to Hausbar and if you’re feeling adventurous, try the Apfelwein (apple wine). Stop by the Solzer Apfelwein Tavern, where the cider-esque drink is prepared fresh each day using a secret recipe.
What’s to love: Frankfurt’s skyline. One of the few European cities with a significant number of skyscrapers, it’s earned the nickname “Mainhattan” as a nod to the River Main and its resemblance to the Manhattan skyline. For an amazing, panoramic view, head to the observatory of the Main Tower.
Do not miss: Römerberg is Frankfurt’s main square and the historic heart of the medieval Altstadt or old town. It’s dominated by the Römer, one of the city’s oldest and most famous landmarks. The Römer is made up of nine medieval buildings and has served as Frankfurt’s city hall for over 600 years. Just to the north is the Alte Oper (Old Opera)—a must-see.
What not to overlook: Don’t skip over the off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods, like Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and Sachsenhausen. Their beautiful, intact 19th-century streets and parks are a must-see. On Saturdays, locals head to the Kleinmarkthalle, an indoor market where you can shop and eat like a local. Pick up fresh produce, cheese, bread, olive oil and sausages for a picnic in one of the city’s beautiful parks.
Where to take a stroll: Put the Frankfurt City Forest at the top of your sightseeing list. It’s Germany’s largest inner-city forest, stretching nearly 19 square miles. If that isn’t enough greenery for you, head over to the Westend district and explore the Palmengarten Botanical Gardens, made up of 50 acres of plant life. For a city stroll, walk along the River Main and cross the Eiserner Steg bridge for great views and photo ops.
Where to shop: Start at Frankfurt’s version of Fifth Avenue—the Zeil. Known to be one of Germany’s busiest and most famous shopping streets, the Zeil is pedestrian-only and bordered by two large public squares. If you’re interested in shopping at local shops and stopping at cafés along the way, head to Berger Straßen. The street is lined with small shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.
Where to take in the culture: Home to more than 30 museums, Frankfurt has a wide selection of cultural activities to choose from. Twenty museums are part of the Museumsufer, or Museums Riverbank, and are located on the front row of both sides of the Main riverbank or nearby. Two must-see museums are the Staedel, a prominent art museum, and the Jewish Museum Frankfurt, which gives an inside look at Frankfurt’s Jewish community throughout the years. Head’s up! Most museums in Germany are closed on Mondays, so check their hours before you go.
Where to spot the locals: Especially in summer, a walk along the River Main is picturesque. Locals and tourists alike spend sunny afternoons sitting on the lawn and playing frisbee or football. For being the heart of the city, it’s relatively quiet. There are lots of nearby cafes and restaurants to quench your thirst, but be sure to plan for larger crowds during the evenings and weekends.
Where to take a side trip: You’ll find Rheingau wine district about an hour’s drive from Frankfurt. It’s a 27-mile stretch of the Rhine Valley west of Wiesbaden. The vineyards here have been making wine since Roman times. The Rheingau wine grapes produce a soft, flowery and full aroma, and wine enthusiasts consider Rheingau Rieslings to be some of the best white wines in the world. Your new favorite bottle is waiting at one of more than 1,000 wineries.
So, where will your Frankfurt adventure take you? To the shopping district, museums, or maybe to a small restaurant to live like the locals? No matter what you make of it, Frankfurt is sure to have something for everyone.