Visiting Frankfurt - What to See and Do
(Frankfurt Hahn Airport HHN, Germany)
is not your average German city. As a matter of fact, this city broke from its medieval shackles long ago, to become one of Europe's largest financial centres. The city's skyline sparkles with a slew of sky-scraping structures that house European banks, German financial institutions and even a stock exchange.
The city of Frankfurt is not just a Mecca for commerce. Tourism is still very much at work, especially when it comes to sightseeing. The soaring skyscrapers of New Frankfurt reside shoulder to shoulder with the Old Town. Quintessential European structures encircle its beautiful Old Town square, and café options are, of course, in abundance. A grand list of museums and art galleries are among the city's attractions, giving this financial centre a surprisingly cultural vibe. There are sights around every corner in this German city.
After the sun goes down, the city really starts to shine. Rivalling Berlin's night life, Frankfurt is a techno-town that blasts away most nights of the week. In fact, it was here in this very city where techno was born. World-renowned DJs often return home to spin some magic for their homeland fans. Nevertheless, dance is only part of the nightly equation. Pubs, bars and restaurants are often filled.
Ten things you must do in Frankfurt
- Although the Main Tower is rather dwarfed by the Europe TV Tower (Europaturm), it is regarded as the most important tourism site in Frankfurt's financial district. The tower is the only one providing public access. Still, tourists get a view of the city from a 200-metre / 656-foot high perch, which is highly impressive nonetheless.
- The Zeil is the perfect spot to hit the shops. However, if visitors have a problem with crowds, head here in the early morning, before the hordes arrive. There are four shopping malls in addition to stand-alone stores along the Zeil. High-end, expensive fashion stores dominate the limelight. During December, part of the street becomes a reputable Christmas market.
- St. Bartholomew's Cathedral is the city's primary church. It has stood since the 14th century and for centuries was the tallest structure in Frankfurt. This Gothic basilica has an interesting history worth exploring. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, Roman Emperors were inaugurated at St. Bartholomew's Cathedral.
- Better known as the historic town centre, Romerberg is a thriving bastion of activity every day of the week. Tourists can come for the cafés and patisseries, or better yet, discover some of the sites on show. The Old Town Hall (Romer), St. Bartholomew's Cathedral and an archaeological garden can all be visited.
- The Museum Riverbank, which is locally called the Museumsufer, is a series of some 20 magnificent museums that rest on the River Main. Museum passes are recommended, as tourists can use these to get in and out of each museum over a two-day period. The likes of the Museum of World Cultures, the Jewish Museum and the German Architecture Museum eagerly await patrons.
- Botanical Gardens are always a worthy attraction. Fortunately for Frankfurt, there are two. The Palm Garden (Palmengarten) is the most expansive botanical gardens site though, welcoming green-fingers and travel-weary tourists looking for a break. The sub-tropical zone is one of the most beautiful plant displays in Germany.
- No other city in the world boasts an inner forest quite like Frankfurt does. The unspoilt green area of Stadtwald greets visitors with several walking trails, nine ponds, children's playground areas and a 52,000-capacity stadium that hosts regular, top-flight football matches. The best part about the forest is its close proximity to downtown hotels.
- The Frankfurt History Museum is one attraction that doesn't rest along the Main River. Therefore, Museum Riverbank passes do not work here. Despite this, the edifice is home to the city's largest collection of historical artefacts, with information about the people and the development of the city. Visit here on the Long Night of Museums festival in late April for a fun-packed evening.
- Opera is alive and well in Frankfurt, but not where tourists immediately expect. The Old Opera House is a historic and architectural landmark, but no longer holds opera performances. Instead, visitors should head to Oper Frankfurt. This is a more modern edifice that hosts surprisingly affordable opera events. The Old Opera House is still used for other concerts though.
- Fressgass is the city's most acclaimed pedestrian-only zone. The name, Fressgass, actually means 'consume street' on account of the many fabulous restaurants and cafes established along this avenue.