If you are going to Frankfurt for a weekend, there are many things you can see and do in this city on the river Main. Here is the list of attractions and activities I would recommend for a perfect weekend in Frankfurt.
We visited Frankfurt in May 2019 and spent two days there before going on a scenic Rhine cruise (about which you can read here – Scenic Middle Rhine cruise in Germany). We came by train – Frankfurt is well connected by train lines with many German cities and other countries. There are direct trains from Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Amsterdam and other EU cities.
If you’re arriving by plane, there is a direct train (S line – S8 and S9) connecting Frankfurt airport with the city center. It will take you just under 30 minutes to get from Frankfurt airport to the Romer by the train.
Within the city there is a good public transport system in place. We stayed in a hotel outside of the city center and so we had to take the train (S line). Tickets can be purchased in ticket machines right at the stops. Inside the city center there is a good connection by trams for the main attractions. So, if you are not into walking you can simply go by trams or subway (U line).
The Römer and the Altstadt
Altstadt, the old town, is a must see in Frankfurt. Even if you have only a few hours in Frankfurt just go to Altstadt and walk its cobbled streets, take in its pretty German houses, have a pint of beer or an apple cider on Römerberg square, walk on the iron footbridge over the Main and admire the city views from there.
You won’t miss Römer – medieval building complex on the central city square, which served as city hall of Frankfurt for centuries. Römerberg square often holds different events. When we were there they had lots of tables, selling beer and cider, and orchestras playing cheerful music.
There are many other old buildings with interesting architecture around Römerberg square. Just wander around and you will find Puente de los Suspiros, Standesamt Mitte, St. Paul’s Church (Paulskirche), Haus Würzgarten, Frankfurt Cathedral, and other historical landmarks – all within a short walking distance.
Eiserner Steg (or Iron Bridge)
After Altstadt head towards Main river and onto Iron footbridge – Eiserner Steg. Admire the city views from the bridge, take photos, count passing boats (if travelling with kids) or find unusual and quaint love locks attached to the bridge.
Cross the bridge to get to the waterfront on the other side of the river. Its green area is really nice to have a walk along the river or to simply have a rest with nice views in front of you.
If travelling with children, return back by Untermainbrücke bridge and have a stop at the playground in the green zone – Spielplatz Frankfurt Mainkai.
Parks along Main river
I always like cities standing on a river for their promenades along the river, green zones and nice views from multiple bridges crossing the river.
Frankfurt has really nice green parks on both sides of Main where you can walk, stroll, have a picnic and just enjoy the views.
If you have time and don’t mind walking, start at Hafenbecken Westhafen – nice harbour with city marina, walk along the Nizza – riverside park, have a stop at Spielplatz Frankfurt Mainkai if going with kids, and all the way to Äquatorialsonnenuhr – an equatorial sundial copper statue.
Main Tower (named after the Main river) is a skyscraper not far from the city central square. There is a restaurant and an observation deck on top of it. The observation deck is open all year round (except for days around Christmas and New Year) and you can buy tickets right there at the tower lobby.
When we visited Frankfurt, the subway station Bockenheimer Warte was on our list of things to see, but we never went there – simply because we didn’t have enough time.
Bockenheimer Warte station has an entrance to the subway designed as a train car crashed into the ground. You can get there by U-Bahn train.
Ride on Ebbelwei-Expreß – Apple cider express tram
Ebbelwei-Expreß is exactly what it says – you can ride the express tram and drink cider while riding. It’s a really good option of getting highlights of the city if travelling with kids. It’s a 1 hour round trip and it passes many city attractions along the way. On the board they have specially designed tables to hold cider bottles so you can drink cider (or apple juice for kids) and eat salty pretzels – included in the ticket price.
We were walking by foot for the first half of the day and so it was nice to hop on the tram afterwards to have a drink and a snack while looking out of the window and letting our boys to have a rest.
Check their web-site for the route and ticket prices, and keep in mind that the tram is only operational on weekends and public holidays.
Visit Natural History Museum
Frankfurt’s Natural History Museum – Naturmuseum Senckenberg – was on our list of must see things. Both our boys were interested in dinosaurs back then and after researching on where to see dinos remainings we found out that Frankfurt’s museum has a good collection of dinosaur skeletons. In addition to that, they had a collection of minerals (another interesting subject for my boys) and even a room with Egyptian mummies (unfortunately for us, the room was closed during our visit).
We spent in Naturmuseum Senckenberg few hours and really enjoyed expositions devoted to dinosaurs, mammoths, giant ancient sea creatures and other.
The Hammering Man sculpture
On the way to/from Natural History Museum make a small detour to see The Hammering Man – 21 meters tall sculpture. The statue is constantly moving (its hand with the hammer part) and it symbolizes workers throughout the world.
The sculpture is one of the series that have been installed in the US, Europe and Asia.
How many days to spend in Frankfurt?
You can see main attractions of Frankfurt in one day – have a walk around Frankfurt’s old town, get on Main Tower to admire panoramic views of the city and finish off with a pint of beer and a traditional German sausage at the Romerberg square.
But it’s better to spend whole weekend in Frankfurt to see more things and get a fuller experience. Visit Goethe House (did you know Frankfurt is the birthplace of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe?), see botanical gardens, go to German Film museum or other interesting museums in the city (we recommend a visit to Frankfurt’s Natural History Museum).
We had a perfect weekend in Frankfurt and I wish you will have one too!