How to spend one day in Frankfurt

Things to do on a sunny day

  • Grab a map from the Tourist Office, Römerberg 27, and head off on a sight-seeing tour. The tourist Information office have put together a list of Frankfurt's main attractions, all of which are in walking distance.
  • Simply relax along the River Main and watch the World pass by. On the south bank of the river, during the summer months, boats are moored by the Eiserner Steg where you can buy a coffee, beer or whatever you fancy. By the Untermainbrücke there is also the Maincafe, right on the river bank, with lots of outdoor seating.
  • Join in with local life at the farmer's markets. On Thursday and Saturday the market is hosted at the Konstablerwache. On Friday there is a market on Schillerstraße (09:00 - 18:30), right outside the Stock Exchange (Börse). 
  • Take a 100 minute Primus Line cruise up and down the Main river. The boats offer refreshment on board and a cool breeze on a hot day.
  • Go for a walk around the Frankfurter Wallanlage. The ring of parkland that surrounds the city centre follows the old path of the 14th century city battlements and is approximately 5km long with interesting art and artefacts to see on the way.
  • Walk east along the northern banks of the River Main towards the European Central Bank. There you will find a cafe/restaurant Oosten, with great food and a sunny terrace.
  • Enjoy cafe life in Frankfurt city centre. This link suggests a few places to hang out and look like a real local.

Things to do on a rainy day

  • Visit the multiple museums in Frankfurt - if you are going to use the public transport consider the Frankfurt Card which gives you free travel and 20% discount on entry to many museums and attractions. If you don't need transport then consider buying a Museums Card. Once bought it will give you free entry into all of Frankfurt's museums for two days. For more information on museums pricing and buying tickets see this blog post on Frankfurt's museums.
  • Visit the churches - the Kaiserdom, Alte Nikolai and Katherinenkirche are all very centrally located and welcoming. Paulskirche hosts a permanent, free, exhibition dedicated to the first National Assembly of 1848 and has an amazing mural by Johannes Grützke. 
  • Head to the Kleinmarkthalle, browse the stalls including the famous Schreiber stall serving freshly boiled sausage, snack on regional produce, or go upstairs to the first floor and sample a glass of local Riesling at the Rollanderhof.
  • Go and see the 16th century fresco in the Karmelitekloster. Entry is free and you can hire an English audio guide for 2€ from the reception desk with 90 minutes of information about the fresco and the artist, Jörg Ratgeb. 
  • Take a look around a German concept shop called Manufactum, opposite the Alte Oper on Reuterweg. The shop stocks a variety of different objects and has a tasty cafe too.

Frankfurt café culture

When you arrive in a new town it's hard to avoid the large chain coffee houses and mediocre cafés, so here's a guide to some of the places the locals like. There's nothing fancy about these places, it's more about, "when in Frankfurt, do what the Frankfurters do"

Wacker's (Kornmarkt 9), closed on Sundays! This is top of the list for good coffee served in a way the Germans like it, strong! Wacker's has been roasting coffee since 1914. The shop is basic, with a small seating area indoors and a few tables and chairs outside. At busy periods, when all the seating is taken, locals spill over onto the other side of the street with their coffee cups and sit on the wall to enjoy a few minutes peace and quiet. Wacker's also sell a variety of cakes and individually wrapped chocolates to accompany your coffee.

Wacker's Coffee Shop - it's like stepping back into the 1950's

Wacker's Coffee Shop - it's like stepping back into the 1950's

Stern am Paulsplatz (Neue Krämer 12) is another traditional coffee roaster in Frankfurt. Located close to the Römer and sightseeing in the old town, Stern has plenty of seating both indoors and out. The lounge area upstairs really does feel like someone's front living room! The cakes reportedly come from Konditorei Hollhorst, one of the best bakers in Frankfurt.

Bitter & Zart is also in the old town (Braubachstrasse 14) and offers the air of a 1920's tea and coffee salon. It's famed for it's hot chocolate which is thick, rich and unsweetened (I always laden mine with sugar and order it with whipped cream!) Bitter & Zart offers lunch time snacks as well as home-made cakes, of which one is usually gluten-free. Next door is their chocolate emporium which is also worth a browse.

Bitter & Zart, serving hot chocolate thick enough to stand a teaspoon in.

Bitter & Zart, serving hot chocolate thick enough to stand a teaspoon in.

Naschmarkt am Dom (Domstraße 4) is very close to the cathedral entrance. It's small but offers a good variety of hot and cold drinks and the cakes are baked on the premises. Gluten-free options are also available. 

Metropol Cafe am Dom (Weckmarkt 13) is on the south side of the cathedral.  This laid back, Bohemian cafe, serves great breakfasts and gigantic pieces of home-made cake. It has a lovely garden which is a sun-trap and a great place to hang out in, with a glass of wine, during the in the summer months.  

Tee-haus Ronnefeldt (My Zeil shopping mall, ground floor towards the back entrance) This is the place to go to if you love tea. Ronnefeldt has a long tradition in Frankfurt and has an incredibly large selection of teas to drink on the premises or to buy and take home with you.  

Ronnefeldt Tee-Haus which can be found in the My Zeil Shopping mall

Ronnefeldt Tee-Haus which can be found in the My Zeil Shopping mall

Manufactum brot&butter (Bockenheimer Anlage 49-50) closed on Sundays! This store, come cafe, is located close to the Old Opera House. The cafe is proud of it's artisan foods, freshly baked bread and even offers a glass of unpasteurised milk for those not enjoying a coffee, tea or glass of wine. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and once you've finished snacking you have the chance to visit the Manufactum shop next door which is full of interesting artefacts to browse.