Frankfurt is the fifth largest city in Germany with an enviable location on the River Main. With a major international airport hub, it lends itself as a city of commercial and economic importance.
Not as touristy as other German cities, visitors should use this as an opportunity to escape the congestion of other large German destinations and add Frankfurt to their itineraries for its range of excellent museums and galleries, Messe Frankfurt (trade fairs), shopping on Zeil Street and pleasant green areas.
Orientate yourself by first heading to Altstadt (Old Town) where you will find many of Frankfurt’s tourist sites including Alte Nikolaikirche (Old Saint Nicholas Church), Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), and the Historical Museum. Afterwards, watch the buskers as you enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants bordering the central Römerberg pedestrian square.
Smell the perfume of exotic flowers at the Palmengarten botanical gardens set amidst 22 hectares of tropical and subtropical plant species. Green-fingered visitors will enjoy horticultural delights of the African savannah, rainforest species inside the Tropicarium greenhouses and the flowers and tropical shrubs of the Palm House.
Ensure you visit the second oldest zoo in Germany, the Frankfurt Zoo that is home to over 4,500 animal species and was a ground-breaking zoo for its initiatives in eliminating cages and bars for animal enclosures, instead replacing them with moats and natural defensive features. Open daily, animal exhibits include a Cat Jungle, Borgori monkey forest and free-flight bird aviaries.
Allocate ample time to visit the Museumsufer (Museum District) on the southern bank of the River Main that is home to many museums including the Städel fine arts musuem, Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts) and the Liebieghaus with displays of sculptures.
Join the locals at one of the buzzing cider bars in the Sachsenhausen district where you can sip on Frankfurt’s famous Apfelwein (alcoholic apple cider).
Frankfurt is the birthplace of Germany's most important writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Check out Goethe's House that was fully restored after it was destroyed in World War II, and is resplendent with paintings, furniture and of course books and fine literature.
If fairy tales are your thing, drive 25 kilometers east of Frankfurt to the town of Hanau which was the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm, famous authors of beloved fairy tales now immortalised in a memorial in front of the New Town Hall. Other attractions in the town include Schloss Philippsruhe (an 18th century baroque palace that houses a historical museum) and Alte Fasanerie (a wildlife park that is a good choice for a family day out with deer, wolves, elk and badgers).
Thirty-five kilometers from Frankfurt is Darmstadt, an easy side trip destination where you can visit the artist’s houses and a Russian church in Mathildenhöhe, and browse tapestries and antique displays of the Duchy of Hesse at the centrally located Schossmuseum.