One day in Frankfurt

Frankfurt is a city that for many reasons we hold close to our hearts. We’ve been to Frankfurt city three times and there are many wonderful things to do here. We want to help you plan your Frankfurt trip and highlight to you some of the best things to do in Frankfurt if you only have one day in Frankfurt.

24 hours in Frankfurt

This time visiting Frankfurt was a little different, as Nicola was here for a life-changing treatment for her Lyme disease and not as a tourist as usual. Both of the other times we visited Frankfurt were for the gorgeous German Christmas Markets, or Weinachtsmart. This is when the city truly comes alive.

Think cute festive wooden huts, twinkly lights, the smell of Glühwein, chestnuts roasting and the cutest handmade wooden christmas ornaments and nutcrackers. So while we weren’t here necessarily as tourists this time, it was refreshing to see what the city had to offer when it isn’t all wrapped up in a big Christmas bow.

Enjoying a pretzel in Frankfurt Germany
Salted pretzels are seriously yummy!

Is one day in Frankfurt enough?

When you are visiting a city as large as Germany’s financial capital, one day in Frankfurt is hardly enough. You could easily spend 3-4 days exploring all that Frankfurt has to offer. However, if you only have 24 hours in Frankfurt, you can still fit a lot in. We are hoping that this guide will help you enjoy one day in Frankfurt to its fullest!

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what Frankfurt has to offer. Whether you are here on a day trip or something longer, there is plenty to keep you entertained. This guide will highlight some of the best things to do in one day in Frankfurt.

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Is Frankfurt worth visiting?

Absolutely, Frankfurt is worth visiting! As a city that blends modern skyscrapers with historic charm, Frankfurt offers a unique experience for travellers. You can explore the picturesque Römerberg square, marvel at the contemporary art in the Städel Museum, and enjoy panoramic views from the Main Tower. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or just soaking up the lively atmosphere, Frankfurt has something to captivate every visitor.

If Frankfurt is not yet on your radar, it should be! Frankfurt is home to the most impressive skyline in Germany, as well as world-renowned museums, galleries, historical cathedrals and stunning views. It is a food lovers dream, and there is such an incredible vibe in the city. Frankfurt has an amazing dining scene, where you can find cosy taverns serving hearty regional food as well as markets selling international specialties.  Frankfurt is incredibly diverse and is so much more than a financial hub. The city’s vibrant cultural scene, diverse culinary offerings, and bustling financial district provide a dynamic backdrop for both leisure and business travellers. It has lots to offer the curious traveller, so be sure to put Frankfurt on your bucket list of places to visit in Germany.

Top Tip: Be sure to pick up a Frankfurt Card for your day exploring Frankfurt. That way, you can enjoy free public transportation and discounts at museums, tours, restaurants, and other attractions. 

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Where is Frankfurt?

 Frankfurt is located in the south-western part of Germany and lies along the Main River, about 19 miles upstream from its confluence with the Rhine River at Mainz. Frankfurt is the largest city in the German state of Hesse.

There are two airports serving Frankfurt: Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN). Frankfurt Main Airport is an international airport, the main airport serving the city, and one of the largest airports in Germany. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is located in Hahn, Rhineland-Palatinate, a western state in Germany. It is actually closer to Luxembourg than it is to Frankfurt. Even though it takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Frankfurt by bus, many travellers choose to fly into Frankfurt-Hahn because many budget airlines fly there.

It is much smaller but is also an international airport serving Hahn and Frankfurt. Although it is called Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, it is nowhere near Frankfurt, but it is a cheaper option than Frankfurt Airport for those travelling on a budget. Both airports handle domestic and international flights, but Frankfurt airport handles more flights, and more airlines operate from FRA than at HHN.

Check out our guide on the best way to get from Frankfurt Airport to the city centre.

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We recommend using Get Transfer for airport transfer. They are a trustworthy and convenient 5-star airport transfer service that offers a great experience and safety to travellers. They use local English-speaking drivers, have a flat pre-paid fee, monitor for flight delays so that you are not left stranded, and they have 24/7 customer support.

Frankfurt also has a large and impressive train station where you can find connecting trains to almost any destination in Germany and indeed Europe.

Bonus Tip: Download the DB Navigator app for real-time train schedules and ticket purchases in Germany.

Are you ready to visit Frankfurt?

We have travelled the world and have experienced many booking partners throughout that time, some good and some bad. These are the booking partners that we regularly use and trust.

Need help choosing your Frankfurt accommodation? Then check out our recommendations for boutique hotels in Frankfurt.

What is Frankfurt famous for?

Officially named Frankfurt-on-the-Main, the vibrant city of Frankfurt is often referred to as “Mainhattan” after the river that divides it, as well as for its towering skyscrapers and elite reputation as a finance and business centre. It is famous for being home to one of the world’s largest stock exchanges and the headquarters of the European Central Bank, but it also boasts an array of cultural and culinary delights that appeal to cultured travellers.

And let’s not forget that it is home to the gastronomic delight that is the frankfurter sausage! Not to mention the delicious cider produced in the apple-wine taverns in Sachenshausen.

Best things to do in one day in Frankfurt

Frankfurt has so much to offer the tourist and there will be lots to keep you entertained during your one day in Frankfurt. First off, let us just say that Frankfurt, in our opinion, is a tale of two cities…or two distinct personalities.

The beautiful skyscrapers of Frankfurt Germany. The best things to do in Frankfurt.

The more obvious side of Frankfurt is Mr. Cool! Suave and sophisticated, full of high-rise gleaming glass financial powerhouses. It is hard to ignore a skyline of impressive skyscrapers with it’s trendy bars and restaurants.

The other side of Frankfurt (and personally our favourite) is more old school and is full of gothic architecture. We loved the wonky cobbled streets of Old (Alt) Sachsenhausen with its boisterous apple-wine pubs and rows of riverside museums. We could literally spend hours just wandering this area. So we guess this is a good place to start with our tips on the best things to do with 24 hours in Frankfurt.

Beautiful old buildings in Romerberg Frankfurt
The beautiful architecture of Römerberg

Top things to do in Frankfurt in one day

Enjoy the art at Städel Museum

The Städel Museum, officially the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, is one of the many art museums on the tree-lined riverside of Sachsenhausen in Frankfurt. It houses one of the most important art collections in Germany. At the time of writing, there was a breathtaking Matisse-Bonnard exhibition, but our favourites were stumbling across the Rembrants, Monets, and Renoirs, some of our all-time favourite artists. Ronan was blown away by the large Edvard Munch collection, and, although we didn’t eat here, by all accounts, the food in the gallery restaurant is scrumptious, if a little pricey.

There are 700 years of art here under one roof. It was established in 1815 by banker and businessman Johann Friedrich Städel, who gives his name to the museum. The gallery’s art focuses on the Renaissance, the Baroque, early modern art and much more dating back to the early 14th Century. With over 3,000 paintings, 400 sculptures and more than 4,000 photographs, Städel Museum is definitely one of the best things to do when you only have one day in Frankfurt.

We highly recommend skipping the line with our favourite travel partners, Get Your Guide, and grabbing your tickets to the Städel Museum with a guided city tour to save you time when you have a tight itinerary.

Enjoying the art at Stadel Museum in Frankfurt Germany.
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Take a River Cruise on Main River

While you are already by the riverside, a good way to unwind after walking around the museum is to take a relaxing river cruise. If you are here in the winter months, make sure you dress warmly, as this one can get a little chilly! In the three times that we have been to this city, we have done both the Red Sightseeing Bus and the river cruise and we would certainly skip the city tour in favour of the cruise. The river cruise offers spectacular views of Frankfurt and is a unique way to view the city. If you are anything like us, your beady eyes may spot one or two riverside beer gardens to try later!

River cruise in Frankfurt is one of the best things to do in one day in Frankfurt Germany
Enjoying a river cruise. The best things to do in Frankfurt in 24 hours.
Beautiful city views
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Explore Römerberg: History, Activities, and Dining in Frankfurt

After your river cruise, head straight for the picturesque old square of Römerberg, where Frankfurt city hall is located. This square is full of old-world charm but can get a little busy, so go early with your camera and prepare to get snap happy.

Römerberg, the historic heart of Frankfurt, is a picturesque square that has played a central role in the city’s history for over a thousand years. The square is named after the Römer, a medieval building that has served as Frankfurt’s city hall since 1405. Römerberg has witnessed significant historical events, including imperial coronations, jousting matches, and public executions. Almost entirely destroyed during the air raids of World War II, Frankfurt’s Altstadt (or Old Town) was eventually rebuilt according to historical blueprints and was only finally completed in 2018. It features 15 faithfully restored half-timbered houses as well as 20 modern dwellings, complete with colourful façades, original house emblems, timber frameworks, and sandstone ornaments.

Today, it’s a vibrant area where visitors can marvel at half-timbered houses, visit the iconic St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, and explore the Historical Museum Frankfurt (which covers Frankfurt culture from medieval to modern times) and the Historic Wertheim House (the only building on the square to survive the 1944 air raids that destroyed much of old Frankfurt). Lined by open-fronted shops that were once common throughout the Old Town, the Römerberg is also home to historic buildings like Old St. Nicholas Church, St. Paul’s Church, and the medieval Römer, a three-story complex that’s functioned as Frankfurt’s city hall for more than 600 years. A quick stroll from Römerberg is Frankfurt Dom or Cathedral.

For dining, try the charming Haus Wertheym, one of the oldest restaurants in Frankfurt, known for its traditional German cuisine. Alternatively, check out one of the best traditional apple wine taverns in Frankfurt, Zum Gemalten Haus. Whether soaking in the rich history or enjoying local flavours, Römerberg is a must-visit destination in Frankfurt. Travellers to Frankfurt mostly come to this area for sightseeing, to grab a drink, and soak up the vibe of Frankfurt’s Altstadt. 

Römerberg is also the setting for the annual Christmas market and it truly transforms during Weinachtsmart. We can not explain how incredibly magical it gets with it’s giant Christmas tree and carousel. This is also a great place to grab a weiß beer and people-watch.

Woman walking around Romerberg in Frankfurt Old Town
Beautiful architecture in Frankfurt Germany
Beautiful buildings in Romerberg Frankfurt

One of the best things to do in Frankfurt is climb the bell tower of Frankfurt Dom to enjoy rooftop views of the city and Römerberg. Unfortunately, my scaredy cat of a husband is afraid of heights and I wasn’t well enough on this trip to climb to the top but I have done this on previous trips and the views of the city are just breathtaking.

Frankfurt Cathedral
Frankfurt Cathedral has breathtaking views of the city

Another fun thing to do while you are in this area is to take a guided walking tour of the Old Town or play the Old Town wonders exploration game to find hidden gems in Frankfurt’s Old Town.

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Enjoy a Heiße Schokolade

You can’t spend one day in Frankfurt without trying a Heiße Schokolade mit Sahne ( hot chocolate with cream). The prettiest place has to be Cafe Hauptwache at the bottom of Frankfurt’s main shopping street. It is a 1730 baroque guardhouse that thankfully escaped WWII’s destruction and has been a restaurant since 1904. Wrap up in one of the cosy blankets provided and watch the world go by. I wouldn’t eat here though, as it is quite pricey, and there is a fantastic little Moroccan cafe nearby, opposite the Goethe museum.

Having a hot chocolate in Cafe Hauptwache is one of the best things to do in one day in Frankfurt Germany
Cafe Hauptwache

Visit Frankfurt Zoo

If, like us, you are a big kid on the inside, you will enjoy a trip to Frankfurt Zoo. It is not the most sophisticated of zoo’s that we’ve been to, nor does it have a really large variety of exotic animals.

It is, however, a really nice thing to do and it was fun to grab some candy floss and act like kids for an hour or two. Frankfurt Zoo is one of Europe’s most significant zoological gardens, established in 1858, featuring two highly interesting exotic and nocturnal animal houses. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings while learning something about the animal kingdom as well as nature conservation and species protection.

Make sure to pick up a Frankfurt card to get free public transport and discounts on all of Frankfurt’s top attractions.

A trip to Frankfurt Zoo is one of the best things to do during 24 hours in Frankfurt.
A fun day at Frankfurt Zoo

Relax in Frankfurt’s Palmengarten

The largest botanical garden in Germany, the Palmengarten, is an oasis of green in the heart of Frankfurt. It is one of the best things to do in Frankfurt if you are looking for some downtime to relax in an otherwise fast-paced city.

Opened in 1871, the garden covers 22 hectares and houses around 13,000 plant species in its outdoor areas and under the roofs of many, often historic, display houses. It features outdoor exhibits laid out according to their geographical locations and a popular Palm House. One of the main highlights is the Tropicarium, a collection of 14 greenhouses containing subtropical and tropical plant species.

Exhibitions, topical guided tours, and musical events make the Palmengarten a major attraction at all seasons. Not to mention the recent addition of a beautiful butterfly house. Also on site is the Goethe Garden, which pays homage to Frankfurt’s famous author. It has several ginkgo trees, as well as a children’s playground, picnic spots, and a small lake where you can rent row and pedal boats. It is a must-see when visiting Frankfurt.

Palmengarten in Frankfurt Germany. Frankfurt's botanical garden.

Go on a shopping spree at My Zeil

Again, we weren’t really here for shopping, but it was hard to ignore the very futuristic MyZeil shopping centre in Frankfurt’s Hauptwache with it’s escalator to heaven, Germany’s longest escalator at 46 metres. There are plenty of shops to choose from and a rooftop terrace/bar with another stunning view of the city.

This escalator was a little intimidating. You probably shouldn’t look over the edge or you will be a nervous wreck but how cool does it look?

My Zeil Shopping Mall in Frankfurt Germany a cool thing to do during one day in Frankfurt
Escalator in My Zeil shopping centre Frankfurt Germany

The building was designed by Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas. It is part of the Palais Quartier development, with its main entrance on the Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street. The building itself looks like something out of a science-fiction movie. Its spectacular steel and glass façade, particularly the vortex, is the prominent feature that almost seems to draw in potential shoppers, and it definitely sets it apart as iconic. Check out our full guide on MyZeil shopping mall in Frankfurt.

Escalator in My Zeil Shopping centre in Frankfurt Germany

The Zeil in Frankfurt am Main has been one of Germany’s best-known shopping streets for more than 100 years, but there are also lesser-known areas to visit if you enjoy shopping. Frankfurt is home to a wide variety of weekly markets that are the ideal place to shop for regional products but also to meet for a bite to eat or a glass of cider or wine. At each market, farmers from the locality sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to meat, fish, cheese, and flowers. It is the perfect way to sample the local flavour of Frankfurt.

The Schillerstraße market takes place in the centre of Frankfurt every Friday. There, you can buy a fantastic selection of fresh produce and local specialties, especially if you are cooking for yourself in self-catering accommodation. The Konstablerwache farmers’ market is a popular place to enjoy some of that famous apple wine. Don’t miss the markets in Bornheimer, Höchst, and Old Sachsenhausen, which on Friday afternoon hosts the Genußmarkt (Pleasure Market) that offers delicacies like smoked salmon, Rheingagau wines, and mouth-watering Turkish specialties. 

Another great place to shop or simply wander, soaking in all the sights and smells, is Kleinmarkthalle, a covered market with more than 150 stalls selling fresh food, wine, and flowers. Locals come here daily to shop, and in our opinion, it is one of the best things to do in Frankfurt. You can really soak up the atmosphere of the city here, even if you only have 24 hours in Frankfurt!

If you are looking for independent boutiques offering a unique style, then be sure to check out Berger Straße in Bornheim. The Sachsenhausen neighborhood of Brückenstraße boasts a small but creative fashion scene. Also in Sachsenhausen, on Schweizer Straße, you can even enjoy the culinary delights of the area while shopping.

22nd Lounge and Bar:

All that sightseeing is bound to make you thirsty, and we have found the perfect place to finish one day in Frankfurt. The 22nd Lounge and Bar is perched high up one of Frankfurt’s numerous skyscrapers (on the 22nd floor, hence the name) and is part of the swanky Inn Side apartment complex. The views out over the city are breathtaking, especially as night falls, and the cocktails are pretty good too. So sip your drink with the glittering skyline before you as smooth jazz plays in the background.

Decorated in a very grown-up fashion (especially the bathrooms – you’ll get such a nice view while washing your hands!), with lots of dark wood and black leather, it’s a great place to finish your day in Frankfurt.

22nd lounge and bar in Frankfurt city.

If you do happen to be staying longer in Frankfurt, be sure to check out this guide for the best-designed hotels and boutique hotels in Frankfurt.

Day trips from Frankfurt

Erbach and Michelstadt Odenwald

The area of Odenwald, Hesse, is filled with the most picturesque fairytale German villages that will make both you and your camera extremely happy. Two of these German fairytale villages are Erbach and Michelstadt Odenwald. These charming and picturesque villages make the perfect day trip for those wanting to escape the city for a few hours.

The fairytale city of Michelstadt in Odenwald, Germany.
Rathaus Michelstadt im Odenwald


Heidelberg is one of the prettiest, most fairytale cities that you will ever visit. It is a hidden gem that you must add to your own travel list. Just one hour south of Frankfurt airport, Heidelberg is home to a 13th-century castle, the oldest university in Germany, and the longest pedestrian street in Europe. This city offers plenty to see and do and I highly recommend spending at least one day in Heidelberg.

Panoramic view of Heidelberg, showcasing the city's vibrant energy and historical charm.

Wrapping Up Your Frankfurt Adventure

As your whirlwind day in Frankfurt comes to a close, take a moment to reflect on the incredible blend of history, culture, and modernity you’ve experienced. From the cobblestone streets of Römerberg to the soaring heights of the Main Tower, you’ve glimpsed the soul of a city that seamlessly melds old and new. Whether you savoured a traditional bratwurst, delved into world-class art at the Städel Museum, or simply soaked in the vibrant atmosphere, Frankfurt has undoubtedly left its mark. Remember, this city is more than just a stopover—it’s a destination brimming with surprises at every corner. So, as you head back to your cosy accommodation or catch your flight, know that Frankfurt will always welcome you back for another day of exploration. Auf Wiedersehen, and until next time!

About us

We are Nicola and Ronan Lavin experts in finding unique accommodation all over the world. Voted as the Top 6 Travel Bloggers in Ireland by Stellar Magazine and the Top 10 Travel Influencers in Ireland by readers of the Irish Independent, we are dedicated to helping you find authentic and immersive travel experiences to help you plan your perfect vacation.

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