Heading to Frankfurt am Main but only have a day? Want to know exactly what to see in Frankfurt in 1 day so you can have the best experience possible? Below, I take you on a journey to explore the city’s iconic landmarks, delve into its rich history, savor its culinary delights, and immerse yourself in the local culture—all in just 24 hours!
Crafting this itinerary of best places to visit in Frankfurt in one day was no small feat. It involved reading countless travel blogs, consulting locals, and exploring Frankfurt’s gems firsthand. This guide provides a comprehensive, yet concise, snapshot of what Frankfurt has to offer.
A finance and business powerhouse, parts of Frankfurt can feel like a different world to the rest of Germany. It’s home to skyscrapers, one of the world’s largest stock exchanges, business trade fairs and more.
But Frankfurt also has a story that stretches back over a thousand years. It has evolved from a medieval trading hub to a modern metropolis, blending history and innovation. In this guide, we explore its charming old town, its world-class museums and marvel at its architectural wonders.
Frankfurt is also home to a major airport. If you find you have a long transit or are flying here before you hop on a train or bus somewhere else, you may only have a day in Frankfurt. While that’s a shame, it’s also awesome as at least you have a day!
Below, you will find my exact one day in Frankfurt itinerary. This includes all the best things to do in Frankfurt for a day as well as the best places to stay. I also include some changes if you are visiting Frankfurt in winter or if you have kids.
There is also a handy map of your Frankfurt one day itinerary.
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An Introduction To Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main has been the site of settlements for at least a couple of thousand years. There is evidence of Celtic and Germanic settlements dating back to at least the first century BC. Around 83AD, it became a Roman garrison town.
It’s first mentioned in documents in the 8th century as it became an important centre in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1152, Frederick I was elected king in Frankfurt. From that point, it became the place where German kings were selected.
Its importance to business and trade increased as international trade fairs started here in the 12th century. A stock exchange was opened in 1585.
From 1372 until 1806, Frankfurt was a free imperial city. Napoleon I interrupted this when he made Frankfurt the seat of government for the Confederation of the Rhine and then the capital of the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt. After Napoleon fell in 1815, it reverted back to being a free imperial city. It was the capital of the German Confederation from 1815-1866.
At this point, Prussia took over before returning it back to Germany.
Frankfurt was badly damaged in the March 1944 Allied bombing raids. The bombing destroyed about 80% of its medieval centre. They reconstructed the area around the Römerberg, but much of the city was rebuilt with modern buildings.
Today, Frankfurt is a business and financial hub. It is home to the European Union’s Central Bank, a large stock exchange and many trade fairs. There is also manufacturing of automobiles, chemical and pharmaceutical products, machinery and more.
You can read more about Frankfurt’s history here.
What To See In Frankfurt In One Day
Above is your itinerary and below are more details about the best one day Frankfurt attractions. To make it extra easy for you, I recommend you visit everything listed in the same order as I have written it.
I assume you want to pack a fair bit into your 1 day in Frankfurt. If you like to take things slower then remove a stop or more so it’s a pace you are happy with.
Stop 1: Explore Römerberg
The best place to start your Frankfurt one day trip is in the heart of Frankfurt’s Old Town. You won’t want to miss Römerberg, the medieval public square. It’s home to reconstructed, half-timbered buildings which are just gorgeous.
Römerberg translated means Roman mountain.
It’s also home to Römer, the old town hall. It consists of three 15th century houses that you’ll want to take a photo of. This was once home to celebrations during elections and coronations of emperors.
These days it’s home to the mayor and a registry office. It is possible to enter Kaisersaal (Emperor’s Hall) when events aren’t taking place.
Also at Römerberg is Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice).
Most of the traditional buildings in the Old Town are around this square,
Stop 2: See The Views From Frankfurter Dom
Your next stop in this list of what to do in Frankfurt for a day is only a few minutes walk away. Head to Frankfurter Dom (which means Frankfurt Cathedral). This is also called Kaiserdom and St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral.
This massive, red-sandstone cathedral has a 95 meter tower which dominates the skyline. Built in Gothic style from 1356 to 1792, it’s where the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperors took place.
Rebuilt twice, after fires in 1867 and the bombings in WWII, it’s a stunning site. It’s worth walking inside to appreciate the interior. There are carved altars and pieces of Saint Bartholomew’s skull. I also highly recommend you climb the 328 steps up the tower for great views which is a small extra fee. It’s one of my favorite places.
There’s also an onsite museum, Dommuseum. It has a small collection of religious objects.
This church generally opens at 9am. Fridays are an exception.
Stop 3: Walk Over The Eiserner Steg Bridge
Next up is a short walk to the river and the Eiserner Steg Bridge. This area is home to a pedestrian friendly walkway with nice views across the river to more of Frankfurt.
The Eiserner Steg Bridge was first built across the Main River in 1868. It’s a popular landmark thanks to its modern metal design which was rebuilt at the end of WWII.
I love the views that you can have when walking across this bridge. You can see the river, each of the banks and you’ll feel right in the middle of Frankfurt. There are also many locks locked here on the bridge by couples.
Stop 4: Take A River Cruise
It’s time to cross back to the Old Town side of the river ready for your next adventure – a 50-minute river cruise.
Primus Linie cruises depart from the eastern side of the Eiserner Steg Bridge on Mainkai.
On this cruise you can see more of Frankfurt while traveling on the Main River. Boats go both up and down stream so if you only have 50 minutes to spare, you’ll have to decide which direction most appeals to you. You can also do both on a 100 minute circuit.
This is a quick and easy way to see more of Frankfurt.
You can check out the latest timetables and book here.
Stop 5: Visit A Market For Lunch
By now, your stomach is probably rumbling. However, since you’re only on a Frankfurt 1 day trip, we’re going to combine sightseeing with lunch at the Kleinmarkthalle. This market is a 5-minute walk away.
Kleinmarkthalle is a bustling, 1,500 square meter market started in 1954. It has many types of food from pastries to sausages to pretzels to fruit and vegetables. It’s fun to explore and shop here and you’re sure to find something quick, easy and delicious to eat for lunch. I love browsing here.
You can pick up supplies to have a picnic back down by the river.
If your Frankfurt one day tour is on a Sunday or public holiday, Kleinmarkthalle isn’t open. There are many restaurants around here though, so pick one that takes your fancy.
Stop 6: Learn More At A Museum
Frankfurt is home to a whole host of museums. However, since you’re looking for places to see in Frankfurt in one day, I recommend sticking to one that you can explore fully.
Below are what I believe are the best two options for your one day trip Frankfurt, so pick the one that interests you most.
An exception to this is if your one day in Frankfurt falls on a Monday. On Monday, most museums, including the ones below, shut. On a Monday, visit Goethe-Haus instead.
This is a five minute walk from Kleinmarkthalle. It’s the birthplace of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Today, it’s set up like it would have been when his family sold it. There are tours and exhibits as well as a museum next door with paintings from Goethe’s era.
Located about an 18 minute walk from the market (less if you ate by the river), Städel Museum is home to one of Germany’s best classic art collections. Its European collection is superb with pieces from the Middle Ages to today.
This museum, founded in 1815, has many big names including Rembrandt, Rubens, Cezanne, Picasso, and Monet. There are also temporary exhibitions which can be quite popular.
It’s best to book ahead to ensure you don’t waste time stuck in a line.
Historisches Museum Frankfurt
The Historisches Museum Frankfurt is back by the Eiserner Steg Bridge. Frankfurt’s oldest museum, this is the place to pick if you want to learn more about the history of Frankfurt.
The buildings of the museum are very interesting. The museum calls five buildings home opposite the Main River. The buildings range in age from 800 years old to 2017. It’s the perfect way to walk through Frankfurt’s interesting past.
It’s a big museum with plenty to see. You won’t get through it all in a couple of hours. On arrival, make sure you get an introduction so you can prioritize the parts that most interest you.
My favorite part is Frankfurt Once? It discusses how Frankfurt residents lived and what makes Frankfurt the way it is. It examines many different aspects of life like finance, science, toys, media, furniture and more.
The Frankfurt Now! section is also great. It talks about what it’s like to live in Frankfurt now, what’s special about Frankfurt and what the future may hold. There’s also a cool scale model of the city.
This is my top pick of the Frankfurt museums.
There’s more information on the museum’s site.
Stop 7: See Frankfurt From The Main Tower Observation Deck (If Time)
If you have time after your visit and it’s a clear day, here’s another thing to add to your Frankfurt what to see in one day list. About a 15-minute walk from either museum option is Main Tower, a 200-meter high skyscraper with a viewing platform.
A lift ride to the top only takes 45 seconds so you’ll soon be seeing Frankfurt from above.
For something special, you could also eat dinner in the restaurant here on the 53rd floor. It’s pricey but you can’t beat the views. There is also a lounge if you want to have a drink while you take in the views.
Find more information here.
Stop 8: Spend The Evening In Alt-Sachsenhausen
If you haven’t had to leave Frankfurt already, great! This last one of the things to do in Frankfurt Germany in one day is lots of fun 🙂
Head to Alt-Sachsenhausen (Old Sachsenhausen) for dinner and some apfelwein (apple wine)
Alt-Sachsenhausen has some gorgeous parts with cobblestone streets and winding laneways. There are plenty of places to eat here, but what you are looking for is an apple wine tavern. Apple wine taverns are famous in Frankfurt. Here, you can try some traditional food and Frankfurt’s famous apfelwein, the German version of apple cider.
You can try Adolf Wagner, Apfelweinwirtschaft Frau Rauscher or Ebbelwoi Unser – or explore until you find somewhere you want to stop.
One Day In Frankfurt In December/Winter
While most of the things to see in Frankfurt in one day listed above are possible during the winter time, there are also some fun things to do in Frankfurt which are especially great in the winter months. Primarily the Christmas Market. You won’t want to miss this if you are in town at the right time.
Unfortunately, the river cruises do not run as often in winter time. At the time of publishing, they were only running on weekends from January to early March. You can check here for current schedules.
When the Christmas market is running, I would start with visiting the museum in the morning. Then head to the Christmas market at lunchtime and eat here instead of Kleinmarkthalle. It is in Römerberg so you can explore that at the same time and then head to Frankfurter Dom.
After this, you can visit Eiserner Steg Bridge and do a river cruise.
Essential Stop: Christmas Market
An unmissable answer to what to do in Frankfurt in one day is the Frankfurt Christmas Market. It runs for a month before Christmas usually around 22 November – 22 December but click here to find the latest dates.
This is one of the oldest Christmas Markets in Germany dating back to 1393! It’s also one of the biggest (with over 200 stores) and the best. There is plenty to explore and enjoy including special hot apfelwein and Bethmännchen (marzipan and almond biscuits).
The only danger is that you only have 1 day in Frankfurt Germany and you may not want to leave this attraction!
Frankfurt Itinerary 1 Day Map
Below is a map of everything we have covered in this guide to the perfect one day trip in Frankfurt.
Best Place To Stay In Frankfurt
When it comes to where to stay in Frankfurt, there is a great range of hotels and other accommodation options. You won’t have any problem finding somewhere to stay – although it can get busy when big trade fairs are on so it is recommended to book in advance.
Below, I’ve listed a few different places to consider depending on what type of accommodation you are looking for.
If you want more options, you can use this map to help you find hotels and home rental accommodation around Frankfurt.
Located in the Old Town just 7 minutes walk from Römerberberg and close to the river and a useful station, the 5-star Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof is a popular choice. You will love a stay here!
With over 300 rooms with traditional and modern decor, luxury is the name here. Rooms range from superior double and twin rooms to presidential and royal suites. All come with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs and first class toiletries. Even the cheaper rooms come with a desk area and sitting area.
There is a gym, 24 hour room service, three restaurants and a bar. You can have breakfast included in your room rate. The star attraction among the restaurants is the Michelin-starred Restaurant Français. It is perfect for a special night in the hotel.
My favorite part of the hotel has to be Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof’s Spa. You can book from a selection of massages and beauty treatments or just relax in the Turkish bath. There’s even a traditional barber shop.
Paid parking is available close to the hotel.
For great value prices and a convenient location within walking distance to the main Frankfurt train station, Adina Apartment Hotel Frankfurt Westend can’t be beat. It’s also close to shops and Frankfurt Exhibition Centre.
This is especially a good choice if you like apartment-style accommodation. The rooms vary from studios to two bedroom apartments. I love staying here with my family so we can self cater and easily get to the airport. There are also washing machine facilities in each room to make your stay even easier. Some rooms have views.
There’s a gym as well as parking for an extra charge. There is also a restaurant and bar on-site.
UNIQUE – Libertine Lindenberg Review
If you are looking for somewhere unique to stay in Frankfurt in a pretty spot in Sachsenhausen, consider the Libertine Lindenberg.
This option sells itself as both a hotel and a shared living space. It has communal areas that you can use to meet other guests or to cook your own meals.
Libertine Lindenberg categorizes their rooms based on size which range from 19m2 to 25m2. All rooms are doubles with bigger rooms having seating areas as well. All have flat-screen TVs and Netflix access and are beautifully decorated.
On-site is a shop selling organic groceries and a “living room cafe”. There is a recording studio as well and you can tune into the in-house radio station. For more active guests, there’s a gym and free bike hire.
How To Get To Frankfurt And Around
Frankfurt is very well hooked up to the rest of Germany, Europe and the world and you should have no problems getting here.
Frankfurt Airport is a major international airport and it’s easy to catch a train into the city from here in less than 15 minutes. If you are just in transit for a day, there is luggage storage at the airport if you need it.
There are regular trains and buses here. You can find train timetables here.
You can also hire a car to explore Germany. We flew into Frankfurt then hired a car for our onward journey after a day exploring.
Once in Frankfurt, there are many public transport options. Most of the time, we found it easier to explore by foot. Distances are often short between attractions, and transport did not usually go exactly between the places we wanted.
Frankfurt With Kids
Frankfurt is a great place to explore with kids. They’ll enjoy many of the attractions above.
We traveled to Frankfurt with our three kids aged 5 – 11 years old and had no problems. They enjoyed the river cruise especially and we had a good time at the Historisches Museum Frankfurt. This is because it has a section called Junges Museum (Young Museum).
This is specifically aimed at children and is interactive with themes aimed at their interests. It’s not just for young children either, like some childrens museums. There are different exhibits aimed at different age groups. They also enjoyed the Frankfurt Once? and Frankfurt Now! exhibits at the Historisches Museum.
I hope you have enjoyed this guide to Frankfurt places to visit in one day, and you’re now all set for your trip. We have loved exploring Frankfurt and you can too. You can copy this exactly for a fun day out in Frankfurt.
Check out all the best hotels in Frankfurt for your great stay here or read more guides to visiting Western Germany here or our guide to Oberwesel in the nearby Rhine Valley here or Bacharach here.