Many of the main sightseeing attractions are located within easy walking distance of one another. In fact, the city center can be crossed on foot in less than 30 minutes. The best place to start is north of the Main River at Romerberg, the main square and historical center of the city. There you will find beautiful half-timbered houses and the Romer (City Hall), with its impressive banquet hall. Not far from the square is the Kaiserdom, the towering cathedral where ten German emperors and kings were crowned, and Paulskirche, where the first National Assembly of Germany met in 1848.
Nearly 40 museums make up Frankfurt’s cultural landscape. Most of these museums are located near Romerberg or are lined up along the southern embankment, called Museumsufer. The city has invested more than 200 million euros in this museum landscape since the 1980s, and the result is striking! Paintings by Old Masters and more recent European artists can be seen at the Stadel Institute. Modern and contemporary art is shown in the Museum fur Moderne Kunst and the Schirn Kunsthalle. For a look at Frankfurt’s history, visit the Historisches Museum, Goethehaus or the Judisches Museum. If you’re interested in tropical and subtropical plants, the Palmengarten is unforgettable.
Another pleasant way to see Frankfurt is to take a cruise along the Main River (a tributary of the Rhine). Day cruises to nearby riverside towns are also a traditional way to explore the surrounding areas.
Two venues are at the heart of Frankfurt’s performing-arts scene. The Alte Oper, the city’s beautiful concert hall, hosts world-class symphonies and companies on tour. Stadtische Buhnen is the showcase for local companies, including the city’s opera, ballet and theater troupes. Not to be missed is the Tigerpalast, a variety show with acrobats, magicians and sometimes tigers. Most theaters, including those hosting ballet and opera, are closed in July and August.
The Zeil pedestrian zone, which stretches east from the Hauptwache to the Konstablerwache is the premier shopping zone. East of the Konstablerwache, the shopping becomes more economical, with many low-price, no-frills stores. For upscale stores, check the side streets and alleys leading away from the Zeil, as well as around the Hauptwache and near Fressgasse.
Goethestrasse is the place for designer clothes and internationally recognizable shops. Interesting jewelry shops are lined up along Rossmarkt, south of the Hauptwache. There is a Saturday flea market along the Main River.
More than just a hub for transport and commerce, Frankfurt is also known as the “City of Festivals.” Notable among these are the Book Fair, Christmas markets and the spring and fall Dippemess. Concerts, both classical and pop, take place regularly at the Alte Oper Frankfurt. Pop stars often perform at the Festhalle.