What’s there to do in Frankfurt?
Frankfurt is not Germany’s most interesting city. My travel guidebook advised me it’s a place that I would probably end up at some point because it’s a major transport hub, at it was right. I had booked my flights on Emirates who do not fly from Berlin, so instead the best option was Frankfurt, necessitating a day spent in Germany’s economic hub.
Frankfurt grew into Germany’s most important financial metropolis after World War II, when the former capital was divided in two. Frankfurt was ripe for development (or redevelopment), after much of the city was destroyed in the war. Even after the German reunification of the early 1990s, Frankfurt remains Europe’s most important financial centre and Germany’s transport hub. It’s full name is Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt on the Main), to distinguish it from another city called Frankfurt near the Polish border.
So what does one actually do with a day in Frankfurt? The most obvious thing to do is go for a stroll along the banks of the River Main and take in the soaring skyline, one of Western Europe’s tallest. In fact some people call the city “Mainhattan” – a reference to America’s skyscraper-studded economic centre. The river front is pleasant; cyclist whizzing past, picnicking locals and a handful of pretty old buildings to admire.
Like most German cities, Frankfurt has a quaint Altstadt (Old City). Unlike most German cities, its rebuilding after WWII was hardly extensive, with Frankfurt opting for a more modern Central Business District instead. You can still walk around the small Römerberg district, an open plaza with a small collection of traditional constructions.
Frankfurt has a whole bunch of museums, including one dedicated to writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frankfurt’s most famous son. Goethe-Haus is in fact more than just a museum – it’s the place where he was born in 1749. There’s also the Museum of Modern Art, History Museum and Jewish Museums; all worthwhile, but in truth not comparable to Berlin’s culture-drenched selection.
In short, Frankfurt is not a bad place – there’s a handful of things to see and do – but just don’t expect to fill more than a day (or maybe two), before moving on to somewhere else.