The first step to a great holiday in Frankfurt is to pick a hotel in the city centre – Frankfurt Am Main. That way, you’re within walking distance of most great attractions, including wonderful restaurants, markets, museums, and historical landmarks. We stayed at Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, which overlooks one part of the 5km-long city park belt called Wallpark Anlage. That will be the starting point of our free walking tour of Frankfurt. Here are three things we love about this tour:
- All the attractions are absolutely free of cost.
- Your total walking time is only about an hour.
- You cover the most photo-worthy places in Frankfurt.
Frankfurt is the commercial centre of Germany, and skyscrapers with stunning glass walls, bustling banks and offices, and a healthy mix of locals as well as foreign expats are the norm here. And for the open-minded traveller, these urban delights can be as delightful as the famed Old Town and the River Main. Keep an eye out for such modern marvels even as you navigate the ten spots on our guide to the best free things to do in Frankfurt.
1. Bockenheimer Anlage
Hilton Frankfurt City Centre sits on the fringes of Bockenheimer Anlage, a peaceful patch of greenery with a pond full of ducks and ducklings, little fountain, and jogging track. The garden is part of the Wallpark Anlage, and if you have time, visit the Chinese Garden for its pretty pavilions, floral collections, marble bridge, and waterfall.
2. Eschenheimer Turm
Just across the street from Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, you’ll see the Eschenheimer Turm, an ancient city gate reminiscent of the tower in the logo of Walt Disney Pictures. Dating back to the 15th century, the tower underwent minimal modifications during Frankfurt’s reconstruction. Read about its fascinating history here.
3. Wochenmarkt Schillerstraße
The second step to having a great holiday in Frankfurt is to be there on a Friday! That’s the day when Schillerstrasse transforms into a wonderland of local fruits, cheeses, breads, flowers, and all kinds of fresh produce. Also, there are many stalls where you can get something interesting to eat and/or drink.
4. The Liebfrauenberg
Keep walking, and you’ll reach Liebfrauenberg, a beautiful old square with a large baroque fountain, and a vibrant flower market on Friday mornings. Yes, Fridays are special in Frankfurt! The square is also home to a lovely, white church, and a striking brick house that has survived World War II, no less.
5. Römerberg (Old Central Square)
The largest square and the heart of Frankfurt’s Old Town is a visual delight, with its 360-degree display of half timbered houses, rebuilt to perfection in 1986. In the midst of it all is a fountain with the Roman Goddess of Justice towering over it. Don’t miss the Teddy-Paradies toy store with an automated soap-bubble-blowing teddy bear at its entrance.
6. Frankfurt Cathedral
The Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew is very, very, tall – 95m high to be precise. Rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style after it was damaged in World War II, the cathedral can be seen from many spots in the city. Inside, you may get to witness the children’s choir signing sweet hymns to their beloved Lord if you’re lucky.
7. Frankfurt Archaeological Museum
This museum does have an entry fee but it’s very close to the Frankfurt Cathedral, and offers free admission on the last Saturday of every month. That’s true for many museums in the city, so do time your visit accordingly. It’s quite a delight visiting the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum as it is located inside the restored Carmelite Church. Expect to find relics of German history including Frankfurt’s first Neolithic farmers, and the remains of a Roman military camp.
8. River Main
And now you’ve finally made it to the beautiful River Main that runs through the entire city. There are many bridges that you can use to cross over to the other side, but if you choose Holbeinsteg Brucke, you’ll enjoy a nice walk along the river for a while. There are restaurants on anchored ships, as well as cruising ships full of happy tourists.
9. Holbeinsteg and Eiserner Steg Bridges
You could do it the other way round too, but we suggest crossing the river on Holbeinsteg Bridge, exploring the museums on the other side, and returning by the Eiserner Steg Bridge. The latter is known for its plethora of love locks. We also enjoyed a violin performance by a beautiful street musician on the bridge.
Like Berlin, Frankfurt also has its own museum embankment with museums of art, architecture, communication, and Jewish history. Gawk at them from the outside or pay a little to enjoy the treasures inside. Enjoy free drinks at the Executive Lounge of Hilton Frankfurt City Centre (if you stay in an executive room) when you return from your walking tour of Frankfurt!
Other free things to see in Frankfurt:
- St. Paul’s Church
- Waldspielpark Louisa
- Frankfurt Stock Exchange
- Alte Oper Concert Hall
- Saturday flea market
- The neighbourhood of Hochst
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