Home to more than 300 banks and the national stock market, Frankfurt is the financial lynchpin of Germany. But the metropolis on the banks of the River Main has also grown into a cultural powerhouse thanks to a robust museum scene, historic medieval buildings, varied architectural styles, and magnificent parks.
What We Love
Museum Embankment: Half a dozen incredible collections are positioned along the south bank of the Main. They include the Liebieghaus, housed in a 19th-century villa and boasts an exceptional assemblage of sculptures. You'll find works by the Old Masters at the Städel. There are also the German national museums of film and architecture.
Goethe House: Germany’s most renowned author — Johann Wolfgang Goethe — was born in this four-story townhouse in 1749. The restored home is now flush with Baroque art and antiques. The collection also includes some of his original writings and exhibits on his muses.
Best Known For
Römerberg: This cobblestone square takes its name from the Roman ruins that lie beneath the medieval buildings later erected on the spot. The exquisite structures include Old Nikolai Church, St. Paul’s Church, and the Römer city hall.
Sachsenhausen: The onetime medieval village on the south bank of the River Main is now a lovely entertainment district famed for its Saturday flea market. The town's historic taverns, like Adolf Wagner which serves apfelwein (apple wine) and hearty German cuisine, are another draw.
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Who It's Best For
Architecture Junkies: Frankfurt's architectural landscape is a feast of Roman ruins and Gothic churches, Art Deco mansions, and Germany's tallest and most impressive skyscrapers.
Culture Lovers: From world-class museums to opera, ballet and symphony at the Alte Oper, and concerts in the historic churches, it seems like there's always something going on in Frankfurt.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
This Isn't Hansel and Gretel's Germany: An American-style high rise city that arose after World War II, much of Frankfurt is shockingly modern.
Water, Water Everywhere: Super-high embankments along the River Main means it's hard to actually get down to the water level. A Primus river cruise can make it accessible.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.