The Perfect Itinerary for 1 Day in Frankfurt

Last Updated on July 1, 2024 by Ingrid & Alex

We had been in Germany for over a month when one of our friends from Asia told us she would be in Frankfurt for one day. Of course, we decided to join her; it would have been our first time in the city.

We already knew so much about this important German town. It has Germany’s biggest airport, which receives more than 60 million passengers every year; it is the EU’s financial capital and home of the European Central Bank; it’s where Goethe was born and raised; and it is one of the most diverse cities in Germany.

So, it’s no wonder we quickly planned a trip from our base camp on the Moselle River.

If you only have 1 day in Frankfurt, here is our itinerary. We got to do and see a lot, even though we were traveling with our only 6-month-old baby daughter.

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Is Frankfurt worth visiting?

Disclaimer: We liked the city’s vibe so much that we decided to move here. It felt much like Hong Kong or Seoul, the global cities in which we used to live.

So, if you are still unconvinced, we think you should give Frankfurt a chance.

The city has the perfect blend of old and new. Moreover, it has an international vibe you won’t get in many places in Germany.

Of course, Frankfurt has plenty of things to do and see, so you won’t get bored. It’s not called Mainhatten for no reason!

We were there on a bank holiday, and so many people were on the streets, celebrating and having fun. There was a concert in the main square, and thousands of people were out and about on the banks of the Main River. We loved that about the city!

Thus, if you like Germany but want a mix of traditional and international, Frankfurt is the place for you!

Where we stayed in Frankfurt

Frankfurt Messe

Even though our base camp was less than 3 hours outside Frankfurt, we spent 2 nights in the city because we were traveling with a small baby. That allowed us to have one full day to explore the city.

We wanted a hotel where we could park without breaking the bank. Secondly, it was important for us to have breakfast included. Thirdly, we wanted to be close to our friend, a flight attendant whose company provided a hotel.

Thus, we stayed at the Hampton by Hilton Frankfurt City Centre. We could park in front of the hotel. Their breakfast was good, with plenty of options, and the room was spacious enough for us cosleeping with the baby.

The area is well connected to the city center, with the Frankfurt (Main) Messe S-Bahn stop right next door. However, we walked to the main square and back on the same day.

Also, it is worth knowing that many companies are in the area, and the hotel was pretty crowded with people traveling to the city for work.

See prices and availability for Hampton by Hilton here!

On the other hand, our friend stayed at the nearby Frankfurt Marriott Hotel. She was pleased with it and would recommend it to anyone traveling to the city, especially for the view you get from the window.

See availability and prices for the Marriott Hotel here!

1 Day in Frankfurt – Our itinerary

Things to see in Frankfurt

Since it was our first time in Frankfurt, our friend was well-organized and created an itinerary packed with some of the best places in town.

We only walked, but you can also take public transportation if you like. Another good way to see the main attractions in town is to take the hop-on, hop-off bus.

After a delicious and filling breakfast, we met our friend and went for a light walk towards the city center.

Gallusanlage and the Euro Sign

We passed the famous Main Tower, with its observation deck allowing you to see the city from above. In addition to offices, the building also hosts restaurants, a lounge, a fitness center, and an art collection.

You can buy tickets directly at the tower or online before your visit. Before you choose a time and date, make sure to check occupancy levels.

Next, we headed to Gallusanlage Park, where we had to take a picture with the Euro sign. This 14-meter-tall sculpture is one of the most photographed spots in town. For good reason, the sign stands in front of the European Central Bank.

Extra tip: If you still haven’t had your coffee by the time you get here or need a refresher, stop by Brühmarkt. They brew some excellent specialty coffee.

Goethe House (Frankfurter Goethe-Haus)

We stopped at the house where the famous Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born and lived part of his life.

The museum offers a glimpse into the way people lived in the 1700s. During the years he lived in the house, Goethe wrote the two books that made him famous around Europe.

Address: Großer Hirschgraben 23-25, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Römer Pils Brunnen

We stopped for lunch at the Römer Pils Brunnen. Our friend saved this local restaurant and everything we had to try from their menu.

We stayed outside since it was a sunny spring day and went for the Jägerschnitzel mit Champignons and Knuckle of pork with Sauerkraut (cabbage) and bread.

We recommend this place if you want to eat local specialties with a good beer in a laid-back setting. Even though it is in a central location with plenty of tourists, many people who were having lunch when we were there seemed to be usual customers.

Address: Töngesgasse 19, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Römerberg

Frankfurt’s main square is located in the heart of the Old Town City Center.

The Römer building complex, with its colorful reconstructed timber houses, catches the eye as soon as you enter the square. This was the city’s administration office since the 15th century and was destroyed during WWII.

Here is where the Frankfurt Christmas Market and various other trade fairs occur throughout the year.

As we were visiting on an important holiday, a concert took place in the square. We stopped and listened to the familiar songs and then continued our journey on the fairytale-like streets of Old Town Frankfurt.

Neue Altstadt

The New Old Town has this name because it is basically a part of the city’s old town, which was reconstructed in recent years.

The whole area was destroyed during WWII, and a massive project redesigned and developed the area after 2012.

Today, the area is packed with hip cafes and art, design, and photography galleries.

Here are a few places worth visiting:

TREND[geschick] – Modedesign-SiebdruckKunst

Struwwelpeter Museum – if you are traveling with kids

Fotografie Forum Frankfurt

MUSEUM MMK FÜR MODERNE KUNST – Modern Art Museum

Caricatura – Museum for Comic Art

Cross the Iron Footbridge (Eiserner Steg)

When we visited Frankfurt, the Eiserner Steg (iron bridge) was packed with people. This is the only pedestrian bridge over the Main River, and offers a stunning skyline view over the city.

Bring your lock of love and hang it on the bridge, and you will have a long-lasting memory.

Moreover, the bridge links the two main parts of the Main River banks: the Old Town on the north, and the Sachsenhausen on the south, popular for its many museums.

River Cruise on the Main

Frankfurt boat trip on Main River

A cruise on the Main River is the best way to enjoy the views and the sunset. Additionally, you can see a lot in only one hour from the comfort of your seat.

You also get an audio guide that will allow you to learn more about the city and the places you see along the way.

There are two cruise options depending on your time for this activity: 50- or 100-minutes.

See more about the tour and book it here!

If you travel as a couple, you might also want to check out the private romantic skyline boat trip.

Drinks and dinner on the Main

We ended our day with dinner and a beer on the Main River. As we descended from the bridge, we saw a nice terrace on a boat. It offered a stunning view over “Mainhatten”, the skyscraper area in Frankfurt.

We chose many traditional dishes from the menu, and Iris loved the apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce. We think it is an excellent place to have dinner overlooking the city.

Should you get a Frankfurt Card?

Whenever we travel to a city that offers a city card, we ask ourselves this question: Is it worth buying one?

And every single time we do the same thing. We create our itinerary for the day, lay down all the museums or attractions we must pay for, sum everything up and compare it to the price of the card.

Does the card cover all the museums on your list, or are they only discounted?

Thus, list all the museums you want to and can see in Frankfurt in one day and compare their prices to the 1-Day Frankfurt Card.

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One day in Frankfurt itinerary - what to do and see in Frankfurt, Germany when you only have one day

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