Frankfurt has the image of a bustling financial hub, but you can start your day in greener surroundings at the Botanischer Garten Frankfurt am Main – seven hectares of botanical garden in the central Westend-Süd district, only a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport. A fixture in the city since the 18th century, it originally served as a medicinal garden for the adjacent public hospital, and all three of its gardens are open to the public daily throughout summer. Directly next door is the Palmengarten, 22 more hectares of free-air and acclimatised greenhouses full of tropical and sub-tropical plants.
Siesmayerstraße 61, 60323; +49 69 2123 6689
The best view of the city comes from the 56th-floor observation deck of Main Tower in the financial district. It’s Frankfurt’s (and Germany’s) fourth tallest building, and the only skyscraper in the city with a viewing platform. Take in the stellar view of the Old Town and the banks of the River Main, surrounded by the superstructures of the financial district.
Neue Mainzer Straße 52-58, 60311; +49 69 3650 4878
A leisurely half-hour wander down the river from Main Tower, Oosten is an industrial-style restaurant in a glass, steel and wood building at the base of a massive crane by the waterside. You get a 270-degree view of the Frankfurt skyline, and delicious local soul food along with vegan and gluten-free options. Oosten is good at any time of day (though the terrace is a must at sunset), but lunchtime gives you an insight into local life in Frankfurt in the coolest part of the city.
Mayfarthstraße 4, 60314; +49 69 949 425 6814
Why have one museum when you can have 16? Frankfurt’s museum embankment flanks both sides of the river and houses some of Germany’s most important artworks and artefacts. Central to this is the Städel Museum, which holds one of the country’s most precious art collections: 2,700 paintings, 600 sculptures, 100,000 drawings and prints, and 100,000 books. Paintings from masters such as van Eyck, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Degas and Vermeer adorn the walls. Besides the Städel, the Museumsufer covers themes such as film, architecture, communication and Frankfurt’s Jewish community.
Schaumainkai 63, 60596; +49 69 2123 6325
While Frankfurt’s Old Town was mainly destroyed in the Second World War, plans to rebuild it according to its original design were put in place in the 1980s, and have recently been completed. The historic centre, Römerberg, is a beautiful square showcasing the traditional half-timbered architectural style of medieval Europe. The centrepiece Römer building has been Frankfurt’s city hall for more than 600 years, and was also painstakingly restored by the city. Take a seat and enjoy a sweet coffee with cream at nearby Bitter & Zart, a chocolaterie specialising in all things cocoa.
Braubachstraße 14, 60311; +49 69 9494 2846
A trip to Frankfurt wouldn’t be complete without a taste of its grüne soße, or green sauce. This “grie soss” (as the Frankfurters pronounce it) is a mixture of seven fresh herbs and a combination of creams, oils and any other delicious ingredients you could think of that would work in a sauce. Usually served cold with boiled potatoes, boiled eggs or roast beef brisket, the best way to experience it is with the Frankfurter schnitzel – accompanied by local apfelwein (cider). Restaurant Klosterhof serves a praiseworthy schnitzel – as does Austrian eatery Salzkammer – but insist on the green sauce.
Weißfrauenstraße 3, 60311 (Klosterhof), Weißadlergasse 15, 60311 (Salzkammer)
Despite it being named after a famed blues musician, the Robert Johnson club is all about techno and electronic music. It’s said that the sound system is the best in Europe, and whether true or not, international and local DJs flock to play this small club in the Offenbach district. Like most German clubs, it has a strict, no-nonsense door policy, but with a main room holding fewer than 100 people, it’s worth the hassle for an intimate musical experience.
Nordring 131, 63067; +49 69 9202 0990