Although Carla Kronsbein, a DTW-based technical facilitator, was born in a small town 25 miles outside the booming financial hub that is Frankfurt, she fondly recalls being surrounded by the city’s vibrant arts scene. She spent hours in the city watching airplanes take flight with her parents, who work at a local airline.
Just outside the city perimeter lie historical sites marrying medieval charm to Frankfurt’s modern flair – a place where many locals have a basic knowledge of English and are happy to use it to help visitors along.
Opportunities to explore this many-layered city are seemingly limitless. Read on for ways to inspire your wanderlust.
FRANKFURT’S MUST SEE & DO
Whenever Carla’s in town, Frankfurt fuels the warmth of home while kindling a curious spark for finding new things to do. Historical sites top her list of recommendations, including:
Climbing up the Frankfurter Dom: Also known as the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, this Roman Catholic Gothic church is known for its 312-foot-tall tower. Visitors can climb to the top for sweeping vistas of the city and the Main River.
Visiting Rüdesheim: Arguably Carla’s favorite place in all of Germany, this riverside town is only 34 miles from the city center. “The cobblestone streets, wineries and castles make the town absolutely worth visiting,” said Carla.
Seeing diverse wildlife at the Frankfurt Zoo: From anteaters to anemones, this conservatory is home to dozens of animals from all around the world. Visitors can also coordinate their schedules to watch zookeepers feed the animals.
Grabbing an Apfelwein Krug as a souvenir: These gray and blue ceramic decanters that typically store the tart beverage that “tastes more like wine than cider” can also be doubled as a decorative vase.
Exploring art and culture hubs: Tour historic exhibitions like Writer Johann Goethe’s home (Goethe House), the Städel Art Museum and the German Film Museum. Seeing a show at the Alte Oper is also a surefire way to get inspired.
For getting around, Carla recommends using public transportation. Most attractions in Frankfurt are accessible by bus or train - no need for a car. You can stop by the Bahnhof, the city’s train station, for more information.
FRANKFURT’S BUSTLING CITYSCAPE
Frankfurt has earned the name “Mainhatten” due to its alluring skyline. Skyscrapers like the nearly 700-foot Main Tower has a breathtaking view of the town. More historical sites like Romer City Hall in Altstadt are also worth a visit.
Frankfurt’s central business district, known as the Bankenviertel, is one of the most well-known financial hubs in Europe. The Börse, Frankfurt’s stock exchange, has been in operation for almost five centuries, with a bull and bear statue outside the building’s mustard yellow edifice.
DISCOVER ENCHANTING CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Frankfurt is home to Germany’s oldest Christmas markets, with the first one dating back to 1393. They are the city’s pride and joy during the most wonderful time of the year, capturing the hearts of visitors and residents alike. “The streets are indeed bustling with people walking with treasures tucked under their arms,” said Carla.
Visitors can browse many small storefronts, including craft booths from local artisans featuring handmade wooden ornaments. A sip of glühwein, spiced wine, also makes the experience a little more merry and bright.
For an even deeper look at what the Frankfurt Christmas market has to offer, check out this post from Delta Communications Coordinator Raquel Avalos. (Note: This links to a Delta employee’s external travel blog.)
CELEBRATE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
The adage “there’s a season for everything” rings more than true in Frankfurt. While Christmas markets are one of Frankfurt’s most popular seasonal activities, there are festivals happening year-round for every traveler to enjoy.
As the leaves begin to change color and temperatures cool, Frankfurt’s Oktoberfest, which begins in late September, is the place to be. And while it may not be as large as Munich’s Oktoberfest, it still offers plenty of food, entertainment and beer offerings.
Beer isn’t your beverage of choice? Try one of the city’s many wine festivals and sample the product of the Riesling grapes grown along the Rhine and Mosel rivers.
As temperatures warm again, Frankfurt celebrates the thawing of the world by throwing celebrations like Frühlingsfest, or spring festival.
Blossoming tulips and daffodils provide a picturesque backdrop for parades celebrating Easter and rebirth.
Additionally, Carla shared that if you're interested in something a little different, you could visit during Walpurgisnacht--a pagan festival celebrated on April 30 to mark the arrival of spring.
Weather during the summer season is a bit temperamental, which is why Carla suggests packing shorts, a turtleneck, a jacket and an umbrella to withstand the unexpected.
Carla notes that summer is a great time to book a Rhine River tour to view castles, take a dip at the local schwimmbad (pool) and visit a local gelato shop: “I always get one scoop of raspberry and chocolate -- try it! You won't be disappointed, I promise.”
MEATS AND EATS: THE RESTAURANT SCENE
Eating in Frankfurt is a festival for the senses. “It's nearly impossible to narrow down my favorite spot to eat here because of how vibrant the food scene is,” Carla said.
With dozens of restaurants popping up constantly, Carla insists that the best restaurants have a chalkboard highlighting their daily specials outside the door.
While Frankfurt may be known for the "frankfurter" (hot dog), Carla encourages visitors to open their minds and palates to dishes like schweinebraten with knödel, roasted pork with boiled dumplings, and currywurst, pork sausage covered with curry sauce.
Carla also recommends a visit to Fichtekranzi, a restaurant known for its garden and view of the Main River.
GETTING THERE WITH DELTA – AND GETTING AROUND
Travelers looking to explore Germany can fly to Frankfurt from three Delta U.S. hubs - Atlanta, Detroit and New York-JFK. Frankfurt flights fly daily, all operating on the Airbus A330-200 while daily flights to Munich from Atlanta and Detroit operate on the Boeing 767-300 or 767-400. All flights to Germany offer a choice of four product experiences — Delta One, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin. Delta Vacations offers packages to Frankfurt that include airfare, hotel and rental cars.