At first glance, Frankfurt isn’t as easily graspable as some of Germany’s other large cities. It’s not Berlin, which is urbane, gritty and packed with history. Nor is it Munich, where Bavarian prosperity is evident from the moment you set foot in the city. Perhaps what Frankfurt most resembles is the Main river that snakes through its heart – flowing, changing and filled with life.
Find the Greener Side
While Frankfurt has shops, restaurants and sleek city stuff to spare, it also has incredible outdoor opportunities. And though it clearly isn’t German wilderness, there is something fantastic about green space in cities. You can get tranquility and energy. You can find distance from other human beings while being able to watch as many people as you want.
So go to Frankfurt for those combinations. And make sure you find time to visit one – or all – of the following places, which are located in or near downtown.
- Frankfurt Zoo. This is a world-class zoo, where animals are cared for in a way that you would expect from a country that cares so deeply for animals. It’s large, beautifully designed and teeming with life. Open daily, it is strongly recommended to book tickets in advance.
- Palmengarten. Frankfurt’s Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty and fun for the whole family. You’ll find water, an indoor tropical garden, a bamboo grove, the exotically awesome Subantarctic House and much more. Play areas are also available for children.
- Frankfurt City Forest. This is an absolutely massive forest tucked that seems like it should have no business being so close to such a big city. More than 400 kilometers of trails mean that you can wear yourself (or your children) out by jogging, hiking, cycling or skipping – all for free.
- Grüneburgpark. This is a lovely, English-style garden that is in the heart of the city and once belonged to the Rothschild family. With a stunning collection of deciduous trees, Grüneburgpark is especially lovely in autumn.
The One Thing You Have to See: the River Main
Though this may seem a strange choice, the river is arguably the essential feature of the city. It ties everything together, literally and figuratively. Wide paths and parks flank the river’s edge. At nighttime, especially, the skyline views are incredible. This is where you go to truly get a sense of what the city is about – the beauty, industry, vitality, steadfastness and love of life in all its forms.
Frankfurt is easily accessible by train from most anywhere in Germany. By car, it is just under 90 minutes from Kaiserslautern, just over 30 minutes from Wiesbaden, and a bit more than two hours from Stuttgart.
For U.S. government employees, including service members, remember to always follow command regulations, which may be different than host nation policies, when it comes to travel.