Don't Miss in Frankfurt
Romerberg Square (Romerplatz): This large square in Old Town (Altstadt), mostly reconstructed after World War II, gives you an idea of what Frankfurt's many half-timbered buildings once looked like. On one side, three gothic houses with step-roofs were turned into the city hall (Rathaus) more than 500 years ago. You can tour the Imperial Hall, located in the center building, where emperors held their coronation banquets. The tourism office is also located on the square, as are traditional restaurants where you can sample local fare. Wondering how the square got its name? "Romer" means Roman in German, and this area was the location of early Roman settlements.
St. Bartholomew Cathedral (Dom St. Bartholomaus): Locals refer to this striking, red-sandstone church as "the Cathedral" or "the Emperor's Cathedral." Rebuilt after World War II, it was founded in the 13th century on the site of an even older structure. In the Election Chapel, seven prince-electors chose the Holy Roman Emperor and he was crowned here in the Dom. At first glance the interior might seem a bit plain, but there are some lovely carvings in the choir and chapels. If you want to work off some of that heavy German food, climb partially up the 311-foot spire to a viewing platform with great views of the city. (1 Domplatz; 49 (0) 69 297 0320; open Monday through Thursday and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon and 1:15 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 1:15 to 8 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
Stadel Museum: One of the best museums in Germany, this gallery houses a collection that spans 700 years of European art. Highlights include Old Masters including Vermeer, Rembrandt and Botticelli; Impressionists such as Monet and Degas; and more modern works from Picasso and Francis Bacon. The Stadel is located on the south side of the river, on the Museum Embankment (Museumsufer), which is a lovely area to stroll. (63 Schaumainkai; 49 (0) 69 6050 98232; open Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
Goethe House (Goethe Haus): Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is Frankfurt's favorite son, and Germany's most famous writer. You can visit the (reconstructed) house where he was born and see his writing room, the puppet theater he played with as a boy, and paintings depicting Goethe, his friends and his family. Even if you're not a fan of Goethe's works, the house is a fascinating peek into 18th-century life, with a kitchen, music room, library and more throughout the house's four floors. (23-25 Grosser Hirschgraben; 49 (0) 69 138 800; open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday and public holidays, 10 a.m to 5.30 p.m.; no wheelchair access)
Dialog Museum: What would it be like to be blind? This highly unusual museum walks you through four (60 minutes) or six (90 minutes) totally dark "experience areas," with the aid of a blind guide. You might experience crossing a street, walking through a park or ordering in a pub. At the end you have a chance to talk with your guide about the experience. Tours are available in English, but it's best to sign up in advance, if possible. (137-145 Hanauer Landstrasse 137-145; 49 (0) 69 904 32144; open Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
Commerzbank-Arena : Germans are serious soccer fans. Why not get tickets to a game? Or sign up for a guided stadium tour that includes the dressing rooms, VIP facilities, press areas and museum. You can check tour availability and sign up online (use Google Translate to convert the website into English). (362 Mörfelder Landstrasse; 49 (0) 69 23 80 80 121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shopping: The main commercial zone is along the Zeil shopping promenade, stretching between Hauptwache and Konstablerwache streets. Here you'll find department stores, specialty shops and international chains, as well as the MyZeil Mall, located in a showy glass-enclosed structure. For the top designers, head to Goethestrasse, while Brückenstrasse is home to local designers and independent boutiques. If you want to wander a street with both interesting shops and cafes, head to lower Berger Strasse. For home decor boutiques, check out the area north of Romerberg Square. Major stores are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; smaller shops close at 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Stores are closed on Sundays, aside from a few rare dates when Sunday shopping is permitted.