When people think of visiting Frankfurt, they generally have ideas of work in mind. For the most part, Frankfurt is not a place you’d travel to in Germany just to enjoy the city. But if you are living nearby, or do happen to find yourself in Frankfurt for a few days — and have young kids along — all hope of having a good time does not have to be lost.
Frankfurt has many museums and art galleries to visit (albeit nothing compared to Berlin) and there are many festivals and other events that take place along the banks of the Main river throughout the year. Most of those events (like Mainüferfest or the Dragon Boat Races) are fun for the whole family. If you’re in Frankfurt during the weeks leading up to Christmas, the Christmas market on Römerplatz is not to be missed. But if you plan on going, try to visit early in the day so you can avoid the crowds which descend on the market as nightfall approaches.
Frankfurt has a good public transportation system and one of the best ways to get around in the city is via subway. You can buy day tickets for groups which are really economical and allow you to travel by subway, tram or bus all over Frankfurt. And the ticket machines can be switched to English so you know what you’re buying. The main train station does have its sketchy areas, but nothing you need to be overly concerned with.
Frankfurt is a very international city, so a large portion of the population speaks English well.
Our favorite places to visit in Frankfurt with Mackenzie
- One of Mackenzie’s favorite places to go is the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History. We actually took her here for the first time on her third birthday and she asks about going there about once a week. In truth, we all really loved it. There’s a great collection of dinosaur fossils, amazing real stuffed animals and fascinating displays. Plus it’s all housed in a lovely old villa in Frankfurt. Parking on the premises is scarce, but you can get within 10 minutes walk via subway or tram.
- The Frankfurt Zoo (within the city limits) is always a fun outing which can easily be reached by public transport. There is also a parking garage down the block or you can take a subway right to the front door. Inside the Zoo, you will find a varied array of wildlife from bears to wild cats to seals (our daughter’s favorite) to monkeys. There are both indoor and outdoor animal houses so even if the weather is a bit iffy, you can still have a good time. And if the kids need to power down a bit, they also have a great playground in the middle of the zoo.
- Frankfurt’s second zoo, The Opel Zoo is a bit larger and located further outside the city.The entire zoo is built on a terraced slope so when you leave the zoo, you usually get quite a work out as you walk back up the gradual incline. Most of the zoo is outdoors with very few animal houses to tour, giving it a much more natural feeling. You can also feed nearly all of the animals there, which tends to make them very animated, and there’s a separate petting zoo as well.
- If you and your kids are fans of flowers and other flora, the Palmengarten is a great place to visit. It’s a large botanical garden located in the middle of Frankfurt with several plant houses to visit, which create their own climates. There is a beautiful waterfall in one of the buildings and often special exhibits with all sorts of exotic plants as well as other events going on. You can even bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy throughout the gardens.
- If you’re looking for a more quiet, natural experience, pop over to the Huthpark. There you’ll find wide own green spaces, a big kindergarten for the kids to play at and even a place to run or exercise a bit.
- When you get hungry but don’t just want run of the mill food, The Gerbermühle is a nice hotel and restaurant that has a great summer beer garden by the river. The beer garden is only open during warmer weather but it’s a nice, low-key place for the kids to run around a bit or play nearby while you grab a bite to eat.
- If you’re looking for a good shopping experience instead, the largest mall in Germany, Main Taunus Zentrum, is located just on the edge of Frankfurt. All of the stores are covered so it can be fun regardless of the weather — but it does get crowded. There is a bus stop right at the mall if you’re relying on public transportation to get around and plenty of parking. There is also a movie theatre, Kinopolis, which usually has an English language film playing (look for OV on the movie listings).
- There are several really great farmers’ markets around Frankfurt, too, and one of our favorites is in Höchst near the Schloss on Saturday mornings. This also happens to be just a few minutes drive from Main Taunus Zentrum.
Kid-Friendly Day Trips
- Those looking to reflect a bit of historical architecture from the state of Hessen will enjoy the Hessenpark. They have moved and reassembled a rather large collection of old houses and other buildings to create a living history museum. Most days there are people there performing tasks as they did in the old days, and they even have a kid’s center where young ones can do arts & crafts while you grab a coffee or a beer at the café across from it.
- If you are looking to do some walking, Rüdesheim located on the Rhine River can be a fun excursion. It’s about an hour away by car or train. You can take a gondola up the mountain, overlooking the wine gently rolling fields below or a little river cruise to see the sights from the valley. There are even combination tickets that allow you to do both and throw in a ski-lift ride down the mountain. The ski-lift is not well suited for small kids, but on a nice day you can also walk down. Because it’s wine country, there is plenty of wine to be enjoyed for the adults.
Both of these places can be reached using public transport at an additional fee.
What are your favorite places to visit with kids in the Frankfurt area?21