Look no further than Frankfurt in winter if you are seeking a German city with tons to do during this time of the year.
This gorgeous, diverse city has a huge array of museums to explore when it’s cold outside, a lively shopping district, and some iconic festive events. Thus, you’ll never be at a loss for what to do in Frankfurt in winter.
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If you want to make the most of Frankfurt when it is free from crowds and ridiculously high prices, start planning your winter getaway now. Read on to learn what to see and do in this fantastic city in winter.
Visiting Frankfurt In Winter
Winter in Frankfurt is freezing, but you can still have a fabulous time. Here’s what to expect in November, December, January, and February.
Frankfurt In November
Locals describe November as cold with a gentle breeze. You will feel the chill, but the wind is not as biting as in the next two months. You’ll see daytime highs of 7°C (45°F), and it typically drops to 2°C (36°F) at night.
However, as it’s a transitional month, it is usually much colder at the end of November compared to the beginning. Still, while the start of the month is better weatherwise, the end of November is fantastic as the festivities are just beginning.
So, if you don’t like crowds but want to visit the famous Christmas market and see the lights, the end of November is a great, quieter alternative to December.
Frankfurt In December
In December, the temperature drops to low single figures during the day and below freezing at night. December has average highs of 4°C (39°F) and lows of -1°C (30°F). While the weather is getting colder, the atmosphere is cheerful and festive.
If you visit during this month, you’ll see the city decorated with lights and can attend all the fantastic Christmas events. However, the downside is the crowds and the prices of flights and accommodation.
This is because December is easily the busiest and most expensive month to visit Frankfurt in the winter.
Frankfurt In January
Like many European cities, January is the coldest and darkest month of the year, with highs of 3°C (37°F) and lows of -2°C (28°F). The festive ambiance is slowly fading away, and the crowds have vanished.
This makes January one of the quietest months in Frankfurt, so you may be able to nab some good deals on hotels.
However, if you’re heading to Frankfurt in January, remember your umbrella. The average rainfall is 16 days, just over half the month, so the chance of seeing rain during your trip is reasonably high.
Frankfurt In February
By February, the temperatures are slowly creeping up, but it’s still super cold. Expect highs of 6°C (43°F) during the day and lows of -1°C (30°F) at night and early in the morning.
If you’re considering visiting Frankfurt in February, plan your trip for the end of the month, so you are there for Rosemonday, one of Germany’s biggest festivals.
It’s a huge Christian festival that kicks off on February 20 and features street parades with extravagant floats, costumes, and lots of dancing.
Things To Do In Frankfurt In Winter
Despite the low temperatures, you’ll find plenty of fun indoor and outdoor things to do in Frankfurt in winter. Here are our top recommendations for the cold season.
Stroll Around The Christmas Market
Unlike other European cities with multiple small Christmas markets, Frankfurt has one huge one! Frankfurt’s Christmas market is the oldest and largest in Germany, so visitors naturally come to the city from all over to check it out.
Dating back to 1393, the Frankfurt Christmas market is situated in the historic quarter of the city around Römerberg and Paulsplatz. It opens during the last week of November and runs until Christmas Eve.
One of the most significant sights of the market is the enormous 30-meter Christmas tree, decorated with a staggering 6,500 lights and over 300 ribbons.
In addition, there are tons of festive street food to try, including local delicacies. You’ll also discover some unique gifts, including many handicrafts.
The atmosphere is always incredibly cheery, with festive music playing, a merry-go-round, and cups of mulled wine served everywhere.
See The Lights Show At PalmenGarten
PalmenGarten is one of Frankfurt’s three botanical gardens. However, it’s the most popular one during winter as it puts on an annual winter lights show from the middle of
December to mid-January.
During this time, thousands of lights lit up the garden every evening, creating a magical atmosphere. You can warm up in the greenhouses, stroll along the glowing paths to discover the tropical plants, and check out the sound and video installations throughout the park.
PalmenGarten is also the largest botanical garden in Germany, boasting 20 hectares of exotic plants. It is located in the Westend-Süd district, and entrance tickets cost 7 euros per person.
Admire The View From The Top Of Frankfurt Cathedral
The Roman Catholic Gothic church Frankfurt Cathedral is the largest religious building in the city. Also known as St. Bartholomew’s, the cathedral dates back to the 13th century, constructed with red sandstone.
Its main attraction is the striking 328-foot-tall tower, which you can climb to the top of. You’ll have to tackle the 328-step staircase (added in the 15th century) to get up there.
It’s a bit of a climb, but it is worth it as you’ll enjoy the splendid vistas of the city’s skyline. Be sure to also spend some time inside the cathedral, as the interior is stunning.
Go Museum Hopping
Frankfurt has almost 40 museums, many of which are located close to each other along the south bank of the River Main. With so many choices, there is something for everyone, allowing you to spend a fun and educational day in the warmth.
One of the city’s top museums is the Museum of World Cultures, which contains over 65,000 fascinating artifacts from every corner of the world.
For art lovers, don’t miss Städel Art Museum, which houses collections from renowned artists like Rembrandt, Goya, Vermeer, Monet, Degas, and Picasso. Film lovers will surely enjoy the interactive German Film Museum, where you can explore the world of cinema by playing with a green screen and mixing sounds.
The Museumsufer Ticket offers admission to 38 museums, valid for 2 days. So if you want to visit several of Frankfurt’s cultural venues, this is a fantastic option.
Do Some Christmas Shopping On The Zeil
If you’re in Frankfurt during November or January, make the most of the city’s renowned shopping district, The Zeil, by doing a spot of Christmas shopping. Alternatively, if you’re in Frankfurt post-Christmas, check out the sales here and treat yourself to a late Christmas gift.
The Zeil dates back to the 14th century and is one of Europe’s highest-revenue shopping streets. It is full of German and international designer brands, stocking everything you can imagine, from clothing to jewelry to electronics.
The Zeil has a lively ambiance all year round but is extra special around Christmas. The street also has many restaurants, so you can stop for lunch or a coffee to refuel.
Attend Pealing Of The Bells
If you’re in Frankfurt for Christmas, head to the Römer on Christmas Eve when the sun sets. Frankfurt has a long-standing tradition where locals gather in crowds here to listen to 10 churches in the city center ring their bells simultaneously for 30 minutes on Christmas eve.
The bells start ringing at 5 pm, but you can get there beforehand to grab a cup of hot, spiced Glühwein from the vendors there. This tradition takes place 4 times a year, including on the 1st Advent Saturday, so there are two chances to experience it during winter.
Enjoy An Evening At Alte Oper
Alte Oper is one of Frankfurt’s most iconic cultural venues. It was built in 1880 but was unfortunately destroyed during World War II before being rebuilt in 1981.
Nowadays, the opera house’s winter program is super diverse, with shows every evening and options for all tastes.
For example, you’ll find classics like the London Symphony Orchestra and Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. You’ll also find famous west end musicals like Cats and West Side Story.
Or, if you want to get into the Christmas spirit, you’ll find various festive events during December, such as The Sound Of Christmas.
Even if you’re not a fan of the opera, it’s still worth checking out the gorgeous building and the lovely square surrounding it, which is beautifully decorated during December.
Final Thoughts On What To Do In Frankfurt In Winter
Frankfurt is one of the most visited cities in Germany, and for a good reason – there is plenty to do all year round.
So whether you’re planning to come for the festivities or a low-cost late winter break, you won’t regret choosing Frankfurt.
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