Frankfurt am Main at Christmas: Beyond business as usual

I believe I wrote in an earlier post that I’d finally covered all the places I’d visited in Germany during Advent, but I just realized I left one out: Frankfurt. It wasn’t an intentional omission, I kind of forgot about it, because, although I did go there and did spend time in the Christmas market, I was really there by default. An early morning flight home more or less required it. I was mildly curious to see Frankfurt since it’s such an important city, but I doubted I’d like it much. Turns out it was okay–quite sophisticated in fact–though it certainly didn’t have the magical aura of so many other places in Germany.

© Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt am Main

I don’t really know how many North American travelers choose to visit Frankfurt strictly as tourists. I’m pretty sure the majority come for business since Frankfurt is a major convention city as well as a financial services center. However, since Frankfurt International is Germany’s busiest airport and a key hub for transatlantic air traffic you may well find yourself in my position some day.

The good news for December travelers to Frankfurt —whether for business or leisure—is that the Christmas market is really quite wonderful. It’s located in the pretty historic center of the city in the area known as the Römer and has over 200 stalls plus a 300-foot-tall Christmas tree. I was happy enough to enjoy these, but there’s more if you time it right.

For instance, there’s a daily English-language tour of the Christmas market (twice on weekends) where you can:

Become acquainted with the market’s many culinary specialties and traditions while learning more about historical and modern Frankfurt, local personalities and the market itself. Join the tour guides in ascending to the roof of St. Nicholas Church to enjoy a panorama of the entire market and the Frankfurt skyline. Next, a nostalgic ride on a vintage carousel and then warm yourself with a hot cup of mulled wine at the end of the tour.

Additionally, the carillon of St. Nicholas Church peels forth three times a day and on Wednesdays and Saturdays, a horn ensemble plays from the tower balcony. There are Advent concerts on the Römer stage nearby and a program of Advent and Christmas songs each evening at the Church of Our Lady where all who attend can join in. A truly uplifting way to unwind after a long day of meetings.

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