There are plenty of things to do in Frankenmuth for all visitors, especially in the summer when it seems something is going on every day! Head to the quirky Bavarian-inspired town of Frankenmuth for one of the most romantic getaways to have in Michigan.
With its charming downtown core, beer hall, festive celebrations, covered bridge, and lovely parks that sit along the Cass River, Frankenmuth is sure to win over visitors.
Where Is Frankenmuth, Michigan?
Frankenmuth is located in eastern Michigan, 95 miles north of Detroit. It is an hour and a half drive from Detroit, two hours from Grand Rapids, and just over one hour from Lansing. The small Bavarian-inspired town attracts visitors throughout the area and is well known for its holiday festivities.
Things to Do in Frankenmuth
1. Experience Bavaria at Frankenmuth River Place Shop
Feel as though you’ve traveled overseas with a visit to the delightful Frankenmuth River Place Shops. More than just a place to shop, you can enjoy the full Bavarian experience at the charming shopping village. Designed to resemble an authentic German village, the architecture is photogenic.
The 40+ shops sell an array of goods, including traditional German fare and products, clothing, accessories, toys, and electronics. There are places to eat, such as a French-style creperie, a pastry shop, and a grill, and various events are held here throughout the year.
Board the Bavarian Belle Riverboat for a relaxing and informative boat ride along the Cass River, and enjoy the cute streams and waterfalls spread throughout the complex.
2. Take a Tour of St. Lorenz Lutheran Church
The eye-catching St. Lorenz Lutheran Church was established in 1845 by German settlers. You can learn all about the church’s history and design on a self-guided tour – leaflets are available in the entrance lobby.
The orange-brick church has a towering steeple, colorful stained glass, many statues, and lots of religious symbolism. You can also step back in time with a walk through the peaceful cemetery. Services are held every Saturday and Sunday, with a monthly service still held in German too.
3. Cool Down at Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark
You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to enjoy the terrific waterpark at Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark – day passes are available. There are two indoor water parks – Splash and the Atrium – that can be enjoyed all year round, with a further outdoor pool for warm summer days.
There are shallow pools that are perfect for little ones to splash around in, and kids are also sure to love the Splash Landing Play Area and the huge dumping bucket. Competitive visitors can join in with a lively game of water volleyball or water basketball, and you can have thrills along the Action River, on the raft ride, and the chutes and slides.
Relax as you drift along Crooked Brook Creek Lazy River or in one of the hot tubs. There are places to chill out next to the pools and eateries and a large arcade/games area. Reservations are currently required. Go to their website to book and retrieve current rates.
- Admission: Half-day admission only $33 midweek, $42 weekends, $47 holidays
- Address: 1365 S Main St, Frankenmuth
4. Honor the Fallen at Michigan Heroes Museum
Michigan Heroes Museum remembers people from Michigan who were part of the military or space programs. The museum focuses on people rather than historic events. It is the only museum of its kind in the state.
The museum has more than 850 items, including photographs, documents, uniforms, art, posters, flying gear, and medals. In fact, you’ll find the biggest collection of Medals of Honor on display here. The personal artifacts help to tell the stories of individuals who went to war or otherwise served the nation.
- Admission: $7 General, $6 Senior, $5 College, K-12 $3
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm
- Address: 1250 Weiss St, Frankenmuth
5. Practice Your Swing at The Fortress Golf Course
One of the best golf courses in Michigan, the Fortress Golf Course has large greens, sweeping fairways, and several mounds and bunkers. The 18-hole, par-72 golf course was created and designed by architect Dick Nugent in 1992. The design reflects the game’s Scottish heritage.
There are great practice areas, including a driving range, putting green, and chipping green. You can unwind post-game in the clubhouse, where you’ll find a restaurant and bar.
6. Grab a Bite to Eat at Bavarian Inn Restaurant
The charming Bavarian Inn Restaurant looks like it has been lifted directly from Germany with its Bavarian-style façade and impressive clock. Don’t miss seeing the 35-bell glockenspiel clock in action – quaint figures enact the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamlin at noon, 15:00, 18:00, and 21:00 every day.
Open since 1888 (although known by other names in the past), the establishment serves delicious home-cooked fare. While it is especially known for its mouth-watering fried chicken, the menu also includes a number of German specialties, including rouladen, bratwurst, sauerbraten, and schnitzel. If you really want to push the boat out, sink your teeth into the Ultimate Family Style Bavarian Dinner Treat, with five kinds of meat accompanied with potato cheese puffs and sauerkraut. There are loads of tasty desserts too and, of course, an array of tempting beers and ales.
After your meal, don’t miss going down to the lower level for a peek in the Castle Shops. Seven fairytale-esque stores sit along a cobbled walkway with German souvenirs and knickknacks, dolls, toys, specialty cheeses, and home-baked goods being just a few items on offer. And then call by the Fischer Platz beer garden for music and dancing.
- Hours: 11 am – 8 pm weekdays, 11 am – 9 pm weekends
- Address: 713 S Main St, Frankenmuth
7. Get a Thrill at Frankenmuth Aerial Park
A terrific family-friendly attraction, you can combine fun and nature at the exciting Frankenmuth Aerial Park. The obstacle course is spread through the trees, with various balancing, swinging, and climbing challenges throughout the rope course and a long zip line. When your feet are back on firm ground, take a relaxing walk through the nature-filled woodland.
- Weekday Prices: $39 Adult, $34 Youth, $29 Child
- Weekend Prices: $43 Adult, $39 Youth, $36 Child
- Twilight Prices: $29
8. Pick Up Fresh Goods at Frankenmuth Farmers’ Market
Connecting local farmers and producers with customers since 2005, Frankenmuth Farmers’ Market is the ideal place to pick up picnic supplies or ingredients for a tasty dinner. Popular with locals and visitors alike, the Saturday market operates from the middle of May to the middle of October. Don’t worry if you’re not in town over the weekend, though – there’s also a Wednesday market between June and August.
From fresh fruits and veggies to freshly baked loaves of bread, pies, and pastries, maple syrup, bowls of steaming hot soup, and specialty teas, there are loads to choose between. Treat yourself to a bunch of fresh-cut fragrant flowers too. Vendors also sell a range of decorative items, gifts, and handicrafts.
9. Learn More about the Town’s Past at Frankenmuth Historical Museum
Delve deeper into Frankenmuth’s German roots at the interesting Frankenmuth Historical Museum. There are several period displays, including a mission, storage facilities, a mill, a log house, and a post office.
The exhibits help you travel back in time, and there are a number of hands-on displays to really capture the imagination. Try and carry an old water yoke, have a go at blending butter using an old churn, guess different types of woods, and play old games.
Other items include photographs, documents, clothing, and cooking equipment, and you can listen to Bavarian music and even try to learn a few dance steps! There’s something to inspire people of all ages.
- Admission: $2 adult, $1 student
- Open: Friday – Monday
- Address: 613 S Main St, Frankenmuth
10. Relax in Memorial Park
A scenic spot to enjoy being outdoors in the fresh air, Frankenmuth’s 40-acre Memorial Park features large lawns, grassy hills, and a winding creek.
Sunbathe and picnic on the grass in the summertime, and watch as kids have fun in the jets and fountains of the spray park. Wander through the picturesque Rose Garden and see the memorial to the Chippewa indigenous group. Enjoy winter giggles with a spot of sledding down the hills.
Other park facilities include a dog park, picnic tables, children’s play areas, horseshoe pits, a disc golf course, and tennis courts.
11. Enjoy Festive Fun all Year-Round at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
The awesome Bonner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland is the biggest Christmas shop in the world. Open all throughout the year, you can get into the festive spirit any time you want.
Covering more than seven acres, the shop is housed in a building that resembles an alpine chalet. The entrance is guarded by a gigantic snowman and Santa Claus statues, and thousands of twinkling lights are switched on every nighttime along the lane. The grounds are also home to a beautiful replica of the Austrian chapel where “Silent Night” was first sung.
You’ll find any kind of Christmas kitsch you could imagine, from ornate baubles, colorful tinsel, and Santa hats, to Christmas trees of all colors and sizes, detailed nativity scenes, strings of beautiful lights, and gorgeous angel tree toppers.
There’s plenty of German Christmas memorabilia in keeping with the town’s theme, though you can also pick up more American-style goods and local Michigan souvenirs. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s well worth a visit to admire the exquisite displays.
12. See the Town from a Horse-Drawn Carriage
Perhaps one of the most romantic things to do in Frankenmuth, you can get cozy in the back of a horse-drawn carriage and relax as the town’s sights unfold. Blankets are provided during the winter months for you to really get snuggly in the white carriages. The driver will point out places of interest as you trot along the streets, and you can also uncover tidbits of local history and life.
13. Sip Wine at St. Julian Winery
The award-winning St. Julian Winery has been producing wine for more than 100 years. There are several locations throughout Michigan, including the charming tasting room and shop in Frankenmuth.
Call in to taste wines made using local fruit and buy a bottle (or bottles!) of your favorite(s) to take home. For a real local experience, don’t miss out on trying the Frankenmuth Rose – a fruity delight with strawberry and cherry aromas.
- Hours: 11 am – 7 pm
- Address: 127 S Main St, Frankenmuth
14. Unwind in Heritage Park
Heritage Park is a top place for leisure, sports, and relaxation. Frankenmuth’s most-visited park, it has a number of top-quality facilities and hosts many events throughout the year.
The large Harvey E. Kern Community Pavilion, with its striking blue and white striped roof, stands at the heart of the park. There are also several smaller pavilions for picnicking. Sports areas include a basketball court, sand volleyball courts, and ball diamonds, and there are well-maintained play areas for children. Follow the Riverwalk pathway for lovely views of the water.
15. Cross Holz Brucke
Holz Brucke is a stunning wooden covered bridge that crosses the Cass River. A great place for photographs, the bridge displays amazing artistry. It is 239 feet long and connects Main Street with the Bavarian Inn Lodge. It is open for both vehicles and pedestrians.
16. Visit Weiss Centennial Farm
A fabulous family-friendly attraction in Frankenmuth, Weiss Centennial Farm lets you discover more about dairy farming and agriculture. Learn how the calves are taken care of and watch as they are fed. Experience other farm work too, such as planting seeds, ploughing fields, and harvesting crops (depending on the season).
Diverse activities are also available, including bug walks and pretzel making, and you can also explore the large orchards. In the fall, visitors can have fun trying to beat the corn mazes – they are trickier than they look!
17. Taste German Beers at Frankenmuth Brewery
Established in 1862, Frankenmuth Brewery has a long and proud history – it is the oldest microbrewery in the USA and the oldest craft brewery in Michigan. The brewery produces many delectable craft beers, some of which have won awards.
Enjoy a quick tour of the facility before you take a seat in the laid-back taproom to sample more than 20 draft beers as well as many bottled beers, ales, and lagers. Whether you’re into light or dark beers, or traditional or flavored drinks, there’s something to suit all taste buds. There’s also a great food menu that perfectly complements the drinks.
Look out for Frankie too! Gracing bottle labels and promotional materials, Frankie the Dachshund has been the brewery’s mascot since the 1930s.
- Hours: Weekends 11:30 am – 8 pm
- Address: 425 S Main St, Frankenmuth
18. Meet Various Creatures at Wilderness Trails Zoo
Spread across 56 acres, Wilderness Trails Zoo is home to an assortment of fascinating creatures from all over the globe. There’s a strong focus on conservation and animals are housed in large areas that replicate their natural environment as much as possible.
Admire the beauty of big cats like tigers, lions, and leopards, and come face to face with various monkey species, bears, and hyenas. There are different types of birds and reptiles, foxes, deer, donkeys, otters, and more. It’s a great place to take the kids, and there are sure to be plenty of smiles in the petting area.
- Admission: $12 Kids, $14 Adults, $11 Seniors
- Hours: 10 am – 6 pm
- Address: 11721 Gera Rd
19. Stop for a Rest in Willkommen Park
Situated in the heart of the business area, Wilkommen Park is a handsome urban plaza. There are several benches where you can take a break and simply watch the world go by. The plaza has an attractive fountain and statue, as well as a memorial wall to remember war veterans.
Restaurants In Frankenmuth
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