Five Fun Things to Do in Fredericksburg

In the rolling Hill Country about 260 miles southwest of Dallas (or about 90 minutes west of Austin), sits the epicenter of German heritage in Texas: a town named after Prince Frederick of Prussia.  Founded in 1846 by German immigrants who tilled the fertile soil, Fredericksburg today is ripe for fun of many varieties.  It has become a Bed & Breakfast hotspot with literally dozens of establishments (BedandBreakfast.com lists more than 78 accommodations in the area) hosting visitors from around the world who come for, well, these Five Fun Things to Do in Fredericksburg!

#1:  Have some wine!

Photo: Grapes on the vine

There are more native grape varieties in Texas than anywhere else on the planet!

Let’s get right to the heart of the matter: Fredericksburg is at the center of the Texas Wine Trail with several wineries and vineyards in the region.  Turns out, Texas has more native species of grapes than any other region on earth, and has been producing wine since before California rose to stardom.  Fredericksburg is part of two viticultural areas, and more than half of the state’s 54 wineries make their home here.  There are several wine tours that depart from Fredericksburg (as shown on TripAdvisor) , or you can book a B&B and strike out on your own for a few days.  Fredericksburg-Texas.com has a handy listing of wine makers who welcome visitors with that famous “Texas Friendly” attitude.  If you are just in it for the wine, though, you can stroll down Main Street and stop in any (or all) of the wine shops there.  If wine is not your preferred adult beverage, Fredericksburg is also home to a pair of fine brew pubs producing notable craft beers right on Main Street.

For more on Texas Hill Country wines and wineries, and an excellent tasting itinerary, check out Winederlusting’s Guide to the Best Texas Hill Country Wineries.

#2:  Tuck into authentic German food.

You will still find descendants of the original settlers in Fredericksburg, and others who were drawn to the town for its German heritage.  As a result, there is some great German food to enjoy, along with spicy Mexican, savory Italian, and smoky barbeque (this is Texas, after all).  This town of just about 10,000 full-time residents boasts around 60 spots to grab a bite, from restaurants to bakeries to wine and cheese bars.  But since this is the place to embrace your inner German, you’ll want to visit the Auslander Restaurant, and Friedhelm’s Bavarian Inn, two of our favorites, serving traditional German fare (think schnitzels, brat and knackwurst, Rouladen, Lendenschnitte, spätzle, kartoffelpuffer…hungry yet?) on either end of Main Street.  Sehr lecker!

Photo: Phil Jackson's Amazing World of Things

If you can’t find “that thing you need” elsewhere, surely it’s at Phil Jackson’s Amazing World of Things!

#3:  Stroll & Shop (til you Drop!)

Main Street is quite literally the main street of Fredericksburg, and it is lined with a huge variety of shops, from eclectic to designer.  Whether you need to work up an appetite or work off the wine and schnitzels, you can stroll both sides of Main Street and have a great time exploring.  But beware!  Tucked among the home décor, artwork, kitchenware, Texas-ana, clothing and souvenir shops lie hidden gems/evil monsters: chocolatiers, wine bars, bakeries, ice cream parlors, and our favorite, Rustlin’ Rob’s Texas Gourmet Foods.  When they ask you to sign a waiver to try the hot sauce, you know you’re in trouble.  (You’ve been given fair warning!)

#4:  Get Your History On!

There is a fair amount of history on display in and near Fredericksburg.  You may be surprised to find the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, but it’s right there on Main Street in what was once the Nimitz Hotel.  If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the hotel was built by the grandfather of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who grew up here before going on to command the US Pacific Forces in World War Two.  The museum began in the hotel in 1968 as the Admiral Nimitz Museum, but now occupies a six-acre campus which includes the Plaza of Presidents, the Japanese Garden of Peace, and the expanded George H. W. Bush Gallery.

Photo: Admiral Nimitz Museum

Named for one of Fredericksburg’s most famous residents and housed in the family’s historic hotel, the Admiral Nimitz Museum tells the story of WWII in the Pacific.

While President Rutherford B. Hayes is said to have stayed at the Nimitz Hotel, the area has another presidential link: President Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park is in nearby Stonewall.  At the former LBJ Ranch, you can see the former president’s birthplace, the Johnson family cemetery, and LBJ’s grandparents’ home.

In the center of town is the Marktplatz, a large, open park with picnic facilities, a playground, clean restrooms, and Vereins Kirche, a memorial museum to the German settlers who established Fredericksburg.  It is part of the nearby Pioneer Museum, and across the street is the Pioneer Memorial Library.  Together, they detail the town’s history, immigration and settlement of the Texas Hill Country, and the local German-Texan culture.

#5:  Eat a Peach

If you have ever enjoyed a juicy Texas peach, chances are it came from somewhere near Fredericksburg, the Peach Capital of Texas.  (Technically, that’s a title the town shares with LBJ’s Stonewall, Texas.)  Back in the 1950s, an enterprising math and science teacher at the local high school planted a few peach trees.  Before long, he had 5,000 trees and had developed the Hale, Burbank, Elberta and Stark varieties of peaches.  Growers claim the area’s unique combination of climate, elevation, and sandy soil give the peaches a perfectly sweet taste.  But Hill Country agribusiness doesn’t stop at wine and peaches: herb farms, lavender production, and the largest family-owned wildflower seed farm in the country are all found here.

What was once a small town where local famers came for supplies and camaraderie has become something of a cultural phenomenon in Texas.  While day spas and wine bars are a major attraction, hikers and bikers appreciate the natural beauty of the Hill Country.  (Enchanted Rock National Natural Landmark, a huge, pink granite dome just 15 miles to the north.)  Strolling Main Street today, you can imagine it has not changed a great deal since the 1950s or, perhaps, even the 1850s.  Now on the National Register of Historic Places in Texas, it is just as much a place to dine, shop and relax today as it was 150 years ago.

Details and Disclaimers:  TravelLatte was not compensated by, nor maintains financial relationships with any of the establishments or businesses mentioned in this post.  Opinions expressed are exclusively our own.  We had a great time in Fredericksburg, and heartily recommend a day or two in the Hill Country when visiting Texas.


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31 comments on “Five Fun Things to Do in Fredericksburg

    • Hi Krista – There are a few landmarks and German-themed items, but it’s solidly Texan. 😉 I suppose the great influence was in farming, bringing skills and work ethic from “the old country.” Still, it’s a really relaxing place to visit for a couple of days!

  1. I had never heard of Fredericksburg until reading this and I already feel I need to visit. I had no idea they had good vineyards in Texas and I certainly didn’t know about the German heritage. Thanks so much for educating me. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Hi Clare! Thanks so much for your comment. Texas actually has a lot of European influence, thanks to immigration through Houston and Galveston. Thousands of German, French, Polish, Czech and Irish farmers and laborers settled in Texas in the 19th and early-20th centuries. Plus, the state is very proud to claim its very own Paris. 🙂

  2. I had no idea there were vineyards in Texas – BBQ and rodeos, yes, but wine? Well, that’s definitely something to shout about more. Between that peaches and shopping, and I have another good reason to visit. #citytripping

    • I don’t think you’re alone there! Wine in Texas…who knew? Actually, there are a few “wine trails” through the state…which gives me another good story idea… 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I have never heard of this place so thanks for educating me on the German influenced part of Texas. Very unexpected. You had me at the wine! Sounds like a great place to visit. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • Hi Wander Mum! Fredericksburg is pretty popular regionally, but it’s managed to stay mostly under the radar. It still gets pretty crowded sometimes, but you can have a relaxing and fun visit almost any time of year. And it’s close enough to either be a day trip from the big cities, but far enough to be a nice getaway from those same cities. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

    • Hi Olivia – Fredericksburg kind of is what a European town would be like…if it was smack dab in the middle of Texas! The good is great, and it is a fun weekend getaway. It’s become one of my favorite small Texas towns. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  4. I love coming to your blog… I read of things that people in my part of the world probably would never ever hear of. Fredericksburg?? I was wondering whether you were bringing us to Germany or USA… Texas is not a very well-visited part of USA by foreigners, is it? I imagined cowboys, not wine trails and German township.

    • Hello, Bumble Bee Mum! What a nice comment – I’m glad we can introduce you and the world to some new places. Fredericksburg is charming, and probably isn’t what most people would expect to find in Texas. We do have a lot of visitors from around the world in the bigger cities, like Dallas and Houston, but Texas does have a lot more to offer. And, to be honest, many Texans have never been to Fredericksburg either. 😉

    • You would think so, right? European roots, at least, in a very Texas setting, and a fun mix of and new. We really enjoyed it; hopefully your in-laws will, too! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. It’s crazy that I live in Austin, yet it’s been years since I’ve visited Fredericksburg. I keep planning on dashing off for a quick visit while the kids are at school (a REALLY quick visit). Now that you’ve told me all about the chocolate, I think I have greater motivation.

    • Ah, Chocolate – the great motivator! Plus the wine and the food and the peaches…there’s a lot to like! The kids might like the gardens at Wildseed Farms, and there’s lots of room there to play and explore. But there lots of room for a fun grown up getaway! 😉 Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  6. Once, I spent 3 months in Austin while on an internship. So sad I didn’t heard about this town then. But, I have to say Austin has changed a lot in recent years. Now, it is an “it” town. It wasn’t like that when I stayed there more than 10 years ago.

    • So now you have someplace new to visit when you come back! 🙂 If you ask Austin, it’s always been an “it” town, despite changing so much. Even the iconic festivals the city is known for – SXSW and Austin City Limits – are nothing like they used to be. (Not sure if that for better or worse.) Thanks for stopping by the blog, Ruth!

  7. I’ve never been to Fredericksburg, but I do love everything in your list, so maybe I need to go! Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration!

    • Hi Corinne – Texas has a lot of little country towns, and Fredericksburg is one of our favorites. Plus, if you have some time to explore, there is quite a bit to see in the surrounding area. Definitely worth visiting!

    • It’s true,the most German thing you’ll find in Fredericksburg today is food. Similar to other cities that have grown from immigrant settlements (such as the Czech population of West, Texas), it’s a great example of how the American quilt has been crafted by people from all over the world. But it is a fun little town worth a visit when you’re in Texas. Thanks for your comment, Elaine!

  8. Pingback: Llano, Deep in the Heart of Texas | TravelLatte

    • Texas has some very surprising places, and many unexpected attributes. One thing for sure, the more I travel through the state, the more surprised I am!

    • Right? And I didn’t even mention chocolate! (I so should have said SIX fun things.) There are a couple of chocolate shops in town, one of which has chocolate covered bacon and jalapenos. The other, Chocolat, has some seriously good liquor-filled chocolates and FREE SAMPLES! 🙂

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