Frankenmuth, Michigan: Must see places during your weekend getaway
Christmas is a year round affair in the small quaint town of Frankenmuth, Michigan. Known as “Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth is the number one tourist destination in Michigan. Of course one of the most well-known attractions in this town is Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland. Bronner’s is the world’s largest Christmas store, and let me tell you….it’s definitely HUGE! We were there for several hours and I still don’t think we saw everything!
It’s so much more though…
Bronner’s is definitely the #1 must see in Frankenmuth, but this little town is so much more though! We just took a weekend trip from here in Pittsburgh (it’s totally a doable mini trip! From Pittsburgh, it was only a 4.5 hour drive!), and let me tell you it was worth it! I rounded up the top must see and do things in this little town to make your trip fun and memorable! You’re family will love it!
Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder’ Restaurant
Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s Restaurant are the two focal points of downtown Frankenmuth. If you are looking for an all-you-can-eat meal that is simply out of this world, look no further. These two restaurants sit literally across the street from each other. And are also ran by the same family! The Zehnder family has been making chicken dinners in this town since 1888! It’s a friendly rivalry between family members! And between the two restaurants, they serve over 2 million pounds of chicken each year!!
Zehnder’s is America’s largest family owned restaurant. It can seat up to 1500 guests at one time! Just like the Bavarian Inn, they serve all-you-can eat family-style chicken dinners with a huge selection of sides and desserts. The decor here is colonial and offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
If you are looking for the Bavarian feel, head over to the Bavarian Inn. Like their counterpart, they serve a delicious all-you-can-eat family-style dinner that is unbelievably delicious! W chose this restaurant because we wanted to stick with the old world theme of the town.
For both restaurants, due to their popularity, reservations are strongly encouraged so try to get a spot early. We waited until the night before and the only available time was 7:30 at night. No matter which restaurant you pick, you are sure to get a delicious meal!
While at the Bavarian Inn, consider signing up for their hands on German pretzel rolling class.
N’Orlins Beignets & Coffee
If you are looking for a delicious snack while strolling downtown Frankenmuth, or shopping at River Place Shops. Then stop at N’Orlins Beignets & Coffee, located in the River Place Shops. They serve a variety of coffee beverages and the famous heart shaped beignets! I would say they are like a cross between a doughnut, funnel cake, and elephant ear. So if they got together and had a baby…that’s a beignet! The cool part is that the owner of the shop is right there in the middle of everything cooking the beignets and he’s super friendly and welcoming! These things are delicious, so make sure you stop in and get one….or a dozen to take home with you!
River Place Shops
While your eating your delicious beinget and drinking your coffee, take a stroll through the River Place Shops. You will find a huge collection of independent gift shops like the Enchanted Forest, where you can get gnomes, dragons, and fairies, to the Michigan Shop where you will find typical touristy souvenirs to take home with you. We walked around for a while and even saw a few outdoor performances that would be fun for the whole family!
Frankenmuth Cheese Haus
A trip to Frankenmuth wouldn’t be complete without stopping at the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus. You can take a pic with the mouse outside (my daughter loved him), then head inside to shop and taste the huge variety of cheeses. You can even watch the story of cheese show at the 74-foot tall Figurinespiel Tower located here. It runs five times a day and shows the story of cheese in five countries of the world.
Frankenmuth Aerial Park
Head on over to the Frankenmuth Aerial Park for a fun experience that your kids will love. With three huge zipline and rope courses, you will be able to get some energy out before heading back to town for a nice dinner.
Frankenmuth Clock Company
Visit the Frankenmuth Clock Company to see a huge collection of beautiful cuckoo clocks handcrafted in the Black Forest region of Germany. I loved this place. The detailing on all of these clocks is beyond impressive and make sure to ask one of the employees to hear the beautiful hand carved grandfather clock that costs…wait for it…$30,000. It’s definitely something to see!
Bavarian Belle Riverboat
Looking for something relaxing? Take a scenic ride on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat, where you will be treated to a yummy chocolate and wine tasting while cruising down the river and taking in the sites!
Frankenmuth Brewery is Michigan’s oldest brewery. Take a tour of the brewery to see how they make their award winning beers. Then sit back on their patio and enjoy a cold one with family and friends. I think this is definitely a can’t miss while visiting Frankenmuth!
Frankenmuth Carriage Company
If you are looking for another way to kick back, relax, and see the town, my vote is for the Frankenmuth Carriage Company. You can stroll around the town by horse drawn carriage while the driver gives you some history behind the buildings along Main Street.
Holz Brucke Covered Bridge
The Holz Brucke Covered Bridge is a beautiful focal point of downtown Frankenmuth. It crosses the Cass river and connects Main Street with the Bavarian Inn Lodge and River Place Shops. An interesting fact about the bridge is that it is almost ENTIRELY make of wood. The only parts of the structure that is not wood, are the nails that hold the boards together. You can cross the bridge both by car and on foot. We chose to walk across it because knowing that it isn’t reinforced with steel beams like a normal bridge was a little scary. However, walking across it, it feels very sturdy.
Frankenmuth Fudge Kitchen
Head to Frankenmuth Fudge Kitchen to watch their delicious fudge being made right before your eyes. You can smell this shop from down the street. Once you enter, you can watch them mix the fudge in huge copper pots then pour it out on large marble slabs to cool. It’s very cool to watch them make and package the fudge while you wait in line. Make sure to take a few slices home! There are over 20 flavors to pick from!
Serendipity Wellness Spa
What trip would be relaxing without a trip to the day spa? Serendipity Wellness Spa offers a wide array of spa treatments to help you relax and take a break from that family trip that can sometimes prove to be a bit chaotic. Hey even the best of vacations can have a little chaos right? Treat yourself to a massage, facial, pedicure or more at this cute little spa located right in River Place Shops.
Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
So I saved the best for last of course! Who comes to Frankenmuth, Michigan and doesn’t go to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland. Known as the World’s Largest Christmas store, Bronner’s is located just a few minutes down the road from downtown Frankenmuth. When they say the world’s largest, they aren’t exaggerating! This place is so huge they have a map to get around! We spent several hours there and I still don’t think we saw everything! It’s the size of roughly one and a half football fields and is divided into sections. From ornaments, lights, trees, indoor and outdoor decor, there is everything you could ever want for Christmas decorating under one roof!
This store was opened in 1945 and has been family owned and operated since. It is visited by millions of people every year and accounts for a huge portion of Michigan’s tourism industry. Where else could you go and be transported into Christmastime year round.
After shopping the store, or part of it because I assure you will miss something, head outside for some cute photo opportunities. Families actually come here to take their Christmas card photos every year. We were there in September and it was like an outdoor photo shoot everywhere.
Located right outside the main store, is the Silent Night Chapel. It is a replica of the original Silent Night Chapel located in Austria, where Silent Night was first sung on Christmas Eve in 1818.
Visit Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland at night to see Christmas Lane. Each night from dusk to midnight, 100,000 lights align the road in a beautiful drive thru Christmas light display.
No matter what you’re looking for, Frankenmuth has something for you!
Bronner’s was hands down the best part of our trip and the reason we came. You can’t really imagine how immense this place is until you are there. And it’s worth the trip!
This was a really fun weekend away. And I would recommend this town to anyone looking for a quick trip with lots to see and do. I didn’t even touch on half of the things Frankenmuth has to offer. There are waterparks, fun centers, museums, and restaurants for the whole family.
Have you visited Frankenmuth? What are some of your favorite spots to hit?