Updated January 2018
In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, the town of Fredericksburg is a stone’s throw away from Austin and San Antonio. Despite its proximity to the big cities, it is popular because it maintains a small town feel while having lots of things to see and do. With its unique German heritage, thriving wineries, and shopping, it’s the perfect weekend getaway from just about anywhere. Here’s a look at some of the fun things to do in Fredericksburg, Texas, for a weekend (or longer!).
Things to do in Fredericksburg
Visit the Award-Winning Texas Wineries
Over the last decade, Texas Hill Country wineries have evolved significantly, gaining national attention in the media and winning more awards than ever. The live music, food, and generally fun atmosphere don’t hurt either. A 30-mile stretch of road from Fredericksburg to Johnson City, Texas (known as Wine Road 290), is home to more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms. Many of the wineries focus on grapes that grow well in the Mediterranean, so look for Tempranillo and Viognier, in particular. A trip here is a great way to spend a weekend –with a designated driver, of course, or one of the area’s many chauffeured tours. There are new wineries all the time, so you can go back multiple times and always see (and try) something different.
Enjoy Texas Wildflowers
Wildseed Farms is like a playground for people who love the outdoors. In the spring, summer, and fall, its fields teem with flowers of every hue from the famous Texas bluebonnets to brilliant red standing cyprus. The wildflower farm has walking trails, butterfly gardens, and an endless number of photo opportunities. Wildseed Farms enhances its gorgeous atmosphere with an outpost of Wedding Oak Winery on-site, so you can sip on Tempranillo or Viognier (our personal favorite) while gazing out at the flowers. There is also a wide variety of plants, seeds, and food items for sale in the Farms’ shops. There’s so much to do here, and it’s one of the prettiest places to visit in Fredericksburg.
Stroll (and Shop!) Along Main Street
Shopping is undoubtedly one of the most popular things to do in Fredericksburg, Texas. The historic buildings along Main Street are home to over 100 shops selling pretty much anything you could be in the market for. From antiques and art to clothes, musical instruments, and home décor, the shops of Fredericksburg have you covered. The only chain along this lovely street is the jewelry store James Avery, which is allowed a spot because it got its start in the Hill Country a few towns away. When you’ve had your fill of shopping, there are lots of restaurants and wine tasting rooms where you can indulge while giving your feet a break.
Take a Peek into the Life of LBJ
Two points of interest near Fredericksburg in Stonewall and Johnson City, Texas, allow visitors to take a step back into presidential history with a look at the life of Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States. Stonewall – just 14 miles from Fredericksburg – is home to the LBJ Ranch, which includes important places from LBJ’s life. You can visit the one-room schoolhouse where he learned to read, see his grandparents’ house, and view the Johnson family cemetery. A tour through the Texas White House where Johnson spent about one-quarter of his presidency transports you back to the 1960s with a fascinating look at the man behind the office. Johnson City is the location of LBJ’s boyhood home and other landmarks significant in his early life.
Try the Peaches
The area around Fredericksburg produces 40 percent of the peaches in Texas. In the spring and summer, the orange gems hang heavy on the trees outside of town beckoning visitors to pick their own at the local orchards. There are lots of roadside stands where you can buy peaches and, of course, delicious peach ice cream, too. Grabbing a scoop is one of the most delicious ways to welcome summer in the Texas Hill Country.
Visit a Painted Church
The German immigrants who settled Fredericksburg and other Texas towns in the 19th century tried to make their new places of worship feel like those they’d left behind in their homelands. They painted altars and arches with vibrant colors and designs reminiscent of the Gothic style they were used to, creating the Painted Churches of Texas. While other towns like Schulenburg have a cluster of churches, Fredericksburg has a beautiful example of the artwork in St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The work from the early 1900s features intricate stained glass, paintings of the Twelve Apostles, arch decorations, and a depiction of Jesus above the altar, making St. Mary’s sanctuary one of the more unique things to see in Fredericksburg.
Indulge at a Bed and Breakfast
The Fredericksburg area is home to hundreds of B&Bs and guest houses. By staying in a bed and breakfast you can enjoy delicious breakfasts, personalized service, and a welcoming atmosphere a bit different from a hotel. Options in this B&B mecca range from upscale elegance to down home country comfort in line with what you’d expect in the heart of Texas. You can stay on the grounds of some of the wineries or even in a remodeled 19th century cabin. The options here are nearly endless.
Try a New Spin on German Food
Fredericksburg is full of restaurants and brew pubs serving food not typically found on this side of the Atlantic, and especially not in Texas. Influenced by the town’s heritage, German food options abound. Cuisine ranges from traditional sausage, pretzels, and apple strudel to more Texan interpretations like schnitzel with Monterey jack cheese and guacamole. Whatever your preference, there are lots of options for food and even more for beer.
Fall in Love with Luckenbach
Luckenbach, Texas, 14 miles from Fredericksburg, is essentially a wide place in the road. This two-building town – it only has a dance hall and the combination bar and general store – draws people from across the country and around the world to drink beer underneath the oak trees and listen to country music in the memorabilia-studded bar. There are daily informal performances at Luckenbach as well as concerts from country greats and festivals on the weekends. Here, there is a feeling that everyone is a regular – maybe even friends and family. Without a doubt, Luckenbach is one of the best places to visit near Fredericksburg.
Browse the Fredericksburg Herb Farm
Just a few blocks off Main Street, Fredericksburg Herb Farm is a chic, rustic complex transformed out of an 1800s homestead. There is a gift shop, a lovely 5000-square foot day spa, and a fabulous bistro set among winding gardens and walking paths. You can stay on the property in the Sunday house cottages reminiscent of those used by the early settlers or just stop in as we did to shop and check out the beds of rosemary, roses, and other beautifully-scented things.
Take a Historical Walking Tour
Founded by German immigrants in 1846, Fredericksburg (named after Prince Friedrich of Prussia) has a rich and distinctive history. A walking tour of the historic district features buildings constructed by the original settlers, some of which include exhibits showing what life was like in Texas in the mid-19th century. Visitors can learn about everything from the original settlers’ historic treaty with the Comanche Indians to religion and community on the frontier.
Dive Deep into History at the Pacific War Museum
From the moment we walked into the National Museum of the Pacific War, it was clear that this was no small-town museum. The in-depth exhibits bring to life the conflict in the Pacific Theater in painstaking detail with thousands of artifacts and heavy machinery of the type you would normally only expect in facilities like the Smithsonian. The three buildings of Fredericksburg’s Pacific War Museum include two traditional museums that focus on Admiral Nimitz and the battles of World War II in the Pacific along with the outdoor Pacific Combat Zone where reenactments bring the battles to life in front of your eyes. In the middle is a memorial and Japanese Garden of Peace that provides a moment of respite among the details of war. If you have even a passing interest in history and are wondering what to do in Fredericksburg, Texas, make sure the National Museum of the Pacific War is on your list.
Explore Enchanted Rock
Seventeen miles north of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is one of the most popular hiking and camping sites in Texas and one of the best attractions in the Hill Country. Native American tribes ascribed magical powers to the rock, hence its otherworldly name. The massive pink granite batholith and surrounding park attract 250,000 visitors a year for good reason—it boasts 2.5 square miles of land for rock climbing, backpacking, picnicking, and other outdoor activities. Whatever your plans, Enchanted Rock State Park is a great place for active pursuits or just relaxing in nature.
Sample from Local Food Trucks
For an outdoor alternative to Fredericksburg’s tasty restaurants, check out the Munch Food Park. On any given day, there’s a variety of trucks serving everything from donuts to barbecue in a family-friendly atmosphere. On weekends, you’ll find the beverage barn open, and there is often live music and special events. It’s a perfect place for lunch or dinner.
Eat, Drink, and Hang Out at Das Peach Haus
Das Peach Haus combines two of the best things about the Fredericksburg area in one place—food and the outdoors. Inside the store whose buildings date from the late 1800s and early 1900s, you’ll find just about every food product you never knew you needed from peach cider to their famous roasted raspberry chipotle sauce. And you can sample all of it on-site. There is also a wine tasting room that features pairing with Hill Country wines and a cooking school that offers regular classes in regional US specialties and international cuisines. If that weren’t enough, just outside Das Peach Haus is what we loved most—views of the peach orchards, a handsome deck to relax on, and a gorgeous pond that’s open for fishing.
Take Your Pick of Festivals
Fredericksburg has more fun things to do than most cities five times its size. There seems to be a festival or event happening most weekends of the year regardless of the season. There are regular Trade Days, a lavender festival, and plenty of auto-focused events. And, of course, there are lots of food festivals from chili cookoffs to the crawfish fest and food truck festival. Two of the best times to visit are during events that celebrate the town’s unique German heritage—the annual Oktoberfest and during the Christmas holidays when there are parades, a Christmas market, concerts, and German decorations around town.
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What’s your favorite thing to do in Fredericksburg?