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!).
Visit the Award-Winning 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 15 wineries and tastings 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 areas many chauffeured tours.
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 plenty of options for food and even more for beer. Oh, my goodness, the beer.
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.
Take a Peek into the Life of LBJ
Two sites 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.
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 pretty much 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 plenty of restaurants and wine tasting rooms where you can indulge while giving your feet a break.
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.
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. For a less historical and possibly more festive look at the German influence in Fredericksburg, visit when the yearly Oktoberfest or German Christmas events are being held. On the edge of the historic district, the National Museum of the Pacific War offers a look at slightly more recent history, with a focus on the events of World War II in the Pacific. There is so much to see that tickets are good for two days.
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What’s your favorite thing to do in Fredericksburg?