Planning a trip to Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country and looking for things to do in the city? Explore our recommendations from strolling on Main Street to the National Museum of the Pacific War and visiting the wineries along Highway 290. You may also like our post on Best Places to Visit in the USA.
If you are from Texas, you have probably heard all about Fredericksburg. After all, the city is a jewel of Texas Hill Country and one of the most romantic cities to visit in the Lone Star State.
Fredericksburg is renowned for its German heritage and cuisine, proximity to wineries, and beautiful architecture. It is one of our favorite cities to visit on a weekend getaway from Houston.
There are many things to do in this historic city. Whether you like cultural attractions or antiquing, whether you are a foodie or outdoor explorer, Fredericksburg has a variety of attractions that will satisfy all visitors.
Where to stay in Fredericksburg?
Fredericksburg has a variety of lodging options from hotels, motels, inns, bed & breakfasts, and resorts. Many of them are conveniently located near Main Street. We definitely recommend these, since you won’t have to worry about finding parking on Main Street plus can indulge in wine tasting and walk back to your hotel.
If you want historic cabins and cottages, try Fredericksburg Herb Farm. 1891 Grape Arbor House is another great option for a historic home. The city also has all the popular chains from Best Western, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and Holiday Inn.
On a few occasions, we have also stayed overnight in neighboring Kerrville and visited Fredericksburg as a day trip. This is especially useful if you are traveling in peka season and hotels in Fredericksburg are full or expensive.
Popular Things to do in Fredericksburg, Texas
Located in Gillespie County of Texas, Fredericksburg is one of the most visited destinations in the Texas Hill Country. It is an ideal holiday spot from all the major Texan cities. The city has a lively art and music scene and hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year.
Here are our favorite things to do in Fredericksburg while on a visit:
Take a stroll around Historic West Main Street
One of the best ways to experience the culture, tradition, and German vibe of Fredericksburg is simply to take a stroll on historic West Main Street. All along this part of the road, you can see the 19th-century architecture and admire the historic structures.
The historic section starts from the Marktplatz and continues for about a mile. Major attractions include the Vereins Kirche, Pioneer Museum, Old Jail, Church, etc. You can find more information about each of these buildings below.
Go shopping on the Magic Mile
The eastern part of Main Street where the majority of boutique stores and art galleries are located is known as the Magic Mile. This section begins at the Nimitz Museum and ends at the Marktplatz.
This is the central shopping district in Fredericksburg and has amazing shopping opportunities. You will also find several historic buildings, beautiful landscaping, and a variety of restaurants.
In this area you will find several designer and boutique stores and can buy everything from apparel, home goods, designer items, furniture, artwork, books, and collectibles. This is truly a shopper’s delight. We have included some of our favorite stores in this list below.
Dine on authentic German cuisine
The city is home to a stellar dining scene. Most of Fredericksburg restaurants are known for their authentic German cuisine. We love visiting Otto’s German Bistro for the schnitzels or the Farm Haus Bistro located a short distance away from the city.
Der Lindenbaum restaurant is another great place to try the German food. The Auslander also has good food and a great beer garden. We have been here on several occasions and never been disappointed.
The city also has several steakhouses and bbq places if you want to try the famous Texas barbeque. Hondo’s on Main is another amazing place to enjoy the food and vibe. For desert, visit the Fredericksburg Pie Company.
Explore the city’s German Heritage at the Pioneer Museum
The best place to learn about the history of Fredericksburg is the Pioneer Museum. Here you can learn through exhibits and documents how this German city came to be founded in Texas in the 1850s.
The museum is spread over an area of three and a half acres. Here you will find original homesteads of the settlers and can see a variety of ancient artifacts and documents. Through the buildings and exhibits, you can understand the life of the German pioneers.
The buildings include a one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin, bathhouse, barn, and a smokehouse. Seeing the beautifully preserved buildings is an amazing experience. We recommend keeping aside an hour to see the structures.
Relax at the beautiful Marktplatz
Marktplatz is Fredericksburg Town Square. It divides the historic and shopping areas of Main Street and is worth a visit. Here you will find lots of open green space, picnic tables, a play area, and lots of people. The city’s popular events including Oktoberfest take place here.
The Marktplatz has many attractions including the Vereins Kirche Museum. A storytelling maypole is also located in the square. It has the history of Fredericksburg along its branches. You can also spot historical bronze sculptures and a waterwheel. Our kids especially love to see it. In the holiday season, Marktplatz has an ice skating rink and looks spectacular.
Marvel at the iconic Vereins Kirche Museum
This striking octagonal building is the replica of the 19th-century German church that was the first building to stand in the city. The old building was demolished in 1896 and the new one was built in its place in 1935 to honor the pioneers.
Located in the Marktplatz, the Vereins Kirche has served multiple purposes: it was once a town hall, school, and church at various times. The museum has many exhibits on the city’s past and is interesting to see.
You will also find the Vereins Kirche depicted on most of Fredericksburg magnets, postcards, and paintings and has become a symbol of the city.
Go wine tasting on Main Street
Fredericksburg is the center of Texas Wine Country. You will find several tasting rooms located within the town itself and these are perfect to try wine flights and tastings.
The best part of these tasting rooms is that you don’t need to worry about a designated driver or a wine shuttle. You can just walk to the wineries and then walk back to your hotel at the end of the day. The city also has an open container policy which means you can walk around with wine in a plastic glass.
Some of the more popular ones are Perspective Cellars, Narrow Path Winery, Vintners Hideaway, and of course the historic Fredericksburg Winery.
Visit the National Museum of the Pacific War
The National Museum of Pacific War in Fredericksburg is a must-visit attraction for wartime and military enthusiasts. So what exactly is a Pacific War museum doing in this Texan town? There’s an interesting bit of history right there!
Fredericksburg was the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who commanded the US Pacific fleet forces during the Second World War. The National Museum of the Pacific War as well as the adjacent Nimitz Museum is located here in his honor.
This is the only museum in the country that is dedicated to telling the story of World War II that was fought in the Pacific region. The museum’s George H. W. Bush gallery has a vast collection that displays a variety of WWII era exhibits. You can see photographs, guns, flags, aircraft, tanks, and even personal letters that were sent home.
The recreated Pacific Combat war zone is a favorite with most visitors. Here you can see reenactments of the popular tactics and strategies used during the war. Other things to do at the museum include walking along the Plaza of Presidents and admiring the Japanese Garden of Peace.
The museum is among top history museums in the country and is definitely a must visit while in Fredericksburg.
Learn more about the admiral at the Admiral Nimitz Museum
The Nimitz Museum is dedicated entirely to the man who shaped the response, attack, and effectiveness of the Pacific Fleet during the Second World War.
Housed in the Old Nimitz Hotel the museum tells the story of the Admiral from his birth to his commanding the forces during the war. Visitors can see a range of personal artifacts donated by the Nimitz family.
Enjoy the solitude of the Japanese Garden of Peace
While the Japanese Garden of Peace is a part of the museum, it deserves a special mention simply because it is free to visit. It is really cathartic to take a stroll in this beautiful garden after seeing all the warfare exhibits.
We loved knowing that the garden is a symbol of friendship between Admiral Nimitz and Japanese commander Admiral Togo. The water features and shady trees feel great; visitors can rake their own gravel to feel peaceful in the garden.
Purchase unique Texas souvenirs
The many shops on Main Street are perfect to purchase unique Texas souvenirs like books about local history, handicrafts, paintings by local artists, magnets, postcards, barbeque recipe books, and wooden toys.
You can also buy western cowboy boots, hats, paintings of the Texas bluebonnets, candy, fudge, chocolates, and of course, wine bottles from the Texas Hill Country wineries as souvenirs or gifts for your loved ones.
Enjoy the wildflowers at Wildseed Farms
Wildseed Farms grows several different varieties of wildflowers and is the country’s largest working wildflower farm. The farm is spread over 200 acres and is open to visitors. There is no cost to enter the farm, making this one of the free things to do in Fredericksburg.
There are walking trails around the farm and from here you can see the beautiful wildflowers and take amazing photos. No matter when you go to the farm, something is always in bloom. But the best time to visit is from March to summer end. They also have an updated bloom calendar on their website, we recommend checking it before you go.
There are many other things to do at the farm. Drink beer at the Brewbonnet Biergarten. You will also find fresh salsas, jams & jellies, canned vegetables, and other Texan products here. Must try is the peach ice cream during summer. You can also shop for plants, pottery, souvenirs & more at the farm.
Enjoy the nightlife in Fredericksburg
The nightlife in Fredericksburg is pretty exciting. You can easily find dancing, cocktails, beers, and music. Along with a bevy of excellent restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, Fredericksburg also has great bars.
Most of them are located downtown on Main Street and are pretty easy to walk to. One of the most popular bars is 78624 The Bar. Other places to go include Der Daiwel, Pioneer Bar, and The Stable.
Check out the breweries and distilleries in the area
Yes we know that this is Texas Wine Country but Fredericksburg and its vicinity also has many breweries and distilleries. That’s right craft beer is a real thing in Texas.
There are two breweries located within Fredericksburg itself – Fredericksburg Brewing Company located on Main and Altstadt Brewery. Elk Store Winery and Distillery on Main Street is also worth the visit.
Besides these there are many other breweries and distilleries within driving distance of the city.
Go hiking at Lady Bird Johnson Park
Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg is the perfect place to go for hiking. This 33 acre park has many things to do including hiking trails, baseball fields, basketball courts, and more. There are also many other amenities like swimming pools, picnic areas, children’s play areas, etc.
We especially love the hiking trails. Our favorite is the 2.6 miles loop trail that has river and dam views. You can go off trail in places to make an even longer hike. There are several rock outcroppings and it is steep in places but a great way to get into nature. The trail is gorgeous in spring when the cacti and bushes are blooming with wildflowers.
Unique things to do in Fredericksburg
Here are some of the more unique things to do in Fredericksburg that almost no one else will tell you about. Many of these attractions and activities are hidden gems, discovered on our several visits to the city.
Have breakfast at Old German Bakery & Restaurant
When it comes to breakfast our favorite is the old German Bakery and Restaurant. There’s almost always a rush to be seated but the weight is worth it. All the food is served fresh and The bakery section has amazing pastries. Our kids love the potato pancakes here and visiting the bakery is definitely a highlight of our weekend trips to Fredericksburg.
Admire the historic St Mary’s church
The historic St Mary’s Catholic Church was founded by German immigrants in 1846. This beautiful building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has beautiful gothic architecture and the corner tower is an icon of the church.
You can see the church on a short guided tour that takes place after Mass on every Sunday. Inside you will find beautiful paintings and murals leading to its designation as the painted church of Texas Hill Country.
See the Old Jail exhibit
Located at 117 W San Antonio St, you can find the Old Gillespie County Jail that was built in 1885. This is a must for history buffs. The historic building was built with limestone blocks and is two stories high. It is one of its kind buildings in the area and is fascinating to see.
Buy fresh peaches from the orchards
Did you know that almost 40% of Texas peaches are grown in Gillespie County? Over 60 orchards are located in close proximity to the city and you can buy the peaches in several places. Our favorite is Das Peach Haus.
On several occasions, we have also seen fruit stands selling peaches while driving around the countryside. The peach season is from mid-May to mid-August, so time your visit accordingly. You can also taste the fruit in pies, wines, and even beer throughout Fredericksburg.
Enjoy a romantic time at Das Peach Haus
Speaking of Das Peach Haus, this place deserves a special mention because it is incredibly beautiful. Located in a historic building that served as a warehouse for Lone Star Beer, Das Peach Haus is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic meal in a tranquil setting.
Along with great food, they have an excellent range of local jams, jellie, sauces, and salsa for purchase. It is fun walking through the store and looking for things to buy. You can also sample wine at the store. In fall, they have pumpkin patches and seasonal decor and are a great place to visit.
But our favorite part is the little pind at the back. Sitting here, listening to the live music and amazing views is a very peaceful and fun experience.
See a performance at the Rockbox Theatre
For family-friendly things to do at night in Fredericksburg, visit the Rockbox Theater. This rock n roll themed performing venue has blues, jazz, country shows and is a nice option for spending an evening. They have tributes to various artists and always put on a good show.
Visit historic Fort Martin Scott
Built in 1848, Fort Martin Scott was a US Army Outpost near the town of Fredericksburg. It was built to defend the western frontier of Texas after the Mexican war. The fort served several purposes including protecting travelers and homesteaders until it was abandoned as the state expanded further west.
Today this historic site is open for self-guided tours. It is located on Highway 290 and easily accessible. You can view the historic buildings built in the grounds and even see historic reenactments at certain times during the year.
Visit the Texas Rangers Heritage Center
Located next to Fort Martin Scott, you will find the Texas Rangers Heritage Center. Here you can learn all about the history of Texas Rangers and their contribution to law enforcement. The center also occasionally has music, cookoffs, and other fun activities.
Step inside Twisted Sister bakeshop for a cuppa coffee
Our favorite when it comes to baked goodies and coffee! This lovely place has amazing coffee and both sweet and savory pastries. I personally love the iced mocha here and the pumpkin latte in autumn. Their cinnamon rolls are also huge and delicious. They also have excellent coffee mugs, sassy wall decor, and other goods for purchase.
Enjoy Christmas year round at the Christmas Store
The Christmas store on Main Street is a must if you love Christmas. The store is open year round and has been operational since 1994. Here you can experience the holiday season even if it is hot and sweaty outside. You can find unique Christmas ornaments, upscale holiday decor, wreaths, elves, stockings, and more.
Go antiquing in the city
If you love antiquing then Fredericksburg is one of the best places to stop. You can find a variety of interesting and charming historic pieces from vintage furniture and textiles to European pottery. There are many antique stores in the city.
Antique stores on Main Street include Farm Haus, Hill Country Trading Post, and the Vintage Vault. Another great place to visit is the Antique Mall of Fredericksburg. You can be sure to find several other stores and many treasures If you go antiquing in Fredericksburg.
Watch a production of the Fredericksburg Theatre Company
The Fredericksburg theater company is the best place to watch Broadway shows, Christmas classics, and Shakespearean plays in the city. The productions are really well put and include talented stars. This is definitely a fun thing to do if you are in the city for a longer time.
Smell the fresh herbs at the Fredericksburg Herb Farm
The Fredericksburg Herb Farm is a quaint property located just a few blocks off Main Street. This was originally a 1800s homestead and has now been transformed into a rustic resort with a herb farm, spa, and cottages.
While you can stay at the farm to enjoy its many attractions, you can also visit just to eat at the Farm Haus Bistro. You can walk among beds of rosemary, thyme, lavender, and other beautifully scented herbs on the property.
Seasonal Things to do in Fredericksburg
The city hosts a variety of events and festivals and has different attractions during different seasons. Here are some of our favorite times to visit Fredericksburg.
See the bluebonnets at Willow City Loop on spring
The Texas Hill Country is stunning during spring. A gentle breeze flows through the fields and flowers of every color bloom as far as the eye can see. The most prolific flower is of course the Texas bluebonnet and the best place to see it is right here in Fredericksburg. Willow City Loop is a 13-mile road that is bursting with wildflowers come spring. All along the road you will find unique Texas signs, cowboy boots, cattle, and horses.
Visit the lavender farms in June
If spring is for bluebonnets, summer is for lavender farms! There are several located in and around Fredericksburg. In fact, you will also see lavender blooming in the city itself if you visit in the summer.
Apart from picking your own flowers, you can also buy oils, tea, honey, and other artisan goods. Fredericksburg Herb Farm has lots of blooms and lavender items for sale. Becker Vineyards hosts a lavender festival while the nearby town of Blanco is known as ‘Lavender Capital of the World.’
Experience Christmas celebrations in the city
Texas is one of the best places in Texas to attend Christmas celebrations. The whole city decks up for the holiday season and a variety of events are held from Thanksgiving up to New Year. You can complete your holiday shopping at the Peddler Show.
Rent a pair of ice skates and enjoy ice skating with the family at the Eisbahn outdoor ice skating rink located at the Marktplatz. Stop at the Christmas store on Main Street and buy some ornaments. Take a photo with the enormous Christmas tree and sample holiday wines throughout the town.
Enjoy beer tasting at Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is one of the best times to visit Fredericksburg. The town holds a big celebration during the first weekend of October. There’s a lot of dancing, three stages devoted to German music, art and craft stalls, and plenty of beer! You might also see people dressed in lederhosen and can be forgiven for thinking that you are in Bavaria.
Best Things to do near Fredericksburg, Texas
While there are plenty of things to do in Fredericksburg, there are equally beautiful and unique attractions a short distance away from the city. Most of these can be seen as a short day trip from Fredericksburg.
Here are our favorite things to do near Fredericksburg, Texas:
Drive Highway 290 Wine Trail
Did you know that this part of the Texas Hill Country is also known as Wine Country? There are over 100 vineyards and wineries surrounding Fredericksburg. Many of them are located on the 30-mile stretch of the road from Fredericksburg to Johnson City. So take a designated driver or better yet the wine shuttle and hop on to sample some of the best wines in the Southeast US.
See the Alamo in San Antonio
Did you know that Fredericksburg is just an hour northwest of San Antonio? That’s right, you can also visit the Alamo and San Antonio’s beautiful riverwalk on a day trip from the city. At the Alamo, you can learn about Texas’s history and then go for a boat cruise down the San Antonio river. End your trip with a tex-mex dinner on the Riverwalk.
Go hiking at Enchanted Rock
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is located just 18 miles away from Fredericksburg and is definitely worth a visit. The name Enchanted Rock has its origins in a Native American legend. This unique rock formation is made of pink granite and rises 425 feet above the surrounding area.
The Summit trail to Enchanted Rock is over 4 miles and takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. From the top, you can have stunning views of the Texas Hill Country. Besides this, there are many other hiking trails at Enchanted Rock. Visitors can also go rock climbing and see wildlife.
Take a day trip to Wimberley
Wimberley, located an hour southeast of Fredericksburg, makes an excellent day trip. There are many things to do in this charming town but the two most famous attractions are the swimming holes of Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole. Both these areas are perfect to take a dip on a hot summer day and hence favorite with families.
See the falls at Pedernales State Park
Pedernales Falls State Park is located on the banks of the Pedernales River and is an excellent place to visit. The park has hiking trails of varying difficulty levels and is great for families. Visitors can go swimming and river tubing or even fishing. Children can play in the water in shallow areas. The mountain biking trails here are also worth exploring.
Float down the river in New Braunfels
New Braunfels is located a little under 60 miles away from Fredericksburg and can be reached in an hour and a half. The town is also a German town and while the architecture is similar to that of Fredericksburg, New Braunfels is a destination in its own right. Our most favorite thing to do here in the summer is to go floating down the river.
Explore the historic district in Kerrville
Kerrville is located just a little over 20 miles away from Fredericksburg and makes a great day trip. The highlight is historic downtown where you can see many beautiful buildings and the Gillespie County courthouse. You can walk along the river trail and also see the Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden.
Attend a country concert in Luckenbach
Luckenbach is famous for its population of 3. This small town has just about 5 buildings and yet attracts thousands of tourists every weekend. Luckenbach is famous for being a venue for country music concerts and experiencing one in this unique location is a treat. Luckenbach is located just under 5 miles from Fredericksburg and is a must stop.
See the bats fly at Old Tunnel State Park
Old Tunnel State Park comprises an old railroad tunnel and the area surrounding it. This is one of the premier bat watching sites in Texas. Over 3 million bats live in the state park from May to October. Visitors can view the bats emerge from the old tunnel at sunset; it is a fascinating site similar to the bat flight in Austin. Other things to do at the park include nature trails and bird watching.
Visit LBJ State Park and Historic Site
LBJ State Park and Historic Site is dedicated to President Johnson. Located in Stonewall the park is a must visit for history buffs. Visitors can tour the LBJ Ranch, his birthplace, and the family cemetery among other historic buildings.
Visitors can also see the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead located within the park. This living history museum it’s the best way to learn how the pioneer families lived a century ago. You can see activities such as sheep shearing, sausage making, and more.
Visiting Fredericksburg is like stepping back into an old world. You might still hear German being spoken while taking a stroll on Main Street. The city even observes the old customs and traditions. The beautiful countryside and the European atmosphere make Fredericksburg one of the top cities to visit in Texas.
We hope you liked our post on the many amazing things to do in Fredericksburg from bakeries and wineries to museums and hiking.
This post first appeared on Enchanting Texas and has been republished here with permission.