Situated less than two hours west of Downtown Austin, Fredericksburg offers a small town feel with plenty of attractions. Fredericksburg may be best known for its wineries that have helped put Central Texas on the map for exceptional wine tasting. The little city is also rich in history and maintains its German roots with places like the Marketplatz, the Verins Kirche, and the Pioneer Museum. Lots of local shops and restaurants also pay homage to the German immigrants who once founded the city. When you add on tons of great museums, fun festivals and events, and one of the best spots for Hill Country outdoor adventures, this place really does seem to have it all! One day is not enough to explore all that Fredericksburg has to offer, you’ll definitely want to take a weekend getaway to this quaint little city! While you’re visiting, here are six areas and attractions you won’t want to miss out on!
Downtown Fredericksburg is rich in culture and German history, but is probably best known for the shopping! The central shopping district located along Main Street is known as “The Magic Mile” and begins just east of the Admiral Nimitz Museum and continues west to the Marketplatz. Shops offer anything from furniture and decor at the Auer Haus, children’s clothing at Beaulah’s Children’s Boutique, and cookware and bakeware at Der Kuchen Laden, to beautiful natural jewelry at Earth Treasures. The Marketplatz at the end of the shopping district is considered the heart and soul of Fredericksburg and hosts many of the town’s most famous festivals and events. Here you can also stroll through native gardens filled with heirloom roses and the kiddos can enjoy the playscape, a storytelling Maibaum, and a water wheel. And of course, don’t miss out on authentic German cuisine! The Auslander Restaurant and Biergarten has long been one of the most popular restaurants in Fredericksburg with hand-cut steaks, seafood, sandwiches, and homemade desserts, while the charming and unique Der Lindenbaum Restaurant offers truly authentic German dishes you won’t find anywhere else this side of the Atlantic!
Located just outside of Fredericksburg along the Pedernales River, The LBJ Ranch is rich in Texas history. The 36th President, Lyndon B. Johnson, was born and raised in the area that now serves as the park. The ranch was known as the “Texas White House” during his presidency because he spent so much time there. It was also his final resting place. You can spend hours exploring the park and visiting historical landmarks like LBJ’s birthplace; the Junction School where four-year old Johnson learned to read and where, 53 years later as President, he signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Both the ranch where Johnson lived and the nearby farmhouse that his grandparents called home are open for touring as well. The park also hosts many fun events including stargazing and a Christmas tree lighting. Admission to the park is free, but donations are appreciated. A tour of the Texas White House is just $3, with free tours given on Veteran’s Day, President Johnson’s Birthday, and on First Lady Lady Bird Johnson’s birthday, which is coming up on December 22!
Fredericksburg is the heart and soul of the Hill Country wine region, with more than two dozen wineries and tasting rooms. Becker Vineyards is a local favorite and award winner and has even been served in The White House.The vineyard offers wine tasting and cellar tours, a wine club, picnicking, and even hosts an annual Lavender Festival. Another top rated Fredericksburg winery is the Grape Creek Vineyards and Trattoria, which features an Italian Villa tasting room and event center that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Tuscany. 4.0 Cellars is another must visit, featuring a collaboration of three of Texas’ internationally recognized wineries – McPherson Cellars, Lost Oak Winery, and Brennan Vineyards. Tastings are typically well priced and can be enjoyed with delicious food and stunning hill country views! The area also offers plenty of great packages for the perfect weekend wine tasting excursion! The 290 Wine Shuttle brings you to more than ten incredible wineries along Highway 290E and the Texas Wine Trail offers tons of fantastic events throughout the year, including their Holiday Wine Trail in December!
The only institution in the country dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the fight in the pacific against Japan during World War II, this museum is located at the childhood home of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. Originally the museum was built to honor Nimitz, but it was his wish that the museum honor all the the Americans who served in the war against Japan, not just him. The museum is open 9am – 5pm every day and features numerous exhibits including the original Admiral Nimitz Museum located in the restored Nimitz Hotel, along with the Japanese Garden of Peace, the Memorial Courtyard, the Plaza of the Presidents, the George Bush Gallery of the Pacific War, and the Pacific Combat Zone. Tickets to the museum are valid for a full 48 hours and cost $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for military, $7 for kids 6+ and students, and free for kids 5 and under.
Located just north of Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock offers some of the most breathtaking views in the Hill Country. Hike along 11 miles of trails or rock climb up the cliffs of the giant pink granite dome to enjoy a picnic at the summit, look for local wildlife and bird watch, or camp out for the weekend and enjoy the breathtaking sights and stargazing! Read up on local legends before you go to really understand the history behind the area and why they call it “Enchanted” rock! Entrance to the park is $7 and all trails except the loop trail close 30 minutes after sunset. For camping, the park offers both primitive backpack campsites that you must hike up to three miles to get to, or walk-in campsites that offer picnic tables, outdoor grilling, a tent pad, water, and nearby restrooms and showers. Primitive sites are $14 per night and walk-in sites are $18 per night. You can also get in on the Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge, for a fun “treasure hunt” that the whole family can enjoy!
Eisbahn is a can’t miss annual holiday event sponsored by the Heritage School. A real ice rink is installed every year under a pavilion in the Marketplatz on West Main Street and locals and visitors alike enjoy skating, sipping cocoa, and singing along to Christmas music. Eisbahn was started in 2005 by the Fredericksburg Lifeline Foundation to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis and in 2008 the Heritage School stepped up to take over the event when the Lifeline Foundation could no longer manage and run Eisbahn. Today, the event is run by volunteers from the Heritage School and a portion of the proceeds continue to go to the Lifeline Foundation as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Fredericksburg and the needs-based tuition assistance program for qualifying families at the Heritage School. Eisbahn kicks off the Friday after Thanksgiving and continues through the weekend of New Year’s Day. Come-and-go day passes are $15 and include skate rentals.