Texas’ connection with Germany is well-known amongst locals: starting in the mid-19th century, German immigrants came to Texas in large numbers, bringing architecture, art, smoked meats, and even language with them, building several German towns in Texas along the way.
In fact, in some small corners of the state, the Texas German dialect is still spoken to this day, though the number of speakers is rapidly dwindling.
Hoping to discover a bit of Texas’ German heritage?
Here are some of the coolest German towns in Texas to visit!
Of all the German towns in Texas, Fredericksburg just may be the most famous!
Founded in 1846 by German immigrants, this beautiful town is also known for being a central hub in the best wine-making region of Texas.
Today, the cultural heritage of the original German settlers is alive and well as their descendants have kept many of the traditions and celebrations.
Hundreds of people attend the annual Oktoberfest celebration as the town square, the Marktplatz, is transformed to celebrate all things German.
Grab your dirndl, don your lederhosen, and dance the polka to live music. Enjoy handmade sausage while sipping a locally crafted beer or glass of wine.
Don’t forget to browse the arts and craft vendors for both traditional and modern style items, there is sure to be something you can’t live without.
The unique and eye-catching Altstadt Brewery makes traditional German-style beer.
Take a tour of the brewery, then sit down for a delightful meal of Bavarian-inspired favorites served as a perfect complement to their beers.
If you can’t decide which beer to start with, try one of the beer flights for a custom beer experience.
Visitors should also stop by the Altdorf Biergarten for a local brew, where the assortment of German-style beer on tap will delight any pallet.
Combine a large, cold stein of beer with delicious traditional German cuisine for a true Fredericksburg experience.
Enjoy the schnitzel, German sausages, potato salad, red cabbage, or sauerkraut then wrap the whole meal up with a large slice of German Chocolate Cake or Apple Strudel. Check the weekend schedule for live music in the Biergarten.
Visitors looking for something sweet should plan a stop at Pritzer Sweet Shop or Fredericksburg Fudge. Pritzer is renowned for its Sweet German Pretzel, but don’t forget to load up on their cookies, all made in-house.
At the Fredericksburg Fudge store, visitors can watch treats being made while trying to select from a large array of fudge selections and a variety of chocolate-inspired treats.
Take a tin or two with you to nibble as you stroll through the streets of Fredericksburg or as a snack for the trip back home.
Museums in Fredericksburg
There are three main museums in Fredericksburg, the Pioneer Museum, the Vereins Kirche, and the National Museum of the Pacific War.
The Pioneer Museum is a delightful stroll through history as visitors not only get to see the authentic farm and Sunday houses of the original German settlers but also get to hear the recorded stories of their descendants as they tell family stories.
The Vereins Kirche is an extension of the Pioneer Museum and is centrally located in Marktplatz. The Vereins Kirche is an octagonal building housing artifacts from early settlers and is one of the oldest buildings in Fredericksburg.
Used as alternately as a public meeting house, church, and a fort during the nineteenth century, it stands today as a testament to the values of the original settlers.
The National Museum of the Pacific War pays homage to Fredericksburg’s native son, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, and the thousands of American troops who served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
The museum is partially housed in the Nimitz family home and extends over six acres off Main Street in central Fredericksburg.
The interior and exterior exhibits are well organized and extensive, visitors to the Pacific Museum will want to set aside several hours or half a day to truly explore all the museum has to offer.
The town of New Braunfels refers to itself as “the fun place”, and it certainly fits that bill as one of the coolest German cities in Texas.
Located just a short drive northeast of San Antonio and southwest of Austin, New Braunfels is a common excursion point for water lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Originally founded in 1845 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, who settled hundreds of German and Austrian families in the region. New Braunfels newspaper, the Herald-Zeitung, has been continuously printed since 1852.
German Festivals + Food in New Braunfels
The original settlers have left a lasting cultural legacy in the Wurstfest and Wassailfest celebrations held annually in New Braunfels.
Wurstfest, held every November, is a German-style sausage festival with live music, great food, German-style beer brewed locally, and the best Alpine-style entertainment in Texas.
Almost a month later, on the first weekend of December, Wassailfest brings crowds back to New Braunfels for this annual Christmas tradition and celebration.
Grab a pint of warm wassail and enjoy the holiday atmosphere with street carolers and over a 100,000 Christmas light strung up decoratively in the town’s central plaza.
Visitors looking for German-style craft beer in New Braunfels will be delighted with Krause’s Biergarten and Cafe. The Biergarten is the perfect place to enjoy a cold stein of beer and the classic “Garten” atmosphere.
Krause’s has a large variety of local and international German-style beers on tap, and hosts weekday events like Lederhosen Junkies and Yodel Blitz to create a fun and boisterous environment.
In March Krause’s hosts a ½ Way to Oktoberfest Celebration with beer, food, and live music.
While enjoying a cold beer, visitors can enjoy a sausage sampler, the Bavarian pretzel, the Bratentsche (bratwurst), a selection of schnitzel, and house favorites like schweinshaxe or German meatballs.
Naegelin’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in Texas, was established in New Braunfels in 1868 serving traditional and modern bread and treats. The tantalizing smell of these fresh baked goods will lead visitors by the nose right down the street.
Baked fresh daily, Naegelin’s offers over a dozen varieties of breads, danishes, pies, strudel, sweet rolls, along with cakes, cookies, and donuts.
Don’t forget to grab a box of the assorted German cookies for the road, filled with a dozen each of Iced Molasses, Lebkuchen, Pfefernuesse, and Springerle cookies.
Museums in New Braunfels
Museums like the Sophienburg Museum and Archives along with the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture bring the cultural past of New Braunfels to life.
The Sophienburg Museum is dedicated to telling the immigrant experience of the first German settlers of New Braunfels and how they shaped the culture and economy of the region.
Visitors to the Sophienburg can read first-hand accounts of the immigrants’ stories and see the preserved nineteenth-century artifacts.
The Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture has a unique display of artifacts handcrafted by the first European immigrants to settle in Texas. Displays include pieces by famous master carpenters of the Biedermeier style, like Heinrich School Jr and Johann Michael Jahn.
The museum grounds include the Barn & Cabinet Shop, the Solms School, Breustedt House, and Kitchen, Sewing Haus, General Store, Adobe Brickmaking Hut, Specht Haus, and Wash Haus, giving visitors a unique glimpse into all aspects of nineteenth-century Texas colonial life.
Just thirty minutes northwest of San Antonio lies the lovely town of Boerne, Texas.
Pronounced “Bernie” by locals, the town was platted in 1852 and named for the German author Karl Ludwig Borne.
The Boerne Market Days, a tradition since 1850, attracts hundreds of visitors to this small town the second weekend of every month and takes place on Main Plaza in the heart of the historic district.
Visitors can enjoy the old town charm while listening to live music and shopping at the large variety of arts and craft vendors.
Walking the Hill Country Mile is the perfect way to explore the historic buildings and lovely architecture of Boerne. Many of the nineteenth-century buildings have been preserved or restored along the Hill Country Mile and now house art galleries, restaurants, and shops.
Stop in or spend the night at The Kendall, an original stagecoach stop that dates back to 1859.
Visit The Dienger Trading Co., a beautifully restored building originally built in the 1880s and served as the general store and home of the Dienger family through the mid-twentieth century.
Where to Find German Food in Boerne
Little Gretel Restaurant serves a blended tradition of “German” food with cuisine influences from Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Czech with everything made from scratch.
Enjoy sweet kolaches, a variety of schnitzels, local sausages or bratwurst, or sauerbraten and dumplings. Pair your meal selections with a glass of German or Czech beer or wine.
The culinary skill of Little Gretel’s European-born chef will delight the taste buds and leave visitors yearning to return for a bite of Europe in Texas.
Museums in Boerne
Museums like the Herff Farm Homestead and the Kuhlmann-King House give visitors glimpses into the history of Boerne’s original settlers.
The Herff Farm Homestead sits on over sixty acres of land and was one of the first homes built in Boerne.
Today the farm and land are run by the Cibolo Nature Center, promoting ecological conservation and the Cibolo Nature School for kids. The
Kuhlmann-King House was built in the 1880s and is open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Visitors can explore the ground floor rooms and the historic detached kitchen.
Situated on Interstate 10 between Houston and San Antonio, Schulenburg is a quiet little town of fewer than 3000 people and one of the most famous Texas German towns.
Many of the early settlers were of German, Austrian, and Czech descent which created traditions making Schulenburg a rich cultural place to visit.
The Painted Churches of the area surrounding Schulenburg house some of the most beautiful and astounding displays of artistic talent.
Hand-painted murals and frescos cover the walls, spires, and ceilings of the churches.
Inspired by the gothic architecture of European cathedrals, the art is often painted with such skill and illusion that it gives the viewer the impression of the vaulted ceilings.
The Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce offers guided tours of the Painted Churches on Saturdays which will take visitors to several of the small communities around the area including Dubina, High Hill, Ammannsville, and Praha.
Although visitors need to make reservations in advance, this tour should be on everyone’s ‘must see’ list.
Festivals in Schulenburg
Small towns are known for their festivals, and Schulenburg does not disappoint with both a sausagefest in the spring and a festival in the fall.
The Schulenburg Sausagefest held every spring is a wonderful, small-town experience for visitors. Feast on a handmade sausage while listening to live polka music.
The Sausagefest includes not only a sausage cook-off but also a contest of the best pickles, wine, and sauerkraut as well.
The Schulenburg Fall Festival held the first weekend of August holds assorted fun for visitors of all ages. Activities include cooking contests, a fun run, pageants, parades, and a variety of sporting events.
During the festival, browse through the various arts and crafts vendors for the perfect holiday decoration or gift.
Regardless of what time of year you visit, no trip to Schulenburg would be complete without the opportunity for an authentic meal and Oakridge Smokehouse Restaurant provides visitors with the perfect setting.
Combining traditional German cuisine like sausage, sauerkraut, chicken, and dumplings, with authentic Texas BBQ creates a culinary delight for any meat lover. Oakridge Smokehouse gives guests the option of a buffet or to order from the menu.
As visitors leave they can stop by the in-house store to grab meats, cheeses, butter, breads, kolaches, strudels, or pies to go for the perfect snack down the road.
Museums in Schulenburg
No trip would be complete without checking out the local museums like the Schulenburg Historical Museum, Texas Polka Music Museum, or the Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum.
The Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum celebrates the accomplishments of the most popular designers and manufacturers of model airplanes in the twentieth century, Victor and Joe Stanzel.
The complex includes the Main Museum with exhibits and interactive displays, the Factory Wing where visitors can learn about the development and manufacturing of model airplane sets, and the Stanzel Family Homestead with furnishings from the late nineteenth century.
Plan a short hour or two stop at the Model Aircraft Museum and give a child’s mind the creative opportunity to take flight.
The Schulenburg Historical Museum is open on weekends and is free to visitors.
Displays in this museum include pictures and artifacts donated by local families and are arranged to create a realistic view of the life of the prior generations.
The Texas Polka Music Museum celebrates the creative accomplishments of music groups who have helped to preserve Polka music in the Lone Star State and is a great stop when exploring German towns in Texas.