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Frankenmuth, Michigan Attractions, Parks, Trails, Historic Locations & More





Known as "Michigan's Little Bavaria," Frankenmuth is one of Michigan's most popular tourist destinations. The world's largest Christmas store, unique specialty shops, tasty restaurants, numerous festivals, and much more attract visitors throughout the year.

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland

Celebrating the spirit of Christmas year-round, Bronner's Christmas Wonderland is the world's largest Christmas store. Over 50,000 ornaments, trees, decorations, specialty items, and gifts can be found inside. The store is open 361 days a year, so it's never too early to do a little Christmas shopping. A treat to see at night is the drive-thru lighted holiday display along Christmas Lane, which is near the entrance off M-83.

On the southeast corner of Bronner's property is Silent Night Chapel, a replica of the Silent Night Memorial Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria. Surrounding the chapel, there are plaques that have the hymn "Silent Night" in over 300 languages. The peaceful location offers visitors a place to reflect and meditate. Bronner's Silent Night Chapel was dedicated on November 20, 1992.

Frankenmuth Tours

Carriage Rides of the Frankenmuth area are popular with visitors. Two different carriage companies operate in town. Fantasy Carriage Company has carriages that leave from the drive near Eddie Zehnder Park, and its tours include historic spots and attractions in town. Frankenmuth Carriage Company is based at the south side of Bavarian Inn Restaurant, and the carriage rides visit the covered bridge, River Place, and Main Street.

Bavarian Belle Riverboat leaves from a dock at the River Place Shops and paddles down the Cass River. The paddle-wheel riverboat provides a narrated tour of the Frankenmuth area. For ticket information, visit the Bavarian Belle's web site.

Frankenmuth FunShips offer tours of Frankenmuth and the Cass River by electric-powered boats. For more details, visit the Frankenmuth FunShips' web site.

Historic Locations & Museums

Reverend August Craemer and 14 other immigrants from Franconia, Bavaria, traveled to Michigan and founded Frankenmuth in 1845. The city has many historic places and museums to visit. See the Frankenmuth Historic Locations & Museums page for details.

Food and Beverages

Zehnder's Restaurant and Bavarian Inn Restaurant are well-known for their family-style, all-you-can-eat dinners. Tasty, breaded chicken is featured at both restaurants, and many other choices are available on their menus. It's not unusual for visitors to wait in line to be seated at the two restaurants, especially near the holidays. Zehnder's is America's largest family restaurant, with available seating for more than 1,500 guests.

Other notable restaurants in Frankenmuth include:
  • da Vinci's Italian Restaurant is located on the north side of Frankenmuth on Main Street/M-83. The eatery features authentic Italian dishes, specialty pizzas, stromboli, sandwiches, and more.

  • Frankenmuth Brewery is one of Michigan's largest breweries. The restaurant's menu includes pizza, burgers, sandwiches, ribs, and fish.

  • Sullivan's Black Forest Brew Haus and Grill is located on Heinlein Strasse, near Weiss Street. Fish & chips, prime rib, steaks, burgers, and pizza are on the menu, as well as hand-crafted beers.

  • T-Dub's on Main Street is known for East Coast-style pizzas. The restaurant also serves sandwiches, beer, and wine.

  • Tiffany's Food & Spirits has pizza, burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, and specialty items.

  • At Frankenmuth River Place, specialty eateries include SugarHigh Bakery and La Crepe du Jour.

Several fast-food and chain restaurants are located in Frankenmuth, including Burger King, Hungry Howie's Pizza, Little Caesar's Pizza, McDonald's, and Tim Horton's.

Shopping

In addition to the world's largest Christmas store, Frankenmuth has many stores to visit along Main Street.

Frankenmuth River Place features over 40 stores and attractions along the Cass River. The shopping center has many unique shops, such as The Michigan Shoppe, Bead Haven, and Peace Frogs of Frankenmuth.

North of the Cass River, there are quite a few stores along Main Street that are within walking distance. Zehnder's Marketplace, Bavarian Inn Castle Shops, Rau's Country Store, Frankenmuth Cheese Haus, Willi's Sausage Company, Zak's Bavarian Kandy Haus, and Covered Bridge & Leather Gift Shop are some of the most popular shops.

One of Southeast Michigan's premier shopping destinations is located a few miles south of Frankenmuth, at exit 136 on I-75. Birch Run Premium Outlets has outlet stores for many leading retailers and manufacturers.

Frankenmuth Parks

Heritage Park is a large recreation area on the riverfront. The park has three baseball diamonds, a basketball court, sand volleyball courts, and soccer field. Several picnic shelters are located at the park for gatherings, and the park has two playgrounds for kids. Kayaks and canoes can be launched from the northeast side of the park. Heritage Park Riverwalk offers visitors a relaxing stroll along the Cass River.

Heritage Park hosts festivals and community events at Marv Herzog Fest Platz and Harvey E. Kern Community Pavilion.

Memorial Park is a scenic park with large rolling hills, which are popular for sledding in the winter. A large dog park, horseshoe pits, playground, and baseball diamond are located at the park. The disc golf course is a favorite with disc golfers, and the start of the course is near the parking lot for the dog park. During the summer, the park's rose garden offers a serene, beautiful location. The park's band shell, Palmer Schau Platz, hosts the city's summer concert series.

Willkommen Park is located at the corner of Tuscola and Main Streets. An impressive veteran's memorial honors those who served their country. The park offers visitors to downtown a place to relax.

St. Lorenz Community Soccer Field features several soccer fields for youth leagues on Mayer Road.

St. Lorenz Churchgrove Park is owned and operated by St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church. The 26-acre park has playgrounds, campsites, and pavilions. Baseball diamonds are located south of the park on the St. Lorenz School property.

Eddie Zehnder Park hosts car shows and other events during the year. The park on Main Street is located a short distance from Zehnder's Restaurant. A large nativity display is located at the park during Christmas-time.

Zehnder Park is located between Flint and Main Streets. A basketball hoop and playground are at the park, which also includes a building for boy scout gatherings and other events. On the far edge of the park, near Main Street, there is the Frankenmuth Woodcarver's Pavilion. The pavilion features several intricately carved scenes from children's books.

Eastgate Park is a square neighborhood park with several trees.

Wil Keinath Park is on the north side of Schleir Street. The rectangular park has a small playground and a large open space.

Cross Park is across the street from Bronner's and features a large white cross. The park is viewed by visitors driving north or south on M-83.

The community has a few other smaller neighborhood parks, such as Genessee Park, Harlan Park, and Sunburst Park.

Trails and Walking Routes

Heritage Park Riverwalk is a paved path that winds through Heritage Park, along the Cass River. It offers beautiful views of the riverfront, the covered bridge, and Bavarian Inn Lodge. There is a large parking area at the park that provides access to the Riverwalk.

Gunzenhausen Walkway is located along Gunzenhausen Street. The brick path is great for a relaxing stroll along the Cass River. It provides scenic views of the river, the old mill, and holiday decorations located along the river. A parking lot is located next the the path where Gunzenhausen Street and Rosstal Street meet.

You can see much of Frankenmuth by foot using the sidewalks along several city streets. Downtown sidewalks are commonly used by visitors who want to visit shops near Zehnder's and Bavarian Inn, but you can see many other places in Frankenmuth by foot, such as Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, Michigan's Own Military & Space Museum, Memorial Park, Heritage Park, historic locations and many other places.

Bike Routes

Cyclists can use bike lanes and the shoulders of a few city streets to reach several locations in Frankenmuth. Along Genessee Street, there are bike lanes that start on the west side of town at Mayer Road and go east past the municipal offices to the Frankenmuth schools. Churchgrove Road, Mayer Road and West Tuscola Street are wider streets that have room for bicycles to ride along the edge, to reach St. Lorenz Community Soccer Fields, St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church, and St. Lorenz Churchgrove Park.

Cyclists can do a loop from Genessee Street using Mayer Road, West Tuscola Street and South Franklin Street. West Tuscola and South Franklin Streets are lower volume roads, where cyclists will need to share the road and ride on the outside edge of the street.

When riding next to the road or using a bike lane, be sure to obey traffic laws and stay alert.

Boating and Kayaking

A boat launch for fishing boats and small boats is located on the south side of East Tuscola Street, providing access to the Cass River. A small parking lot and picnic area are located near the concrete boat ramp. There is no charge for using the boat launch.

At Heritage Park, kayaks and canoes can be launched from the northwest part of the park, west of the volleyball courts. The kayak launch is almost directly across from the concrete boat ramp on the other side of the river.

The dam on the Cass River is located west of the M-83 bridge, less than a quarter mile from the covered bridge and Frankenmuth River Place. Boaters would be wise to not venture past the covered bridge and to boat west of Heritage Park. The river is a "no wake zone" from the boat launch downstream to the dam.

Festivals and Entertainment

During the summer, free concerts are held at Palmer Schau Platz, the band shell, at Memorial Park. You can bring a blanket or chair to the park and enjoy a night of live music. The event is sponsored by the Frankenmuth Women's Club.

Each June, the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival is an annual celebration that features a parade, delicious German foods, music, beer, rides, and entertainment.

Beer lovers can sample frosty beverages from around the world every May in Frankenmuth at the World Expo of Beer. Michigan's largest international beer sampling event also includes live music, food, and beer school.

In August, the Summer Music Fest brings live music to Heritage Park. Polka, Polish, German, Solvenian, and other types of music are part of the celebration, which includes food and entertainment.

Over the third full weekend In September, Frankenmuth hosts Oktoberfest at Heritage Park. Dancing, beer, and food are part of the festivities.

Frankenmuth Auto Fest brings over 2,000 classic and specialty cars to Frankenmuth for a fun weekend.

Zehnder's Snowfest is one of North America's premier snow-sculpting events. The festival features a variety of snow-sculpting and ice-carving competitions. Visitors can enjoy seeing beautiful snow and ice sculptures of all sizes, as well as entertainment, children's activities, a petting zoo, and fireworks.

Farmers Market

Farm-fresh produce, baked goods, handmade items, and much more are available at the Frankenmuth Farmers Market. From late May through mid-October, the market is open Saturdays in downtown Frankenmuth, in a parking lot across the street from the Frankenmuth Historical Museum.

On Thanksgiving weekend and the following weekend, the market hosts Christkindlmarkt, which includes festive food, holiday decorations, and much more.

For more details, visit the Frankenmuth Farmers Market web site.

Lodging

Frankenmuth offers many places to stay. Bavarian Inn Lodge and Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel are two unique resorts in Frankenmuth. Drury Inn, Fairfield Inn, Marv Herzog Hotel, and Spring Hill Suites are located in downtown along Main Street/M-83. Campers can enjoy a relaxing stay at Frankenmuth Jellystone Park.









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