Sourced from Wikivoyage. Text is available under the CC-by-SA 3.0 license.Frankenmuth is a city of about 4,838 people in southeastern Michigan, which was originally settled in 1845 by 15 Lutheran Germans who intended to spread the Christian religion to the Native American population in the area. The town today capitalizes on this German background, billing itself as "Michigan's Little Bavaria", and styling its downtown after an idealized image of a 19th-century Germany village. Visitors may find it to be unbearably kitschy, but there's a great sense of fun and an almost theme-park-like feel about the downtown area.
By carFrankenmuth is situated close to I-75, between Flint and Saginaw. Coming north from Detroit, take exit 136 and travel east on M-54, then north on M-83. Coming south from Mackinaw City, take exit 149 and travel east on M-46, then south on M-83.
You'll need a car to reach the downtown area; fortunately, parking is abundant and free, even during heavy tourist periods. Most of the main attractions downtown are easily reached by walking, but you might want to pull the car back out to get to some of the more far-flung locations.
- Downtown Frankenmuth spans several blocks of shops in Franconian (not Bavarian)-style buildings, starting from Frankenmuth River Place and continuing uphill. It's easily walkable and very pedestrian-friendly. The Cass River runs alongside the downtown area, and there are some very pleasant swathes of grassy tree-dotted hills if you want to take a riverside picnic break.
phone: +1 989-652-8005address: 1250 Weiss StreetOpen weekly until 5 pm, except during January and February. The only museum of its type in the US, including uniform displays for Michigan veterans of six foreign wars and the space program, featuring over 400 exhibits.
Frankenmuth plays host to several festivals throughout the year:
- Bavarian Festival, early June. Bavarian music, two parades, a midway with rides and games, and of course German food.
- Oktoberfest, mid-September. Bavarian music, Dachshund races, German food and lots of beer.
phone: +1 989 652-6964address: 495 N. Franklin St. Ste. A.See show cars cruising main street at the Friday "Big Block" party and over 2,000 show cars on display in Heritage Park.
phone: +1 (855) 421-4312address: 730 S Main StA weeklong winter festival featuring snow and ice sculptures and a variety of other activities. The international competition is located at Zehnder's Restaurant, the state competition at the Bavarian Inn, and the high school competition at the River Place Shops. Occurs annually the last week of January.
Bronner's Christmas Wonderlandphone: +1 989-652-9931address: 25 Christmas LaneFrankenmuth is arguably even more well-known for Bronner's than it is for its Bavarian culture. Operating since 1945, Bronner's is the largest store in the world specializing in Christmas merchandise: the buildings alone cover 7.35 acres, with another 27 acres of landscaped grounds. The complex offers over 50,000 trims and gifts, and displays 350 decorated Christmas trees. Open daily year-round, except New Year's, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
address: 925 South Main StreetOver 34 shops and attractions, including a mirror maze, bumper cars, a laser show at the outdoor amphitheatre, and a paddlewheel boat that runs tours along the Cass River.
phone: +1 989 624-1347address: 12240 South Beyer RdLarge outdoors shopping mall with over 140 stores, including both outlets and regular retail. Stop by customer service for a coupon book.
One of the main attractions in Frankenmuth is its famous all-you-can-eat chicken dinners, offered at both the Bavarian Inn and Zehnder's, its two largest downtown restaurants. For $25 per person, diners are served all-you-can-eat homemade breads (including stollen), butter, preserves, chicken noodle soup, salad, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered noodles, hot vegetables, and homemade ice cream. The centrepiece, of course, is the mouth-wateringly juicy fried chicken. If you're a non-vegetarian visiting Frankenmuth, don't miss it.
Many other German dishes can be found in town as well, including wienerschnitzel, sauerbraten, and a variety of German sausages.
Other spots to try:
address: 730 S Main StLocated in the basement of Zehnder's Restaurant, Z's Cafe offers the same food at a significantly reduced price. Food is served cafeteria style and does not come with all of the extras available with the full family-style chicken dinner.
address: 730 S Main StLocated in the basement of Zehnder's Restaurant, Zehnder's Bakery features a wide variety of baked goods (including traditional German goods) along with gourmet foods, cheeses, chocolates, etc. Lots of samples!
address: 545 S Main StA large cheese shop offering a huge variety of cheeses, including exotic delicacies as chocolate and strawberry cheese.
address: 110 West Jefferson StreetBratwurst, knackwurst, braunschweiger, summer sausage and many other German specialties.
address: 425 South Main StreetHigh-quality pub food with a German twist. Over 10 locally craft-brewed lagers and ales, some of them award-winning. $8 (sandwiches) - $20 (pasta and steaks). open as of July 1st 2009.
Sullivan's Black Forest Brew Haus & Grilladdress: 281 Heinlein StrassePub food including barbecue. Four flagship handcrafted beers, three specialty brews and six seasonal beers. $6 (burgers) - $19 (steaks).
There are multiple hotels in Frankenmuth to choose from, with more only a few miles away in Birch Run.
address: 1 Covered Bridge Lane360 rooms. Features three restaurants, a water park with four pools and three whirlpools, 18-hole indoor miniature golf, and a children's play village. (The Bavarian Inn Restaurant is located a short walk away across the nearby covered bridge, not in the Lodge itself.)
address: 1365 South Main Street178 rooms. Features a 50,000 square foot indoor waterpark and two restaurants.
address: 501 South Main Street38 rooms. A smaller Bavarian-themed hotel located in central downtown area, featuring memorabilia of musician and Frankenmuth native Marv Herzog. The hotel offers a German-style bier garten on a large riverside patio.