Disclaimer: My experiences were hosted by Fredericksburg Convention & Visitor Bureau during a Geiger & Associates press trip. All opinions and photos are mine.
There is something special about Fredericksburg, Texas. It’s a feeling you get the moment you arrive in town. The Hill Country town, founded in 1846, is deeply rooted in its German heritage while remaining true to modern life.
Award-winning restaurants, an almost endless winery trail, boutiques, and picture-worthy lodging make the town visit-worthy.
After a first-time visit, you may not want to leave.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Winter’s temperatures crest in the upper 60 degrees, and summer nights cool off in the pleasant 70-degree range.
As a first-time visitor, you should provide a vehicle, especially if staying overnight at lodging outside of town. You’ll want a car when driving along the Urban Wine Trail beyond town. If you prefer not to drive, reserve a wine bus tour.
Parking downtown is free, and plenty of it is along Main Street or behind Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor’s Center (302 E. Austin St.), plus they provide accessible public bathrooms.
Additionally, Fredericksburg Tours is an excellent way to learn about the German history of the town in one hour from a climate-controlled luxury trolley.
SAVORING LOCAL FLAVOR
You can expect an almost endless list of restaurants to choose from when dining in Fredericksburg. After dining at several of them, I can confidently recommend casual and fine dining establishments worthy of sharing with others.
Whether your tastebuds crave a slice of pizza or oak-smoked brisket with a side of creamy mac-n-cheese, you’ll find it on the menu at locally owned eateries downtown.
West End Pizza Company
This restaurant is more than a typical pizza joint. You won’t find pies under heat lamps at West End Pizza Company. (207 E. San Antonio St.). The menu comprises of made-to-order specialty and custom pizzas, pasta, and irresistible appetizers ideal for sharing.
I was fond of the restaurant’s capese made with custom seasoned ricotta cheese and the top-selling double-meat pizza, The Meatza. Perhaps a nod to Chicago pizza, the pie arrived at the table sliced in squares, which I found a novel idea. The crust was medium in thickness.
PRO TIP: The community-forward restaurant is family-friendly, featuring outdoor seating/play areas, and TVs are available to watch the game indoors. Every table is adorned with a board game meant to prompt conversation for all ages.
You’ve probably enjoyed good barbecue but have yet to indulge in a mouth-watering at Eaker Barbecue (607 W. Main St.), where traditional cooking techniques mesh with Korean flavor. And when Texas Monthly‘s barbecue editor includes it on the list of The 50 Best BBQ Joints, you know you’ve arrived at the right place.
Lance Eaker, and his wife, Boo, serve barbecue enthusiasts food that is undeniably delicious. During my visit, I sampled a taste of their slow-smoked meats and side dishes. I’m a fan of Korean spice, so I appreciated the marinated and smoked gochujang pork ribs with a side of kimchi. For traditionalists, Eaker’s dry rub ribs, pulled pork, and country-style sausage links satisfy.
PRO TIP: Build in time to sneak away and watch the master at work outdoors at the smokers while the kitchen prepares your meal. Don’t leave without devouring dessert. Boozy Banana Pudding, Pecan Pie Bar, and Lemon Cookies are heavenly.
Fredericksburg’s fine dining restaurant scene is flourishing, and many kitchens’ award-winning chefs deserve the accolades. You can count on menu selections to list regionally sourced ingredients, often highlighting the area’s abundance of pecan and peach production.
Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Restaurant
At Cabernet Grill (2805 S. State Hwy 16), gourmet food combined with elegant presentation is a normal occurrence. Additionally, the restaurant anchors a complex of restored pioneer homes turned bed and breakfast, Cotton Gin Village.
During our multi-course dinner, the chef’s interpretation of Bacon Wrapped Grilled Lockhart Quail stuffed with Pulled Pork & Candied Jalapeño Cream Cheese impressed me. Under dim lights surrounded by wine racks, I savored every bite of San Saba Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese and Petite Butterscotch and Walnut Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Ice Cream between wine pairings.
PRO TIP: Cabernet Grill is known for its list of Texas-produced wines. Ask about three-glass flights consisting of four-ounce pours. Not a drinker? The bar serves four un-inebriated cocktails.
Alla Campagna (342 W. Main St) is one of the newest restaurants in town, delivering Tuscan-like vibes and serving homemade pasta dishes. Groups will appreciate the large outdoor patio surrounded by stone walls and a hand-chiseled water feature. A cozy indoor dining room suits couples and solo travelers.
The kitchen produces large portions of Italian salads, soups, and pasta. Roasted Chicken Creamy White Sauce served over Handmade Pasta topped with Pine Nuts and Parsley proved an excellent menu choice.
Sage Restaurant and Lounge
At Sage Restaurant and Lounge (241 E. Austin St.), the staff goes above and beyond to impress and create an atmosphere that makes a lasting impression. Founded by friends of various culinary backgrounds, they spared no expense in creating a stunning dining lounge and patio.
While I didn’t have time to enjoy dinner, I was privileged enough to enjoy Sage’s Signature Old Fashioned and small bites . If you made a reservation, expect modern cuisine in the downtown stairs dining room or libations served in the second-story speakeasy-style lounge.
Fischer & Weiser Culinary Adventure Cooking School
Fischer & Wieser Culinary Adventure Cooking School (1405 US-87 S.) teaches the art of crafting dishes with farm-to-table ingredients and how to entertain guests. The multi-generational, family-owned business is a brand name with condiments and sauces finding their way to dining tables everywhere.
At private cooking classes of eight people or more, you can choose the menu and pace or select from existing menus. Although I didn’t take the class, the chef’s cooking demonstrated mastery.
PRO TIP: Das Peach Haus, which is located on-site to select from over 150 jarred preserves, bottled sauces, and packaged gourmet foods. The Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce® and Texas Agarita Jelly® are best sellers.
Visiting Chocolat (251 W. Main St.) is better than Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory because you can sample the sweets. The owner and chocolatier studied with the best in the business before developing spirit-filled chocolates. Vodka, whiskey, wine-filled chocolates, you name it, she’s probably perfected it. My go-to? Irish cream.
PRO TIP: If you’re extra sweet to the owner, she may take you on a tour of the backroom production facility.
Pritzer Sweet Shop
Don’t be ashamed of your sweet tooth – celebrate it at Pritzer Sweet Shop (141 E. Main St.), where they understand your love of irresistible baked goods. The quaint shop sells goodies like the Sweet German Pretzel, Hazelnut Chocolate Croissant, and Cowboy Cookie.
Clear River Ice Cream, Bakery & Deli
I couldn’t pass up a chance to indulge in creamy Texas peach ice cream at Clear River Ice Cream, Bakery, & Deli (138 E. Main St.). Choose from dozens of homemade ice cream flavors served in a cup or cone. If you’re searching for something more substantial to eat for breakfast or lunch, view the bakery and lunch menus.
Shoppers who need to refuel with a boost of caffeine should stop at Kaffee Haus (218 E. Main St.) where the espresso drinks are strong. During my one-hour whirlwind shopping tour, a frothy vanilla latté in a to-go cup was exactly what I needed. Good luck leaving with only a coffee. The Snickledoodle cookies are tempting.
Sunday Supply (206 S Adams St.), an early morning or mid-afternoon hangout, is a short drive beyond Main Street, where java lovers are in good company. If you’ve already enjoyed coffee on the day of your visit, consider a hot tea and pair it with a freshly baked kolache. The savory Czech pastry is a Texas breakfast staple.
SIPPING CRAFT COCKTAILS & BEER
Drinkers interested in sipping spirits or craft beer will find many places to toast to the town with Texas Heart and German Soul.
Dietz Distillery (1434 S. US Hwy 87) is a small-batch spirts producer with family roots in the area. The distillery is located near the family’s orchard, so some of the distillates are fruit-forward. The owner’s Texas-style gin and raspberry flavored vodka appear in cocktail recipes served from the tasting room bar – order the Berry Lemon Drop.
An un-oaked peach aperitif, as well as the other bottled spirits, are available for purchase.
FREDERICKSBURG BREWING COMPANY
Fredericksburg Brewing Company (245 E. Main St.), established in 1994, is the oldest operating brewpub in Texas. The list of over 20 varieties of beers is ever-changing, and you can expect to find German brew favorites on the menu.
Drink a pint of Honey Kölsch seated in the indoor biergarten or enjoy it with a traditional Wurst Sandwich or Jager Schnitzel in the dining room.
SAMPLING VINO AT HILL COUNTRY WINERIES
AB ASTRIS WINERY
Ab Abstris Winery (320 Klein Rd.) should be your first stop when touring wineries for its quality pours, outdoor scenery, and kind staff who make you feel at home. After a tasting flight, the wine will be just as good, if not better, than the California or Oregon varieties you may be accustomed to drinking.
One hundred percent of the grapes are grown in Texas, creating quality wine – don’t leave without sampling crisp 2022 Aurora Rosé and bold 2017 Tannat. Reservations are required for groups of six people or more.
Signor Vineyards (362 Livesay Ln.), voted USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Best Winery Tour 2022, is a popular stop on the wine trail. More than just a tasting room, the complex features an event space, grab-n-go food at Joanna’s Market, and manicured gardens.
The owners use Texas and Oregon grapes to produce reds, whites, and rosés. Walk-ins welcome, or opt for a private tasting with a lead wine steward. Order a full 2019 Sangiovese Rogue Valley glass to accompany an artfully crafted charcuterie board.
Meierstone Vineyards (573 Meier-Stone Rd.) is one of the newest additions to the wine scene, and drop-ins are welcome. Voted Top Texas Wine at the 2024 Houston International Wine Competition, you can expect nearly 12 current-release wines to be sampled at the tasting room on the family’s ranch. Curated tastings last about an hour.
My wine tasting, 2021 Airship, delivered medium-bodied, delightful cherry notes.
SHOPPING ON MAIN STREET AND BEYOND
Fredericksburg is a shopper’s delight with over 150 boutiques and retail stores. Most of the shops are located on Main Street. Park your car (free!) and walk up and down the corridor to discover clothing, kitchenware, jewelry, western wear, candles, and more.
HOME DECOR AND BATH
Located less than a five-minute drive from Main Street, Dish (305 S. Lincoln St.) is part of an extensive collection of stores within the Woerner Warehouse complex. Collections of colored glass, kitchenware, cookbooks and textiles featuring casual, Texas style are available for purchase.
CAROL HICKS BOLTON ANTIQÜITÉS
Imagine a warehouse with antique European-style cabinets and furniture as far as the eye can see. At Carol Hicks Bolton Antiqütiés (301 S. Lincoln St.), the items for sale are as unique as the collectors in search of them.
Curiosities ranging from eyeglasses to mercury balls sit inside glass tables. Rusty pulleys and industrial tools hang from the ceiling on strings.
ROOM NO. 5
The designed beds inside Room No. 5 (301 S. Lincoln St.) deliver country style meets shabby chic elegance. Homeowners hoping to redesign a bedroom with linens or get inspired by living room vignettes showcasing neutral tones and textures will feel inclined to shop.
BLACK CHALK HOME & LAUNDRY
The home interiors shopping continues across the street at Black Chalk Home & Laundry (306 S. Lincoln St.). The building is a historic showpiece consisting of hand-curated gifts and home decor pieces.
Don’t be surprised if you’re inclined to purchase a brightly colored, embroidered pillow, a woven chair for home, or perhaps a beaded necklace for yourself.
SAN SABA SOAP COMPANY
The owner of San Saba Soap Company (102 W. Austin St.) knew they were on to something grand when they used Texas pecan oil to develop a bath, skincare, and fragrance line like no other. Each product is scented with a subtle, uni-sex fragrance.
I can vouch that the perfume oil was not overpowering and long-lasting. The Texas Fig bath soap lathered well and softened my skin.
RUSTLIN’ ROB’S TEXAS GOURMET FOODS
In search of a gourmet food store, the locals told me I had to stop at Rustlin’ Rob’s (121 E. Main St.) where I spent least a half-hour perusing store shelves and sampling condiments. Jars of spicy jams, spreads, mustards, and sauces are stacked from counter to ceiling in organized alcoves – spicy versions available in each category.
DAS PEACH HAUS
They say, “life taste better here” at Das Peach Haus (315 E. Main St.). The owners started peddling peach preserves and agarita jelly as a vendor at local events, and today the business is booming. Known for its Texas-inspired dips, salsas, marinades, and jellies, Das Peach Haus appeals to kitchen cooks who want to take the flavor of Texas home.
FREDERICKSBURG ART GUILD
Creatives and wannabe artists will appreciate the town’s art galleries, especially Fredericksburg Art Guild (308 E. Austin St.), which is within walking distance of the visitor’s center. The gallery features artists’ work of various mediums, often depicting natural scenes from Texas Hill Country.
During my tour, I viewed the annual adult student art exhibition and talked to artists. Plan your visit by viewing the calendar of events.
EXPLORING HISTORICAL LANDMARKS & MUSEUMS
German families settled in Texas hoping to find better work opportunities and inexpensive land. They also wanted to leave overcrowding conditions in Germany. Founded in 1846, John O. Meusebach chose the area and appealed to Germans to relocate there. Settlers were promised in-town lots and 10 acres outside of Fredericksburg.
Meusebach negotiated with the already present Comanche Native American tribesmen. German settlers were allowed to farmland, and the Comanche were welcomed in town.
The town’s German heritage is evident wherever you go. Authentic food and drink is served at restaurants and breweries. Oktoberfest honors Fredericksburg as the Polka Capital of Texas.
VEREINS KIRCHE MUSEUM
German settlers built Vereins Kirche (100 W. Main St.), the first public building in town, which was erected in 1846 to serve as a community building, school, and church. Today, a replica with original beams and cornerstone stands in Marktplaz city park in the center of Fredericksburg.
I recommend touring the building at the onset of your trip to town to get a glimpse into the town’s history to present day. Buy the Pioneer Museum day pass, which includes admission to Vereins Kirche.
PRO TIP: Look up upon entry. The murals, created by Lee and Matt Casbeer, are a pictorial history of the town’s German heritage.
Pioneer Museum (325 W. Main St.) is a must-visit attraction. Visitors learn about the town’s earliest residents and how they lived in the 1840s. German families left their country hoping for a better way of life and quickly learned to acclimate to the Texas climate.
During a self-guided tour, I walked in and out of homestead buildings, each showcasing artifacts and preserved architecture. Motion sensors detected my entry into the log cabin and Sunday House prompting an audio narration that provided context.
The Pioneer Museum and surrounding grounds take at least an hour to tour. The museum was voted a top destination to bring children because of its living history experiences and Little Pioneers programs. Reactors interpret history in period clothing on the first Saturday of the each month.
PRO TIP: The museum gift shop is the quintessential place to purchase Texas-themed gifts and seasonal merchandise.
What is a Sunday House? It’s an 1800s-era residence built by rural families to use while visiting town on the weekends. Families would leave the farm and come to town to shop on Saturday and attend church services on Sunday. Many of the tiny two-story residences serve as renovated rental properties today.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PACIFIC WAR
National Museum of the Pacific War (311 E. Austin St.) is an impressive attraction where visitors can easily spend an entire day learning about the events of WWII in the Pacific.
Start the tour inside the Wells Orientation Theater for a visual summary of the war and tour galleries featuring interactive stations and artifacts of each battle, ending with the Price of Freedom exhibit.
I suspect you’ll appreciate the enormity of the the museum and its high-tech displays. The Children on the Homefront: Growing Up With War may leave you speechless.
Outside, a sidewalk winds visitors through the Plaza of Presidents, Memorial Courtyard, and Japanese Garden of Peace. There, the sound of falling water and koi splashing create a peaceful setting.
General admission gains visitors access to galleries, outdoor areas, and the Pacific Combat Zone. For some military or history enthusiasts, touring the museum compound is easily an all-day experience.
PRO TIP: Learn about Fredericksburg native Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who led the United States naval force over Japan. His statue is visible from Main Street.
LODGING ACCOMMODATIONS WITH SERENITY
THE VINE ON MIDDLE CREEK
Do you love starry night skies and time spent around the fire pit at night enjoying peace and quiet? What about blood-orange sunrises and golden sunsets?
The Vine on Middle Creek (1027 Middle Creek Rd.) is a tranquil country retreat, located 10 minutes outside downtown Fredericksburg.
To access the property, guests drive past their vineyard and drive a short winding road to the bed and breakfast property located underneath a canopy of oak trees. To my delight, each guest is assigned a beautiful bedroom suite complete with a walk-in shower and jacuzzi tub.
Each of the eight suites comes with a California King-sized bed featuring remote massage setting in direct view of an electric fireplace and flatscreen television. The owner considered the guests’ experience when adding plush towels, full-sized toiletries, a Keurig coffee maker, a valuable’s safe, and an umbrella for rainy weather days.
I enjoyed sitting outdoors admiring the view from a private porch swing when I wasn’t playing with the property’s cute dog, Zoey. In the morning, I walked a short distance to the community building for a home-cooked breakfast.
Guests are encouraged to use the community space as if it’s theirs by enjoying a roaring fire with a glass of wine. The owner and his team of helpful friends quickly ensure that each guests feels 100 percent comfortable and welcome during their stay.
A first-time visitor to Fredericksburg, I could easily see myself returning to the place Architectural Digest named “the prettiest town.”
With so much to love about Fredericksburg, you should plan your trip around their calendar of events – Oktoberfest, Food & Wine Fest, and Light the Night Christmas Parade draw crowds.
And while you’re planning your adventure, consider combining it with a trip to the Texas capital city, only 78 miles from Fredericksburg. Discover How to Spend 48 Hours in Austin, Texas, my travel guide featuring downtown restaurants and attractions.