Are you looking for the best things to do in Frankenmuth, Michigan?
Known as Michigan’s “Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth is full of activities and attractions for the whole family. Whether you are spending a day or weekend, this article will help you plan the ideal Frankenmuth trip.
Grab a cold beer at Michigan’s oldest brewery, tour a working historic farm or visit Brommers, the world largest Christmas Store. Don’t forget to stay at Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark. There is tons of fun things to do in Frankenmuth, MI.
We have highlighted 11 Exciting Things To Do In Frankenmuth, Michigan!
Where is Frankenmuth, Michigan
This little German town in Michigan can be found in Saginaw County in the Great Lakes Bay Region. It is roughly a half-hour drive from Bay City, which has the nearest beach. From my hometown of Cincinnati, it is an easy five-hour drive.
Be sure to take a look at our guide to the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan. There are five other cities very close to Frankenmuth that offer tons of attractions and events.
Things To Do In Frankenmuth, MI
Explore Downtown Frankenmuth
The German architecture found throughout the city links back to its German roots. This German village boasts plenty of alpine decor, Bavarian-style restaurants, and entertaining Glockenspiels. Stroll along the Main Street to discover pockets of Bavarian magic. The song of an accordion player drifting through the streets, a decorative Maypole ringing in spring, or stumble upon historic markers detailing unique aspects of the city.
Tip: I recommend driving down Main Street to get an idea of what all there is to do. That way you can strategically park near the area you want to explore.
Grab A Beer At Michigan’s Oldest Brewery
Frankenmuth Brewery has been making beer since 1862. With over 150 years of brewing their beers are incredible. Our recommendation: Come for lunch or dinner to enjoy their food paired with one of thier famous beers.
Feast On A Famous Frankenmuth Chicken Dinner
There are two sides to every story and two different chicken dinners that claim to be “The Best Chicken Dinner in Frankenmuth.” For a unique turn of events, the two restaurants battling it out for the title are owned by the same family!
While deciding what chicken dinner to eat in Frankenmuth, Zehnder’s stands out at the top of the list. With its iconic chicken dinner neon sign, top-notch hospitality, along with generous servings it is a popular restaurant with groups of all sizes.
Advice: Come prepared to eat. The chicken dinners are all you can eat, with a huge assortment of side dishes that are served family-style. There is so much food that it will feel as if it will never stop coming.
Tip: Guests staying at Zehnder’s Splash Village have the option to add on a Chicken Dinner meal at Zehnder’s. They offer a shuttle that will take guests to and from the restaurant. The restaurant is in downtown Frankenmuth, so hopping a ride on the shuttle eliminates the need to park. It is also a great opportunity to explore downtown Frankenmuth.
Previously known as the Fischer’s Hotel, the Bavarian Inn is the originator of the chicken dinner. It was sold to the Zehnder family in 1950. In addition to incredible chicken dinners, the Bavarian Inn is known for its huge selection of German beers and cuisine. The chicken dinners are served similar to that of Zehnder’s. An all you can eat, family-style chicken dinner served with an incredible amount of food.
Tip: The Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s both takes reservations. Even though both restaurants are massive, they do fill up with tour buses and large groups so plan accordingly.
Visit Grandpa Tiny’s Farm
Grandpa Tiny’s Farm is a historic farm that is home to a variety of antique buildings, including a schoolhouse, museum, and workshop. Guests have the opportunity to come in, pet the animals, learn about the farm’s rich history while strolling the grounds. Little ones will love the opportunity to get hands-on with the animals by petting, feeding, and even holding a few of the farm’s tenants.
Tip: Check the hours before arriving as they are not open daily.
Take a Ride on The Bavarian Belle
For a unique way to tour Frankenmuth hop aboard the Bavarian Belle for a historical sightseeing tour. An authentic paddlewheel riverboat takes guests on a scenic one-hour narrated tour. Open-air seating is available along with a fully enclosed lower salon with restrooms. Snacks are also available for purchase. The Bavarian Belle departs from the River Place Shopping Village and don’t forget your sunglasses!
River Place Shopping Village
If the shops on Main Street were not enough, be sure to swing into the River Place Shopping Village for even more unique shops. Grab a warm beignet from N’Orlins Beignet and Coffee, sip on a glass of wine at the winery or grab the perfect souvenir from the I Love Frankenmuth Store. There are over 40 shops, restaurants, and attractions to explore in this German-themed shopping plaza.
Go On A Carriage Ride
See the romantic side of Frankenmuth with a horse-drawn carriage ride. Cuddle up close as you take in the sights and sounds of the this darling town. Many of the carriage rides will take guests back into the original community to highlight historic homes whose prior owners played a significant role in making Frankenmuth into the city it is today.
Tip: A 15-minute carriage ride can be quite expense, especially after including a tip for the driver.
Visit the Cheese Haus
A bucket list thing to do in Frankenmuth is visiting the Cheese Haus. The Cheese Haus is a unique store full of over 250 kinds of cheese, including chocolate cheese! While guests temporarily can’t sample the diverse selection of cheese, they can purchase it!
The Cheese Haus also has a gourmet food truck called The Cheese Trap!
Tip: The Cheese Haus has a Figurinespiel instead of a Glockenspiel. The Figurinespiel tells a story with different characters appearing and disappearing. Guests can check the hours right outside of the entrance to the Cheese Haus.
Cross Michigan’s Largest Covered Wooden Bridge
Bavarian Inn’s Holz Brücke (German for “wooden bridge”) is a gorgeous iconic feature of Frankenmuth. It currently holds the title as Michigan’s largest covered wooden bridge. Cars are still allowed to cross the bridge along with pedestrian walkways. Stretching across the Cass River the 230-ton bridge was completed in September of 1980.
Fun Things To Do In Frankenmuth That Are Christmas
While Christmas time holds even more celebrations and festivities guests can enjoy these things to do in Frankenmuth that offer a year-round Christmas experience.
Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
Frankenmuth is home to the World’s Largest Christmas store. Bronner’s building is roughly 7.35 acres and bursting with everything Christmas. From trees, Santa suits, lights, decor, ornaments, and more. There are over 6,000 ornaments to choose from, with the ability to be customized on the spot. Phone calls with Santa are also available including getting to see the big man himself in person.
Tip: Grab a map. This place is huge, there is even a cafe!
Silent Night Chapel
Right next to Bronner’s is a replica of the Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria. It was the St. Nicolas Church site where “Silent Night” was first sung on Christmas Eve in 1818. Walking up to the chapel, the speakers softly play “Silent Night,” with fascinating facts about the song on panels leading up to the chapel. The chapel is open during Brommer’s Chirstmas Wonderland hours.
Frankenmuth Christmas Light Drive
When driving around Bronner’s in the evening time a fun light display is illuminated for guests to drive through. The lights stay on to roughly midnight every day.
Where To Stay In Frankenmuth
Zehnder’s Splash Village
One of the top things to do in Frankenmuth, MI with kids is visiting Zehnder’s Splash Village. As Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, it is easy to see why so many families make this an annual vacation. Zehnder’s Splash Village offers two distinct indoor waterparks, featuring tube slides, splash zones, toddler areas, lazy rivers and so much more.
A hotel is attached giving guests the opportunity to stay on property for even more family fun. The hotel features another indoor pool, game room, bar, and restaurant.
Tip: Day passes are available for those not wishing to stay the night. However, guests staying at the hotel can begin use of the waterpark at 12:00pm the day of check-in and have access all the way till 3pm the following day.
Things To Do Near Frankenmuth In Birch Run
How far is Birch Run from Frankenmuth
Birch run is roughly 6 miles from Frankenmuth making it the ideal area for a quick afternoon retreat.
Wilderness Trails Zoo
The Wilderness Trails Zoo is often passed on the way coming into Frankenmuth. This small zoo offers a few exotic animals such as a lion, bear, monkeys, and parrots. In addition, they offer a petting zoo and feeding stations throughout the zoo for domestic animals such as goats, ducks, and donkeys. The zoo has a mile loop so I would recommend renting a wagon or bringing a stroller if you have a little one.
Tip: Get quarters for the feeding stations before leaving the front desk. They can make change for you.
Birch Run Premium Outlets
If a shopping adventure is what you need, the Birch Run Premium Outlets are for you. With popular outlets like Adidas, Coach, Ann Taylor, Gap, Nike, Michael Kors and more! This is one spot you don’t want to miss to take home some great bargins.
This iconic restaurant located off the 1-75 has been serving giant portions for decades. They are known for their BLT which features a pound of cooked bacon! Come hungry because nothing is small at this hometown favorite.