Frankenmuth is a small Bavarian Town (3 miles2) located in Michigan, about 1.5 hours northwest of Detroit. Nicknamed “Little Bavaria”, Frankenmuth’s original settlers were from Franken, Bavaria. Adding the term “muth” (German for courage), the settlers named Frankenmuth after the term “courage of the Franconians.”
Frankenmuth is home to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland (they say it’s the World’s Largest Christmas Store!). You’ll also find many fudge and cheese shops, a cuckoo clock store, and boutiques. You can read more about their history on the Frankenmuth, MI Wiki page here.
What to Eat:
Cheese, fudge, fudge cheese, taffy. They also have many restaurants that are known for their chicken dinners and classic Bavarian dishes!
What to Drink:
There were German and Alsatian wines and beers at stores and restaurants – highly recommend.
How to Get Around:
For the most part, I say park your car and walk around. To get to Bronner’s, you will want to drive.
Being in Frankenmuth makes you feel like you’re in a Hallmark Christmas Movie town. Seriously, you will think the town’s name is Mistletoe or something.
There are multiple Christmas trees, lights covering the streets, horse-drawn carriages, and a historic covered bridge. Plan a day trip with the girls, or a date night!
Where to Eat:
We ate brunch at Honey B’s (and it was delicious!). It has a super-high rating on Yelp. We only had to wait for about 10 minutes which was great. This place is tiny, and the service and food are amazing!
Michigan on Main Bar & Grille
For lunch, we intended to eat at Bavarian Inn, but the wait was crazy, and we were hungry! The menu for Bavarian is much more Germanic than Michigan on Main. However, we were very happy with Michigan on Main! We loved our food, and we were able to watch some of the Michigan State Football Game. 🙂 We each had a spiked iced coffee which was phenom.
What to Do:
Cross the Wooden-Covered Bridge
Ok this was a little frightening. But, it’s Michigan’s Largest Covered Bridge, and it’s in the perfect location to get from one side of the cute town to the other. The view from the bridge is beautiful, just don’t look down… You can sort of see through the wooden slats. If you’re like me, the water below is not something you wanna see! Cars can only go 7 mph through the bridge (such an odd speed!), and there are pedestrian walkways on both sides. It’s a gorgeous bridge, and great for photo ops!
You can find unique gifts throughout the little boutiques on both sides of the covered bridge. There are also a bunch of shops in the basement of the Bavarian Inn!
Check out the Museum
Learn about Frankenmuth’s history, and browse their gift shop! Pro Tip: Their bottled water is cheaper here than most other places in Frankenmuth 🙂
As I mentioned before, you’re going to want to drive to Bronner’s. First reason being it’s a bit of a ways from the rest of town. Second, they have beautiful Christmas lights to drive through down their driveway. Finally, you’re going to come away with a haul, and you’re not going to want to carry it all the way back to town! The store itself is 2.2 acres, and at least 16 sections (that’s the highest number I saw)… we made it through two sections. If you pick an ornament from certain sections (you’ll notice a red mark on the tag), you can have a Bronner’s employee personalize the ornament for free! Such a fun way to make a gift extra-special.
A few fast fun facts from their website:
- Bronner’s electrical bill averages $1250 per day
- Bronner’s Staff personalize 400,000 ornaments annually
- Typically, over 2 million ornaments are sold each year
- There are more than 300 decorated trees displayed on Bronner’s sales floor
- Each decorated tree includes at least 1 Nativity ornament
- Movie star John Wayne ordered a Santa suit from Bronner’s by telephone on December 15, 1976
- Bronner’s has more than 60 billboards – the most distant is on I-75 near Ocala, Florida, north of Disney World
- Over 20,000 children visit Santa seasonally from the day after Thanksgiving through December 24
- Over two million guests visit annually from throughout the world, including 2,000 motorcoach groups
Checkout Frankenmuth Clock Company™
When you walk into this store, you’ll see a cuckoo clock in every direction! It’s beautiful, and all of the clocks are authentically handcrafted in the Black Forest! If you’ve read my post about Alsace, you know a little bit about the area around the Black Forest. Alsace is in France, and just a short drive to Germany’s Black Forest Region. Both were largely influential in the fairytales written by the Grimm Brothers. Also popular from the Black Forest: Black Forest Cake and Black Forest Ham!
The clocks sold at Frankenmuth Clock Company range from $40 to $2,000+ (I swear I saw one for $19,000… but I didn’t take a photo so I can’t confirm for sure). So they have one for every budget! Even if you’re not in the market for one, ask an employee to show you how one of the clocks animates! They are happy to help and show off any of the clocks. So many of them have little figurines that move, it’s definitely something to see.
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