The smell of evergreen is in the air; tinsel is hung with care; and German weihnachten cuisine is here, along with other fare. The Texas German Christmas destination, Fredericksburg, brings the best of cultures together for the season, and the town takes it quite seriously. Park Cities mom Lasca Weiss grew up in Fredericksburg and goes back with her family (husband and two daughters) multiple times a year—including Christmas. We got the inside scoop on where to go and what to eat during your holiday visit.
Weiss explains that Fredericksburg has blossomed in the past 20 years with more restaurants, shops and wineries, so she enjoys trying new areas and acting like a tourist. Begin your German experience at Altdorf Biergarten, which closed for a rebuild but is now open. “The food is still German influenced, and they have a biergarten with live music, which is really fun and relaxing,” Weiss says. There are countless German eatery options, but in addition to Altdorf, Weiss recommends The Auslander and Friedhelm’s Bavarian Inn (search on Facebook). “[They] are older Fredericksburg staples to get German food and atmosphere,” she says. And if you find yourself with a sweet tooth after indulging in pretzels and beer, head to Clear River because, as Weiss puts it enthusiastically, it is the place for ice cream.
If this is your first time in Fredericksburg, you should know there is more than just the Christmas atmosphere to experience. A short half hour drive away in Johnson City is the Science Mill, a science museum filled with hands-on STEAM activities. There are over 50 exhibits, including the Cell Phone Disco, Biolab with microscopes, Incredible Ball Machine and Fossil Dig. While in Johnson City, be sure to check out the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park that includes two distinct visitor centers separated by 14 miles. Between the visitor centers is a self-guided driving tour that includes the boyhood home of LBJ, the LBJ ranch and Johnson’s burial site. One more Fredericksburg-area recommendation: Since it is Texas and sometimes winter doesn’t actually mean winter, Weiss suggests climbing Enchanted Rock. “It is a moderately challenging walk up, but once you are on the top of the rock, you can see for miles and miles, and the view is gorgeous,” she says.
Editor’s Note: Visit the Science Mill website for updated information on hours and safety procedures due to COVID.
Celebrating the season is why you’re in Fredericksburg, right? The city’s Christmas festivities center in the Marktplatz, strung with lights and a hand-carved, 26-foot-tall wooden Christmas pyramid, which rotates. There is also music throughout the area and plenty of photo opportunities in the square, Weiss notes. Oh, and bring some socks because there’s a temporary ice skating rink. “The kids love it when we visit, and they get into the Christmas spirit with all the décor,” Weiss says.
Editor’s Note: Fredericksburg’s 55 Nights of Lights will take place each evening starting at 6pm Nov.12–Jan. 6. The Eisbahn Outdoor Ice Skating is available Nov. 27–Jan. 3. Click here for the town’s full Christmas and holiday guide.
Image courtesy of Trish Rawls.
Updated Nov. 2020.