Wanna get away? That’s more than the Southwest Airlines slogan; in fact, it’s probably something you’ve been asking your S.O. or girlfriends lately. Fredericksburg is a year-round destination with something for everyone. Be sure to make plans in advance if you’re aiming to hit up one of the many events the town usually has going on though. It can get pretty busy. Oktoberfest and Christmastime, for example, are two of the busiest times to visit—which also means it can be more expensive when it comes to lodging.
First things first. Dallas to Fredericksburg is only ~250 miles away, resulting in a 4-hour (give or take 20 minutes) drive. While you can drive down the ever-under-construction I-35, I recommend taking the route that involves I-67 and TX-16. This option tends to avoid a bunch of traffic and also has much better views, taking you through the Llano area as well. If you do take I-35 most of the way, you can still get some pretty views of the Hill Country by taking US-290 west.
Hoping to spend some time at Enchanted Rock on the way to or from Fredericksburg? Either route will take you nearby, but the route with TX-16 is closer.
Oh, the food. With Fredericksburg’s rich German heritage, there’s plenty of German fare—schnitzel, brats, sauerkraut—to be devoured. Three of my favorite spots to grab some German grub include The Auslander, Otto’s German Bistro and Altdorf Restaurant & Biergarten.
The Auslander has all the traditional German food in a casual setting—think German hunting lodge. Otto’s is more upscale with a wonderful patio, fabulous cocktails (try the Costa Brava if you’re a gin fan like me) and a great variety of dishes outside of the traditional (one order of truffle linguini, please). Altdorf, meanwhile, will give you the traditional feel and throw in live music while they’re at it (usually on the weekends). And because it’s a biergarten, you know the outdoor seating will be amazing.
Not a huge fan of German food? Hit up City Café for a tasty breakfast, Mamacita’s for Tex-Mex and a beautiful courtyard-style patio, Pasta Bella for Italian and Clear River Ice Cream and Bakery to satisfy your sweet tooth. Honestly, there’s really no way to go wrong when it comes to food in town.
When in Fredericksburg, wine not? Wineries and vineyards really are this town’s bread and butter, but how do you know which ones to visit, or better than that, visit as many as you can?
(One note: The majority of vineyards are located on the road coming in to town. Many of them are actually located in Stonewall, Texas.)
Here are my personal favorites: Becker Vineyards, Grape Creek, Barons Creek and Augusta Vin. All of the above have absolutely beautiful areas to sit and participate in a wine tasting. But some are more outdoor-focused than indoors, so if you’re visiting during a time with spotty weather, keep that in mind. Be sure to check each vineyard’s website for any events that are coming up during your travel dates.
If you would rather visit as many vineyards as you can (all while being responsible and not driving), consider hopping on one of the many wine shuttles or tours. This is a really great option if you’ve never visited before and don’t have a favorite vineyard yet. It’s also a huge hit with groups and a good way to meet other out-of-towners.
Fredericksburg’s website has a great list of all the available shuttles and tours. There are all sorts of options, from private tours to group outings in a limo or bus.
The two that I have used before include 290 Wine Shuttle (all day pass is $39.99 per person; no reservation is necessary on Saturdays; reservations are required for the rest of the week). In my humble opinion, 290 Wine Shuttle is the best value, as you have the option to visit 16 vineyards on your trek. However, Becker and Augusta Vin are not included in the route.
830 Elevated Wine Tours is a fun option if you want a more luxurious feel with a large group. It’s a customizable experience, and the price varies based on how many vineyards and wineries you visit. Reservations are required.
There are a ton of really cute places to stay in Fredericksburg, but beware that they can book up quickly and get pricey depending on season and proximity to Main Street. Check out the town’s list of hotels and B&Bs. Hoffman Haus is a beautiful option, as well as The Trueheart Hotel (formerly Sugarberry Inn) (which offers free breakfast).
The Shops and Sights
Yes, most visitors come to Fredericksburg for the wine and the food, but the shops on Main are not to be missed. I can spend (and have spent) all day walking up and down both sides of the road, checking out the gifts and trinkets hidden inside the store walls.
A few pro tips: Most of the boutiques and shops close around 5pm, so plan to do your window shopping earlier in the day. Also, while there’s a lot of street parking on Main, it can be incredibly busy. If you don’t find any spots there, go over to the Visitor Information Center’s lot, just off Main Street and 302 East Austin Street.
If shopping isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to do on and off Main. Enchanted Rock is nearby for a solid hike; take a horseback ride with Bit & Bridle Stables or Circle K Trail Rides; rent a bike from Hill Country Bicycles or Jack & Adam’s; visit the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site or the National Museum of the Pacific War..
Many of these same venues are kid-friendly, so if you love the town enough, come back with the kids. Enjoy your trip! And prost, y’all!
This article was originally published in October 2020.