fredericksburg texas main street full of shopping

It’s not unusual for first-time visitors to Austin to be enthralled with the city’s distinct vivacity, but to feel a tad disappointed that the wild west they envisioned has long since been tamed. That’s when those tumbleweed and cowpoke seekers should rent a car and steer toward the Hill Country, the raucous, rolling, rural home to peach orchards, bluebonnet flowers, antique stores, bonafide farms, horses, cowboy hats, and a wine country rated among the top five in the nation. Base in Fredericksburg, located about 90 minutes from Austin. With a boulevard-like main street designed in bygone times to be wide enough to ensure oxen carts could be turned around, the Teutonic-intoned town was founded in 1846 by a coterie of 120 German immigrants who hailed from some 19 different German kingdoms. The town, still awash in German culture including culinary influences, place names, and holiday traditions, predominantly spoke German well until the 1940s. A true frontier pioneer town peppered with German architecture, Fredericksburg impresses with its enticingly restored Main Street. Stroll and discover its unique shops, galleries, eateries, wineries, breweries, distilleries, biergartens, bakeries and more. Eclectic and culturally rich, the town draws serious antique shoppers for its bedazzling collections, aesthetes for its artsy goods, and the hungry for its wiener schnitzel (and other traditional dishes). As one of the Hill Country’s three viticultural areas, Fredericksburg claims more than 50 wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms. Authentically Texan with nearby dude ranches, pick-your-own produce farms, wineries, stellar places to hike, and an authentic quaintness that refuses to become homogenous and emanates Texas chic (colorful cowboy boots and miniskirts, tattooed winemaking ranchers), Fredericksburg is worth driving for. 

Visit a Farm — Or Two

endless poppy field on a farm in fredericksburg texas
Courtesy, Travel Texas

A plethora of farms invite folks to pick their own produce including peaches, blackberries, strawberries, and pumpkins in season. Both Marburger Orchard and Jenschke Orchards stand out as top choices. For a unique farm-tour adventure, head to Wildseed Farm, the nation’s largest working wildflower farm. It’s also a vineyard, a tasting room, a biergarten, a butterfly garden, a plant nursery, and an amazing store for seed shopping. Set on 1,000 cultivated acres, the farm offers events such as wine tastings, runs, and festivals.

Where To Stay

Embodying a genuine taste of the past, redolent with Texan decorative artifacts from cowhide rugs to tin ceilings and log-framed beds, romantic Cotton Gin Village sets a bygone mood. A rustic enclave composed of restored old-time cabins and charming cottages that surround a big house, the bed-and-breakfast-style property delivers gourmet morning treats in a well-packed basket. Dinner at on-site Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant completes the experience. Try Bacon Wrapped Grilled Texas Quail stuffed with pulled pork, cheese, candied jalapenos, and served with a smoked strawberry glaze. Note that the wine list proudly includes only Texas wines. 

Main Street

downtown fredericksburg texas
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The heartbeat of Fredericksburg, Main Street, a National Historic District, might be described as its vibrant living room. More than 150 galleries, shops and boutiques beckon — not to mention scores of restaurants, wine-tasting hotspots, and a brewpub Two museums bookend the street, the National Museum of the Pacific War at the East End and the Pioneer Museum at the West End. Popular for its locally owned and managed stores, Fredericksburg thankfully does not allow franchises or chain stores in the National Historic District. 

Shopping Recommendations

fredericksburg texas is known for its wineries
Courtesy, Travel Texas

Shops along Main Street and its offshoots run the gamut from antique, houseware, and furniture stores to clothing and jewelry boutiques to food stores to German imports. Some we love include: All Gussied Up, Allen’s Boots, Carol Hicks Bolton Antiquities, House Wren, Felt Boutique, Haberdashery, German Liebeskind, A Children’s Boutique, FarmHaus, Buddy Love, Opa’s Smoked Meats, Das Peach House and Cheeky Charcuterie. 

Where To Eat

bread plate from ottos german bistro in fredericksburg texas
Courtesy, Travel Texas

Indulge in bonafide gasthaus German fare at mainstay Friedhelm’s Bavarian Inn, which offers nine variations on the schnitzel theme, along with other Bavarian dishes. For an elevated German meal, Otto’s German Bistro does the job with variations on the classic theme such as sumptuous duck schnitzel. Hilda’s Tortillas serves up Tex-Mex plates, while Vaudeville Bistro puts its spin on contemporary New American cooking. Brunch at Fredericksburg Herb Farm, which also has cozily elegant cottages for sleep and play, and a stellar spa inspired by its own gardens. 

Where to Drink 

one of several wineries in fredericksburg texas
Courtesy, Travel Texas

Lincoln Street Wine Market for wine, Pioneer Bar for live music, and the Speakeasy at Salvation Spirits (you have to ask, of course since it’s a secret). In terms of tasting rooms on Main Street, swill at Grape Creek on Main (tasting room), Fat Ass Ranch and Winery, Becker Vineyards (my favorite Texas wine), and Narrow Path Winery — among others. Paul Bee Distillery mixes supreme craft cocktails. Immerse in history at 1693 distillery, which traces its roots to the owner’s third great-grandfather, a German immigrant to Fredericksburg who founded the town’s renowned Buckhorn Saloon, serving the thirsty populace his family’s beer recipe.

What Else to Do

Take a hike up the otherworldly Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, a pink granite outcrop said to date back one billion years. It is located 18 miles north of town. Rent a bike at Hill Country Bicycle Works or mount a horse at Bit & Bridle Stables. Join a wine tour or speed through town on a moped from Fred Moped.

Closest Airports

Fredericksburg is just over an hour’s drive from San Antonio Airport and about 90 minutes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Featured image courtesy of Travel Texas

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