When people think of Texas, they tend to think of cowboys and the Old West. What they may not realize is that German culture is part of its heritage too. In the mid-nineteenth century, there was a large influx of immigrants who set up German towns in Texas.
These towns not only celebrated German culture but had German-speaking populations. These traditions were passed on through the years, and to this day, some of these German towns still exist. Some of them even still have German speakers.
1. Fredericksburg – German Town In Texas
Located 90 minutes outside of San Antonio and Austin, Fredericksburg is one of the most famous German towns in Texas. Founded in 1846 by immigrants from Germany, it was originally called Friederichsburg to honor Frederick the Great.
As the years went by, the name altered to its current spelling. One of the reasons Fredericksburg remains so popular is it continues to make its German roots central to its identity.
People come from miles away for its authentic German architecture in addition to its museums, restaurants, and annual festivals. All of these pay tribute to its German heritage and history.
If you’re interested in learning about the German history of Fredericksburg, look no further than the Pioneer Museum. Run by the historical society, it’s considered one of Texas’ best museums.
There you’ll learn the original German immigrants’ stories as well as how the town evolved over the years. We also highly recommend the Vereins Kirche Museum.
It’s housed within a replica of one of Fredericksburg’s original 1847 buildings erected for Texas’ centennial in 1936. It’s an iconic example of classic German-Texan architecture and another great cultural landmark.
Food & Drink
Fredericksburg is full of authentic German food. Travel down Main Street and you’ll find plenty of options. You can find classic Bavarian food such as sausage and schnitzel at Auslander. Go to Der Lindenbaum to sample their delicious goulash.
If you’re in the mood for some authentic German sweets, there are some great options, as well. Try the Sweet German Pretzel and fresh-baked cookies at Pritzer Sweet Shop. The Fredericksburg Fudge Store has a huge assortment of fudges and chocolates.
And to quench your thirst, Alstadt Brewery and Fredericksburg Brewing Company both make their own German beers. Fredericksburg is also home to a whopping fifty wineries!
What makes the wine so uniquely German is the use of mustang grapes. Pontotac Vineyard Weingarten is particularly great.
For over forty years, Fredericksburg has been running an iconic Oktoberfest. Each year, hundreds of people join in the Marktplatz, or town square, to celebrate German culture. It features delicious German beers and foods, as well as live music, arts and crafts, polka dancing, and more.
Fredericksburg is also the place to go for an authentic-feeling German Christmas in the United States. Each December the Marktplatz is decked out in beautiful lights as well as their famous Christmas pyramid. It’s not to be missed.
2. New Braunfels – German Town In Texas
Situated near San Antonio and San Marcos, gis another of the most well-known German towns in Texas. It was actually established by royalty in 1845, namely Solms-Braunfel’s Prince Carl. The name of the prince’s hometown inspired that of this then-new town.
New Braunfels is famous for the classic German architecture you’ll find there, along with antique shops, food, and German festivals. It even has the United States’ most famous waterpark, which is called Schlitterbahn.
As one of the United States’ premiere German communities, New Braunfels also has some excellent museums celebrating this heritage. The Sophienburg Museum tells the story of the first German immigrants who settled there.
It goes into how the Texas region’s economy and culture was shaped by these people. You’ll experience first-hand accounts here as well as get to see original artifacts.
Meanwhile, the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture is a large building complex featuring pieces by famous colonial-era master carpenters. They include Johann Michael Jahn and Heinrich School Jr, whose furniture was in the classic Biedermeier style.
It all gives visitors a peek into what everyday was like in the 19th century.
Food & Drink
New Braunfels has a number of great food places that prove why it’s one of the best German towns in Texas. The one we most recommend is Krause’s Biergarten and Café.
Here you can sample their many German craft beers and food. These include sausages, bratwurst, Bavarian pretzels, schnitzel, and German meatballs, or schweinshaxe. And all this in the atmosphere of an authentic German biergarten.
For dessert, don’t miss Naegelin’s Bakery, Texas’ oldest still-running bakery. Here, you can have German cookies such as Springerle, Pfefernuesse, and Lebkuchen, and strudel, pies, danishes, cakes, and more.
New Braunfels loves its German culture and beer so much that it hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. In March, there’s even a Halfway to Oktoberfest held at Krause’s annually!
And then in November, the town hosts a huge 10-day Oktoberfest festival that they call Wurstfest. It’s full all of the beer, sausages, great food, and live music you’d expect as well carnival rides and more!
Then the very next month there’s Wassailfest, a huge German Christmas festival. Soak up the authentic atmosphere of a classic German Christmas with carollers, sweets, and more than 100,000 lights!
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3. Gruene – German Town In Texas
Technically, Gruene (which is pronounced “green”) is a historic district located within New Braunfels. However, it’s its own distinctive area that deserves its own section.
Established in 1872 by a man named Henry D. Gruene, it was once a thriving cotton-growing district. In the 1920s, however, the infamous boll weevil plague wiped out a great deal of its crop production.
This led to a lot of the town’s population leaving. Now, it’s less a place to live and more a historically preserved area full of historic landmarks, restaurants, and shopping.
Gruene Hall is Texas’ oldest dance hall, having been built in 1878 and running continuously ever since. To this day, they feature live music nearly every night.
Over the years, huge names in country music such as Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Lyle Lovett, Hal Ketchum, Greg Allman, and more have played there. Gruene General Store has been open since 1925 and remains a huge tourist attraction.
They sell souvenirs, postcards, cowboy hats, and even homemade food like fudge, salsa, and honey butter.
Food & Drink
The Gristmill Restaurant, running since 1977, is a replica of Gruene’s original cotton gin, which unfortunately burned down in 1922. It’s famous for its gorgeous views of the Guadalupe River, which you can experience from its iconic tiered patio.
The food is also delicious. We also recommend the Gruene River Grill. To cool off in the summer with some refreshing wine, you must check out The Grapevine.
Just off Main Street, it has a wide variety of local wines which you can enjoy on a beautiful patio surrounded by old oak trees. There’s often live music there as well.
Every October, Gruene hosts the annual Gruene Music & Wine Fest. And while it’s not specifically German, we’d be remiss to not mention the Americana Music Jam every May.
4. Boerne – German Town In Texas
Boerne, which locals pronounce “Bernie”, was established in 1852 by Gustav Theissen and John Games. They named it for Karl Ludwig Börne, a famous German author at the time, who was enthusiastic about Texas’ potential.
As with the other German towns in Texas on our list, it’s a great place to experience German culture fused with Texan charm.
While they aren’t traditional museums, Boerne has two major places that continue to celebrate the history of the town. The Herff Farm Homestead was established in 1852. It was originally owned by Dr Ferdinand Herff, who was born in Germany, and brought his family over.
Today, the land and house are taken care of by Cibolo Nature Center. They not only preserve and teach its history but run a nature school there as well. There’s also a community garden there, along with a farmer’s market. It’s a great place to soak up and experience the local culture.
Meanwhile, the Boerne Area Historical Preservation Society runs the Kuhlmann-King Historical Complex. They’re comprised of two nineteenth century buildings that feature lots of historical objects.
As with many of the other towns’ museums, they teach the history of the settlers and the German influence on the town.
Food & Drink
You can find fantastic food at Little Gretel Restaurant. It’s famous for blending traditional German food with other nearby regional cuisines such as Czech, Hungary, and Austria. Enjoy sausages, sweet kolaches, bratwurst, schnitzel, dumplings, and sauerbraten, along with refreshing German beer.
We also recommend the Dodging Duck Brewhaus for casual dining in a restored historic house. Cibolo Creek Brewing also serves delicious food alongside its original German-style brews.
As with the other German towns in Texas, Boerne is home to a number of festivals. The largest is Boerne’s Berges Fest, which happens annually on Father’s Day.
It translates to “Festival of the Hills” and honors the town’s German roots. Some of the most unique activities include dachshund races and mud volleyball.
At the end of September each year, the AgriCultural Museum and Arts Center also hosts the Boerne Bierfest. It features food, drink, games, and live music.
5. Schulenburg – German Town In Texas
Located between San Antonio and Houston, Schulenburg was established in 1875. It was named after Louis Schulenberg, a wealthy man who donated land to the town.
It was originally settled by immigrants from Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic thanks to being a major railroad stop. Now, Schulenburg remains one of the most popular German towns in Texas due to how it continues to honor that heritage.
Museums & Landmarks
Schulenberg is probably most famous for its distinctive and breathtaking painted churches. On the outside, they’re fairly low-key but the insides are brightly colored with swirls of color such as bright blues and pinks.
The murals include beautiful cloudy skies as well as life-size statues. Its most unique museum is the Texas Polka Music Museum, paying tribute to the German musical influence on the town.
You can also learn about the town history at the Schulenburg Historical Museum. And don’t miss the Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum.
It’s a tribute to the Stanzel brothers, Joe and Victor, who were model airplane manufacturers in the 19th century. A visit there includes touring their historic home and seeing their many gorgeous models.
Food & Drink
For authentic German food and culture, don’t pass up a chance to eat at Sengelmann Hall. Not only does it have delicious food but its building is a replica of a saloon from the nineteenth century.
You can also enjoy a delicious combo of German cuisine and Texas barbecue at Oakridge Smokehouse.
Every April, Schulenburg holds its Sausagefest. Gorge on scrumptious sausages, pickles, and more, drink delicious German wine, and dance to live polka music!
In August, you can also experience the Schulenburg Fall Festival, full of cookouts, pageants, a fun run, parades, games, and more. You’ll also find authentic German-style arts and crafts for the upcoming holiday season.
6. Muenster – German Town In Texas
German settlers first founded Muenster in 1889, naming it for the capital of Westphalia, a northwestern German region. To this day, it’s certainly one of the most charming German towns in Texas.
It features classic architecture in the German style, historic buildings, and cultural murals. In fact, German roots were so important to Muenster that up until the first World War, many residents still spoke German.
And to this day, many of the residents are direct descendants of the original Germans who settled there.
A trip to Muenster would be incomplete without checking out The Muenster Museum. It’s the perfect place to learn about the town’s history. It’s located in what was once the historic home of one of the town’s most prominent families, the Seylers.
You’ll find displays on the history of the town and a research room.
Food & Drink
If you want a genuine Bavarian meal, go to Rohmer’s Restaurant. It’s been running since 1953 and has absolutely scrumptious food. We also recommend Doc’s Bar & Grill, and Fischer’s Meat Market for fine cheeses and sausages.
And you’ll find delicious German baked goods at Bayer’s Kolonialwaren.
Each spring, Muenster holds its famous Germanfest, celebrating all things German culture. It’s 3 days and has barbecue and every kind of German food, live folk music, fun runs, and much more.
In October, Muenster also holds a huge Oktoberfest in Heritage Park. Head on over for delicious German brews and food, in addition to a cavalcade of lederhosen, dirndls, and more!
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7. Luckenbach – German Town In Texas
Of all the German towns in Texas, Luckenbach is certainly the smallest. It currently consists of only a few remaining buildings and a population of only 3! Despite its size, however, it’s a legendary location that still attracts many visitors every year due to its history.
The buildings include a dance hall and a general store/saloon/post office. The dance hall dates from the 1800s and is also called Luckenbach. It’s a truly iconic location.
Countless country music legends have played there. And to this day, there is a live musical performance there almost every night. They also throw numerous festivals throughout the year, most revolving around music.
Information about all of their upcoming shows and festivals is available at Luckenbach’s official website. Meanwhile, the general store is now a souvenir shop full of items of both Old West and German influence.
You can also go to the Luckenbach Feed Lot for some authentic German bratwurst.
8. Pflugerville – German Towns In Texas
Another of the smallest German towns in Texas, Pflugerville was established in 1860 by William Bohls. He did this by setting up a general store and post office.
The town was named for another German settler, Henry Pfluger, who immigrated when the Prussian War drove him from Germany. While it’s a small suburb today, it has a number of points of interest for people interested in German culture.
This includes the Immanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery, which is filled with German language tombstones. Many of them are of the original settlers.
For the past half a century, it’s also held the annual Pflugerville Deutschen Pfest, which celebrates German culture. Every year, there’s a beer garden, live music, a big parade, a carnival, and more!
You can bring the whole family to experience all of the fun of a German festival in a small town setting.
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Conclusion on German Towns In Texas
If you’re an American wanting to experience German culture while sticking close to home, look no further than Texas. You don’t need to travel to Europe to see historic German architecture or sample their delicious foods and beers.
Book a trip and you can start exploring German towns in Texas ASAP.