Did You Know?
The city of Fredericksburg is one of the few places where you'll hear the Texas German dialect.
Fredericksburg is famous for a lot of things. It is the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, one of the few places that were chosen as German settlements, and a great place for agritourism. It is also called Fritztown, a nickname it got from old-time German residents. While traveling through this destination, you will find this nickname used in many places even today. As a tourist, there are many things to do and places to see in Fredericksburg, some of which are listed below. The city offers a great cultural experience with several art galleries, festivals, and events. If you're looking for a weekend getaway for your next holiday, Fredericksburg makes for a great option!
A National Historic Place
Fredericksburg, Texas is one of the classic surviving German towns in the U.S. German immigrants who settled here brought their culture and language with them and these went on to become integral features of this place. Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 and is today recognized as a significant historic place. Not so surprisingly, in 1970, the Fredericksburg Historic District was included in the National Register of Historic Places. Tourists flock to this town to learn about the unique culture and to get away from the fast pace of bigger cities. Fredericksburg is located approximately 70 miles from San Antonio and 80 miles from Austin, making it easily accessible for weekend visitors. There are plenty of things to do in and around the town, and a huge number of bed and breakfasts attract tourists who are looking to relax.
The Nimitz Hotel and National Museum of the Pacific War
One of Fredericksburg’s main attractions is the National Museum of the Pacific War, earlier the Nimitz Hotel. The building stands out on Fredericksburg’s Main Street due to its unique architecture. The hotel was built in 1852 and resembled a ship, so much that locals called it the Steamboat Hotel. It was built by Charles Henry Nimitz, grandfather of Fleet Admiral Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Forces in World War II. He died in 1966, and in 1969, as an act of Texas legislature, the hotel was named Admiral Nimitz Museum and restored to its original design. Although the building is no longer an operating hotel, historical exhibits show visitors what the hotel was like in its heyday. In 2000, the complex was renamed again, this time to National Museum of the Pacific War. It now exhibits a lot of items pertaining to the Second World War, including an IJN Ko-hyoteki class midget submarine. This submarine had attacked Pearl Harbor. For World War II enthusiasts, this museum is unmissable. It is so extensive that tickets are valid for 48 hours. Multimedia exhibits and kid-friendly elements make it a good choice for family activity. Although the Nimitz is by far the largest museum in Fredericksburg, several old forts in the area offer an authentic glimpse into the town’s past.
In addition to its museums, Fredericksburg is famous for its wineries and has as many as 14 of them. Some wineries are associated with local vineyards, and others import grapes from elsewhere in Texas. It is said that even the natives produced wine using locally available grapes. Gillespie County’s wineries attract many visitors each year and with good reason. An afternoon of wine tastings in the vicinity of Fredericksburg is sure to be a memorable experience.
Wine and art go well together, and for those partial to the combination, Fredericksburg is a good destination. Fredericksburg is home to a large number of artists and artisans, and the town’s Main Street provides galleries and shops for the artistically inclined. The bustling Fredericksburg art world occasionally hosts shows and conventions as well. Those events invariably attract artists from across the country, and some of the best art in the Southwest is on display there. In 2004, Southwest Art Magazine named Fredericksburg one of the 'Top Five Western Art Towns'. Village Gallery & Working Artists' Studio showcases original paintings, bronze sculpture, metal art, etc., made by artists of Texas Hill Country. River Rustic Gallery showcases rock art by Carlos Moseley and Cruz Art Gallery showcases artwork of Kim Samples, carved crosses made from exotic wood varieties.
The restaurant scene is another major attraction in Fredericksburg. On account of the town’s German heritage, there are several German restaurants to choose from. The Auslander is one of the highest rated restaurants and caters to anyone looking for an authentic Bavarian dining experience. When it comes to restaurants, there is something for everyone in Fredericksburg, including greasy spoon-style diners, upscale restaurants, and bar and grill establishments that regularly showcase live music.
Other Attractions in Fredericksburg, Texas
★ Fredericksburg Nature Center: This center is located on Hwy 16, and is based at the Lady Bird Johnson Park. It is home to 11 distinct habitats in the 10 acres it owns.
★ Gillespie County Country Schools Trail: This trail focuses on visiting schools that once taught the German population of Gillespie County. Though they're now closed, The Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools maintain these structures as community centers.
★ Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg: Oktoberfest is held annually to celebrate German heritage through music, art, and craft. 2013 dates: 21 September - 6 October; 2014 dates: 20 September - 5 October; and 2015 dates: 19 September - 4 October.
★ The Vereins-Kirche: This was the first public building in Fredericksburg. It was designed by Friedrich Armand Strubberg and opened in 1847.
As we have seen, the city of Fredericksburg is culturally very rich where tourists can look forward to more of a cultural experience than a scenic one. It is a popular tourist destination due to its uniqueness and this is exactly why you should visit it, too–to celebrate the life in this city that manifests in the form of art, culture, architecture, cuisine, and music.