Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Fredericksburg, TexasMain photo: Enchanted Rock, by Chase Fountain, courtesy TWPD. Mobile main photo courtesy of Fredericksburg CVB. Travel Features Texas
About 70 miles north of San Antonio and 70 miles west of Austin, along the rolling Edwards Plateau of Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a historic city of about 11,000 that has dominated “best small town” lists over the past decade.
You could easily spend a week visiting Fredericksburg’s wineries, breweries, and distilleries, or learning about its German roots through its architecture, museums, restaurants, and bars, where longtime residents speak their own unique dialect. From cycling to stargazing, shopping to chocolate sampling, you’ll find plenty to experience in this city of makers, gourmands, and more than 400 annual festivals.
Where to Stay
Fredericksburg has a variety of accommodations, including budget franchises, RV parks, and campgrounds. The most interesting are the city’s independent inns and guesthouses, some of which are located in historic Sunday Houses, modest cottages that hosted early settlers who traveled in on weekends for church services and supply runs. Porchlight Hospitality’s two Town Haus suites, on a Sunday House property, have cozy bedrooms and ample bathrooms, plus sitting areas, kitchenettes, and private courtyards with a fire pit.
For a romantic option, stay at adults-only Cotton Gin Village. Its rustic-meets-luxe cabins form their own diminutive neighborhood, connected via gravel walking paths, flagstone patios, koi ponds, and waterfalls. The cottages are only a stone’s throw from the excellent Cabernet Grill, one of the best restaurants in the region.
Where to Eat & Drink
Fredericksburg might measure only 10 square miles, but it houses more than 100 options for eating and drinking, from food trucks to full-service restaurants. Thank your higher power, then set yourself to the difficult task of narrowing down your choices for just three meals—and a generous snack or sip—a day.
Start your morning at Twisted Sisters Bake Shop, just off the main drag on Washington Street. The cafe serves flavorful coffee and espresso, breakfast tacos, and a rotating selection of freshly baked pastries, including cinnamon rolls large enough to feed three people.
For lunch, don’t miss Eaker Barbecue. Born as a food truck in Houston, the restaurant fuses the best of Texan and Korean cuisine. Meat lovers will appreciate the brisket and ribs; vegetarians should load up on the rich mac and cheese and pickled sides, like spicy cucumber salad and kimchi.
Dinner offers the greatest variety. Otto’s German Bistro pairs upscale versions of authentic schnitzel, wurst, and knödel (dumplings) with a large list of German and Austrian wines and craft beers. Sun-washed and soothing, Hill Country Herb Garden offers a mashup of American and international dishes, like sushi bowls and pork chops with lychee barbecue sauce. At Cabernet Grill, choose from a selection of Hill Country standouts, like Texas “Twinkies” (bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with beer sausage and cheddar) or grilled shrimp atop velvety grits. Pair each with a selection from Cabernet Grill’s all-Texas wine list.
The wine and beer scene around Fredericksburg deserves a guide of its own. If you’ve only got a few hours to spare, start in town at La Bergerie, a Parisian-influenced wine bar, and Ferris & Fletch, a family-owned winemaker that sells accessible reds, whites, and roses.
Outside of the downtown, your options expand. Becker Vineyards, located on a 56-acre estate with lavender fields, is one of Hill Country’s oldest and best-known wineries. Be sure to also seek out smaller, terroir-focused venues, including the thinking tippler’s boutique cellar, Ab Astris, and Meierstone Vineyards, a fifth-generation working ranch that produces sustainably-minded wines.
In a town founded by Germans, you don’t have to go far for a glass of pilsner or stout. Multi-award-winning Fredericksburg Brewing Company, which produces 20-plus varieties, is the oldest continuously operating brewpub in Texas. Meanwhile, Altstadt Brewery—housed in a handsome, Old World-style complex that includes a tap room, biergarten, lounge, and restaurant—features about a dozen beers on tap.
The city’s newest spirits producer, Dietz Distillery, is one of its most promising. They craft artisanal gin and vodka, used in a curated list of creative cocktails. Downtown, Hondo’s on Main is a local favorite for its margaritas.
What to Do in Fredericksburg
Get an overview of Fredericksburg history and architecture aboard a vintage trolley via Fredericksburg Tours. Or hoof it around town, stopping in historic spots like Marktplatz, a public park that hosts a variety of festivals and concerts and is home to Vereins Kirche, an octagonal white building reconstructed in the style of the original 1847 town church and meeting house. Along and around Main Street, shop the city’s range of independent boutiques, from fashion to handcrafts and home décor.
Pay a visit to the National Museum of the Pacific War. The country’s largest museum dedicated to WWII’s Pacific Theater, the shiplike museum contains several comprehensive exhibits and unexpected treasures, including a Japanese midget submarine and an American Avenger torpedo bomber.
Live music is a Fredericksburg fixture year round, perhaps most notably at Luckenbach Texas. Founded in 1849, it has one of the country’s oldest dance halls and bars. On West Main Street, Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse is the place to go for Wednesday-through-Sunday country music shows, while quaint Hill Top Café is known for its Sunday Gospel Brunch.
Among the back roads and trails between old ranches and farms, go cycling or horseback riding. Or hike the trails at Enchanted Rock, a one-billion-year-old pink granite batholith that was revered by local Comanche and Tonkawa populations. Both Enchanted Rock and the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park, about 45 minutes southeast, were recently designated International Dark Sky Parks, ideal for stargazing and viewing the total solar eclipse in 2024.
Throughout the spring, blooming wildflowers—bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, purple tansies, wine cups, red poppies, and more—become the stuff of Instagram legend. It’s a strictly ogle-don’t-touch opportunity, and plucking or trampling the flowers or trespassing on private property in the quest for the perfect shot are not allowed. Get up close and personal at Wildseed Farms, the country’s largest wildflower farm, whose walking trails are surrounded by lush blooms March through October.
Robin Catalano’s writing has appeared in National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, TIME, Smithsonian, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Hemispheres, Robb Report, Bon Appetit, Fodor’s, ROVA, Insider, Boston Globe, Albany Times Union, and a variety of other regional publications.