German Immigrants attacked by Tourists

German Immigrants attacked by Tourists

By Michael Dwyer

Motorcycles crusie Main Street Frankenmuth in front of Zehnder's - photo by Michael Dwyer

Motorcycles crusie Main Street Frankenmuth in front of Zehnder’s

Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria

German immigrants settled Frankenmuth in 1845. In German, Frankenmuth means “courage of the Franconians.” North of Flint and just a few minutes from I-75, most Rochester Media readers are familiar with “Michigan’s Little Bavaria.”

Much of the town has a German look. The Franconian-style architecture of the buildings, the homes and the clock tower gives visitors that Bavarian feel. The Germans brought with them the desire for beer, cheese and sausage; and many of the local businesses offer these products along Main Street.

Tourists attack Frankenmuth at an easy pace

Frankenmuth is a walking town. Most of the attractions are accessible on foot. Park the car – parking is free everywhere – and meander Main Street. Enjoy the many varieties of flowers that make Frankenmuth’s Main Street colorful most of the year. Christmas lights and ice sculptures decorate the town in winter. Tourists pop in and out of shops, stroll along the sidewalks, and enjoy the sounds of Frankenmuth (which is mostly German music from the shops and roaring motorcycles on Main Street).

Three million people visit Frankenmuth each year. Most of them will do at least two things: Stop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland and eat a chicken dinner at either Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth or the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn.

Silent Night Memorial Chapel at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland - photo by Michael Dwyer

Silent Night Memorial Chapel at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

Be Different

While Frankenmuth will always have that “tourist trap” association to it, tourists can become travelers by visiting deeper into the destination.

All year long Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland plays Christmas music in their giant store of lights and decorations. Include a walk through and around the onsite Silent Night Memorial Chapel. Built in 1992, this replica of the original in Austria is a tribute to the namesake hymn. Plaques on the grounds translate the song into more than 300 languages.

Built in 1880, the St. Lorenz Lutheran Church has an impressive 167-foot steeple and is a Frankenmuth, gothic-style landmark.

Zeilinger Wool Co. has wool and natural fiber products, handcrafted from yaks, llamas, camels, sheep and more. From yarn to socks and pillows to comforters, discover their shop on Weiss Street (shoots north just before Bronner’s). Several other good stops are located on Weiss Street as well.

Frankenmuth Brewery - photo by Michael Dwyer

Frankenmuth Brewery

Beer, Cheese and Sausage

For something other than tourist-trap chicken dinners, try one of the two breweries in Frankenmuth. The Frankenmuth Brewery at the north end of Main Street has been operating for over 150 years. Classic German meals (better priced than a chicken dinner) may be paired with a craft German beer. Over on Weiss Street is the Sullivan’s Black Forest Brew Haus & Grill. A large variety of food and drink is available there.

Willi’s Sausage Co. is famous for their bratwurst and Jerky. They have over a hundred kinds of sausage to choose from. Try the bacon-flavored cheese or the chocolate cheese at the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus. Both shops are on Main Street.

Sullivan's Black Forest Brew Haus & Grill - photo by Michael Dwyer

Sullivan’s Black Forest Brew Haus & Grill

Make the Visit your own Trip

Be a tourist if you like, hit the hot spots and enjoy. However, consider some other suggestions and discover “your” Frankenmuth alongside the touristy nature of this popular destination.

Dig deep and plan your visit at the Frankenmuth website. Find accommodations, dinning, shops, festivals and more. Book a room, request a brochure and get directions all at one place:

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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