Top Attractions in Frankenmuth, Michigan

Roughly two hours north of Toledo is one of the most unusually quaint vacation spots in the Wolverine State: Frankenmuth, Michigan. What’s it known for? Christmas and chicken.

To those who have never made the trip, this may seem like an odd combination (or a strange selling point) but Frankenmuth draws in over three million tourists each year. Its name is derived from the Bavarian Province of “Franconia” and “mut” the German word for courage. The area was settled by German Lutherans who had traveled the Great Lakes via canals. This heritage is still very prevalent today, earning Frankenmuth the nickname, “Little Bavaria.”

Dining

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Photos Courtesy of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth

Zehnder’s™ and the Bavarian Inn are two of the most popular restaurants in the township. They serve old world traditional meals, like all-you-can-eat family-style chicken dinners, fresh baked goods and European desserts. Their chicken is so good, it helped put Frankenmuth on the map. Zehnder’s™ seats 1,500 people, giving them the title of “America’s Largest Family Restaurant.”

 

Lodging

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Photos Courtesy of Zehnder’s Splash Village

The Zehnder™ brand has flourished. Since opening the restaurants, the Zehnder family has added water parks, lodges, and golf courses to its repertoire. Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark™ is the only waterpark in Michigan that offers a retractable roof. You can enjoy the water slides, lazy rivers and dumping buckets no matter the season.

The Bavarian Inn also houses its own waterpark which includes 4 pools, 3 whirlpools, and 2 slides. If that’s not quite what you’re looking for, maybe the 18 hole indoor putt-putt course is more your style.

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Photo Courtesy of Bavarian Inn Lodge

 

Holiday Festivities

Another main Frankenmuth attraction is Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the “World’s Largest Christmas Store.” Open year-round and donning the appearance of a Swiss Chalet, this retail store is approximately 320,000 sq. ft., with 96,000 sq.ft. dedicated to the sales floor. According to the Pure Michigan website, the daily electric bill averages $1,250. That’s an enormous overhead cost, but worth it when considering their average visitor count surpasses two million annually.

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Photos Courtesy of Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

 

Located on the Bronner’s property is a replica of the Silent-Night-Chapel, an Austrian monument that sits on the site where Silent Night was originally performed in 1818.

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Photo Courtesy of Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

In addition to the year-round attractions, there are many festivals that draw huge crowds to the town each year. In 1996, Frankenmuth’s Oktoberfest was given an official proclamation by the German Parliament of Munich. It is the first Oktoberfest outside of Munich to be given this blessing. This was also the first time that the Hofbräuhaus brewery imported its beer to the United States.

Frankenmuth hosts Michigan’s largest Bavarian Festival in June. Events include polka bands, beer gardens, and traditional German entertainers.

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Photo Courtesy of Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

 

The Zehnder’s™ Snowfest has been held annually for 28 years and boasts a list of family friendly activities. The main event is the collegiate ice carving competition.

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Photos Courtesy of Bavarian Inn Lodge

 

The town of Frankenmuth is rich in history and a truly unique vacation locale. Whether you’re going to soak in the traditions, or have your sights set on big thrills, there’s something to accommodate all tastes in this charming German Village.

Written: Jun 18, 2019

About The Author

Jordyn Windnagle

Jordyn Windnagle

Jordyn is a content specialist for Home Sweet Toledo and the Social Media Strategist for Danberry Realtors. She is also an Ohio licensed Real Estate Agent with Danberry.