Explore Frankenmuth: Michigan’s little Bavaria


(Photo by Erin Scheske).

Seniors Erin Scheske and Carson Guttovz dining at Zehnder’s at their most recent trip to Frankenmuth.

Erin Scheske, Assistant Editor

For many Michiganders, a trip to Frankenmuth is a yearly tradition. Frankenmuth was originally settled by German immigrants from the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1840. The town has kept its German heritage and has expanded into one of the largest Christmas destinations in the world. From Bronner’s to The Bavarian Inn, Frankenmuth has so much to explore.

One of Frankemuth’s most notable features, besides it’s Christmas spirit, is its marvelous chicken. Located in downtown Frankenmuth, there are two main places to eat a delicious chicken dinner: Zehnder’s or the Bavarian Inn. Personally, I enjoy the Bavarian Inn better as it offers a more traditional chicken dinner with a plethora of sides. Zehnder’s offers more of a chicken incorporated dinner, such as pasta and chicken. Both restaurants have many Christmas decorations around the holidays: each room is full of trees, lights, and tinsel. The waiters/waitresses at each restaurant dress up in a traditional German attire. Whichever place you choose to dine, you will receive an authentic, classic dinner full of German tradition and Christmas feels.

Carson Guttovz, a Senior at Milford, has a strong opinion about which restaurant is better. “Zehnder’s is my first love.” he said, “I don’t even need to look at the menu when I go there.” Karli Fahey, also a Senior at Milford, has an opposite opinion.

“Bavarian Inn is more traditional and tastes better.” Although the two have different preferences, they both agree that the candy bread, offered at both restaurants, is disgusting. To test which restaurant is more popular, I created a poll on my Instagram. The results of the poll indicates that, overall, people think the Bavarian Inn is a better restaurant than Zehnder’s. The final vote total was 82 votes (52%) for Bavarian Inn, and 78 votes (48%) for Zehnder’s. This is a very small difference, which indicates that whichever restaurant you choose to dine will provide you with great meals and service.

The world renowned Bronner’s is also conveniently located in Michigan’s little Bavaria, Frankenmuth. Known for being the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s is the main reason people visit Frankenmuth. Opened in 1945, Bronner’s is 320,000 sq. feet which, for those of you that don’t understand how large that is, is about 5.5 football fields or 7.35 acres.

Bronner’s offers every single thing you could ever think of, from thousands of ornaments, to full “mini city” sets and Bronner’s merchandise. A visitor could spend hours looking around without seeing the same thing twice. Although a bit overwhelming at points, Bronner’s employees are always there to help customers find what they want.

When asked about his favorite thing to do at Frankenmuth, Guttovz said, “Bronner’s is my favorite. I know the full layout by heart.”

To further your Frankenmuth journey, there is a Riverwalk to a      tiny town square. In the town square there are plentiful shops, containing activities and merchandise. There is a mirror maze, which is a fun brain-teaser for both children and adults. There is also a river ride available to guests, which will take you up and down the Cass River that runs next to Frankenmuth. Also located in the town square are multiple gift shops.

You can grab a cute, stylish sweatshirt or memento to remember your time at Frankenmuth. And lastly, in the town square, there is a sweet shop, where customers can purchase candy, taffy, and ice cream.

For many families, the annual visit to Frankenmuth is an old tradition, and for good reason too. Frankenmuth is a unique little town that is conveniently located just over an hour from our little town of Milford.

We are lucky to have Frankenmuth so closely located, so if you have never been, it’s your time to explore the wonders and spirit of Michigan’s little Bavaria, called Frankenmuth.