The Ultimate Dog Friendly Frankenmuth, Michigan Travel Guide
Frankenmuth, Michigan is a great little town to visit, whether you have a dog or not. However, like a handful of cities in Michigan, Frankenmuth prides itself in being dog friendly. It is the host of the “World’s Largest Dog Olympics” called the Dog Bowl and has several dog friendly festivals sprinkled throughout the year. We go to Frankenmuth at least once a year!
In this guide, I’m sharing all the details on dog friendly Frankenmuth, Michigan and how to spend a lovely weekend with your pup!
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About Frankenmuth, Michigan
I have a more in-depth post on Frankenmuth here that goes beyond a dog friendly trip to Frankenmuth. But in a nutshell, Frankenmuth is a picturesque town that looks like a German Village. It is known as “Little Bavaria”, is famous for its chicken dinners, and is home to the World’s Largest Christmas Store.
In terms of dog friendly, Frankenmuth, Michigan holds several specific events for dogs, particularly hosted by the River Place Shops. If you have a dog that enjoys crowds of people and other dogs, plan your trip around Memorial Day weekend and attend The Dog Bowl!
Fair Warning: Our dog did NOT enjoy the Dog Bowl, and we have since learned that Kirby does not like other dogs very much. It was not a great experience for us, so while I still recommend the event, I personally will never take my dog to a crowded dog event again. You know your dog, though, so if your dog has no issues with crowds or other dogs, you’ll probably have a blast.
When To Go
You can’t go wrong in any season to visit dog friendly Frankenmuth!
WINTER: Stroll around the decorated shops, drive through Bronner’s light display and go through the drive-thru at Halo’s Burgers.
SPRING: Bring your dog to the Dog Bowl!
SUMMER: Enjoy beautiful weather, take a river cruise, eat outside at Zehnder’s and stroll the town.
What To Do:
Go During a dog friendly Festival
Frankenmuth has a lot of different festivals going on throughout the year. A few are dog friendly.
Their most popular would be the Dog Bowl which is the “World’s Largest Olympic Style Festival for Dogs” over Memorial Day Weekend. You’ll find dock dog shows, K-9 shows, dog races you can participate in, agility, and more. We went this year and as I stated above it was not the best experience for us, but is still a great event if your dog likes other dogs, and people, and doesn’t mind crowds.
Another dog friendly festival is the Scarecrow Fest – Dog Weekend which takes place Mid-October, Enjoy scarecrow displays, pumpkin bowling, and a dog costume contest!
stroll through river place shops
River Place Shops is very dog friendly! They host the Dog Bowl and Scarecrow Fest – Dog Weekend. With more than 40 shops and attractions, you could spend an entire day here. You’ll find dog friendly shops listed in their brochure with a paw print and shop doors usually have a paw print as well to let you know which are dog friendly. This is a great option if you end up getting caught in Frankenmuth on a rainy day.
Some dog friendly favorites to visit:
- Yankee Candle Company – shop here for your favorite candles
- Ultimate Mirror Maze – 2000 square foot maze!
- Bavarian Blacksmith Experience – forge your own knife, dagger, or wand! My husband loved doing this!
- Bead Haven – Michigan’s largest bead store! Super cool store if you are into jewelry making, crystals, and rocks.
- Hello Cats and Dogs – Pet store with pet clothing and homemade treats.
Shop at Birch Run Outlets
If you are in need of more shopping, you can stop by Birch Run Outlets, home to over 100 name-brand stores like Calvin Klein, Carter’s, J. Crew, Kate Spade, and more. They also have a dog bakery called Doodle Doo Bakery where you can stop in with your dog. The common areas are dog friendly with a dog park located in section E, Some stores will let your dog in with you, just ask before entering!
take a river boat cruise
The Bavarian Belle River Boat is also located at River Place Shops and offers a 60-minute narrated tour of Frankenmuth on the Cass River. The family-owned 150-passenger authentic paddlewheel riverboat is dog friendly from May-October and offers dog friendly tours during the Dog Bowl as well.
We did this ride during the Dog Bowl and it was the only thing Kirby enjoyed about the Dog Bowl!
Visit Bronner’s after Dusk
Bronner’s Christmas Store is the “World’s Largest Christmas Store”, the entire property and grounds covering 27 acres. With over 6,000 different ornaments to choose from as well as other holiday decor, you could spend hours in this store! We love going to Bronner’s for their personalized ornaments and spending time in “Christmas wonderland” any time of the year with no judgment 😉
While the store itself is not dog friendly, they have a terrific lights display at night that you can drive through with your dog after dusk!
Take a Walk
Walking around town or enjoying the 0.9-loop river walk through Heritage Park is a great way to spend time in Frankenmuth with your dog. There is also a dog park in Heritage Park called the Hund Platz where your dog can enjoy some off-leash time.
We also love walking under the Holz Brucke Bridge, which is Michigan’s largest covered wooden bridge! It has a cool history and is one of the historical symbols of Frankenmuth’s German roots.
Where To Eat:
Le Crepe du Jour– Not exactly dog friendly, but a great place to grab and go. If you have someone with you, have them order while you wait outside for your handheld crepe!
N’orlins Beignets – Get a taste of New Orleans! The beignets are really good here. They have two locations: a walk-up window downtown and a storefront at River Place Shops. The walk-up would be a good option if your dog is with you.
For Lunch & Dinner
Zehnder’s – Get the famous Chicken dinner! Zehnder’s is always busy, so make sure to call and reserve a table. They have a dog friendly patio outside that is seasonally open, Call ahead to make sure the patio is open.
Pasty Haus – Offering homemade pasties, shakes, malts, sundaes, bubble tea, and a puppy menu! They have a couple of outdoor tables in the front.
Fischer Platz Biergarten – an outdoor entertainment plaza serving a small menu of food, snacks, and beer in the Summer.
Cheese Haus Food Truck – Located outside the awesome Cheese Haus marketplace that has an insane amount of cheese varieties and specialty goods like mustard and sauces. The food truck offers mac and cheese bites, grilled cheese, and other cheesy goodness.
Prost Wine Bar & Charcuterie – Great place to relax with your dog on their patio! Get a wine flight, charcuterie board, or one of their paninis!
Halo Burger – Located outside of downtown near Birch Run, but well worth stopping by if you want to go through the drive-thru and have a quick bite to eat.,
Sugar High Bakery – They have an assortment of baked goods and sweets. They have dog treats as well!
Where to Stay
Though Frankenmuth, Michigan is dog friendly, you are limited in pet friendly lodging:
Jellystone Campground: A few miles outside the city. very family friendly and affordable.
Drury Inn and Suites is highly rated, located downtown, and has a 5:30 pm Kickback, where they offer light dinner time snacks and drinks included in your stay!
Vrbo Rentals: You’ll find a few pet friendly VRBO rentals in Frankenmuth as well!
I hope you enjoy your time in dog friendly Frankenmuth, Michigan! If you want to explore more of Michigan with your dog, check out my Michigan Dog Friendly Travel Guide!