Spending a weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan can be relaxing, romantic, dog-friendly, or family-friendly! We go to Frankenmuth every year, at least once for Zehnder’s “Famous Chicken Dinner” and love spending the 4th of July as well. In this guide, you’ll find a weekend itinerary full of all the things to do, and places to eat!
I hope you have a lovely weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan!
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About Frankenmuth, Michigan
Frankenmuth is a fun little town filled with mom-and-pop shops, the world’s largest Christmas store, and is famous for its family-style chicken dinners. The town is known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria due to its bavarian-style architecture that pays homage to its German roots. It also holds an Oktoberfest every year that was the first Oktoberfest to operate with the blessing of the original Oktoberfest in Munich. You’ll find that Frankenmuth pretty much always has a festival going on, so no matter when you decide to go, there will definitely be things to do!
When To Go
Like I stated above, there is always something going on in Frankenmuth, so you can’t go wrong in any season. They also do seasons VERY well. It’s the perfect place for a Christmas winter getaway, a fun time over the 4th of July weekend, and is very festive and colorful in the Fall. There is no wrong way to spend a weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
SPRING / SUMMER: There are a few reasons to visit Frankenmuth during the warmer months. For one, you can spend your Memorial Day weekend at the Dog Bowl Festival, the world’s largest Olympic-style festival for dogs. We personally love spending The Fourth of July weekend for the fireworks, food, and Christmas in July at Bronner’s 😉
FALL: We also love going to Frankenmuth in the Fall. Mostly to get my free chicken dinner at Zehnder’s in my birthday month, (yes that’s a thing!). In September, Frankenmuth puts on Oktoberfest like no one else. In October you’ll find the “scarecrow fest” perfect for dogs! And in November, you can spend thanksgiving at Zehnder’s for a traditional German-style turkey dinner.
WINTER: Spending the Christmas season in Frankenmuth is a perfect way to get in the spirit. The town lights up beautifully for the holiday, and who doesn’t want to go to the largest Christmas store! (Seriously though, expect crowds.)
Where To Stay
For a romantic getaway: I would suggest the Bavarian Inn Lodge. You’ll find great amenities like an Adult only European-style courtyard with an indoor pool and whirlpool, a gourmet coffee bar, and free nightly entertainment.
For a family vacation: both Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s Splash Village offer a lot of fun activities and amenities.
For dog friendly accommodations: you’ll want to stay at the Drury Inn and Suites or camp at the nearby Jellystone Campground.
You can also find a ton of different vacation rentals on Vrbo here.
Here are two that are highly rated and look awesome:
Weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan Itinerary
- Arrive and check into your hotel or set up your campsite.
- Have Dinner at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant for authentic German food. I highly suggest getting one of their German dinners that is not the Chicken dinner. (You’ll be having the Chicken Dinner at Zehnder’s before you leave on Sunday.)
- Walk over to the Covered Bridge and watch the sunset over Cass River.
- Spend the rest of the evening in — If you are staying at the Bavarian Inn, check out the awesome 18-hole Miniature golf course or one of the four indoor pools (an adult-only one too!)
- Get started with your free hotel breakfast or head over to Oma’s Restaurant in the Bavarian Inn or T.Dub’s Pizzeria & Pub on Main Street. (try one of their breakfast pizzas!)
- Explore downtown:
- The Cheese Haus: is worth the stop if not just for the samples! They have a wide selection of mustard, cheese, and novelty food items.
- Frankenmuth Fudge Kitchen: Need I say more? Get yourself a slab of fudge!
- Frankenmuth Visitor Center: Worth stopping in and saying hi to the lovely staff here, they may even give you a coupon book for shopping too.
- Amazin Mitten: Stop in for all things Michigan related
- Zehnder’s Marketplace and Gift Shop: Well worth browsing, you can find a lot of unique items here, as well as Zehnder’s seasonings and baked goods.
- Lunch: If you are still hungry after snacking on cheese and fudge all morning, then by all means find a table at Prost Wine Bar & Charcuterie for a light meal. If you have your dog with you, try Fischer Platz
- Other Activities: Depending on when you are visiting, I would suggest partaking in whatever festival is going on! If you picked the only weekend a year there isn’t anything going on (kidding, but kind of not), then walk over to the Frankenmuth Historical Museum to get a taste of Frankenmuth’s German roots, and what makes this little town so special.
- Drive over to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. It’s the one place any day of the year you can sing along to the Christmas music playing in the background without anyone judging you. There is practically every ornament you can think of, with a whole section dedicated to personalizing ornaments. We like to get one for every life milestone, like buying a house, getting a dog, etc. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s worth taking a look around the world’s largest Christmas store.
- Take a river cruise. You can either do a more intimate wine and chocolate tour, or a regular half-hour / one-hour tour with Frankenmuth Fun Ships
- Or take a tour on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat, a 150-passenger authentic paddlewheel riverboat. (Dogs are welcome aboard!)
- Dinner: Spend dinner at Michigan on Main Bar and Grill or check out T. Dub’s if you didn’t go there for breakfast.
- (or if you are staying at Drury Inn – partake in their 5:30 pm Kickback, where they offer light dinner time snacks and drinks included in your stay!)
- End your night getting a beer flight at Frankenmuth Brewery, touted as “America’s Oldest Microbrewery and Michigan’s Original Craft Brewery”. It’s been around since 1862!
- Start your day again with free breakfast or head over to La Crepe Du Jour for a french crepe or N’Orlins Beignets & Coffee
- Activity: Spend your morning perusing the stores at River Place Shops. If you have your dog with you, River Place Shops is very dog friendly. Their brochure has a paw print next to all the stores that allow dogs in them.
- Stores to visit:
- Cherry Republic
- Black Star Farms
- Suger High Bakery
- Hello Cats and Dogs
- Popcorn Wagon
- Jerky Joint
- Stores to visit:
- Forge your own knife! If forging is your thing, You can forge your own knife or dagger at Bavarian Blacksmith Experience, my husband loved doing this!
- Lunch: Personally I would skip lunch and have your reservation for Zehnders for 3 pm. You want to be hungry for the all-you-can-eat family-style Chicken Dinner. Tip: Visit Cherry Republic and snag some free samples to tie you over until Dinner.
- Activity: If you’d like to shop more, head over to Birch Run Outlets. Or, if you are visiting Frankenmuth during the warmer months, book a tee time at Fortress Golf Course or check out Frankenmuth Aerial Park for ziplining and rope courses!
- Dinner: You made it! Enjoy your Chicken Dinner at Zehnder’s and leave full and happy!
- If you are leaving when it’s dark out, make sure to stop by Bronners on your way out of Frankenmuth. Drive through their Christmas light display for the perfect end to your weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
I hope you have an amazing weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan! Let me know how your trip went in the comments below. If you want to explore more of Michigan, check out my other Michigan Travel Posts.