If you’re heading to Michigan’s iconic Christmastown, then you probably already know about Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. So, here’s a guidebook on finding all the other fun attractions.
MICHIGAN—Regardless of the season, the idyllic city of Frankenmuth always looks like it came straight out of a Hallmark movie. And during the holiday season, the city really shines.
Frankenmuth is perhaps best known for its Bavarian-style architecture, and as the home of Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store, open year-round. The superstore draws in about 2 million visitors per year—but it’s not the only attraction that can be found in Michigan’s Little Bavaria, nor the only source of Frankenmuth’s reputation as the most Christmassy town in America.
Here are a few other holiday sights worth seeing:
Whether you call him Kris Kringle, Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick, or just plain Santa Claus, everyone’s favorite Christmas character is always the star of the show in Frankenmuth. Tracking down the Jolly Old Elf himself can be a challenge—but we have some tips on how to find him.
After you tell him what you want for Christmas, Santa Claus is always happy to snap a few photos with your family, and Mrs. Clause might even join in on the fun!
From 1-4 p.m. on most Saturdays and Sundays, Santa can often be found strolling about Frankenmuth River Place. Later in the evening—as well as on Friday afternoons—Mr. Kringle usually heads over to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant or the Bavarian Inn Lodge.
Grandpa Tiny’s Farm
Of course there are reindeer in Frankenmuth—and at this local farm, you can get up close and personal with them for some unique holiday photos. If you can’t find Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick for yourself, the farm will also help you get your letters delivered directly to the North Pole.
Grandpa Tiny’s Farm also serves as a great educational opportunity to learn more about local agriculture and the history of the area. Aside from the reindeer and usual holiday celebrations, you can tour the farm to discover more about the city’s original settlers.
Bavarian Blacksmith Experience
The Bavarian Blacksmith Experience offers classes all year round that allow visitors to design their own metal trinkets—like knives and pendants. But during the holidays, the place transforms into Santa’s workshop, and you can bring home your own handcrafted ornament.
For only $30, anyone ages 6 and up can try their hand at forging your own snowflake to hang on their tree. You can add a special date or a name, then finalize your design with a gorgeous shimmer finish of your color choice, and a luxurious satin or velvet ribbon.
Spectacular Musical Tree Show
At least seven times a day during the holiday season, this unforgettable feature replays itself outside the Frankenmuth Visitor’s Center. It’s a 44-foot-tall Christmas tree decked out with more than 23,000 lights that twinkle and dance to a cheerful, holiday medley. Each show lasts for seven minutes, and it’s impossible to walk away without feeling the holiday spirit.
Driving Light Tour
Would you rather avoid the cold weather? We don’t blame you.
Luckily, you can still enjoy all the sights and sounds of Christmastown without ever having to leave your car. Just grab a map and some hot cocoa from the Visitor’s Center, and hit the road. The biggest light displays are usually set up along Main Street. Find more details here.
‘Stop and Snap’ Challenge
You were going to take plenty of selfies anyway. Why not get a free ornament, too?
Frankenmuth’s official “Stop and Snap” Challenge involves visitors snapping photos of themselves at 15 different destinations across the city. Most of the selfie spots are fairly close together—so it won’t take all day. And when you’re done, you can claim a commemorative Christmas tree ornament from the Visitor’s Center before you leave.
Frankenmuth Cheese Haus
This one is for those with culinary skills—and those who just want to eat some cheese. During store hours, the Cheese Haus offers free, unscheduled, cheeseboard-making classes. It’s the kitchen skill that you never knew you needed for the holiday season.
While you’re there, don’t forget to pick up some Cheese Haus favorites to bring back home— like the famous, Michigan-made Pinconning cheese, exclusive garlic cheese spread, Holland smoked gouda, or the local delicacy, Frankenmuth Cheese.
Ice Skating at Zehnder Park
The Frankenmuth Ice Rink is an open-air ice rink that’s only open from late November until the end of February. Rates are $10 for the day, or $50 for the season. Daily skate rentals are $3—and both hockey and figure skates are available. No reservations are needed.
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