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Arrive at the New Ulm Visitor Center, in the middle of downtown (1 North Minnesota)
Get Visitor Guides and personalized instruction on to best see everything!
New Ulm is in a gorgeous physical setting in the Minnesota and Cottonwood River valleys and is, by Federal Census of 2000, “The Most German City in America.” This heritage is evident in architecture, festivals, monuments and memorials, shops and well-kept properties. It is a town of 13,500 people offering the amenities of a larger town, the charm of small-town America, without the hassles of a big city…and it’s right in the middle of the Scenic Byway!
Explore the Brown County Museum to learn about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 at the best exhibit on this subject in the world! This war was the largest Indian-White battles in American history with 2 of the 7 battles happening in downtown New Ulm. The building itself is a beautiful example of northern German Renaissance style with stepped gables and courses of colored stone.
Visit the lovingly restored home to Minnesota Governor, John Lind, from the late 1800s. This Swedish-born man’s career is interesting and the formal home is enticing.
Catch the mechanical characters come out at the Glockenspiel at noon (and 3 or 5pm) downtown and enjoy the 37 bells that accompany this activity. The tree-lined plaza offers shade and benches to rest in comfort.
Enjoy a German-style meal (although there’s plenty of American favorites, too) at the famous Kaiserhoff Restaurant downtown. They’ve been around since 1938 and know what you like! They have plenty of seating options for individuals or groups.
Continue your journey by seeing (and climbing to the top, if you’re capable) of the 102-foot tall Hermann Monument that honors an ancient German hero who beat back the Romans in 9A.D. The views take you 15 miles around, including seeing the 4-mile wide river valley the town sits in.
Go across the street to visit the lovely campus at Martin Luther College and see the Chapel with its elaborate wood altar and maybe you’ll be able to hear someone practicing on the 3,000+ pipe organ! The 8-foot statue of Martin Luther on campus is also worth seeing.
Now, get yourself out to the August Schell Brewery to enjoy a tour and tasting, as well as visiting the beautiful gardens with flowers and peacocks. Schell’s is the 2nd-oldest family brewery in America and the prettiest by most people’s estimations. The gift shop and museum are also worthwhile stops when here.
Relax at your hotel before venturing out for the night.
Your evening meal will be done at historic Turner Hall. The Turner Society was comprised of German immigrants who came here in 1856 from Cincinnati to join the existing Chicago- based immigrants to solidify their new town. The1873 ratskeller has gorgeous murals of scenes of Germany that were covered up during World War I, only to stay that way until being revealed again in 1999. This room has been called “the most Germanic room in America” and the food, drink and setting are great!
Start today with a visit to the Wanda Gag House and learn about this artistic family. The father, Anton, has work in our state capitol and local Cathedral and did great handi-work inside the house. His daughter, Wanda, was a nationally famous artist and writer with her most famous work, “Millions of Cats,” still in print since 1928! This is an unusual, but very engaging tour.
Go discover music galore at the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame and see and hear the stories and artifacts of the 160 Inductees who “inhabit” this interesting venue. The genres of music are varied with Bob Dylan, Judy Garland and Prince among the more famous members. The hand-held audio wands will give you samples of their works.
It’s now time to have lunch at several different choices that include small-town diners, well- known chain restaurants, and some specialty restaurants. Consult your visitor info for ideas on where to visit!
The afternoon begins with a visit to the 1870s Harkin Store that is the sole remnant of a defunct river town with about 40% of its general store wares still intact! The setting on the banks of the Minnesota River is gorgeous and the costumed guides walk you back in history.
Stop at the Holy Trinity Cathedral as you come back into town and marvel at the artwork of the designers and craftsmen that built this remarkable 1890s building! Everyone is welcome.
The Way of the Cross on the 5th North hill is always a refreshing break from the day as you walk the tree-shaded pathway to the brick chapel on top, as you pass by 14 8-foot stations of Jesus’ last days. The nearby park honoring pioneering priest, Alexander Berghold, is worth a visit, too.
Take a rest before going out for the night, but don’t get too cozy, there’s more to see and do!
Expand your horizons 8-miles from New Ulm at Morgan Creek Vineyard where you can not only indulge in wonderful wines, but enjoy appetizers from their wood-fired pizza oven. Musicians on the weekend make this a memorable stop.
There are many supper choices that can rival big-city offerings, with a BBQ shop, steak house, American bistro, super Mexican restaurant and more to select from.
Tonight’s entertainment is either best done at the Grand Kabaret, which features free music on Friday and Saturday night, but a play by our talented local acting group can also be on the offing at their own theater!
We explore the surrounding countryside today with several interesting options:
Sleepy Eye is more than an unusual name, it is a town with surprising attractions 15 miles west of New Ulm. It is named for a Dakota chief and features his grave and a life-size statue, both near the interesting Depot Museum. St. Mary’s Church is among the prettiest churches in Minnesota and is a must-see with its gold-leafing, teak and butternut woodwork and large stained glass windows! The stained glass shop downtown is also worth seeing, as is the Schoenstatt Shrine that replicates a church in Germany on the town’s west side.
Continuing westward 20 miles, you can see a real gem – the Sod Houses on the Prairie. They are located 35 miles west of New Ulm, near Sanborn. See what life was like on the tree- less prairie as you investigate two full-size sod houses and appreciate your modern life!
The Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls is a three-fold site to visit, with mansion, historic 1900s farm, and a museum full of – everything! It is worth a stop. The waterfalls in nearby Redwood Falls are wonderful with a suspension bridge and plenty of picnic spots. They also feature some interesting shops and the Congress of Inventors Museum.
The Norwegian village of Hanska, 13 miles south of New Ulm, is home to 400 closely knit people who welcome you to visit their shops, authentic Norwegian storage barn (called a “stabbur”) and the 1870s pioneer cabin on nearby Lake Hanska as well as the obvious water sports and fishing on this long, deep lake. A beach and dock make it easy to access.
Back home in New Ulm for the night, you will be tired, so consider a wake-up activity by playing 9 holes at Putting Green. This mini-golf course that offers a unique way to learn an environmental lesson while having fun!
If you’re still up for it, there is a 13-mile bike loop around New Ulm, including a 5-mile and 2-mile trail stretch connected by designated city streets. The route is mapped in the Visitor Guide and is easy to follow.
Many of these attractions have seasonal and weekly schedules that can change during the year. Check the Visitor Guide, the web-site, or call the Visitor Center to verify availability of these touring elements: 1-888-463-9856 / www.newulm.com