New Braunfels is a city in Texas close to San Antonio. This city sits on both the Guadalupe and Comal rivers. German settlers in the early 1800s founded the city, and there is still evidence of German architecture in this area. The city is also known for its caves, water sports, and outdoor activities. The variety of activities and attractions in this area means it is a popular destination for tourists. To help you plan your vacation itinerary to get the best experience of this city, here are the 20 best things to do in New Braunfels, TX.
20. Go to the Downtown Antique Mall
There are many shops in downtown New Braunfels, but one that you should include in your visit is the Downtown Antique Mall. The mall is housed in a restored 1900s building, and it covers 16 thousand square feet. Forty dealers sell a wide selection of antiques, including memorabilia, collectibles, and American and European hardwood furniture.
19. See the Exhibits at the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture
One of the most unusual museums in New Braunfels is the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture. Not only can visitors to this museum learn about the early German settlers, but they can also learn about furniture making, which was the Germans’ specialist trade. The museum is housed in the former home of Nan and Bill Dillen, both furniture collectors, and there is a collection of more than 70 pieces of Biedermeier furniture on display. The exhibition also includes English ironstone, handmade quilts, and period accessories. A tour of the museum also includes the cabinet shop, summer kitchen, and a log cabin that are part of the property.
18. Watch a Show at Circle Arts Theater
If you wish to see a show while you are in New Braunfels, then one of your venue options is the Circle Arts Theater. The theater first opened its doors in 1968, and it aims to deliver high-quality arts and music to theater-goers. Some of the productions in their schedule include musicals, comedies, and dramas. If you want to watch a performance, it makes sense to check the schedule and book tickets prior to your visit to avoid disappointment. In the summer, there are summer theater camps for children and young people.
17. Learn About Local History at the New Braunfels Conservation Society
Those who wish to learn about local history during their vacation should head to the New Braunfels Conservation Society. It is one of the most popular historical attractions in the area, and it consists of a 3.5-acre complex. The attraction is dedicated to preserving the history of the area’s early settlers. There are 18 buildings to visit, including a music studio, a schoolhouse, a barbershop, bed and breakfast, and a saloon. Tours are offered, and these take you through the area’s story, starting in 1845 when the city was founded.
16. Stroll Around the Farmer’s Market
The New Braunfels Farmer’s Market takes place every Saturday, and vendors from the city and the surrounding area gather to sell their fresh produce. There are also stalls selling chocolate, baked goods, meats, cheese, and pizza. Therefore, it is a fantastic place for foodies to visit to sample the goods. In addition to the food stalls, there are also stalls selling handmade goods.
15. Walk Across Faust Street Bridge
One of the most iconic landmarks in New Braunfels is the Faust Street Bridge. It is a Whipple truss bridge that was constructed over the Guadalupe River in 1887. At that time, most of Texas’s bridges were privately owned, and those who crossed them had to pay a toll fee. The Faust Street Bridge was one of the first toll-free bridges over a waterway in the state. Horse-drawn carriages and wagons initially used this bridge, but it was later opened to cars. Following a fire in 1978 in which the bridge suffered damage, the bridge was closed to traffic. Now, the bridge is open to both bicycles and pedestrians. From the bridge, you can enjoy views along the river and of the city skyline.
14. Go to the New Braunfels Railroad Museum
Railroads have played an important role to the settlers, trade, and agriculture in the area, and you can learn more about this at the New Braunfels Railroad Museum. The museum is housed in restored depot buildings, and the exhibits include various train artifacts, a 1950 caboose, interesting displays, and a restored Pullman dining car. A fun activity for visitors to enjoy is driving the model trains around large displays. It is worth noting that it is free to visit this museum, so it is a fantastic activity for people visiting the area on a budget.
13. Visit The Sophienburg Museum
Dedicated to the history of the early German settlers in New Braunfels and the central Texas area, this museum takes visitors on a journey of the area’s history through a range of exhibits. Included in the exhibits are photographs, artifacts, and maps. This venue is used for events and lectures throughout the year, so check what is on before your visit.
12. See a Performance at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theater
Originally, the Brauntex was a movie theater that opened in 1942. However, it was preserved in the 1990s and became a performing arts theater. This 605-seat venue boasts an art-deco style combined with modern technology. There is a varied schedule of performances throughout the year, so you should check the performance schedule and book tickets in advance if you wish to see a show while you are in this city.
11. Explore the Natural Bridge Caverns
One of the most interesting natural features in this area is the Natural Bridge Caverns. It is possible for visitors to tour the caverns and see the rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites. The tour takes you 180 feet below the ground. A fun activity for all the family to enjoy at the caverns is gem and fossil mining. An alternative activity for the more adventurous is the 60-foot obstacle course and zip line. After enjoying all the activities on offer at this attraction, you can grab a bite to eat from the on-site café and then visit the souvenir shop.
10. See the Creatures at Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo
Vacation Idea recommends a visit to Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo. This is one of the top family attractions in the area. Originally a snake farm, this attraction has been an accredited zoo since 2012. Although it is still home to snakes and alligators, it is now also home to 500 different animals. Some of these include exotic birds, capuchin monkeys, longhorns, and various species of cats. There is also a petting zoo where children can feed and handle the animals. Many of the animals have been rescued.
9. Have Fun at Canyon Lake
A great place to try some watersports is at Canyon Lake, which has a surface area over 8,200 acres and a shoreline of 80 miles. Canyon Lake is the deepest lake in Texas, with an average depth of 43 feet. If you want to try watersports, then there is equipment to hire along the shores. Watersports are not the only thing you can enjoy at this like as you can also walk the dam, have a go at fishing, or take a dip. Many visitors to the lake also enjoy exploring the Canyon Lake Gorge, which has fossils, rocks, and dinosaur trails that are around 100 million years old. There are also waterfalls, springs, and rock pools.
8. Try the Beers at Guadalupe Brewing Company
If you plan to enjoy a drink during your visit, then head to the Guadalupe Brewing Company. This brewing company opened in 2012, and it is known for brewing quality craft beers that are distributed in Texas exclusively. The taps rotate regularly, and there are some fun flavors to try, such as S’ more Bitter Stout with Marshmallow and Chocolate Pecan Stout. You will find Guadalupe Brewing Company on Wald Road.
7. Sample the Wines at Dry Comal Creek Vineyards
Dry Comal Creek Vineyard is family-owned and award-winning. They specialize in Texas-style wines that have lots of fruity and floral flavors, and they are the pioneers of Black Spanish wines made using a native Texan grape. When you visit the vineyards, you can stroll around the stunning grounds and enjoy the views before sampling the goods in the tasting room.
6. Go to Landa Park
A pretty place to spend some time outdoors during your visit is Landa Park, which is 51 acres of grassy areas, oak trees, and picnic spots. The park is home to both Landa Lake and Comal Springs, and you can hire paddleboats to take out on the water. A fun way to get around the park is on the miniature train, although there are miles of trails if you prefer to explore the park on foot or on a bicycle. Other activities to enjoy in the park are feeding the ducks, playing a round of miniature golf or on the 18-hole golf course, playing tennis on the courts, walking the Panther Canyon Nature Trail, or touring the William and Dolores Schumann Arboretum.
5. Visit McKenna Children’s Museum
If you are visiting the area with children, then the best place to include in your vacation itinerary is the McKenna Children’s Museum. The exhibits within this attraction cover many topics, including arts and culture, science, technology, gardening, and healthy eating. The environment within the museum is designed to engage children, educate them, and spark their imagination. There are interactive activities, water exhibits, and a range of fun projects for children to enjoy.
4. Watch a Movie at the Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theater
One of the last drive-in theaters in Texas, Stars & Stripes will take you back in time. It is a family-owned theater, and watching a movie outdoors is a lot of fun. There are stands to buy snacks and drinks to enjoy while you are watching the movie.
3. Stroll Around the Gruene Historic District
The Gruene Historic District is the oldest part of New Braunfels, and it was founded in the 1840s when the first German settlers arrived in the area. In this district, there are many of the original buildings, many of which are built in the German style. It was a thriving part of the town until the early 1920s, and then several disasters hit the area that caused a lot of the local businesses to shut their doors. Things changed in 1974 when a student from the University of Texas decided to preserve and restore the historic buildings in the area. It is a beautiful place to stroll around, enjoying the restored buildings, and it is also where you will find many of the best shops and restaurants.
2. Float Down the Comal River at Landa Falls
Tubing is a popular activity in New Braunfels, and the best place to do this is on the Comal River at Landa Falls. It has the longest spot for floating on the river at 2.5 miles. You can choose whether you want to simply float down the river or get out of your tube to enjoy the rope swings along the way or to jump off the riverbanks into the cooling water.
1. Have Fun at Schlitterbahn
According to Trip 101, one of the best things to do in New Braunfels, TX, for first-timers is to have fun at Schlitterbahn. It is the top attraction in the area and the reason why Texans flock to this city during the summer months. Schlitterbahn is a large waterpark that features 51 attractions, including a spring-fed river running through the park, tubing, a lazy river that has sections of a real river, and multiple waterslides and water play areas.