Bad blogger confession: This post is way overdue (it’s 3 degrees out as I write this), but I really want to share the day I spent in New Ulm, Minnesota, this spring with you ahead of my recap of my trip to Europe, and specifically Germany. And if you are like me and planning travel for 2018, this post is the perfect time.
Located in southern Minnesota, New Ulm is about 90 minutes from the Twin Cities. This makes it the perfect distance from and size a town for a day trip; a full weekend is too much unless you are there for an event. Below I share attractions and spots to visit during a day trip to New Ulm.
New Ulm is named for the town in Bavaria of the same name, and was settled by Turner Society Germans, who left Germany after the Revolution of 1848 and were known for being very active in gymnastics (trust me, this will come up later in the post). As I was going to Bavaria later this year and I have wanted to visit New Ulm since moving to Minnesota, I made a point to go this spring.
New Ulm Attractions
Flandrau State Park
New Ulm has a state park right at the city limits, how cool is that? Flandrau State Park is the perfect place to step away from the town and take a break in nature. Although small in size, the park has diverse terrain and trails, from grassy to wooded areas. And it has a lot of nice-looking camping options that would make it a fun way to stay in New Ulm if you choose.
Hermann the German
Located in Hermann Heights Park, the monument commemorates the German victory over the Romans. Hermann is celebrated as a symbol of German independence. The 102 foot monument is topped by a statue that is the second-largest of its kind in the U.S., only smaller than the Statue of Liberty. It’s the highest spot in New Ulm and offers wonderful views of the town and valley below. The $2.25 admission fee is well worth the price.
Make a point to plan your day around the Glockenspiel performance times. The bells on the 45-foot tall clock perform at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. No matter your age, it’s a fun experience.
Food and Drink
I’m going to be honest, there aren’t a lot of food options in New Ulm. It’s a small town. Since we were there for one day to experience the German culture, we went all in with lunch at Turner Hall.
This is Turner Hall like the founding Turners. Remember the ones into gymnastics? Well, this hall was founded as a gymnasium for training. There is a bar off the gym. And below that in the Rathskeller (basement, which is a great word to know in German, as that’s a good place to look for beer) is the New Ulm Turner Hall restaurant.
What the food lacks, the atmosphere (and cheap beer) make up for. Interesting facts: The menu has two prices-one for members and one for visitors, and it calls itself the oldest bar in Minnesota.
The murals on the wall are worth popping your head in for, as they depict scenes from Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The original artwork was painted over and has been recently uncovered and restored. Ahead of my trip to Europe it got me very excited to experience Bavaria for myself.
No trip to New Ulm is complete without heading to August Schell Brewery. Tours start at the top of the hour (I missed it by a few minutes and was disappointed so I’ll have to go back) and for $5 take visitors around the grounds explaining different features. Also, a tour is the only way to sample the beer on site, as there is no taproom to pay for a pint.
Even if you don’t go on a tour, stop at the brewery to see the grounds, gardens, buildings and resident peacocks. Yes, peacocks! The oldest brewery in Minnesota, five generations of Schell’s have brewed beers on this location.
Opened earlier this year, the Starkeller is a separate taproom where Schell’s features its Noble Star sour beers. They have a few snack options, and if you like sour beer, this is the place to get it. It has a beautiful bar in a minimalist taproom setting. Note: This is cash only and is only open Fridays and Saturday.
Have you been to New Ulm? What was your favorite thing you did, ate or saw?