The Ultimate New Ulm Day Trip

Featuring brats, glockenspiels, and an inclusive playground

Today may be the final day of Munich’s Oktoberfest, but New Ulm celebrates German culture all year long. Ninety minutes southwest of Minneapolis, the town is home to 13,209 residents, a polka-themed music store (KNUJ Polka Parade), and the German-style brewery Schell’s (which, btw, celebrates Oktoberfest on October 15).

New Ulm is also the subject of Minnevangelist co-founder Andrew Parks’ latest Trip on a Tankful guide for Explore Minnesota. Among the highlights:

🥾 Climb the winding staircase in Hermann Heights Park to see the 102-foot-tall, 4,000-pound monument known as Hermann the German (real name: Arminius), who has lorded over the town since the late 1800s. His big claim to fame: helping Germanic resistance fighters defeat the Romans in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D.

🍖 Load up on bratwurst, smoked pork chops, four kinds of schnitzel, red cabbage, and German potato salad at the 84-year-old German restaurant Kaiserhoff.

🍺 Go easier on your stomach with a beer and a brat at Minnesota’s oldest continually operated bar, The Rathskeller, at New Ulm Turner Hall. While you’re there, check out the wall murals; they date from the 1870s.

🛝 Let the kids play, play, play all day in German Park, home to a newly renovated amphitheater, flower garden, Herbie the Hedgehog statue, and an inclusive playground featuring a fantastical Bavarian castle, gravity rail, interactive musical instruments and a fully rubberized surface.

🇩🇪 Shop for sauerkraut and steins at Domeier’s, a traditional German store that’s been importing holiday ornaments, garden gnomes, cuckoo clocks, hot curry ketchup, chocolate-covered nougat, and more since the 1960s.

🕰️ Gather around the town’s 45-foot glockenspiel, whose 37 bells ring out at noon, 1, 3, 5 and 6 p.m. between April 1 and Halloween and at noon, 3, and 5 p.m. between Nov. 1 and March 31. The clock’s rotating cast of characters includes a brick mason, flour miller, three-piece polka band, and a beer drinker (good work if you can get it).

To scope Andy’s full New Ulm itinerary, head over to Explore Minnesota.