New Ulm, population 13,500, is just under 100 miles south-west of the Twin Cities. New Ulm was founded by German settlers, and the German influence is seen throughout the city. This strong cultural heritage makes New Ulm a great destination for a day trip. New Ulm has a wonderful small town feel, but is big enough that it has enough attractions to make a day trip out of a visit to just the beautiful city of New Ulm.
The most well-known tourist destination in New Ulm is the August Schell Brewery Co, the nation’s second oldest family owned brewery. I had never previously thought about taking my kids to a beer brewery but since we were going to New Ulm and I had wanted to check it out, we went and I’m glad that we did! The grounds are beautiful and spacious, and parking was easy. When we got out of the car we were immediately greeted by a peacock that roams the grounds. The gardens are beautiful and the paths are perfect for little feet to run and explore. The brewery offers tours, but we did not partake in a brewery tour. Instead we just spent a little time roaming the grounds and then went inside to check out the gift shop.
Next stop was the Hermann Monument. The statue is impressive from the ground, but to truly appreciate it you’ll need to climb to the top! Admission is $2.75, children 5 and under are free. The spiral staircase takes you up the base of the monument to the feet of the statue. The view from the top is spectacular! In the park, there is also a playground which made for a fun stop after climbing all those stairs!
Another must see in New Ulm is the Glockenspiel. The Glockenspiel is a 45ft high musical clock tower. The chimes play a song at 12pm, 3pm and 5pm so try to plan your visit accordingly. The Glockenspiel is located downtown. After we heard the 12pm chimes play, we walked to a restaurant. There are a number of options on Main Street to grab a bite to eat.
While in New Ulm, here are some more options for things to check out:
- Minnesota Music Hall of Fame
- Wanda Gag House
- Flandrau State Park
- Putting Green Eco Center
- Way of the Cross
- State Street Theater Co
- Brown County Historical Society
New Ulm also has some exciting festivals through out the year. Perhaps you can plan your trip so you can check out on of these:
- Oktoberfest – First two weekends in October
- Fasching/Schell’s Bock Fest – Saturday before Ash Wednesday. A European tradition.
- Bavarian Blast – Weekend long celebration of German heritage and culture, in July
- Hermann Fest – on the ground of the Hermann Statue, includes fireworks over the statue
- Christmas in New Ulm – Santa comes to town in a Parade of lights
- Riverblast – Free festival on the Minnesota River. 2 days of music, food and camping.
- Brown County Free Fair – Occurs in August.