Little Bavaria

Willkommen to Little Bavaria!

A southeastern state of Germany, Bavaria’s culture has found its way across the Atlantic to Michigan. Hence Frankenmuth’s nickname: Little Bavaria.

The name Frankenmuth is a combination of two words: ‘Franken’ and ‘muth.’ ‘Franken’ refers to the Province of Franconia in the Kingdom of Bavaria, where the Frankenmuth settlers were from. ‘Muth’ means courage in German.

Today, the town continues to embrace its Bavarian heritage.

A town rich in history

Our town is full of both German architecture and history.

Visit Frankenmuth’s museums to learn and experience more of the culture. There are also walking tours of St. Lorenz, Frankenmuth’s first church, and a replica of the first cabin built in Frankenmuth.

Museums and places of interest in Frankenmuth include:

  • Frankenmuth Historical Museum
  • Michigan’s Military and Space Heroes Museum
  • Lager Mill
  • St. Lorenz
  • Frankenmuth’s first cabin
  • Grandpa Tiny’s Farm
  • Walking tours

Not located in Frankenmuth proper, but found next to the Historical Society of Saginaw County, is the Castle Museum of Saginaw County. If you’re interested in history, anthropology, and culture, this museum should also be on your to-do list!

Embracing Little Bavaria

Frankenmuth has many events throughout the year including:

  • Festivals
  • Shopping events
  • Racing events
  • Food events
  • Friday Fun Nights
  • Craft shows
  • Live music
  • And more!

We celebrate Bavarian cuisine

As you take a stroll in both Downtown Frankenmuth and at the Bavarian Inn, stop to try the food. In Bavaria, food was a large part of the Bavarians’ culture. In Little Bavaria, it is no different. Sample some German cuisine and see for yourself!

A taste of German food we serve at the Bavarian Inn restaurants:

  • German potato pancakes
  • Bavarian benedict
  • Bratwurst
  • German potato cheese dumplings
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pretzels (that each feed four people!)
  • Cheddar ale soup (with imported Hofbräuhaus beer)
  • Frankenmuth® chicken
  • Jäger schnitzel
  • Sausage plate
  • Bratwurst & kraut
  • Spaetzle

The Bavarian Inn features German food, desserts, beers, and wines, as well as American staples.

The Bavarian Inn celebrates Little Bavaria every day!

We love cooking, but we also love celebrating Bavarian music. The Bavarian Inn Restaurant even has a daily strolling accordionist to celebrate the musical heritage of Bavaria.

Honoring history in every room

While we have a lot of fun at the Bavarian Inn Lodge, we also take history seriously; the Inn has often worked with a local historian to assist in displaying Frankenmuth history.

This came in handy when President and Owner of the Bavarian Inn Lodge Judy Zehnder Keller came up with an idea. She was staying at a hotel where each of the rooms was named after a famous person. This sparked the idea: Naming each room in the Bavarian Inn Lodge after a German surname.

What’s in a name? 360 histories.

Now all of our 360 guestrooms share a family history from one of our founding families in Frankenmuth, a neighboring town, or an individual who has been influential in the economics and civics of the community.

Names span from the Abraham family that established the German Lutheran colony called Frankentrost, seven miles northwest of Frankenmuth; through the Wenzel family, a blended family through the marriage of Gustav and Sophia on the Christmas of 1922.

Names include common German names like Hart, Schmitt, Schultz, Fischer, and Baker. There are also unusual names such as Kuehnemund, Bemassikeh, Schuknecht, Allardyce, Sitterding, Uebler, Gugel, and Popp.

Then there are the surnames shared with celebrities: Pillsbury, Schwab, Beyer, Eischer, Fischer, Sonntag, Roth, Trump, Chase, Keller, Oldenburg, and Schiefer.

The first fifteen

The first 15 settlers of Little Bavaria came to Frankenmuth in 1845. A year later, 90 more settlers arrived. When the 2010 U.S. Census was taken, the town had 4,944 residents. Currently the population is over 5,000.

Expanding history

For each of the three guestroom phases involved in building the Bavarian Inn Lodge we know today, we have been happy to have the opportunity to add more family histories. There are so many families that have shaped Frankenmuth over the years that we even had to resort to a lottery system to select which ones we would represent.

A group effort

We appreciate the Frankenmuth Historical Museum, our local historian, the Frankenmuth families, and others to put pictures and information together to provide our guests with the rich history of Little Bavaria.

Contact us

Want to celebrate Frankenmuth history with us in Little Bavaria? Give us a call or visit us online to book your room today!