Sharing our travel guide of favorite things to do and boutiques in New Braunfels, Texas for a weekend getaway!
When people hear New Braunfels, they typically think of the Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Natural Bridge Caverns.
And yes, those are some of the top destinations and top reasons as to why people visit New Braunfels. But there’s more to this quaint Texas Hill Country town than its water excursions and caves.
Whenever we want an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s a lot harder to do so with the little ones.
Especially because flying with kids can be a lot (a lot mentally and a lot on our wallets).
However, road trips (like our one to Magnolia Market) are much more manageable for quick weekend getaways.
So we decided to take a mini vacay to New Braunfels during the kids’ holiday break.
Located between Austin and San Antonio, New Braunfels is only a 3-hour drive for us (a very pretty scenic one too).
If you’ve already done Schlitterbahn or floated down the Guadalupe River or fished the Comal River, then check out our guided tour of some things to do in New Braunfels that are less talked about but worthy must-see spots.
Where We Stayed in New Braunfels
We booked the Cation on the Guadalupe, a super quaint and trendy boutique aparthotel that’s located only a mile from the heart of New Braunfels.
The Cation has a mid-century hotel meets retro Texas ranch vibe.
Each room has its own theme and is within walking distance of the Guadalupe river!
It was really helpful that we had a spacious kitchen, bathrooms, and living area since we now “roll deep” with the kids and all our luggage.
The property sits on 4.5 acres, which allowed the opportunity for LOTS of nature exploring for the girls!
The hotel felt very secluded and peaceful even though we were minutes from the city center.
Plus, you can dip your feet in and sit under an umbrella by the river whenever you’d like.
It truly seems like it would be a wonderful place to live since it’s so idyllic and relaxing.
And the shopping and dining is great too, which is what we’re covering next…
Boutiques in New Braunfels and Gruene
1 — The Local
We wanted to buy everything from The Local!
From silver boots and little black dresses to art prints, jewelry and candles, there’s something from everyone.
If you’re looking for some unique New Braunfels gifts, this is the shop to find one-of-a-kind and non-kitschy souvenirs.
The owner was also born and raised in New Braunfels and is all about supporting the local artists of the area.
And she is the brightest soul too!
The art and jewelry were especially gorgeous and unique.
The boutique is named The Local because it carries works from local artisans and designers.
2 — Lark Mason Associates Gallery
From the Local, take a walk over to the Lark Mason Associates.
You might recognize this familiar face as a regular consultant on Antique’s Roadshow!
The gallery was founded by Lark Ernest Mason (above) who is an expert in Chinese art and antiques.
He’s pretty much an encyclopedia of all things historical and interesting!
We were particularly drawn to Lark and his story.
We were so glad that we got to meet Lark, and we were absolutely in love with how his mind goes to work to see the stories behind the objects he’s curated and the history of its previous owners.
Lark restored an old 1850s farmstead and built the gallery around it which was super cool to have a house within a house essentially.
We actually brought along our family coin collection for Lark to appraise.
He spent time reviewing each coin and gave us a mini-lesson on what makes things “valuable” in terms of monetary value and emotional value.
AKA, we got our own Roadshow Antiques session!
Unfortunately, we did not get our Roadshow crazy rich reveal moment with the coins.
And while we spent more time perusing the antiques, the girls went to the local train museum nearby.
3 — Caylor Forge
Probably one of the most unique places we visited was Caylor Forge.
You can even sign up to take blacksmithing classes (in mini sessions, group sessions or private lessons).
The blacksmithing shop features metal knives, houseware and jewelry…
The make-your-own souvenir experiences include forging your own horseshoe knife, railroad spike knife, bottle opener, or bracelet.
Most of the time, you’ll be able to watch their blacksmith or even a class (which we did) in action at the shop.
4 — Gruene Hat Company
If you’re looking for a cowboy hat or western goods, then the Gruene Hat Company is your shop.
The cool thing about New Braunfels is that most of the boutiques and restaurants are currently in historical restored buildings.
So the Gruene Hat Company is situated in what was once the town’s original bank vault.
Custom branding (the traditional ole fashion cowboy way) is also available with all their goods.
Gruene Historic District
The New Braunfels’ historic scene is the Gruene Historic District.
It’s where you’ll be able to walk around and find most of the boutiques and restaurants.
Gruene hosts year-round festivals so check the city calendar for things to do in New Braunfels.
It’s a picturesque area, especially at the Gruene town square where we were just drawn to the small town slow-paced life with a lot of soul.
5 — The Barn Pottery
The Barn Pottery features ceramics made on-site from a family founder, and also features highlighted selections from local Central Texas artists.
It’s a family-owned boutique and gallery with a connecting pottery studio on site!
Also, how precious was this little cutie? She’s the daughter of one of the family run owners!
New Braunfels’ art and music community is thriving so it was wonderful seeing all the local pieces showcased and available at the Barn.
Places to Eat and Drink in New Braunfels
1 — Krause’s Cafe
By the time we finally arrived in New Braunfels, the girls were sooo over being in cooped up in the car.
We wanted a place for the girls to run around and play!
So our first food destination was Krause’s Cafe since they have a huge outdoor beer garden.
Plus, we were told that Krause’s is a popular destination on Friday nights for live music.
We had a beer flight with a sampling of different Hill Country craft beers.
Our favorite bites were the pretzels and the schnitzel (which we tried and shared all 3 of the delicious versions).
2 — 2Tarts Bakery
For breakfast, 2Tarts Bakery was our go-to spot.
They’ve got a selection of both savory and sweet breakfast items.
And being that New Braunfels is a German-Texan town, there was no way were were not going to order the Pig in the Poncho (their Southern take to a kolache).
2Tarts is a family owned and family run.
The bakery was founded by two sisters who make everything from scratch.
Even their mom and husbands work at the bakery!
You might recognize one of the sisters, Ashley from on TV.
She was one of the winner’s of the Food Network Christmas Cookie Challenge.
We especially love that there are many gluten free and vegan options.
How can you not want everything in that patisserie case?!?
We grabbed some dark chocolate ganache eclairs and more cookies for the girls (since those were their favorites) to bring back to the hotel.
3 — Gristmill River Restaurant
Gristmill has been a New Braunfels staple for over 45 years.
It’s multi-level so you can have a casual outing in the beer garden outside (which we opted for as we had cocktails).
Or move inside for an intimate date night.
If you want true Southern fare food, Gristmill is the place to get your chicken fried steak, fried catfish and Texas-sized sandwiches fix.
We’d love to go back to New Braunfels without the kids to do adult things like tour the Dry Comal Creek Vineyards (one of many New Braunfels wineries) and zip line.
It’s nice that New Braunfels has something for all ages and occasions! Overall, it was a relaxing weekend, which was all that we wanted.
Image Credits: Sugar & Cloth | Bobby Sheidemann | Jenna McElroy
Thank you to the city of New Braunfels Convention & Vistors Bureau for hosting us. This guide only contains only our own honest thoughts and opinions.
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