Don’t have so much fun in Austin and San Antonio that you forget the exciting diversions nestled between the two! New Braunfels, known for Schlitterbahn and Wurstfest, is a great option if you’re looking for some wonderful antiquing, beautiful sights, delicious food, and a small-town escape from its bustling neighbors to the north and south.
Take a Stroll in Landa Park
You don’t have to live in Texas to know that it’s an oven on a good day, so head to Landa Park first to take advantage of the mild morning weather. It’s you plus 51 acres of enormous oaks, crystal clear water, blooming Magnolia trees, and lots of ducks that may or may not threaten to steal your food. (Someone has to save you from spoiling your breakfast!) Coming during the winter? Pack a scarf and mittens because you have got to see how beautiful this place can look when the temperatures drop. The Comal River cuts right through Landa Park, and produces a picturesque fog that cloaks most of the park when cold temperatures roll in.
Breakfast: Los Gallos
974 Loop 337
Don’t come between a Texan and their breakfast tacos, especially here. Los Gallos might not be the fanciest place in town, but don’t let appearances fool you: the food is great, and the portions are huge. Order a breakfast taco, or two, or three. If you don’t have an appetite for early morning tacos, then there’s an entire list of other tasty breakfast dishes to enjoy. You need plenty of fuel for today’s day trip, so eat up!
Shop in Downtown New Braunfels
Think Gruene is the only place to find antiques and boutiques in New Braunfels? You’re missing out on some prime spots around the Plaza then. This area reminds you of the city’s small-town origins, with murals dedicated to various historical figures, like Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels; Naegelin’s, Texas’ oldest bakery; and a myriad of unique shops, bars, and cafés. While you’re here, we recommend that you check out the Downtown Antique Mall, Gourmage, Red Stag, La Belle Vie, the New Braunfels Art League, Henne Hardware, Got Toys, and D-Pad. Credit card wielders, beware! You’ll find some amazing things that warrant a trip back after your next payday.
Lunch: Huisache Grill and Wine Bar
303 W. San Antonio Street
If you didn’t have directions to this restaurant tucked away next to the downtown train tracks, you might just completely miss it. Huisache is an intimate, eclectic place for you to grab a delicious bite to eat, with soft lighting, plenty of art lining the walls, a large selection of wine, and an interior that looks like it came straight out of a magazine. Some of their best items include their fried brie, grilled pork sandwiches, fettuccini pasta grill, parmesan-breaded chicken breast, blueberry mint aqua fresca, and warm cherry crisps. Disclaimer: Tex Traveler is not responsible for any resulting food comas.
Dry Comal Nature Trail (Autumn through Spring)
Located Off Loop 337 and Dry Comal Creek
Bikers and hikers alike can unwind for a while at this 2.25 mile trail, which runs through a river-bottom area, dense woodland paths, and some grassland habitats. Avoid the relentless summer heat waves by visiting from fall through springtime, and don’t forget to bring your water bottle year round. Since there seems to be a deer for every resident in New Braunfels, you’re bound to come across one or two during your hike.
Float Down the Comal River (Summer)
Time for a New Braunfels rite of passage! Tubing is practically the official city pastime here, so beat the heat with an invigorating dip into the Comal River. This water is a lovely 72 degrees year round, and the current isn’t so strong that it carries you away (we’re looking at you, Guadalupe River). You can even bring your drinks, be they sodas or of an alcoholic nature. If you’re looking for some exhilaration during your visit, then you’ll definitely want to take on the City Tube Chute. Tubes are available for rent at multiple locations.
Dinner: Alpine Haus Restaurant and Winegarten
251 S. Seguin Ave.
After an afternoon hiking or floating down the Comal, it’s time to fill up with some hearty Bavarian food! This local establishment is family-owned and operated, with plenty of German specialties, schnitzel, sandwiches, desserts, and a huge selection of beer and wine. Everything is made from scratch, and you can count on authenticity here. As far as our personal recommendations go, you really can’t go wrong with some jäger schnitzel, apple strudel, and Trappistes Rochefort 10. Reservations are a must to grab a spot in this little 164-year-old building, and both indoor and outdoor seating is available. Guten Appetit!
Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theatre
1178 Kroesche Ln
To quote Jay Gatsby, “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” Though, in this case, it’s actually a good idea! Revisit the nostalgia of the past with at this drive-in theatre, open year-round at 6:30 pm, rain or shine. There’s even a 50s Café to complete the experience, and ticket prices are a reasonable $8 and $5 for adults and children. What better way to end your day in New Braunfels than by watching a movie under the stars?