A Day Trip to New Ulm

Schell’s Bock Fest, Minnesota history, and tasty food await in this southwest Minnesota town

The wait is almost over. Spring, only three weeks away, is about to make its arrival—that’s the hope anyway. March may be one of the snowiest months for Minnesota, but we’re slowly inching on 50 degree weather and isn’t that something worth smiling about? Celebrate this weekend’s nice weather by taking a trip down to New Ulm, the historic German town just two hours southwest of the Twin Cities.

Start off your New Ulm day trip with a cup of coffee and a scone from Lola – An American Bistro, located in New Ulm’s historic downtown. With its high ceilings, brick walls, and industrial but homey décor, Lola’s atmosphere is friendly and cozy with lots of seating options. Lola’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with specialty coffee drinks and baked goods, as well as a selection of soups, salads, pasta, and sandwiches. If you decide to visit for lunch, make sure to try the bistro’s famous pot pie.

For a festive early afternoon, purchase a $10 ticket to attend Bock Fest at August Schell’s Brewery. Beginning at 11 a.m., Schell’s Brewery will be serving food and year-long, specialty, and seasonal beers with live music and warm fires for Schell fans to visit around. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, join the throng of festival attendees venturing out to find the seven “Bocks of Winter” that are hiding in the brewery and at Flandrau State Park. Legend has it that if all seven medallions are captured it will bring an early spring to Minnesota. Although the festival will tapper down by 4:30 p.m., the party won’t stop then. Visit Green Mill, The Grand Kabaret, Rodney’s Tavern, the New Ulm American Legion, and the new MonaLena Kitchen & Bar—all located in New Ulm’s historic downtown—for more food, drinks, live music, and dancing. A shuttle bus will also be running from 9 a.m. to midnight to make for safe and easy public transportation for locals and visitors alike.

For more of a historical activity, be sure to visit the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. New Ulm was proposed as the site of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame back in 1962. Today, memorabilia and photos of all those that have been inducted in the hall of fame can be seen for a $5 admission. Inductees include Prince, Bob Dylan, Judy Garland, Bobby Vee, The Minnesota Orchestra, Lorie Line, and John Denver among many others.

If you’re not afraid of heights, stop at the Hermann Heights Monument (or “Hermann the German” as it’s more commonly called) and climb the spiraling staircase up to the very top. The only Minnesota property on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Hermann Heights Monument is 102 feet tall in total and is the third largest copper statue in the United States right after the Statue of Liberty and the “Portlandia” in Portland, Oregon. From the observation platform, visitors can see all of New Ulm and the Minnesota River Valley down below.

For a casual dinner visit Happy Joe’s Pizza which has one of the best pizza buffets in the area. Family-orientated with a great kids game area, Happy Joe’s is known for its pizza crust and ice cream sundaes. For more of a small-town diner feel, stop at Lakes on 1st for some barbecue wings and a burger with fries. Or, as a final nod to New Ulm’s German heritage, sit down at Veigel’s Kaiserhoff for traditional, authentic German cuisine.