Michigan’s Little Bavaria (population: 4,900) draws visitors with old-world atmosphere, festivals, shops and family-style chicken dinners.

By By the editors of MidwestLiving.com
Bronner's Christmas Wonderland

What to do

Bavarian Belle Riverboat Guides regale passengers with historical tidbits while passing local landmarks during the one-hour cruise along the Cass River. bavarianbelle.com

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland Stock up on ornaments and other decor at this festive behemoth, which bills itself as the world's largest holiday shop. A store associate hands out maps to help incoming guests navigate the massive space, one-and-a-half times the size of a football field. bronners.com

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland

Frankenmuth Cheese Haus In the heart of town, a smiling mouse attracts visitors for selfies and 140 kinds of cheese. frankenmuthcheesehaus.com

Frankenmuth River Place Shops About 40 shops and attractions draw visitors for souvenirs, home decor, pet merch and more in this Bavarian-theme complex. frankenmuthriverplace.com

Frankenmuth River Place Shops

Where to eat

Frankenmuth Brewery Established in 1862, this spot is America's oldest microbrewery. It sits on three levels overlooking the Cass River. Try a pizza and a brew like the malty Red Sky Ale. frankenmuthbrewery.com

Frankenmuth Brewing Company

Prost! The wine bar and charcuterie restaurant also serves paninis, such as a spicy PLT made with smoked pancetta. prostfrankenmuth.com

Rau's Country Store Pick licorice, jawbreakers and taffy out of old-style barrels, or purchase a homemade apron. rauscountrystore.com

Zehnder's Treat yourself to a bounteous family-style chicken dinner. zehnders.com

Where to stay

Bavarian Inn Lodge This family-owned hotel has European-theme rooms and a water park. At Oma's Restaurant, chicken dinners and German fare are big hits. bavarianinn.com

Marv Herzog Hotel The sparkling riverview lodging features some of the polka master's memorabilia. www.marvherzoghotel.com

Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark Families enjoy the golf and the indoor water park. The all-you-can-eat fried-chicken dinners come served family-style. zehnders.com

Horse and buggy outside Zehnder's

For information: Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 386-8696; frankenmuth.org

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