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15 Fun & Best Things to do in New Ulm, Minnesota

Looking to explore a classic German city without being in Germany? Look no further than these best things to do in New Ulm, Minnesota.

Minnesota is a state filled with beautiful scenery and remarkable cities big and small. New Ulm, the county seat of Brown County, is one such town, both attractive and thriving. This little gem has bunches of super sights and is teeming with one-of-a-kind attractions and engaging activities. 

This charming city has everything for a relaxing holiday, with active activities and overall enjoyment. It’s a great place to visit if you want to use the state’s many attractions. There are lots of various stuff to do in New Ulm, Minnesota that everyone will enjoy.

You may visit the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, enjoy nature at Flandrau, or unwind in German Park

If you are searching for an adventure outside of the norm, or just somewhere different to relax and chill for a while, New Ulm is the place to go. 

Things to do in New Ulm, Minnesota

Best Things to do in New Ulm, Minnesota [4K HD]

Check out this list of the best things to do in New Ulm, that you might want to include in your upcoming Minnesota getaway or day trip

1. Tour the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame

One of the main draws in New Ulm, Minnesota, is the historic Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, located along North Broadway Street in the center of the city.

Even though Minnesota’s natural beauty is undoubtedly captivating, it is also a home of energetic folk and popular music and has been for generations. 

Housed in a delightful old public library, the museum was created to recognize and commemorate past and present musicians who have made significant contributions to Minnesota’s music scene.

Whether you’re a music fan or not, you’ll have a great time dancing through the museum’s corridors and checking out each of its displays. 

The museum is divided into numerous categories that represent the diverse variety of musical legacy displayed throughout the state’s historical development. It serves as a brilliant dedication to some of Minnesota’s favorite musical children, as well as Minnesota’s love for toe-tapping tunes.

It contains unique artifacts from musical groups and individual artists as well as countless images of those who have been inducted into this Hall of Fame. 

Among the many great Minnesota music icons who have earned a rightful place in the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame are Prince, Judy Garland, Whoopee John, The Andrews Sisters, and Bob Dylan, to name just a few. 

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2. Go to the Outstanding German Park

Outstanding German Park

Sure, you can take a flight to see a German garden in the OG Ulm in Germany, but why waste the airfare? The city of New Ulm, MN, has its own picturesque German garden. German Park is a serene green space in town where visitors can gather to enjoy various outdoor recreational activities. 

Among the best things to do in this immaculate park is to enjoy a series of free concerts held in the park during the summer months. 

Summer or not, you can just prance the grounds to your heart’s content around German Park’s lush green lawns, play ball at one of the many baseball fields, frisbee, enjoy a picnic, or just enjoy a quiet moment beside the park’s majestic fountain.

For the wee ones, there’s also a playground where kids play and let off some steam. This wicked playground, complete with musical instruments, a German-themed castle, and a gravity rail is sure to provide all kinds of thrills. German Park’s well-appointed grounds provide a perfect backdrop for any party, reunion, wedding, or reception.

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3. Unwind and Bask in the beauty of Flandrau State Park

The city of New Ulm features one of the most beautiful parks in Minnesota, Flandrau State Park, which is nestled in a lovely valley formed by the meandering Cottonwood Rivers and provides a stunning view of nature as well as some excellent hiking trails.

As well as the river, the state park is surrounded by marshes, wet and dry grassland, and flora in all shapes, sizes, and colors in Minnesota River Valley, making it a delightful natural haven.  It is also an important sanctuary for local wildlife in New Ulm, and if you’re lucky enough you’ll be greeted by this diverse array of fauna. 

It’s a great place to do some bird or general nature spotting. Among the wildlife that lives on its 982 acres of beauty are gray foxes, white-tailed deer, and beavers. There are also a few coyotes, which I’ll be honest, aren’t the best things to come face to face with, but they’re certainly more scared of you.

This park is an ideal spot to enjoy more rigorous activities such as hiking on its trails during the warmer months. The fun doesn’t stop in winter either, for a variety of winter sports can be enjoyed when it gets chilly, such as cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing.

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4. New Ulm City Cemetery

The Haunted Grave of Allie (Olie) Peterson in New Ulm, Minnesota
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Traveling broadens the mind, and nothing broadens the mind more than learning about a new place’s history. After an hour or two of basking in the beauty of nature in Flandrau State Park, dive into a tour that tackles the town’s history at New Ulm City Cemetery.

“A graveyard? Really ViaTravelers?” No, a cemetery, and it’s one of the most important and hallowed pieces of ground in the city, well worth your time.

Like any town cemetery, New Ulm City Cemetery is a physical reminder of the history of New Ulm. Tours offered by the Brown County Historical Society are filled with moving and formative narratives from the city’s earliest settlers as well as the effects of the horrific U.S.- Dakota War of 1862.

The cemetery tour is the final event in the week-long war commemoration held every year. To pay homage and hear powerful and courageous stories, makes a tour of the city even more memorable. 

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 5. Schell’s Brewery

Tasting a good beer (or two…or six) is among the best things to do in downtown New Ulm, Minnesota that you should not miss. So pay a visit to Schell’s Brewery.

It is a well-established brewery recognized for German-style pilsners and other delicious lagers enjoyed throughout the state and the rest of the US. Schell’s Brewery is the second oldest family-owned brewery in the states and the oldest one in Minnesota.

The local beer business in New Ulm City is grounded in German immigration, which in the 1850s reached its peak. Due to the weather, soil, and a number of immigrants from beer-loving nations, Minnesota proved to be one of the most fruitful sites for brewing in the country and became well-known for its excellent beers.

Schell’s Brewery features an on-site museum and gives fascinating tours. A visit to the museum offers terrific talks about the company’s beer, and its history, as well as some tasty samples.  

See Related: Best Breweries in Duluth, Minnesota

6. The Hermann Heights Monument

A visit to the Hermann Heights Monument is a must-see on any trip to New Ulm. This famous sculpture is of Arminius, the ancient Roman officer, and defector, later chief of the Cheruscans, who was instrumental in negotiating an alliance among the different Germanic tribes and driving the Romans out of Magna Germania. 

Officially The Hermann Heights Monument “Hermann the German” is the affectionate nickname often used by locals to describe the statue in this historic German town.

This stunning monument is included on the National Register of Historic Places due to its aesthetic value and historical significance. Also, in 2000, it was recognized as the official symbol of the contributions and efforts made by Germanic Americans recognized at the 106th United States Congress.

Climbing up the stairwell to the statue for a panoramic view of the River Valley is one of the most enjoyable things to do at this historical landmark. There is also an Interpretive Center at the monument that contains interesting exhibits and artifacts.

The Hermann Monument is located at Hermann Heights Park, where you may enjoy the park’s grounds for picnics, and strolling, while the kids make use of the park’s playground.

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7. Brown County Historical Society

Brown County Historical Society
Image from Brown County Historical Society MN Facebook Page

The Brown County Historical Society, housed in the 1875 German-Bohemian National Bank building, preserves the history of Brown County. The museum has exhibits on early settlers, Native Americans, pioneers, businesses, and the Dakota War of 1862.

There is also a large collection of firearms and military equipment. The brick building displays some of the best German renaissance architecture in the midwest and is listed on the National Historic Sites list.

Each year more than 6,000 people use this research library. The museum has an exhibit store offering souvenirs, as well as several books covering local history.

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8. German-Bohemian Immigrant Monument

German-Bohemian Immigrant Monument
Image from TripAdvisor

The German-Bohemian Immigrant Memorial was unveiled in 1991 in New Ulm, Minnesota. The Memorial Monument celebrates the 350 families who first came into this American town.

The first immigrant began arriving at its southern borders around 1870 in the vicinity of Lake Superior. It is made up of stone seven feet high and depicts children of immigrant family’s mothers.

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9. Milford Monument

Milford Monument
Image from TripAdvisor

Milford Monuments has a cross formed from marble and its plaque bears all of the names of immigrants killed in the battle.

It is designed as a commemoration homage to any 53 Milford Township settlement residents who died in the August 1862 ambush and insurrection during the American / South Dakota War. Milford experienced the most casualties in battle and nearly all survivors fled to New Ulm.

In addition, they will showcase an artist figure symbolizing Mercury, a Roman god that also represents travel, and a woman who also represents travel. The monument is located at the junction of County Roads 29 and 11 in the village.

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10. Wanda Gag House

The Wanda Gag House is near New Ulm, Minnesota. This restored Queen Anne property has features similar to those seen in the Anton Gag Museum. It was here that Wanda Hazel Gag grew up internationally and displayed and illustrated her work.

The exhibit is dedicated to Anton Gag, a lifelong dedication of artists. The home contains a great many of Wanda’s sketches, illustrations, and working correspondence from her publishing career at the McCall Corporation. There are also a few things from her personal life such as furniture, dishes, and clothing.

The House is open Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day from Thursdays to Sundays 1-4 pm or by appointment.

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11. Glockenspiel

Aerial View of Main Street of New Ulm, Minnesota

Glockenspiel is a 45m clock/bell tower in downtown New Ulm. It has 37 bells weighing 2,000-plus kg each weighing about 2200-300 lbs. There is a cluck of these bell horns every morning.

From November 10 to May 13, it features nativity images beneath one of the rounded clocks faces that can be seen by visitors from September to April, or from July to October.

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12. Shop like you’re in Germany

Woman Shopping

When you stroll through the main street of New Ulm, you’ll have the feeling you’re on a nativity scene or in a traditional German city. There are several small boutiques that strive to deliver high-quality German chocolates to customers in a way that is widely recognized. Cuckoo clocks are available here as well.

Other goods from Germany include nuts, screws, and steining mugs. Some furniture is designed by Anton Gag who lived in New Ulm for over 40 years, while others are made in the same style as furniture used in 16th-century homes.

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13. Starkeller Brewery

Starkeller Brewery
Image from TripAdvisor

The Starkeller Brewery is a group of August Schell-owned breweries in New Ulm. The taproom has ten high-end craft beers on tap, picnic tables made of wood, and interior design elements, as well as a bar constructed from an antique iron kettle.

This brewery offers more of a craft beer experience that contrasts nicely with the older heritage and traditional beers offered at, well you know, Schell’s.

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14. Sip some wine at Morgan Creek Vineyards

 Sip some wine at Morgan Creek Vineyards
Image from Morgan Creek Vineyards Facebook Page

Minnesota contains 30 wineries and southeastern Minnesota has an ideal environment that allows for cold-weather growth of grapes. Who says you only need to drink beer in New Ulm to experience German culture?

Morgan Creek Vineyards produces 15 types of wine and offers onsite wine tasting. This large, reputable known wine business also offers pizza, charcuterie, and barbecue.

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15. John Lind House

Since 1788, the Lind House has served as a historic residence and political leader on behalf of its owner. Lind was the first Swedish-born American to be elected to the US Congress.

The home, which is nestled on a hilltop in the middle of rolling orchards, offers excellent views. The view from the house and the surrounding area makes for a soothing and beautiful refuge.

Guests may travel back during one of our excursions. There are numerous private and public spaces on the premises that are ideal for business dinners, birthday parties, or other social gatherings.

The John Lind House is open to the public for tours and private events from May through October. The property is also available for overnight stays.

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Final Thoughts: Visiting New Ulm, Minnesota

New Ulm, Minnesota is a surprising little treasure that has no shortage of interest and adventure and is an excellent destination to explore either as an easy day trip from the Twin Cities or as a weekend getaway for outdoor activities. I can’t get enough of the unique attractions offered in this historic German town in Minnesota.

A tour of this charming city and its surroundings promises a magnificent getaway experience for those seeking outdoor adventure, and historical insight across a memorable journey of New Ulm, MN.

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