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15 Best Things to Do in New Ulm, Minnesota

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Are you 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 filled with beautiful scenery and remarkable big and small cities. 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. 

Named after Ulm, Germany, 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 tourist attractions, including Minnesota’s best Oktoberfest celebration.

Visit the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, enjoy nature at Flandrau State Park, or unwind in German Park. New Ulm is the place to go if you are searching for an adventure outside the norm or somewhere different to relax and chill for a while. 

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

Things to Do in New Ulm, Minnesota

1. Tour the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame

Address: 27 N Broadway St, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

One of the main draws in New Ulm, Minnesota, is the historic Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, located along North Broadway Street in the city’s center. Even though Minnesota’s natural beauty is undoubtedly captivating, it is also a home of energetic folk and popular music for generations. 

Housed in a delightful old public library, the museum was created to recognize and commemorate past and present musicians who have significantly contributed 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 display.

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

It contains unique artifacts from musical groups and individual artists and countless images of those 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. Visit the Outstanding German Park

Serene Autumn Afternoon at German Park, New Ulm MN - Vibrant fall scenery with cultural heritage and seasonal beauty.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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 has its picturesque German garden.

German Park is a serene green space where visitors can gather to enjoy various outdoor recreational activities. Among the best things to do in this immaculate park is enjoy a series of free concerts at the amphitheater held during the summer months.

Autumn Vibrance at a German-Inspired Park in New Ulm, Minnesota - Serene pathway lined with vibrant autumn foliage.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Summer or not, you can prance the grounds to your heart’s content around German Park’s lush green lawns, play at one of the many baseball fields or frisbee, enjoy a picnic, or enjoy a quiet moment beside the park’s majestic fountain. Just look at how beautifully done it is:

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Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

There’s also a playground for the wee ones where kids play and let off some steam. This wicked playground, complete with musical instruments, a German-themed castle, and a gravity rail, will surely provide all kinds of thrills.

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

Aerial view of Flandrau State Park with autumn foliage and meandering river
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 1300 Summit Ave, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

New Ulm features one of Minnesota’s most beautiful state parks, Flandrau State Park, which is nestled in a lovely valley formed by the meandering Cottonwood Rivers and provides a stunning view of nature and 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 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 face, but they’re certainly more scared of you.

Flandrau State Park is ideal for more rigorous activities, such as hiking on its trails during 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

Address: 8GM7+36, New Ulm, MN 56073, USA

Traveling broadens the mind, and nothing 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 is one of the most important and hallowed pieces of ground in the city, and it is 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. Paying homage and hearing powerful and courageous stories makes a city tour even more memorable. 

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5. Schell’s Brewery

Aerial view of Schell's Brewery during Oktoberfest amidst autumn foliage in Minnesota.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 1860 Schell’s Rd, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

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, one of our favorite tourist attractions in the city.

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 reached its peak in the 1850s. Schell’s Brewery features one of the best Oktoberfest festivals in the United States.

Celebrating Oktoberfest at Schell's Brewery in New Ulm, Minnesota with traditional Bavarian flair and local craft beer.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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 that gives fascinating tours of the company’s beer and history and offers tasty samples.  

See Related: Best Breweries in Duluth, Minnesota

6. Visit The Hermann Monument

Hermannsdenkmal (Herman the German Monument) in New Ulm, Minnesota
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 10 Monument St, New Ulm, MN 56073, USA

A visit to the Hermann Heights Monument is always on our list of things to see when visiting 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 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 use the park’s playground.

See Related: Top Things to Do in Two Harbors, Minnesota

7. Brown County Historical Society

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

Address: 2 N Broadway St, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

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 and several local history books.

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8. German-Bohemian Immigrant Monument

German-Bohemian Immigrant Monument in New Ulm, Minnesota: Tribute to cultural heritage and immigration history (source: [German Bohemian Heritage Society](https://germanbohemianheritagesociety.com/german-bohemian-monument/))
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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

The first immigrants arrived at its southern borders around 1870 near Lake Superior. The monument, made of stone seven feet high, depicts children of immigrant families’ mothers.

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9. Milford Monument

Milford Monument
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: Milford Township, MN 56073, United States

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; nearly all survivors fled to New Ulm.

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

See Related: Best Things to Do in Southern Minnesota

10. Wanda Gag House

Address: 226 N Washington St, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

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

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

The House is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day on Thursdays to Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

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11. Glockenspiel

The Glockenspiel in New Ulm, Minnesota, featuring a clock face and ornate bells under a blue sky, with traditional figurines on display.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 327 N Minnesota St, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

Glockenspiel is a 45m clock/bell tower in downtown New Ulm. It has 37 bells weighing 2,000-plus kg, 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 clock faces that visitors can see from September to April or from July to October.

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12. Shop like you’re in Germany

Traditional German shop GutenTag Haus facade with red corrugated exterior and blue awning under clear sky
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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

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

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13. Starkeller Brewery

Starkeller Brewery
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 2215 N Garden St, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

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, interior design elements, and 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

Address: 23707 478th Ave, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

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 winery also offers pizza, charcuterie, and barbecue.

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15. John Lind House

Address: 622 Center St, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

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, 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, 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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Is New Ulm, Minnesota, Worth Visiting?

Aerial View of Main Street of New Ulm, Minnesota

New Ulm, Minnesota, is a surprising little treasure with 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 New Ulm journey.

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