The new year is here, and along with it come the resolutions and the planning for a healthy, productive, and generally phenomenal new year. It’s nothing new. So this year I invite you to ditch the resolutions that fall flat by Februrary and instead focus on making 2020 your most badass year yet. Now that is a resolultion we can get behind!
Here at Texas Tipsy Tours, we have planned some of the most legendary things to add to your 2020 bucket list. From dancing and music to exploring culture to the best booze (we couldn’t leave this out, of course..), we have you covered.
1.Two-Step in the Dancehalls Across Texas
Luckily, there are still handfuls of historic Texas dance halls that you can break out your cowboy boots and two-step into. Texas’ deep roots and traditional values tied to our German, Czech, and Polish foundation cling tightly to these iconic venues and the southern hospitality that comes with it. Don’t be surprised when a stranger asks you to dance. Inside these Texas dance halls, there are no strangers. Visit any one of Texas dance halls and enjoy the band- and of course dancing. You’re welcome here.
Built in 1878, Texas’ oldest continually operating, and certainly most famous, dance hall. Catch live music from up-and-coming artists, as well as well-known and established musicians. The Hall features a bar in the back, a dimly-lit stage in the front and covered slits in the sides of the building for open-air. Many celebrities have visited in the past, and old photographs adorn the walls. Drop in during an off-time and sit and drink a beer with the locals. If you are catching a concert, get there early to grab food at the iconic, Gristmill next door, then grab a beer and a spot standing on the benches surrounding the perimeter of the Hall for the best “seats”.
Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenbach! Luckenbach is worth a visit, just a short detour from your trip to Fredericksburg from Austin. This dance hall features an old-west feel and showcases some of the best Texas country artists, often playing concerts over the weekends. The most impressive thing about Luckenbach is their picker circles. An acoustic show of several artists sitting together in a circle and playing what comes to heart, without a set list. Grab a beer and check out the old general store, and take a picture.. because were you really there if you don’t have a picture to show?
20 miles east of Fredericksburg, lie the small town of Albert, Texas featuring Albert Dance Hall. Albert Dance Hall would have grand stories to tell if it’s walls could talk. Built in 1922, it featured German brass bands and Saturday night dances. In 1985, the town had shut down, and the dance hall doors were closed indefinitely, until the town was bought and brought back to life. Recently, it has been renovated to bring it back to its former glory. Check out their website for their concert schedule, and stop in for some great Texas country artists.
2. Experience Texas’ German Heritage
Texas’ traditions are largely shaped from Texas’ culture and heritage brought over from the first immigrants. Central Texas had a large influx of German immigrants in the 1840s, establishing Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. Texas pride is largely rooted in where our roots come from, and the German culture is still live in well in these towns. In both Fredericksburg and New Braunfels, there is no shortage of brat, beer, polka, and waltzes. The German culture sure nows how to party. Prost!
Fredericksburg, Texas is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination for those around the United States, and for good reason. Fredericksburg’s culture is rooted in its’ German heritage, proudly serving bratwurst, beer, sauerkraut and schnitzel at many popular German dining establishments in town. One of Fredericksburg’s largest festivals is Oktoberfest in October, celebrating its’ German heritage with beer, polka and all the sausage you can eat. History buffs rejoice at The National Museum of the Pacific War features WWII exhibits, as well as The Pioneer Museum that displays the German setters’ life and trails, and Vereins Kirche, a replica of an old German church. Fredericksburg is also the second-largest wine region in the 2nd largest wine region in America with over 9 million miles, and has been ranked by CNN as one of the most romantic cities. Shopping boutiques, restaurants and wine bars fill the historic buildings that line the streets in the Marketplatz. Fredericksburg truly has something for everyone.
New Braunfels hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, but its’ largest German festival is Wurstfest in November. Wurstfest is complete with polka, beer, German food and vendors. It has grown from its humble beginning in 1941, now with over 100,000 people visit Wurstfest during the 10 days that it is open. New Braunfels also draws many visitors to Gruene Historic District, home of the Gruene Dance Hall, as well as many popular dining restaurants and shopping. New Braunfels also brings in many visitors to float the Comal River. A day spent tubing the cool waters of the Comal with a beer in hand is arguably the best way to spend a hot Texas summer day.
3. Pop a Bottle of Pét-Nat
Pét-Nat is the new trending word in the wine industry, but it is nothing new. Pét-Nat dates back to Pre-Champagne, and is a naturally sparkling wine. Pét-Nat wines ferment in the bottle, producing bubbles. Pét-Nats are lightweight, fizzy and refreshing, making it the perfect go-to during Texas’ warm seasons. Because Pét-Nat is low intervention, it does a great job representing the region from which the grapes are grown. In Texas we are proud and in Texas, we drink real Texas wine. Pét-Nats are becoming increasingly more popular and more and more Texas wineries are offering them. Our favorite wineries that frequently feature a Pét-Nat are The Austin Winery and Southhold Farm + Cellar, but hurry because they will go quickly!
4. Hike it, Baby!
Planning a trip to Austin, Texas? There is always something going on in the “Live Music Capital of the World”! Austin is home to a host of foodies and bloggers, and for good reason, too. Even after living in Austin for over six years, I am still trying to experience everything it has to offer. However, if your time in Austin, Texas does not include an escape from the concrete jungle, you aren’t doing it right.
The Texas hill country is an incredibly underrated area that features nature in its most alluring, pure form. Once you get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and the tree-studded rolling hills surround you, your body completely relaxes- letting go of some of the tension you didn’t even know you were holding on to. You breathe easier.
In the Texas hill country, you will also find great hiking trails and watering holes. Go ahead and plan to spend the whole day out here… and come back the next! You can’t get enough.
My top three must-do hikes and watering holes:
Pedernales Falls State Park
Here the Pedernales river flows over huge slabs of limestone, creating a large array of unique swimming holes, perfect for people-watching, sunbathing and swimming. Hiking is a unique, occasionally-challenging experience as you blaze your own trail by weaving in and out of the limestone pathways, climbing up, over and in between ledges of rock and around swimming holes, ultimately to find a secluded watering hole ideal for a rest before hiking back. There are many hiking and mountain biking trails around the state park, as well. You can also tube, kayak and fish on the calm part of the river, or watch the Pedernales falls, of which can really flow after heavy rain.
Water from Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings, creating a 50-ft waterfall over the preserve’s pool and grotto. This waterfall may slow to a trickle, but never dries up. Nature trails surround the creek. This previously hidden gem is becoming very popular, and you now need online reservations, made in advance, with a morning or afternoon option available. Swimming is allowed all year, so long as the bacteria levels are safe.
A pink granite mountain that offers hiking, camping, backpacking, stargazing, and the like, but no swimming holes. With over 11 miles of hiking trails, you are sure to be kept busy. Hike to the top for some breathtaking views of the hill country. This is the best way to start your morning, before a day at the wineries in Fredericksburg!
Get Tipsy with Texas Tipsy Tours
Texas Tipsy Tours offers luxury tours and transportation in the hill country and Central Texas. Let us be your guide. Book a custom winery, brewery or distillery tour in the Texas Hill Country, including Fredericksburg or Dripping Springs/Driftwood. Let the experts plan your itinerary, set up reservations and tastings, and drive you in style and comfort. Rest assured that every detail is carefully planned and executed, so that you can simply enjoy.
6. Stay in a Yurt
Hotels are dated and limited- and very 2010s. Get out of your comfort zone and truly experience the sights and sounds of the hill country by staying in a yurt. Take camping to a new- luxurious- level. Pack your bags and start your glamping adventure.
Our recommendations in the Texas Hill Country:
7. Barrel Tasting in an Underground Cellar
Hawk’s Shadow Winery is frequently our customer’s favorite winery for many reasons. Hawk’s Shadow provides a barrel tasting in their unique underground limestone cellars (the only one in Texas, in fact)! Put your wine knowledge to the test in tasting the same varietal back to back, with a difference in French and American oak barrels or compare different varietals- based on winemaker preference. This experience alone is worth the drive, but Hawks Shadow also offers table-side tastings with stunning views of the hill country from their patio for a picturesque experience. Plus, Hawks Shadow is committed to producing 100% Texas wine, and the passion and the knowledge behind the tasting staff and winemakers is clearly evident.
PS. Hawk’s Shadow also rents this space out for special events (birthdays, rehearsal dinners, etc.).
8. Tour Texas Craft Breweries
The American craft beer scene is booking, and The Texas craft beer scene is not missing out. With reportedly around 300 breweries across the state, Texas craft breweries are growing in popularity. Where to even begin? I will tell you if you haven’t already started… you are behind. The Texas beer scene is growing and maybe will eventually rival that of Michigan and other parts of the United States.
9. Sip Texas’ Whiskey Trail
Texas is making a statement for itself across the country with its’ growth in wine, beer- and craft spirits are following suit. Texas is all about experimenting, growing and trying new things. Here in Texas, you can find a vast array of Texas whiskeys and bourbons. Texas will have something for everyone.
We recommend starting with:
- Garrison Brothers Distillery– Texas 1st legal Whiskey distillery
- Andalusia Whiskey– a family and sustainable business for a double win
- Treaty Oak Distillery– Whiskey Bourbon & Gin
10. Eat all the BBQ
Obviously this made the list, as we are in Texas after all. What pairs really great with a Texas craft beer, some Texas brisket and potato salad. Gimme. Our favorites are the small, hole-in-the-wall places where the BBQ speaks for itself.
- Coopers- Llano, Texas
- Micklethwait Craft Meats- Austin, Texas
- City Barbeque- Lulling, Texas
- Smitty’s Market- Lockhart, Texas
11. Take a Dip
It is no secret that Texas temperatures soar throughout the majority of the year. The Texas heat pairs nicely with a refreshing swim in one of Texas’ many natural springs.
What else would you add to your Texas bucket list?! I would love to hear your suggestions below. If you check out one of our recommendations, we would love for you to tag #TexasTipsyToursBucketList on social media and give us a shout out. We love to see all your adventures. Cheers!