Our RV campground in San Marcos is surrounded by charming Texas Hill Country towns. One of our favorites is Gruene (pronounced “green”), a community on the north end of New Braunfels.
Originally settled by German farmers in the 1840s, Gruene is now known for food, wine, shopping, seasonal events, and the oldest continuously operating dance hall in the state of Texas.
Since the drive is a mere half hour from Pecan Park, here are 10 of our favorite things to do when we day trip to Gruene, Texas.
1/ Gruene Hall
You’re probably wondering about the dance hall we mentioned, so we’ll put the highlight right up front. Gruene Hall was built in 1878 and has stayed open ever since then.
The historic stage has been graced by the likes of George Strait, Hal Ketchum, Garth Brooks, and Lyle Lovett. Honestly, the list of who hasn’t played at Gruene Hall is much shorter.
There is live music at Gruene Hall nearly every day of the week. Visit the dance hall website to get your tickets. We can’t wait for you to experience this Texas treasure.
1281 Gruene Road, New Braunfels, TX – Website
2/ Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar
While there are many solid restaurants in Gruene, the most famous is Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar. If there’s a wait for a table (and there likely will be), head to the cozy bar while you wait. There’s taxidermy on the walls, a hot stove during cool months, and plenty of good conversation to be had.
We haven’t had a bad meal yet. Outdoor tables overlooking the river are especially coveted when the weather is nice.
1287 Gruene Road, New Braunfels, TX – Website
3/ The Grapevine
When you want to take a load off, particularly during the heat of summer, we recommend The Grapevine. This tasting room and bar features a huge selection of Texas wines, available by the glass or bottle.
The outdoor seating area is an enjoyable place to relax and people-watch in the heart of Gruene.
1612 Hunter Road, New Braunfels, TX – Website
4/ Gruene River Grill
Is it time to eat again? Another tried and true option–especially if the wait at Gristmill is too much to take)–is Gruene River Grill. It’s within easy walking distance of Gruene Hall. The menu is huge and varied, and the setting fits your best pair of Texas blue jeans.
1259 Gruene Road, New Braunfels, TX – Website
➡️ Keep reading: 8 Charming Central Texas Towns Less Than an Hour Away
Shopping in Gruene
There are many wonderful local businesses in Gruene that will satisfy your shopping urges. Here are just a handful of our favorites.
5/ Old Gruene Market Days
Old Gruene Market Days is your best opportunity to see and sample the wares of Texas Hill Country artisans in the area. As of this writing, it takes place the third weekend of the month from February to November, and the first weekend in December. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Our favorite market days of the year is definitely the December edition, with everyone in the Christmas spirit.
In front of Adobe Verde (1724 Hunter Road, New Braunfels, TX – Website
6/ Gruene Antique Company
Are we the only ones who love antique malls? It’s so much fun to see the collections in each booth, especially the unusual and unique ones.
Gruene Antique Company has been open since 1986. Its 6,500-square-feet are filled with everything from collectibles to gifts. According to the official website, “The building was built in 1903 by Henry D. Gruene as a place where tenant farmers could buy their wares and do business.”
1607 Hunter Road, New Braunfels, TX – Website
7/ Black Swan Antiques
Black Swan Antiques is worth a visit every time you visit Gruene. The owners are serious collectors who source many of their gorgeous antiques from Europe.
Expect to see porcelain, stoneware, furniture, copper, bottles, soaps, and much more. Black Swan Antiques also sells Music of the Spheres windchimes, an Austin-based company that makes the most magical-sounding chimes we’ve ever heard.
1640 Hunter Road, New Braunfels, TX – Website
Gruene is delightful to visit any day, any time of year. But the town really comes alive during special events. Here are a few to look here.
8/ Holidays in Gruene
The season surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas is such a fun time to visit Gruene. Seasonal activities and events usually include:
- Turkey Trot 5K Run
- Photos with Cowboy Kringle
- Gruene Pony Express Ride – Relay riders carry a Christmas message from the Governor of Texas
- Gruene Town Lighting – see the town light up the first time for the season
- Jingle Bell Walk/Run
- Special holiday shows at Gruene Hall
- New Year’s Eve at Gruene Hall
This isn’t everything! Check the website below for all the details.
9/ Gruene Music & Wine Fest
The 33rd Annual Gruene Music & Wine Fest is taking place this month! It happens every October, a low-key weekend full of Texas wine and live music. What’s not to love?
10/ Americana Music Jam
Occurring in May, the 23rd Annual Americana Music Jam took place earlier this year. Local radio station KNBT 92.1 facilitates this exciting weekend of live music at Gruene Hall.
The lineup changes annually, but recent features included Randy Rogers, Jack Ingram, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and many others you’d recognize. We discovered one of our favorite local bands at the festival, The Statesboro Revue.
Information on this festival can be hard to find. Keep your eye on the Gruene Hall calendar, where details will eventually be posted.