Gruene, Texas (pronounced /’grin:n/ Green) is a historic district located within New Braunfels, Texas that is an estimated one hour drive from Austin. Established by Henry D. Gruene in 1872, this thriving historic district was originally populated by German cotton farmers dating back to before the Civil War.
Despite its growing population during the mid to late 1800s, Gruene started becoming a ghost town after the boll weevil plague that hit the small town in the 1920s. Today, Gruene is known for its rustic old Texan feel that attracts many Texans as well as national and international tourists. For anyone who wants to explore what small towns offer, then Gruene is the ideal place to plan your next adventure out from Austin.
Gruene. Courtesy of The Gruene Historic District.
Built in 1878, Gruene Hall is known as the oldest dance hall in Texas. With famous acts like Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman and Hal Ketchum, here you can enjoy a fun-filled night of dancing with some of the best country musicians in Texas.
Gruene General Store
Although very little has changed since this store was established in 1925, it remains as one of the most popular tourist attractions in town. Here you can find souvenirs from key chains and post cards to cowboy hats and candies for the whole family. Plus, it produces some of the best handmade fudge, honey butter and salsa around.
Gruene Coffee Haus
If you are a coffee aficionado, then this coffee shop can solve all your caffeine needs. Here you can find freshly brewed coffee from Kenya, Guatemala, Brazil and Ethiopia. Its small-town Texas charm also makes it one of the best places to get together with friends and socialize.
This wine tasting room is located right off of the main street and offers a huge selection of local wines for visitors to try. Sample a few wines inside the shop and then head out to the patio to enjoy a glass under the oaks, accompanied by some live music. This is the perfect stop for anyone who loves to discover new wineries.
Oma Gruene's Secret Garden
This restaurant is a well-known live music and wedding venue. After a busy day of tubing or shopping, what better way to spend the afternoon than with a glass of cold brewed beer, a delicious German-inspired meal (like the Reuben) and some live music.
Insider Tip: Order their German Nachos - sliced rolls toasted and topped with smoked sausage and Colby Jack cheese, with a side of sauerkraut, kosher dill pickles and spicy mustard.
Gruene Tower and Gristmill. Courtesy of The Gruene Historic District.
The Gristmill Restaurant
The Gristmill restaurant represents a bit of the town’s later history as it was built 1977. The current structure is a replication of the original Gruene cotton gin which was in operation until it was destroyed by fire in 1922. This restaurant is now as famous for it's stunning tiered patio along the Guadalupe River as for its mouthwatering burgers and chicken fried steak.
Insider Tip: Order their Wurstburger - made with south Texas Polish wedding sausage and topped with mustard and a special barbecue sauce.
Gruene Antique Company
This antique store offers 6,500 square feet of antiques and collectibles for visitors to explore. Here, visitors can also get a sense of the town’s history as well as what makes central Texas so unique.
Swimming and Tubing
Gruene is not only known for its rural and historically rich environment, it also boasts tons of excitement on the Guadalupe River where visitors can cool down on sizzling hot days. Rockin’ R is the place for visitors to get their tubing equipment and experience the fun of tubing or kayaking down the Guadalupe River.
Contributed by Ivan Savinon, ACVB Marketing Intern.