If you’re looking for a charming small-town weekend getaway chock-full of history, beautiful brick buildings, sweeping river views, and nearly a dozen wineries, Hermann, Missouri, might be the perfect choice.
This magical little spot -- as fantastic for couples as it is a girls’ weekend -- is perched in the Missouri River bluffs and conveniently located only about 90 minutes west of St. Louis. When you visit, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, but you’ll also have access to some incredible dining, lodging, and pampering options as well. This mix of old and new is one of the many reasons we keep coming back! Here’s what you need to know to plan your own weekend there.
Things To Do In Hermann
From its very beginning, Hermann has been a town known for its viniculture, but there’s something for everyone here, even if you’re not a wine lover. From live theater to antique hunting, here are a few of our favorite things to do in Hermann.
Explore Hermann-Area History
Hermann’s uncanny resemblance to the Rhine River Valley is what attracted German settlers to this area in the 1840s. They arrived via steamboat on the Missouri River and quickly settled into the steep river bluffs above. Despite the hills and rocky terrain, they dug in -- literally and figuratively -- planting vineyards and raising their families here. Hermann quickly became known as a lively riverport town, and much of the existing downtown district maintains that historic red-brick throwback vibe.
To learn more about the German immigrants who made Hermann home, pay a visit to the Deutschheim State Historic Site. It includes two houses from the 1840s that are perfectly preserved to reflect what life was truly like here in that era. Upper City Park, with its historic Rotunda building, is also worth a stop. The brick octagon was built as an agricultural fair exhibition hall in 1864; today it’s fully renovated and used for weddings and other special events.
Go Taste Some Wine!
Hermann boasts nearly a dozen wineries in and around town, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Most offer tastings, picnic supplies, and gorgeous, sweeping river or bluff views. Keep in mind, the German-style vintages that work well with this rocky soil tend to be on the sweeter side (think riesling or gewürztraminer) although varieties made with Missouri’s native Norton and French-American Chambourcin grapes are a bit drier.
While Stone Hill is probably Hermann’s best-known winery, we also love Bias in nearby Berger. In addition to wine, beer lovers will find their choice of beverages at an onsite microbrewery there. No matter where you end up, grab a bottle and plan to stay for a while.
Stroll Along The Mighty Missouri
If you want to get your steps in during your weekend in Hermann, there’s no better place than Riverfront Park. Here, you can meander along the Missouri, read about how Lewis and Clark passed through during their historic expedition, and learn more about steamboat history in the area. It’s just steps from downtown, and the park is a terrific place to come for a quick, quiet respite during your visit.
Hit The Trail
If you’re looking for a bit more adventure during your Hermann vacation, consider a bike or hike down the nearby Katy Trail. While Hermann isn’t directly on this flat gravel route that spans most of the state, it’s less than three miles away. You can easily rent a bike in Hermann, ride across the river on the bridge, and hop on the trail in McKittrick. Choose your direction and your adventure! The ride runs right through Missouri’s most scenic areas, with trailheads and towns along the way.
Take In Some Art
Despite its small size, Hermann has a robust and thriving art and culture scene with its own arts council that supports visual and performing arts. The town hosts First Friday art walks the first Friday of each month, April through December. Downtown Hermann features several art galleries and boutiques. And you can also get your art fix in by strolling past Hermann’s many murals, which depict early life in the town. Look for them inside the Gasconade County Courthouse and painted alongside buildings on First, Schiller, and Market streets.
Schedule A Spa Day
Hermann is also the perfect place to decompress and unwind with a spa treatment or two. Hermann Hill, a terrific boutique hotel, offers couples and individual packages including massages, facials, reflexology, and aromatherapy. Massage for Your Health has body work covered, as well as paraffin waxes, toning facials, and infrared sauna treatments.
Best Places To Eat In Hermann
While Hermann’s German heritage is certainly reflected in much of its cuisine (they love their beer and brats!) there’s much more on offer. Here are a few of our favorite dining options, from traditional to fine dining experiences.
Using locally-raised produce and cooking up from-scratch favorites, Harvest Table features fresh cuisine with German flair. The menu includes schnitzels and brats. Of course, the wine list heavily favors local producers, and the beers and many spirits featured at the bar are also made in and around Hermann.
Concert Hall And Barrel Tavern
Located downtown, the Concert Hall was built back in 1878 and was the center of social life in Hermann, hosting dances, plays, and special events. Today, the Concert Hall and Barrel Tavern still gathers folks together for some terrific traditional food and drink. There’s the typical pub grub and fare, but the brats, German potato salad, and pork loin really stand out.
One of the trendier spots in Hermann to sip and dine, Doxie Slush is known for its high-end frozen cocktails and elevated pub grub to match. Everything is served with a tropical flair. The spicy agave wings, Southern fried lobster bucket, and pork belly fried rice are favorites with locals and visitors alike.
Ricky’s Chocolate Box
For a decadent dessert, consider a grab-and-go stop at Ricky’s Chocolate Box. Here, you’ll find more than 200 varieties of house-dipped chocolate treats, including truffles, toffees, brittles, pretzels, and much more. This is the perfect place to satisfy any sweet tooth, and we won’t tell anyone if you buy a box to take home with you!
Best Places To Shop In Hermann
Hermann’s charming downtown, with its historic brick buildings and shops, is a shopper’s paradise. For those who love the thrill of the hunt, Antiques Unlimited and Hermann’s Attic Antique Mall are places to stop to find treasures from yesteryear. Back Home Again is a sweet gift shop featuring Amish-made goods, tea, beer steins, and other cozy items for home. As its name suggests, Missouri’s Trading Post sells locally made handicrafts, and the Hermann Wurst Haus sells a wide variety of house-made sausages, brats, bacon, and other German meat treats to take home. A last word to the wise: Many cafes, wineries, and inns also have their own gift shops that are well worth perusing.
Best Places To Stay In Hermann
For a luxe suite or cottage stay, consider Hermann Hill. The inn offers modern amenities, including the aforementioned spa, and is located in the middle of vineyards. The views here are stunning -- both of the river and the bluffs -- and you can order in-room meals and high-end snacks.
The Hermann Crown Suites, located in the heart of downtown, is housed in a historic building that also features a rustic and funky cellar bar.
Hermann is an extremely walkable small town. To completely ditch your car, consider taking Amtrak from St. Louis or Kansas City. And once in Hermann, the Wine Trolley is the best way to hop from winery to winery -- safely -- and with a one-time daily fee of just $20 per person.