One of the cool things about living in Austin is the number of quick day trips you can take within a short drive. Gruene (pronounced like the color of a shamrock), near New Braunfels, is one of my favorites field trips.
Gruene is a charming historic town and the home of Gruene Hall, which proudly claims the title of Texas’ oldest dance hall. Numerous country musicians cut their teeth there including George Straight, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett and plenty more. It remains a huge draw to this day, with live performances from big names regularly.
Jerry Jeff Walker plays this weekend, and there’s a great lineup all month. Some shows are free, so if you’ve never experienced a show there plan to check it off your Texas bucket list this summer.
Next door to Gruene Hall is the Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar. The food is great and the location, directly overlooking the Guadalupe River, adds to the charm. I’ve never been when it wasn’t crowded, but it’s part of the fun to grab a drink and hang out by the picnic tables while you wait. You can listen to music and talk until your name appears on the giant chalkboard, signaling that you’re up. With any luck, you’ll be escorted to a table outside with a gorgeous river view.
Patrons enjoy live music outside as they wait for a table at The Gristmill
In addition to the live music and multiple food options, Gruene offers great shopping. It’s fun to browse through the antique stores and specialty shops. You can also catch Old Gruene Market Days, which runs one weekend per month (except January). Over 100 vendors sell handmade crafts, Texas food and other unique items.
And of course, thousands flock to Gruene in the summer months to float the river! There are several nearby spots to rent inner tubes (or “toobs” which seems to be the preferred local spelling) to float the Guadalupe or Comal river, along with camping spots, RV hookups, cabins and more. For more info or to plan a trip click here.
With all that, it’s easy to see why you can’t go wrong with a trip to Gruene. It’s the perfect spot to hang out with friends or family, so take advantage of our nice spring weather and head that way.
The iconic water tower in historic Gruene, TX