Music, beers, and souvenirs – that’s pretty much what you’ll find in Luckenbach, Texas!
In my mind, Luckenbach was a small town, the Texas version of Mayberry, if you will.
I was wrong, Luckenbach – population: 3 – was once a tiny town that revolved around a strange bar/post office combo building and a general store. And now it’s a small music venue and dance hall.
My husband and I are both country music fans and couldn’t miss the opportunity to see the town made famous by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. They released ‘Luckenbach, Texas: Back to the Basics of Love’ in 1977 and it’s a classic still to this day.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, Waylon had never even been to Luckenbach and didn’t particularly like the song.
Even though, it’s a tiny place. We still found some things to do there to make the trip worth it. Here are 5 things to do in Luckenbach, Texas:
Learn the History
Back in the 1840s, a combination general store/saloon opened up in the South Grape Creek community by Minna Engel. Establishing this area as a trading post.
Trading was good amongst not only other settlers in the area, most of whom were German, but also amongst the surrounding Indian tribes and pioneers heading west.
In the 1850s, a post office, school, and community center/dance hall was opened in Luckenbach as the little town continued to grow.
The name of the community was changed to Luckenbach, Minna’s husband’s last name and a post office opened up in the General Store. There was a line painted on the floor to mark where you were no longer allowed to consume alcohol because you were on federal property.
Fun fact: In the 1860s, Jacob Brodbeck was said to have flown the world’s very first airplane well above the treetops in the Luckenbach/Fredricksburg area. However, he couldn’t keep the plane in the air long, but survived the crash. This was 38 years before the Wright Brother’s made their first flight in North Carolina!
Luckenbach reached it’s peak in 1904 with a population of 492. However, by the 1960s, it was almost a ghost town.
In the 1970s, a newspaper advertisement offered the sale of a “town – pop.3 – for sale”. And for $30,000 John Russell ‘Hondo’ Crouch bought Luckenbach and promoted it’s rustic atmosphere.
Since then, it has been used as a music venue and host to some unique festivals, including Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnics in the 90s.
One thing that I was sure to take of advantage of in this weird little town was to take pictures. Make sure you get a shot of the post office/general store/saloon combo.
When you first walk into the building you are technically in the post office. It is separated from the store and saloon by a painted white line on the floor. It marks the boundary where alcohol cannot be consumed on government property.
And you can’t miss a photo opportunity in the kissing booth! #luckenbachlove
There are plenty of other photo ops throughout the property: the saloon, the dance hall, and the pretty little trails across the creek.
Buy a Souvenir
We definitely couldn’t leave Luckenbach without some souvenirs. There are plenty to choose from as there are two stores now to browse through.
The girls picked out some guitar pick jewelry. My husband got a new t-shirt. And I came away with a hat and a Willie Nelson Christmas ornament! It will definitely make me smile every year when I add it to the tree.
Listen to Live Music
The most popular pastime in Luckenbach is relaxing and listening to live music under the trees.
We grabbed some nachos and a drink and ate them at a picnic table while listening to ‘Almost Patsy Cline’ sing all of our favorite country classics.
The group we saw was performing in the biergarten, but there are other places for performers, such as Pickers Circle and the Dancehall.
The dancehall wasn’t open when we were in Luckenbach, since the performance was happening elsewhere. However, I’m sure if we would have returned later that night we would have been able to boot, scoot, and boogie all over the Dancehall.
If you are bringing kids, I recommend going during the daytime. I haven’t been to a nighttime show, but we’ve heard it can get pretty rowdy.
Luckenbach, Texas is definitely one of the stranger ‘towns’ we’ve visited, but definitely one of the best.
If you’re ever in Central Texas, you have to stop in! And if you’re stationed at Fort Hood, add it to your Texas Bucket List!