Final First Fridays of 2023 coming up Aug. 4, Sept. 1 and Oct. 6
Downtown New Braunfels is a charming treasure trove of one-of-a-kind boutiques, antiques, art galleries, bakeries, eateries, and taverns.
One evening a month between March and October, those establishments turn downtown into a party with First Fridays, an evening when businesses stay open a little later so locals and visitors can explore the heart of the city. These family-friendly events take place monthly from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and include late shopping, free adult beverage samples, prizes and giveaways.
It's all designed to encourage people to enjoy New Braunfels' unique, vibrant downtown, which reflects the city's origins as a settlement of German immigrants.
"Our motto is 'Discover the Wunder of Downtown,'” said Heidi Aleman, president of Downtown New Braunfels, the nonprofit association that organizes First Fridays and is dedicated to promoting and improving the downtown area. “We want people to remember that it’s really wonderful downtown. We want them to show up, feel it, see it and experience it.”
The downtown association recently added a new twist to First Fridays. When visitors stop by three officially designated First Friday spots, they can enjoy a free adult beverage sample from Faust Brewing Company and get a prize card stamped. With stamps from all three establishments, visitors can enter a drawing to win a First Friday Downtown Prize Package.
In addition to the three official stops, many other businesses stay open for First Fridays and offer their own twist on the evening, with entertainment and other enticements.
“It’s grown,” Aleman said. “It’s been fun to watch because a lot of the stores will have a pop-up or some type of entertainment. Businesses really like to participate and do their own thing.”
First Friday looks a little different in October during the annual Downtown Wine & Bier Stroll on Friday Oct. 6. With the purchase of a commemorative wine or beer glass, visitors can participate in the wine and beer stroll and enjoy tastings of wine and beer as they explore downtown. Each purchase also includes a passport. With stamps from a minimum number of wine stops, passports are entered in a drawing for great prizes.
It's one of the downtown association’s biggest fundraising events of the year, with proceeds supporting Downtown New Braunfels’ efforts to promote, beautify and advocate for downtown businesses and residents.
“We’ve done so much to beautify downtown, adding hanging flower baskets, banners on light poles, creating a welcoming environment for everybody,” Aleman said.
Founded in 1967, Downtown New Braunfels is the longest continuously running downtown association in Texas, Aleman said. The organization is a part of many events in New Braunfels, often in partnership with the City of New Braunfels, including the Spooktacular downtown trick-or-treating event before Halloween; the annual downtown holiday tree lighting and iconic Wassailfest event in December; and Wein & Saengerfest, a springtime celebration of wine, beer, and live music.
“There’s a lot of great events happening downtown, enhancing the experience people get when they visit, or for those who live here and make the short walk or drive downtown to enjoy what we have,” Aleman said.
Make First Friday the start of your weekend visit to New Braunfels this Fall. Learn more about lodging, dining, attractions, and events at https://www.playinnewbraunfels.com.