Michigan : Safety by City
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Willkommen to Little Bavaria in the middle of Michigan.
Anyone who knows anything about Michigan might think Google has gone nuts when they find Frankenmuth turns up in search results.
This small-town 90 minutes north of Detroit might as well be on the other side of the world.
No detail is missed to showcase the rich German heritage of Frankenmuth.
The town is a treat in its own right, but add in the world’s largest Christmas store, legendary Frankenmuth Chicken, and more festivals than you can fathom, and a four-season destination rises out of the Midwestern plateau.
The Cass River runs through Frankenmuth, offering an Instagram moment at the wooden covered bridge.
Plenty of hotels are available in this area, with even the national chains getting into the Bavarian theme.
However, don’t overlook the unique options like the Bavarian Inn or Marv Herzog hotel.
You don’t need to “Sprechen Sie Deutsch” here, but you’re welcome to if you know German.
Feel free to dress up in your lederhosen too, ala Clark Griswold in 1985’s National Lampoon’s European Vacation.
Warnings & Dangers in Frankenmuth
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's "niedriges risiko" (low risk) here with a better chance of getting heartburn than having a violent criminal near you. Plus, with family-friendly attractions in the town, you won't fall short of things to do.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You'll need your own vehicle here or a shuttle ride from your preferred airport. Taxis and rideshares are available, or you can opt to get around town in a self-pedaled beer bar or horse-drawn carriage. If you do rent a car, it's important to know parking is always free, offering significant cost savings from other Michigan cities. Shuttles are available during Christmas festivities.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
This is a low risk statistically, but with so many tourist crowds, especially during festivals, you shouldn't let your guard down. Carry only what you need and limit the amount of cash you carry. Don't leave valuables in your vehicle, and always lock the doors.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
It's Michigan, so you'll face a range of weather risks, all of which come with plenty of warning. Winters can be brutal, with ice, snow, and blustery winds. Frankenmuth argues winter is the most beautiful season, and it takes a helluva winter weather event to close anything down. Flooding, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes are summer risks. Extreme heat and cold are possible in summer or winter. Check out the Saginaw County Emergency Management website for a full list of risks and safety tips.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Robberies are almost unheard of here, so you can feel safe walking around day or night. Just stick to well-lit streets and crowded areas since crime can also be unpredictable or change quickly from yearly statistics. However, Frankenmuth has had a consistently low crime rating over the past decade.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is a low-risk and too small of a town for any terror group to care about. Lone Wolf acts are an ongoing concern in America. Sign up for Terrorism Advisories from Homeland Security to get a better grasp on terror concerns before your visit.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
While there's no ongoing tourism risk here, you should treat any popular area like this with a medium risk - even if it's not warranted. Avoid any third-party websites for events, attractions, or hotels. Some fake flyers for made-up events have circulated in the past. There's a lot of online information and an official website for every festival.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women share the same low risk as anyone else. Even solo travelers should feel comfortable here. Keep in mind that risk can change dramatically outside of Frankenmuth. Nearby Saginaw is among the most dangerous cities in the state.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The tap water comes from Saginaw, and the 2021 Water Quality Report details the testing from each township served. All standards were met or exceeded, and no violations were reported for any of the cities or townships. You can check the city's website for Water Issues before your visit to see if there are any threats at that time.
Safest Places to Visit in Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth.org is the splintered tourism website from the Pure Michigan statewide brand.
A free visitor’s guide is available online and updated annually.
Frankenmuthcity.com is the official city government website with some tourism resources as well.
All the tourist attractions and best places to visit are south of Genesee Street.
To make it even easier, Main Street makes a straight north/south route through the village and all the way to the less Bavarian-themed attractions.
Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is set on 45 acres, with the “World’s Largest Christmas Store” taking up the length of more than two football fields.
It’s hard to wrap your head around how much holiday spirit is stocked in this store.
There’s an ornament for everything – seasons, other holidays, hobbies, careers, old world, new world, shatterproof, super-sized – seriously, the list of categories is in the dozens.
Personalized gifts, outdoor decor, and Santa suits are available.
Don’t miss the Silent Night Chapel just south of the store in the outdoor park area.
You will appreciate the song so much more when you learn of the hardships that prompted its serene lyrics.
Get ready for reindeer and a petting zoo at Grandpa’s Tiny Farm, which is ironically right next to the largest Christmas store.
NOTE: Do not confuse this location with the Christmas Palace in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. That’s the largest Christmas store in the south.
The name Zender’s is well known in Frankenmuth, and just up the road from the massive store is Zender’s Splash Village.
This four-season location has two water parks, each with a retractable roof for summer fun and wet winter adventures.
Check with the hotel ahead of time to see if the public is allowed in or if you have to be a hotel guest.
This might make a reservation decision easier if you want to use this amenity.
Work off the carbs and chicken calories at the Frankenmuth Aerial Park during spring, summer, and fall.
This treetop adventure offers courses for all skill levels, but guests must be at least seven years old and weigh less than 265 pounds.
Rainouts won’t happen, but severe weather will shut down the course.
Michigan Heroes Museum is a must-see for veterans and their families or people who appreciate the military’s efforts throughout the years.
The museum shares hundreds of wartime stories from the men and women of Michigan, with 140 displays and more than 850 exhibits.
Saving the central district for last, the Bavarian village is rich with culture, cuisine, and creative tours.
Must-try foods include German chocolate/fudge and Frankenmuth Chicken.
Several restaurants have family-style all-you-can-eat restaurants, but tourists on the go can stop by the food trucks and get the same delicious delights.
Tour options include:
- Bavarian Belle Riverboat Ride
- Blacksmith Experience
- Wildlife Boat Rides
- Wineries, Distilleries, and Chocolate Factory
Frankenmuth River Place is a shopping mall with Bavarian flair among more than 40 shops, food stops, and attractions.
Places to Avoid in Frankenmuth
While you don’t need to worry about crime-filled neighborhoods or hot spots for thieves, you should always treat a tourist area with the utmost personal safety precautions.
Staying in a dangerous town makes people more aware of personal safety than in a low-risk tourist town, which can lead to more vulnerability for crimes of opportunity.
Depending on the purpose of your visit, you should know when the major events are held, as that will impact room pricing, hotel availability, and parking distance.
Major events are:
- Bavarian Festival: June
- Oktoberfest: September
- World Expo of Beer: Third Weekend in June
- Snowfest: January
- Frankenmuth Christmas: Starts Late November
NOTE: Some events are 2-10 days, so check the event website for exact dates each year.
Even though the town thrives in winter, there is still the risk of frostbite and hypothermia for those who aren’t dressed for the weather.
Plan to dip into stores as much as possible to warm up, and bring hand-warmers or extra layers if you’ll be walking outside a lot.
I have found that wearing two winter knit beanies (one thin and one thick) and insulated Heat Holder socks provides so much extra warmth, even if I’m not wearing many clothing layers.
HOT TIP: Did you know there are brands like Gobi Heat that create outerwear and accessories that are heated from within?
Safety Tips for Traveling to Frankenmuth
- Frankenmuth does have its own police department located near Genesee Street and Main Street. You can find them on Facebook or Instagram by searching Frankenmuth Police Department. The department offers a tip of the week on its social sites.
- Crime rates are so low here that the police social media feeds are more likely to contain lost dogs or lost & found items than actual crimes. This is good to know if you misplace a bag or lose something valuable along the way.
- Sign up for emergency notifications through Saginaw County’s website. You must stay on top of any developing weather and prepare for closed roads, storm damage, or shelter information. Alerts will also include missing children or senior citizens.
- If you see an emergency happening in Frankenmuth (crime in progress, fire, injured person), call 911. For non-emergency issues (downed tree limb, graffiti, lost dog), call 311.
- You can report suspicious activity through the police department’s website, but there isn’t an option for anonymity. You will be contacted within two days. Of course, you can also use this form to thank an officer or just leave feedback on town safety.
- Don’t park overnight in public lots or spots from November 1 through April 30, as the snow plows will go through overnight (as needed) to plow snow. For safety, it’s better not to leave a vehicle any time of year overnight in public lot.
- Speeding has been a big problem around Frankenmuth, and if you try to “cut through” neighborhoods to avoid surface street traffic, you’ll likely face speed bumps, speed humps, or other road elements designed to keep you going at or below the speed limit. Without a lot of crime, police have plenty of time to issue tickets.
- Frankenmuth is on the Cass River Water Trail, and you can learn more about activities allowed on the website of the same name. While the water quality near Frankenmuth is generally considered “good,” but always check the water quality on the website before you consider swimming or wading in it.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. There are non-resident options for daily, weekly, or yearly passes. Those licenses can be purchased online or at local stores (you can search on the website to find a location in Frankenmuth). There are four locations in Frankenmuth.
- Use the Mi Drive website to check your travel route ahead of time. This Department of Transportation website shows road closures, construction zones, real-time traffic, and snow plow activity. You can create an account and set up alerts for your routes.
So... How Safe Is Frankenmuth Really?
Frankenmuth doesn’t just feel like a world away from Michigan by its appearance.
The crime rates are a whole new world compared to cities like nearby Saginaw and Detroit.
There hasn’t been a year with more than five violent crimes in the last five years.
Violent crime victims are largely known to their attackers; no strangers were victims in 2021.
Even thefts are substantially lower than the national average when considering the tourist crowds here.
Since 2012, the theft rate is down 230%.
To punctuate the point – low risk doesn’t mean no risk, and the unfortunate part about a safe town is that people can let their guard down.
While it’s now the snowiest city in Michigan, it does average nearly four feet of snow each year.
You should be comfortable driving in winter weather and have an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle from November 1 through March 31.
Snow tires are legal in Michigan, but all-weather tires should also handle wintry roads.
How Does Frankenmuth Compare?
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- Visas - You'll need a passport that is at least six months from expiring and a visa to get through Customs at the border or airport. If you're going back and forth between Canada, check the Canadian Border Patrol rules for entry requirements. Start planning for a travel visa early if that's your purpose, as that specific category is the most backlogged.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar (USD) is the most widely accepted currency here, and you should plan only to use this form of payment in cash or on credit cards. There is a big BUT here - *some places in town have accepted the Canadian Dollar "at par" with USD. However, when the Canadian Dollar value goes down, some businesses pull that option. This is more to lure in Canadian visitors and less for everyday visitors from other locations.
- Weather - The warmest weather won't get much higher than the low 80s (F) on average, but summers are sweltering with the humidity. Spring and fall go through cycles of seasonal weather ranging from wonderfully warm fall days to uncharacteristically cool spring days. Bring layers of clothing and comfortable walking shoes. Don't wear new shoes here, as you'll likely have sore feet and blisters.
- Airports - Saginaw's MBS International Airport is a 45-minute drive from Frankenmuth. Flights go to Chicago or Detroit. It's worth the 90-minute drive to Detroit's much larger Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The route is direct; you don't have to go through Detroit's dangerous neighborhoods or sit in city traffic to get there.
- Travel Insurance - You should consider travel insurance the moment you buy the airfare, as the policy kicks in immediately. This protects you from emergency cancelations or illnesses that delay your travel. Confirm you have car insurance protection on a rental car or buy supplemental insurance to get ahead of any potential weather-related damage or accidents.
Frankenmuth Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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