Visiting New Glarus, Wisconsin

new glarus wi
The New Glarus Hotel dates back to 1853

New Glarus Wisconsin – America’s Little Switzerland

New Glarus Polka Fest
Young and old(er) enjoying the annual Polka Fest held the second weekend in June.

Attending one of the several seasonal festivals in New Glarus, it is not unusual to hear people conversing in Schweizerdeutsch or hear English spoken with a decided German accent!

The Swiss culture traces back to 1845 when a Swiss community of 200 immigrants from the Canton of Glarus, Switzerland purchased 1200 acres of land for their new settlement. In succeeding years, immigrants from other Swiss cantons arrived to fuel the population growth of New Glarus as well as other areas in Green County. Learn more about the history of the settlement here.

While the town has become more ethnically diverse, it maintains its strong connection to its roots in its architecture, food and drink, festivals, and cheese. The historic (1853) New Glarus Hotel anchors the downtown business and entertainment district. While no longer housing guest rooms, the hotel’s restaurant has a long history of authentic Swiss cuisine and Swiss hospitality. And on the weekends, the hotel treats you to another piece of Swiss culture – polka music and dancing. In the lower level of the hotel, the Edelweiss Cheese Factory has its factory store offering a selection of their award-winning cheeses and a selection of excellent cheeses from other area producers and from Switzerland. While the shop is more modest in size and offerings it is not to missed by a cheese aficionado. Despite smaller size, in addition to the cheese are a selection of wines, sausages, local beers, crackers, and other gift items, plus a small sidewalk café where you can enjoy your deli purchase with glass of wine or stein of beer.

Across the street from the hotel is the Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus that offers a broad array of cheese and other goodies (like Swiss chocolates and ice cream).  Next door is the New Glarus Bakery (doing business here since 1910), known for its excellent Swiss and German pastries, breads, cookies, or dessert items. Further down the street is one of our favorite Swiss restaurants – The Glarner Stube. Nearby is another New Glarus favorite – Puempel’s Olde Tavern which dates back to 1893. Several other interesting shops, boutiques, pubs and restaurants are within walking distance of downtown. Like Monroe, the Swiss Heritage has been well preserved in its buildings and structures.

Slide Show: Walking around downtown New Glarus

  • Swiss United Church
    The Swiss United Church of Christ was built in 1900. The congregation originated in 1850. A replica of the original log church is in the nearby Swiss Historical Village Museum.
  • Edelweiss Creamery Cheese Shop
    Edelweiss Cheese Shop features the award-winning cheeses of the Edelweiss Creamery as well as cheeses from other local producers. Also offers sausages, crackers, wine, and beer which can be enjoyed on their outdoor patio.
  • New Glarus Bakery
    The New Glarus Bakery offers Swiss and German pastries, breads and dessert items. We love their New Glarus Stollen, a popular Christmas gift.
  • Blumenladen Shop
    Brendas Blumenladen Shop has an extensive collection of unique items for the home and garden, as well as gifts and fashion apparel.
  • Glaner Stube Tavern & Restaurant
    The Glarner Stube is one of our favorite Swiss Restaurants in New Glarus

Another New Glarus fixture worth visiting is the New Glarus Brewery on the top of a hill south of town. It began life as a small craft brewery in 1993 and has grown in size and has attained a national recognition for quality brews. The brewery moved from its original location to an entirely new facility featuring state of the art brewing technology and automation. Both self-guided tours and guided tours are regularly available and its old world style beer garden offers an opportunity to taste several brews.

At the annual Music Fest, members of the Mannerchoir perform the Swiss National Anthem on Alphorns

Annual New Glarus Festivals

Popular annual events include The Polka Fest, Heidi Festival, the Volksfest, Wilhelm Tell Festival, and OktoberFest, sponsored by the New Glarus Brewery. Two weeks after OktoberFest, the annual Fall Harvest Fest is held at the Swiss Historical Village, a replica of an 1850s Swiss settlement with 14 artifact-filled shops and buildings from that era.

Links to New Glarus Attractions

Visit another Wisconsin Swiss Heritage Community: Monroe, Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s Cheese Capital

Cheese Country Travel Map & Article Directory

Cheese Country Scenic Drive Map with notes on cheese factories, golf courses, RV camping, and other attractions.
Article Directory & Map Cheese Country Scenic Drive with notes on cheese factories, golf courses, RV camping, and interesting towns and other attractions.