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8 U.S. towns with a Bavarian twist

New Ulm, Minnesota, glockenspiel

Photo: Amy Meredith/Flickr

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New Ulm, Minn.

Up until the start of World War II, you were as likely to hear German as English of the streets of the Minnesota town of New Ulm. Larger than most of the other towns on our list (its population is more than 13,000), New Ulm features a 45-foot-tall glockenspiel, a major microbrewery, authentic Old World architecture, and plenty of German-themed shops and restaurants. The town, 90 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul, has certainly grown and modernized since the 1840s and '50s, when German immigrants settled here. But some of the original culture remains. You'll hear polka music, eat the best schnitzel in the Midwest, and shop for authentic German handicrafts. That said, New Ulm doesn't play up its Bavarian-ness as much as other similar towns ... except during Oktoberfest. When this popular German holiday comes around, New Ulm turns into a miniature version of Munich, complete with polka bands, massive mugs of beer, and plenty of lederhosen.