8 reasons to visit Mt. Angel, Oregon
Culture, history and food collide in this Bavarian-inspired town
Located in the rolling hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Mt. Angel is easy to miss on a map. The small, Bavarian-inspired town of just 3,500 people sits less than an hour south of Portland.
Mt. Angel’s rich history started in the mid-1800s when German-Catholic families and a group of Benedictine monks and sisters settled the area. Today, the town boasts Old World buildings, German-inspired cuisine and ornate churches.
While the annual Oktoberfest celebration is Mt. Angel’s iconic attraction, the village’s history and Bavarian culture can be enjoyed year-round. Here are eight things you must do when visiting Mt. Angel:
Watch a performance at the Glockenspiel
Set in the heart of town, Mt. Angel’s world-class Glockenspiel, a four-story clock tower, is reminiscent of the ones you’ll find in Europe. The 49-foot tower tells the story of the town’s history through several hand-carved figures that represent Native Americans, German settlers, monastic communities, Oktoberfest and the future of the village. The tower comes to life four times a day with performances at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tour the Heritage Trail
Explore the town’s history while walking or biking the Mt. Angel Heritage Trail. The 5-mile loop winds through town and highlights points of interest, including the Willamette Valley Southern Rail, the Glockenspiel and Queen of Angels Monastery.
Drink German beer and wine
In Mt. Angel, you’ll find plenty of lagers and ales to drink year-round. Visit one of the local bars or restaurants to grab your favorite German brew. Have your drink served in a beer stein for a true German experience. Prost!
Indulge in German fare
Mt. Angel has two restaurants that serve up authentic German cuisine throughout the year. Order a plate of wiener schnitzel or a side of spätzle at The Glockenspiel Restaurant and Pub, which sits directly beneath the Glockenspiel tower. Pick from more than 10 types of bratwursts at the Mt. Angel Sausage Company, which was once featured on Food Network’s “Outrageous Food.” If you don’t have time to sit down for a meal, visit the sausage company’s market, which is always stocked with German foods and beverages.
For much of the year, Mt. Angel is enjoyed by locals visiting one of the town’s antique stores or locally-owned eateries. But each September, 350,000 people descend on the quaint village to celebrate its annual Oktoberfest. With fun and entertainment for the entire family, it’s consistently ranked as one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the country. There’s always plenty of beer, sausage and sauerkraut to go around!
Don lederhosen or a dirndl
Dress in your Bavarian best while visiting Mt. Angel! From beer steins and feathered hats to goat suede bunderhosen and German dirndls, Touch of Bavaria sells traditional German and Bavarian clothing. The shop is located in the town’s historic Weissenfels blacksmith building, which is still home to restored 20th century equipment and machinery.
Stroll the grounds of Mt. Angel Abbey
Perched on a hilltop overlooking the town is the pristine grounds of Mount Angel Abbey. Home to a Benedictine monastery, guests are welcome to take a self-guided walking tour, pray with the monks, visit a free natural history museum, peruse the library’s rare book collection or grab a coffee at the gift shop. Following a 1,500-year-old monastic tradition, the monks of Mount Angel also brew and sell artisanal beer. Plans are in the works to develop an onsite brewery and tasting room in the next few years.
Visit St. Mary Catholic Church
Referred to as the “Gothic Jewel of the Willamette Valley,” St. Mary Catholic Church was founded in 1881 by German Catholic settlers. After rebuilding four times, the present-day church was completed in 1912. The ornate building has 26 large stained glass windows and a soaring 200-foot bell tower that can be seen for miles.
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