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A KMC Guide to Hosting Perfection When Entertaining Guests

Updated: Jul 2

Have you ever found yourself with friends or family practically at your doorstep, and you're scrambling without a plan or drowning in uncertainty? Trust me, I get it. Over the past year, I've welcomed 7 sets of visitors – some sticking around for a month or more! The endless hours of planning and research can be overwhelming. Fret not! This guide is your timesaving, stress-busting companion, crafted from my own whirlwind experiences. Ease into hosting as I share tips to lift the weight off your shoulders, making the journey smoother and more enjoyable for all!

Please click on the photo below to view the slideshow! 👇

Let's start with the most essential task your guests must perform before arriving: packing. To be as helpful as possible, I have created a Travel Packing Guide/Checklist in the downloadable PDFs below that I hope you and your prospective guests will find helpful.

This list has explanations, detailed suggestions, and even contains links to recommended products! ⬇️

What to Pack When Traveling Extended Edition (1)
Download PDF • 334KB

This is a short and concise list without any extras! ⬇️

What to Pack When Traveling List
Download PDF • 135KB

If possible, I suggest giving your guests a 1-day buffer to relax and recuperate after arriving before you dive into the thick of things. Especially If they travel from the US, the time change can be rough for many. Therefore, not making concrete plans and offering them downtime after arrival is a courtesy I try to extend to all my guests.

If you would like to go above and beyond, remember that your guests may be hungry and thirsty (not only sleep-deprived) when exiting the plane. So, prepare a lovely welcome basket with water, juice, and snacks! I can't tell you how often I wish someone did this for me when traveling.

They have arrived! Now what?

I'm a huge foodie, so my priority is always to make reservations and ensure everyone gets to try some of the best food the KMC area has to offer! So that is where we will start!

I have created Google Maps with suggestions on where to eat that you may find helpful:

KMC Restaurants Google Map 👈 click on the link

KMC Breakfast & Brunch 👈 click on the link

I also have some key restaurants that I try to take my visiting friends and family to every time:

  1. Masons: This is a fun restaurant that offers a "worldwide" tapas-style all-you-can-eat menu. You order your food on a timer, which is just so fun (and filling). I have to waddle out every time practically. Reservations recommended!

  2. Da Maria: This is my personal favorite for Italian in our area. You must make a reservation, or the lady serving you may be a little cranky. For alcohol, you will ONLY order wine (suggest the Primativo or Pinot Grigio). You will not ask for any changes to the menu other than to add shrimp to the "cheese-wheel pasta." Trust me on this (lol). The lady who serves you will speak a little English, but always respond to her in Italian with "Grazie" and such. My favorite dish there is probably the Pistachio Ravioli! Yum!

  3. Benji's Birdhouse, Benji's Burrito, Benji's Birria, Smash & Dash: These are all run by the same owners and are always great for a quick and easy bite to eat! Birdhouse is the only one that often needs a reservation. These are heavily Americanized, so I would skip them if your guests are looking for authentic German experiences.

  4. 9Chan (Thai), Asia Wok (Chinese), and Yunmi (Sushi) are my choices for Asian-style food. Asia Wok is more of a takeaway situation. I highly recommend the cucumber salad appetizer at 9Chan.

  5. If you're looking for a little bit more of a fine dining experience, I would suggest Twenty-One or Katz Das Restaurant. Twenty-one, I would suggest you go to near sunset, specifically for the view over the city (it is a rooftop-style restaurant). Katz Das has a phenomenal menu, and when I went, offered a 3/4/5 course menu options.

  6. For something a little different, try Civat (Middle Eastern) or Safari (Eritrean)!

  7. For German, I love Wiesbacher Hof, Gaststätte Spinnrädl (the oldest half-timber residential building in Kaiserslautern), and even Big Emmas (can be fun to go to with all of their giant food & drinks)! I also have plenty of other German Suggestions on the map linked above.

Next up is breakfast! My favorite meal. 💯

  1. Ennie's is a charming, more "health-based" breakfast spot! Be sure to make a reservation before going!

  2. Sanders is always a solid choice (cannot make reservations for parties under 6). It's German but heavily caters to Americans, and I love their cinnamon rolls! My menu suggestion will always be their omelet.

  3. This might sound funny, but I love the Autohof near the Burger King on Ramstein. They will give you a whole pot of coffee, and it's a lovely little "diner-style" casual place to sit and enjoy the morning. Plus, it seems to be in a great middle location to meet up with people in the area easily.

  4. If you want to really impress your guests, time their visit with one of Heidelberg Castle's Unlimited Brunches. They are 4 courses and absolutely phenomenal! Check out my previous visit at the link here!

  5. Legends also does an unlimited brunch that is absolutely worth it!

  6. Café Extrablatt in Kaiserslautern also has an excellent buffet and breakfast options. If you're in the area, I can also recommend Carla Ohio, 9 to 5, and Café Susann (reservation)!

If markets are nearby, take your guests for all the fantastic local food items offered!

Next up is where you should take your guests! Of course, I have already made a helpful Google Map of Things to Do in the KMC area, pinpointing many activities, but I will also highlight the main places I take my guests to below.

Please click on the photo below to view the slideshow! 👇

Nanstein Castle is easily accessible and has connected hiking trails, and the restaurant next door offers delicious pumpkin soup in the fall. This is an excellent choice if you don't want to go far.

Please click on the photo below to view the slideshow! 👇

One lovely feature of living in this area (Germany in general) is that any little body of water is usually surrounded by trails and will have a small place to get food and drinks nearby. My favorite being Seewoog in Ramstein-Misenbach. The staff at the little hütte there have always been kind to me, and their drinks and food are quite good! It's nothing fancy, but it does have a nearby playground, plenty of outdoor seating (primarily outdoor), and a gelato truck will come by sometimes in the summer! Jägersburger Weiher and Gelterswoog are also similar locations. Jägersburger Weiher has a Fun Forest Adventure Park, paddle boats, restaurants, and minigolf nearby. Gelterswoog, likewise, offers a manmade beach area, minigolf, and food/drinks.

Please remember cash when visiting these locations! I know that Seewoog is cash only, so many of these other small businesses may also require cash.

Please click on the photo below to view the slideshow! 👇

If your guests are interested in the area's history, you can do a 7 Euro City Tour through the city of Kaiserslautern. Email to register or for further information. They take you through areas such as underground tunnels, and it's all quite neat!

Another historical feature easily found is Dragon's Teeth, near the village of Lambsborn in the forest. These are actually right next to my village!

Please click on the photo below to view the slideshow! 👇

If your guests are hikers, you MUST take them on this 4 Castle Hike on the French/German border! All details can be found in the link to a previous blog post of mine.

Please click on the photo below to view the slideshow! 👇

Or hiking in the Karlstal area in Trippstadt, Germany!

For other options, the AllTrails app does work here in Europe, or you can download the German app Komoot.

Please click on the photo below to view the slideshow! 👇

Heidelberg is at the top of my list of cities to visit with guests. You can take a river cruise, explore the castle, do one of the castle's many events, and even explore an apothecary museum inside the castle grounds! The views are quite beautiful year-round.

Please click on the photo below to view the slideshow! 👇

One thing I find that many aren't aware of is that there are multiple residences near Heidelberg that are worth exploring! Such as Schwetzingen, which is featured in the photos above. Whenever I take my guests to Heidelberg, I usually do so for about 2-3 hours around opening time, and then I will take them to Schwetzingen (about 25 minutes away) to explore and have dinner in the square right outside.

There is an inside tour, but you really want to go for the gardens. Make sure you leave enough time because they are rather extensive! The best time of year to visit is during the warmer months when the statues and decor are uncovered and flowers have bloomed.