When we were in Frankenmuth recently, we decided to pay a visit to River Place. Our main reason to go to Frankenmuth was in order for my wife to see Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, but we stopped at River Place as it is right next to the Bavarian Inn hotel where we stayed. According to the locals with whom we spoke, River Place is on the site of a brewery that had gone out of business, and the land was converted to shops by someone in the Zehnder family (who own much of Frankenmuth, although it is not just one branch of the family who has the ownership interests).
We had picked up a brochure about River Place when we were in Michigan 2 years ago, and before we went to Frankenmuth I looked at the current listing of shops and was surprised how much turnover there had been in just 2 years. Undoubtedly the lousy economy had a lot to do with it. We spent a little bit of time there, and the only shop in which we spent more than a couple of minutes was the pewter shop. If the shops had been more interesting, we would have spent more time there. However, in defense of River Place, someone with different interests might have found a lot of shops to their liking.
It should be noted that the Bavarian Belle, a riverboat, leaves from River Place. We took a tour on it, and it was nothing special either. It takes you on an hour tour of the Cass River, with a narrative about the area. Unfortunately, there is not much to see from the boat as you are making your way along the river.
If you are in Frankenmuth and have time to kill, River Place is worth a look, but before you go there visit Bronner's, as well as the shops that are located in the basements of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder's Restaurant.