Regardless of where you live, late summer and early fall is a great time of year. You probably don’t mind bringing your favorite light sweaters out of storage, you might even tolerate pumpkin spice, and, at the very least, you look forward to drinking gallons of beer and gorging on German food at an Oktoberfest celebration.
Technically, the official celebration in Munich takes place from September 7 through October 3, but lucky for you, there are numerous great Oktoberfest-centered events right here in the USA. Keep scrolling to see 10 of our favorites (including, naturally, the aforementioned giant event in Germany). For many of the others, there’s still time to plan a road trip. We’d drive a few hours for beer and brats, wouldn’t you?
Mt. Angel Oktoberfest – Mt. Angel, Oregon (September 16-19)
Not only is this a massive Oktoberfest celebration, but it’s also the largest folk festival in the Northwest. Located in Mt. Angel, Oregon, you’ll feel like you’re really in Germany as you visit the entertainment, food, and drink pavilions known as the Biergarten, Weingarten, and Alpinegarten. There’s even a smaller venue called Hopfengarten where you can sample beer from smaller, local breweries. Don’t forget to check out the Glockenspiel that explains the history of the town each hour.
Trapp Family Lodge Oktoberfest – Stowe, Vermont (September 17)
Stowe, Vermont is home to the 13th annual Trapp Family Lodge Oktoberfest. If you didn’t know already, the reason this festival (and the brewery where it’s located) sounds familiar is that it’s the same family made famous in the musical The Sound of Music. This festival is held every year at the von Trapp Brewing Bierhall and features both German and Austrian beers, live music, and countless mouthwatering German and Austrian food items.
The Denver Oktoberfest – Denver (September 16-18 and September 23-25)
If you’ve ever been to the Great American Beer Festival, you know the folks in Denver know how to throw a beer-fueled celebration. Well, the city has been throwing its annual Oktoberfest festival for almost 50 years. On top of the expected vast beer and food selections, this event also includes fan favorite events like keg bowling, stein hoisting, a costume contest, and the “Long Dog Derby,” featuring an always entertaining dachshund race.
America’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati – Cincinnati (September 16-18)
The largest Oktoberfest celebration in the US takes place in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Started in 1974, it’s expected to draw more than 700,000 people this year. It all begins with the yearly “Running of the Wieners,” a race featuring 100 dachshunds dressed up as sausages. It’s a beer and food lover’s dream with the likes of strudel, soft pretzels, bratwurst, and all the beer you can drink.
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest – Big Bear Lake, California (Weekends from September 10-November 5)
If you find yourself near the mountains of Southern California, you’d be remiss if you didn’t take in the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest when it kicks off on September 17. Held for the last 52 years, it’s an idyllic, nature-filled setting to enjoy polka, brats, and a frosty, giant beer stein (or three). The event is home to four different beer gardens and two full-service bars, as well as music venues, and traditional pretzels, sausages, and various other foods and drinks.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest – Boston (September 23-25)
Samuel Adams makes one of the most popular Oktoberfest-style beers in America so it’s no surprise to the iconic brewery throws a festival to celebrate it (and many other beers) in Boston each year. In true Boston fashion, on top of stein hoisting contests, live music, and special beer releases, there’s a cavalcade of food trucks including Cousins Maine Lobster Food Truck. Beer and lobster rolls, what could be better?
Oktoberfest USA – La Crosse, Wisconsin (September 29-October 1)
Even if you know very little about Wisconsin, you probably know that they make great beer and comforting food. The longest-running Oktoberfest celebration in the Midwest, this event has been held in La Crosse, Wisconsin since 1961. Featuring local, national, and global beer offerings including New Glarus, Surly, Founders, Spaten, and countless more, all the traditional German food you can imagine, and contests like stein races, barrel roll, grain toss, stein holding, and of course the tapping of the Samuel Adams Golden Keg, this is a can’t-miss event.
Leavenworth Oktoberfest – Wenatchee, Washington (September 30-October 1, October 7-8, and October 14-15)
Usually held in the Bavarian-style village of the same name, this year’s Leavenworth Oktoberfest is being held in nearby picturesque Wenatchee, Washington at the Town Toyota Center. It all starts with the ceremonial tapping of the keg. But this is the Oktoberfest event for music fans as it features bands all day long along with authentic Oktoberfest beer, bratwurst, pork ribs, and other delicious food.
Four Peaks Oktoberfest – Phoenix, Arizona (October 7-9)
This year marks the 49th anniversary of the Phoenix area’s Four Peaks Oktoberfest. This is the premiere beer and food-fueled Oktoberfest celebration in the Southwest and even has a full carnival with rides and games, multiple music stages, dachshund races, random polka dancing, and all the Oompa music you can tolerate. Also, if you can manage to keep your beer and brats down, you can run in the event’s 10K, 5K, or one mile “Oktoberfest Runnin’ for the Brats.”
Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany (September 17-October 3)
Obviously, if you’re going to visit one Oktoberfest celebration, make it the official one. Though if you haven’t already purchased tickets for this epic beer-fueled event, you’re probably not going to now. This 16-day festival begins on September 17 and features more German beer than you could ever imagine, giant pretzels, sausages, and a lot of lederhosen. It’s by far the biggest and longest celebration in the world.