When the word "Oktoberfest" starts to surface at the first glances of Autumn, people everywhere begin to dream of idyllic Oktoberfest celebrations! There are substantial glass boots filled with craft beer, juicy bratwurst covered in mustard and sauerkraut, and traditional happenings of Bavarian and German heritage and culture that come with the best Oktoberfests in America.
We all wish we could fly off to Munich, Germany, where the original Oktoberfest was birthed. However, there are a handful of top-notch American parties you can add to your bucket list. If you are looking for the most authentic Oktoberfests in America, look no further than our hand-picked curation of destinations for the most festive parties in the states.
History of Oktoberfest
The origin of the Oktoberfest we know and love today stems from Andreas Michael Dall'Armi, a member of the Bavarian National Guard. He wanted to create a more exciting way to celebrate a wedding. The famous nuptials that sparked this worldwide celebration belonged to Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria (the future King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.
The first reception solely featured a horse race. Still, as time ticked on and libations, food, and music ensued, Munich dubbed October 12th, 1810, the first official Oktoberfest. Ever since then, people from all over the country have been gathering at biergartens and Oktoberfests countrywide. While specific dates vary, typically, the celebrations happen between the end of September through the entire month of October.
Where Is The Best Oktoberfest in the U.S.?
12. Stowe, Vermont
Trapp Family Lodge lies on 2,500 acres of stunning land in northern Vermont. Every year, typically in September, this mountain resort turns into one of the most scenic places to celebrate Ocktoberfest. Live oompah bands fill the sound waves, smells of authentic Bavarian foods enter the nostrils, and the faint stick of beer lines the halls and streets of event grounds. This family-friendly event is free, and admission includes an entree, mug, and appetizer.
11. Tempe, Arizona
Every October in the blazing deserts of Arizona, Four Peaks Oktoberfest happens for the area's people to gather and celebrate the annual festivities. The event takes place at the Tempe Town Lake reservoir, nestled just north of Tempe Butte. Another three-day festival, Four Peaks, fuses German-style fun for the whole family!
Enjoy live dachshund racing, polka music, multiple beer gardens, and, once again, delicious German food. As it is the biggest Oktoberfest in the entire state of Arizona, the town even transforms the Tempe Beach Park into a full day and night shindig for the whole family! Admission to this event is free.
10. Mount Angel, Oregon
Celebrate Swiss and Bavarian heritage by adding Mount Angel, Oregon, to your list of the best Oktoberfests in the USA. This four-day shindig starts every day with the traditional webertanz. Also, it features dozens of vendor booths turned alpine chalets to peruse.
Sample a vast array of German beers at one of the five on-site biergartens. Take the kids to the "Kindergarten" for curated kid-friendly events. Sing, dance, listen to traditional oompah and polka bands, taste a wide variety of delectable eats, and arrive home to bed merrier than ever. Tickets are available for purchase online.
9. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Oklahoma is not the first state that comes to mind when you think of Oktoberfest. Still, Linde Oktoberfest has been bringing people together for many successful years in Tulsa. The long weekend kicks off with a private opening ceremony the Wednesday before, bringing together international German acts, Bavarian culinary delights, and authentic German crafters.
Linde Oktoberfest takes place at the new, 116,000-square-foot River West Festival Park, which can hold thousands of your closest comrades. Admission is available for a wide variety of ticket packages that have their value for the experience you desire.
8. La Crosse, Wisconsin
With the title of the longest-running Oktoberfest in the Midwest, "Das Beste" fest is a yearly celebration at the end of September. Located in La Crosse, Wisconsin, this impressive event names a royal family, a Fest Master, and Miss Oktoberfest every year.
Multiple parades offer plenty of opportunities for families and friends to participate in the festivities, happening since 1961! Admission is available by purchasing tickets online.
7. Frankenmuth, Michigan
If you are looking for an Oktoberfest event in the Midwest, visit Frankenmuth, a town with hearty German roots near Saginaw Bay in Michigan. Frankenmuth is the first American town to get an official blessing from the original Oktoberfest in Munich. Another Oktoberfest fun fact about Frankenmuth is that it was the first city to export beer from Munich's Hofbrauhaus Brewery.
This three-day event offers all of the typical Bavarian festivities for its visitors, including live music, biergartens, all of the schnitzel, and even dachshund races! Admission is $10 per person per day, with kids 15 and under being free. A bonus perk is that Sunday is free all day for all ages.
6. Helen, Georgia
Said to be the longest-running Oktoberfest in America, the Helen, Georgia, Oktoberfest is another multi-week fest that serves the best of Bavaria heritage to its visitors. The weekdays are typically better for families, while the weekends see more of the party-going crowd.
Traditional German food offerings include bratwursts, schnitzel, sauerkraut, pretzels, and more! You will also find the ceremonial keg tapping like the original fest in Munich, as well as a selection of both German and American beers at multiple bier tents.
5. Cincinnati, Ohio
Presented by Samuel Adams, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the country. This festive weekend magnetizes approximately half a million attendees annually. Enjoy a wide variety of craft beers from multiple beer gardens, exciting games like beer barrel rolling and stein holding, and even wiener-dog racing.
Live music offerings include traditional German oompah and polka bands. A fun fact about this iconic Cincinnati festival is that in 1994, it set the record for the world's largest chicken dance with over 48,000 participants.
4. San Francisco, California
Oktoberfest by the Bay is California's way to celebrate Oktoberfest. This San Francisco event boasts a stunning waterfront locale filled with polka, family-friendly activities, and authentic exploring of German and Bavarian culture.
The United German American Society hosts a parade and a keg-tapping with the German consul to cap off the three-day event. Tickets are available for purchase with options for general admission and VIP options open.
3. Leavenworth, Washington
This alpine village in central Washington State is home to the Leavenworth Oktoberfest, which spans over three weekends throughout October. The gorgeous foothills of the Cascade mountain range offer a picturesque backdrop for more than a million tourists that visit this village (which is a Bavarian hub all year long). This magical annual Oktoberfest celebration presents a slew of local vendors, artists, and of course, the staples of German food, Oktoberfest beers, and of course, live music. Admission is free for this Washington State event.
2. Denver, Colorado
While not as traditional as other Oktoberfest celebrations, the Denver Oktoberfest offers a more modernized version of the yearly shindig. You may not find as many Lederhosen or dirndls. Still, you will indeed find a boatload of craft beers, live music, and most definitely a lot of delectable German food. So grab a home-cooked pretzel or freshly-seared brat (or both) and get to have some fun!
Another option for the Denver Ocktoberfest is to arrive early for the famous Bavarian brunch. Sign yourself up to play some legendary games at this free fest, including keg bowling, the enjoyable costume contest, and stein-hoisting competitions. Upgrade your experience by purchasing VIP tickets, which provide amplified stage viewing decks and access to private bathrooms (worth it in our book).
1. Fredericksburg, Texas
Arguably one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States, this charming Texas town in the hill country is a sure bet for reveling in all things of Bavarian. The Fredericksburg Oktoberfest pays homage to the traditions and legacies of its German-American settlers and heritage.
This annual Oktoberfest event features a Hauptstrasse chicken dance, a 42 domino tournament, German food galore, live music, and of course, a wide selection of delicious German beers. Admission for this Texas fest ranges from $10 for adults per day to $20 for adults for all three days. Children six and under are free, and children ages seven to twelve are $1.