It’s beer drinking time! Can’t get to Germany? Don’t worry, there are places to celebrate Oktoberfest in the US. Here are a few favorites!
Every year, millions of people travel to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest. That, of course, is the main festival. However, there are Oktoberfest celebrations around the world, and if you’re living in the US, there are a few cities known for their Oktoberfest celebrations.
We asked some of our blogger friends for their top picks for Oktoberfest celebrations in the US. Below are their recommendations…
Tucked into the Cascade mountains of Central Washington lies a surprising Oktoberfest destination. In fact, if you didn’t know better, you would think you were in a small Bavarian village in the mountains of Germany.
Settlers flocked to the area with the arrival of the railroad, developing the timber industry until the railroad was relocated. This left Leavenworth almost a ghost town until town leaders decided to reinvent Leavenworth in the 1960’s as a Bavarian themed village with annual festivals to attract visitors and revitalize the town.
Today, Leavenworth sees upwards of a million visitors per year and is a popular tourist destination with breweries, wineries, shops, and restaurants lining the popular Front Street. There are also endless opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast like hiking, biking, mountain climbing, fishing, camping, rafting, river tubing, and horseback riding.
Although Leavenworth is truly a place for all seasons (complete with a Christkindlmarkt and Christmas tree lighting festival), Oktoberfest really is the festival of the year that defines the Bavarian town. For 3 weekends in October, the town is bustling with special Oktoberfest themed entertainment, food, and beer (complete with a keg tapping ceremony).
The streets are lined with vibrant, fiery fall trees with the backdrop of dramatic mountains surrounding the town. You truly will feel like you’re in a Bavarian village for Oktoberfest.
At the top of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee, Rock City Gardens celebrates Oktoberfest through a special, month-long event called Rocktoberfest. Guests enjoy live German music, polka lessons, specialty beer, and German cuisine. The Fall Fairy arrives to bring autumn to the mountain, and Ik the Troll King holds special storytelling sessions for the kids. There’s pumpkin painting, geode digging, and guided heritage tours designed to celebrate the history of Rock City.
Founder Frieda Utermoehlen Carter displayed love for her German heritage by carefully weaving aspects of the culture throughout all the major attractions located in the park. Visitors follow the Enchanted Trail to High Falls Waterfall, Lover’s Leap, and Fairyland Caverns while learning about the beloved German folklore and fairy tales that make the gardens truly unique.
It’s an exciting, one-of-a-kind experience that I highly recommend to anyone looking for the best place to spend Oktoberfest in the U.S.
As a small touristy Bavarian town in the Appalachians, Helen celebrates all its festivals in traditional German style – and when this Alpine town celebrates Oktoberfest – it goes all out on the festivities! Helen’s Oktoberfest celebrations are one of the longest running in the country.
The festivities start in September and continue till the end of October. Attending Oktoberfest celebrations in this Bavarian town is the perfect way to have an authentic Bavarian experience and one of Helen’s best attractions. The town’s unique Bavarian style architecture is the perfect background to drink lots of German beer, eat brats and sausages, and listen to live German music.
The event takes place in Helen’s Festhalle i.e the Festival Hall and bands from around the country dominate the stage with lively music and a vibrant dance floor. This is the perfect time to put on your Lederhosen, Dirndls and other traditional Bavarian outfits.
The town is also full of delicious German food including pretzels, bratwursts, weiners, schnitzels, goulash, and apple strudels. Helen also holds an Oktoberfest parade with floats, decorated vehicles, horse riders, and music. Helen’s Oktoberfest is truly the best one in the country and worth attending at least once.
Leavenworth is a Bavarian-themed village at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. It’s the perfect stopover on your drive along the scenic 400-mile Cascade Loop drive! Complete with themed and traditional alpine-style buildings, you will literally feel like you are standing in a village in southern Germany.
Therefore, it’s only appropriate that they put on one heck of an Oktoberfest celebration in the Fall! Plan your visit to Leavenworth during the first 3 weekends (Friday & Saturday) of October and you’ll be able to enjoy authentic German food, beer, music, and dancing in a fun and festive environment.
Each Saturday during Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, the town mayor participates in the Bavarian tradition of “tapping the keg” at 1 pm. Don’t miss it! And be sure not to forget your dirndl and lederhosen, as many locals and visitors dress for the occasion!
The city of Frederick, Maryland has a rich German past. In fact, one of the top things to do in Frederick is to visit the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum. This museum was once a home and is considered one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Frederick (it was built in 1758). It’s also one of the best preserved examples of early Colonial German Architecture in the country.
Visitors can tour the home year round and see many original pieces, including including a stove that is probably the oldest in the country still in it’s original location. For an extra special experience, however, we recommend visiting Schifferstadt during Oktoberfest.
There was plenty of German food being cooked as it would have been centuries ago, there was live polka music, and of course, there was also plenty of beer!
Just because you can’t get to Germany, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Oktoberfest! We think these cities do a great job of making visitors feel just like they’re in Bavaria, don’t you? And of course, there are plenty of other cities in the US who we’re sure do a great job at celebrating Oktoberfest. So if you have a favorite, feel free to tell us about it in the comments below! 🙂
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