Oktoberfest Travel Guide

Oktoberfest Events & Dates

Grab a beer (or two or three), put on your favorite lederhosen and check out the how the biggest beer festival on the planet got started. Oktoberfest traces its roots back to the Royal Wedding of 1810, when the Bavarian prince wed the princess from Munich. The couple, against convention, invited common citizens of Munich to celebrate. Forty thousand showed up, and for five days straight they drank in the fields in front of the city gates. The fields were named after the crowned Queen Theresienwise (Theres’s Fields), but later the name was shortened to Wies’n. Year after year the fest continued to grow until it was dubbed the one and only Oktoberfest.
But how did this brat-and-sauerkraut-laden event make its way to America? After a string of crop failures in the mid-1800s, Germans began to immigrate to the United States in search of rich farmland. Most settled in the Midwest, but their culture spread all over. Oktoberfests sprouted up from coast to coast with each celebration having a unique feel true to its host city.

Want to take advantage of Oktoberfest events and festivals on your next vacation? Cities around the world are celebrating Germany - with bratwurst and beer - throughout October and you don't want to miss out!  Here's a mini guide to all the great taking place across the country:

oktoberfest travel guide couple drinking beer


The Top Oktoberfests in the U.S.

5. Denver

This six-day event will make you forget you had a day job. Ranked “The Best Oktoberfest  in the USA” by USA Today, the fest is brimming with live music and is sponsored by delicious breweries.
September 27-29, October 4-8.

4. San Francisco

Sip beer by the bay in one of the most scenic Oktoberfest locales. Enjoy nonstop entertainment from a 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band while watching the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge.
September 20-22.

3. Fredericksburg, Texas

Founded by German immigrants in 1846, this city sponsors a community-centered event complete with a kids play area and an Oktoberfest vineyard. A giant domino tournament will be included.
October 4-6.

2. La Crosse, Wisconsin

It’s never too late to sport some lederhosen and polka all night long after a day of family parties and torchlight parades. Since almost half of Wisconsin's population is made up of German descendants, you can be sure this bash will be a weiner.
September 27- Saturday October 5.

1. Cincinnati

Presented by Sam Adams, this Zinzinnati hot-spot attracts more than half a million attendees and is the second-largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world. Kick the festivities off with German Gemuetlichkeit  “goodwill” games, the running of the wieners and the Beer Stein race. Rest assured, there will be no lack of delightful drinking activities here.

More Highlights from Coast to Coast

  • Half-marathon race in La Crosse. Run off those extra calories.
  • September is still summer in San Fran. Pack t-shirts, sunscreen and green Tyrolean hats as you drink on the coast.
  • In Cincinnati, you'll find six blocks packed with cheery party-goers ready to do the world’s largest chicken dance.
  • Tuba jams, in OkTUBAfest, will ring in your ears for this southern Texas tradition
  • Bring your earplugs, Denver. There are more than 50 bands performing from dawn till dusk.
Beer has certainly been an essential part of the fest since the beginning. But whether it's swigging back on your favorite seasonal ales, eating brats or dancing with your family, there’s a spot for you at Oktoberfest. It is the sign that fall has arrived, and the spirit of the Deutsch will meet with the clinking of glasses across the states. Whatever your heritage, come celebrate Oktoberfest in one of these amazing cities!

More Oktoberfest Vacation Guides


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