Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest—Without Buying a Plane Ticket

September 20, 2018

On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Mayor of Munich will tap the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12 p.m. local time, marking the kick-off of the 185th annual volksfest. Over the next two weeks, approximately 6 million visitors—some donning dirndls and lederhosen—will join the festivities to drink beer, dance to Bavarian music, and eat those soft pretzels larger than a baby’s head. Cue the mustard!

If you haven’t booked a flight, don’t fret—there are tons of places to join in on the fun in the U.S., just a car (or subway) ride away. The following are a few we have our eyes on steins firmly pointed toward.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

America’s largest annual Oktoberfest celebration takes place in downtown Cincinnati. It kicks off this year at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, and runs through the weekend. Typically, the festival (first held in 1976) attracts more than 500,000 attendees. According to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, a previous year’s attendees ate more than 85,000 metts (short for Mettwurst, a German smoked pork sausage), 1,875 pounds of German potato salad, 23,004 soft pretzels, and 400 pickled pigs feet. That's 399 more pickled pigs feet than we ate last year!

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Zoomed with kraut #oktoberfestzinzinnati

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Oktoberfest Denver

Beginning tomorrow, Sept. 21 at 11 a.m., through Sunday, Sept. 23 (and then again the following weekend), you can join the Denver residents for the 49th annual iteration of its Oktoberfest. In addition to seven types of beer, you can expect brats and kielbasas, kraut, potato salad, and of course, warm pretzels with beer cheese.

Oktoberfest by the Bay

San Francisco’s annual Oktoberfest begins Sept. 21 at 5 p.m., with festival sessions continuing through the weekend. It’s a ticketed event, and you can grab yours here. Oktoberfest by the Bay culminates with German Day on Sunday, Sept. 23, a partnership with the United German American Society to celebrate charters from across the region. Anyone know how to say “San Francisco craft microbrew” in German?

Oktoberfest Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s weekend ode to Oktoberfest kicks off at 5 p.m. on Oct. 5, and includes live polka music, weiner dog racing, a brat eating contest, and a stein hoisting competition (we hope not in that order!).

Oktoberfest at Reading Liederkranz

This five-day Reading, Pennsylvania-based festival takes place at the Liederkranz, a German singing and sport society. It begins at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3, includes music, beer, German delicacies, and a balloon guy.

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#readingliederkranz #oktoberfest

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On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Austin Saengerrunde will host its 6th annual AustOberfest. Think: Lots of German-style sausage, beer, and live music celebrating Central Texas German heritage. Be sure to grab a ticket if you want to join, and report back on that sausage!

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#atx #austinsaengerrunde #austoberfest

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Oktoberfest at Your Home

What better excuse to break into some spicy mustard, try your hand at soft pretzels, and buy a mini keg of Bavarian beer? Let us know what you're planning to whip up in the comments!

Anybody else craving sausage?

Where and how do you like to celebrate Oktoberfest? Let us know in the comments!

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.

1 Comment

Noreen F. October 1, 2018
La Crosse, WI, but be quick!