Best Places in the U S to Experience Oktoberfest

Best Places in the U S to Experience Oktoberfest

It’s the time of year to experience Oktoberfest celebrations! While the biggest and most popular Oktoberfest is held in Munich, the United States has adopted the festival in many major American cities as well. This celebration of German culture has become a beloved tradition in many spots in the U.S throughout the years, full of beer drinking, bratwurst, contests, games, live German music bands, and other fun activities.

What is Oktoberfest?

Originating from Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration in 1810, which turned into an annual festival focused on delicious food, great beer, and a fun time! This popular celebration still runs in Germany every year for two weeks usually starting in mid-September and ending at the beginning of October.

Leave your passport behind and continue reading below for the best places in the U. S. to experience Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest celebrations in the u s

9 Cities to Participate in the Popular German Festival!

Table of contents

1. Cincinnati, Ohio’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

The first place on the list, Ohio’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, is considered the biggest Oktoberfest in the United States, and the second biggest in the world, next to Munich’s Oktoberfest itself! What started in 1976 has grown to over 700,000 people traveling from all over to experience the German culture so vibrant in Cincinnati.

One of the most distinct highlights of this particular Oktoberfest is their “Running of the Weaners”, a dachshund race that has become a central part of the festival due to its popularity. And if you’re feeling confident in your Oktoberfest attire, you might want to participate in the “Best Dressed Contest”. You just might win a prize to take home when the festivities have ended.

Zinzinnati has also got some delicious German food you won’t want to miss out on, like pretzels, cream puffs, sausages, and of course, bratwurst.

Oktoberfest beer experience festival U. S. A.

2. LaCrosse, Wisconsin’s Oktoberfest U.S.A

Oktoberfest U.S.A is the longest-running Oktoberfest in the Midwest. This amazing place began in 1961 and continues to showcase the authentic German experience every fall. There are just 3 days of celebration, but the event has plenty of things to do, like a parade, contests and competitions, a carnival, and even a ball!

If you’re ready to get the party started with a few beers, spend an evening at Craft Beer Night on the festival grounds, where you get to sample from more than 20 craft breweries.

Experience some traditional Oktoberfest festivities at the Lederhosen Games where you can watch Stein races(competitors race while carrying beer steins to try and fill the barrel faster than their opponents) stein holdings(traditional Bavarian strength contest), barrel roll( teams rolling empty wooden barrels around a course with the fastest time winning), and more.

Oktoberfest experience in U.S. fun

3. Oktoberfest of Fredericksburg, Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and their Oktoberfest celebration in this U.S. city is no understatement! There are 60-plus food and beverage choices, and 5 stages of entertainment. You’ll feel like you are walking the streets of Munich themselves.

Fredericksburg is about 70 – 75 miles northwest of San Antonio and southwest of Austin. It celebrates its rich German heritage with plenty of dancing, oom-pah(a genre of Germanic music), domestic and imported beer, sauerkraut, pretzels, and more.

Some of Fredericksburg’s events include Waltz and Yodel Contests, Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance, an OkTubaFest, keg tapping, and stein hoists. Want to burn off the calories of all that beer and pretzels? Walk or run in the Oktoberfest Kraut Run.

4. Wenatchee (Leavenworth), Washington

Formerly located in Leavenworth, Washingon, the new venue for Wenawatchee’s Oktoberfest is a three-weekend long festival full of live music, beer, and brats. One of the best parts about Wenawatchee’s Oktoberfest celebration is the two venues on the festival grounds with non-stop entertainment!

There is a lot to experience at this U.S. Oktoberfest spot! Listen to authentic polka and oom-pah, or watch Bavarian dance performed by groups from the U.S and Canada. If you’ve got kiddos, L-Bow the Clown and a bouncy house are sure to keep them entertained in “Kinderplatz”. Feeling competitive? Participate in a stein holding contest. Everyone is encouraged to join in this authentic Oktoberfest experience!

Some other features include free parking, all imported German beer, shuttles from Leavenworth to Wenatchee, delicious German food, and lots of fun!

5. Helen Oktoberfest in Georgia

50 years going strong, this celebration of German culture in Helen, Georgia, is a popular destination for Oktoberfest-goers. And it’s no wonder why! This festival is unique in that it runs for four weeks straight-the longest running Oktoberfest of its kind.

Musical acts play traditional German music, and modern tunes as well. You can dance the polka, attend the ceremonial keg tapping at Festhalle, and taste traditional German food at several taverns and cafes on the festival grounds.

If you are looking for family-friendly fun, it is recommended to enjoy the celebration during the week. However, if you are college-aged or going out with friends, the weekends might be more of your vibe!

6. Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest in San Bernadino, California

In the mountains of Southern California, travelers from all over have visited Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest for the past 52 years. At an elevation of 6,750 feet and surrounded by pine trees, you’ll have a U.S. Oktoberfest experience like no other!

With nine consecutive weekends running from September to November, you’ve got plenty of time for all the German bands, Log sawing contests, pretzel toss, and fresh German apple streudel. With lots of contests and events to choose from, there’s no doubt Big Bear will exceed your Oktoberfest expectations.

One of the awesome features of Big Bear is the free transportation the event offers. The Big Bear Trolley takes you to any hotel you are staying at, whether you’ve had one beer too many or just want to catch a ride! With 100 bus stops in the Big Bear Valley, getting to the Oktoberfest festivities has never been easier.

Beer and food of Oktoberfest celebrations in U S

7. Tulsa Oktoberfest in Oklahoma

Modeled after the original Oktoberfest in Bavaria, Tulsa’s celebration is full of authentic German culture and tradition. The annual festival has become a popular U.S favorite for its 6 days of family fun and plenty of entertainment.

Tulsa’s Oktoberfest boasts of over 300 taps of beer and includes both domestic and German. If you need a break from the beer, take advantage of the contests, arts and crafts vendors, entertainers, and live music that is ongoing throughout the festival.

The Bavarian Cup Team Challenge is a fun and unique highlight of the Oktoberfest Tulsa. Sign up with a team of 8, with at least 4 women(there’s only 20 spots available!) to compete in four games to win the prized Goldenes Fass(Golden Barrel) Award that you can display in your living room when you get back from your trip!

8. Four Peaks Oktoberfest in Tempe, Arizona

Yes, even the desert has an Oktoberfest celebration! Cool off in Tempe, Arizona with lots of

beer and enjoy 3 days filled with loads of activities for all ages.

There are many events and activities offered at Tempe’s Oktoberfest. They include horse-drawn carriages, parades, tailgates, Weiner dog fashion show and races, and even a party lounge.

One of the coolest features of this festival is their Four Peaks Oktoberfest Carnival which has carnival rides for adults as well as kids. You can choose from a large selection of fun rides to try. There are rides like the Freak-Out, Yo-Yo, Ferris Wheel, Motorcycle Jump, Fun Slide, and so much more.

9. Deutches Haus Oktoberfest in New Orleans

New Orleans is famous for our food, drinks, and that aissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll) attitude, and Oktoberfest at Deutches Haus in the Mid City neighborhood overlooking Bayou St. John embodies all of those qualities.

It is the last of our best places in the U. S. to experience Oktoberfest. It may not be the largest celebration compared to other cities, but the great music, funny contests, home-cooked German food, and fun puts this one on our list! (okay, we are biased because it is the one we attend every year!)

The Deutches Haus Oktoberfest celebration runs on Fridays and Saturdays from October 22nd through November 13th, 2022.

Oktoberfest celebration outfit for Deutches haus in new orleans

Final Thoughts on the Best places in the U. S. to experience Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is an amazing and fun way to connect with Bavarian and German culture that has an a huge presence in the United States! Hopefully we gave you some great ideas so that you don’t have to pull out your passport or leave the country to experience some authentic German food and fun. Próst!

Are you going to an Oktoberfest celebration this year? Let us know in the comments below.