Beer enthusiasts across the globe rejoice when autumn arrives. Not only because of the beautiful fall foliage and wonderfully crisp, cooler air, but Oktoberfest. These festivals are held all around the world, celebrating Bavarian culture with massive amounts of beer and all sorts of other events like live music and a wide range of activities. From the most famous in Germany to Tokyo and Colorado’s Mile High City, these Oktoberfests are worth planning a trip around.
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Munich, Germany (Nearby Hotels)
Munich is where it all began and it hosts a 16-day festival right in the heart of the city. Every year over six million people attend this lively Bavarian party, consuming around seven million liters of beer. But there’s a lot more than beer here at not only the world’s biggest Oktoberfest, but the largest folk festival on the planet. Attendees indulge in lots of pretzels, sausages, singing and dancing, with beer ever-present. At the Oide Wiesn, history comes to life, complete with 20th-century rides; there are parades that showcase different vintage costumes from all over the country and an awards ceremony to honor the best beer and the brewery that makes it.
Cinncinnati, Ohio (Nearby Hotels)
America’s largest Oktoberfest is held every year in Cincinnati, Ohio. Some half-million people attend this festival known as Oktoberfest Zinzinnati which has taken place since 1974. It all begins with the annual Running of the Wieners that sees 100 dachshunds dressed as hot dogs, racing to the finish. More than 3,600 pounds of sauerkraut, 80,000 bratwurst and 23,000 pretzels are consumed and the event also holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the largest chicken dance when 48,000 participants, including the Prince of Bavaria, performed it in 1994.
Leavenworth, Washington (Nearby Hotels)
Located just east of Washington State’s dramatic Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth is an authentic Bavarian-style village that’s famous as a magical Christmas town and hosting one of the top Oktoberfests in the U.S. During the first three weekends of October, it’s one big party, with beers like Holfbrau, Alpine, Ayinger, Paulaner, Weihenstephan and Warsteiner, filled in huge German steins, plenty of brats and turkey legs, and all sorts of entertainment, including live music, with both local and international arts, including German bands.
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada (Nearby Hotels)
Canada’s top Oktoberfest (and one of the largest in all of North America) is held in Kitchener, Ontario, October 5 – 18 in 2018. Based on Munich’s original German Oktoberfest, it draws around a million attendees who come to watch the annual Oktoberfest/Thanksgiving Day Parade that showcases bands and elaborate floats along with beer, beer-based celebrations and hearty German cuisine. All sorts of live entertainment and cultural attractions are offered, an official keg tapping and plenty of traditional Bavarian dancing that might may you think, at least for a moment, that you’re really in Munich. You can watch the crowning of Miss Oktoberfest and the appearance of several festival icons, like Onkel Hans in his lederhosen and traditional felt hat.
Brisbane, Australia (Nearby Hotels)
Australia’s largest German festival takes place over the first two weekends in October, featuring a huge beer tent with hand-crafted German beers, wines and a wide range of German fare. Watch or join in on the action-packed Bavarian Strongmen competition which includes Krapfen (jam doughnut) eating, a jockey race, barrel race, tug of war and stein holding, see who wins the beard and mustache competitions, and who is crowned Miss Oktoberfest Brisbane. There’s also an impressive line-up of entertainment, rides and a variety of activities for the kids.
Santa Catarina, Brazil (Nearby Hotels)
The world’s second largest Oktoberfest is surprisingly in South America. Oktoberfest of Blumenau is hosted in Santa Catarina, Brazil over 17 days in October and draws around 700,000 attendees. One of the highlights is the National Championship of Chopp Meter Drinkers. Each night during the festival a competition is hosted to see who can drink an entire meter of beer without spilling a drop. There is also a Queen of the Oktoberfest competition, shopping, restaurants, music and dancing, shows, and, of course, lots of beer.
Mexico City, Mexico (Nearby Hotels)
While Mexico may be all about tequila, this Mexican fiesta is all about the beer, just like every other Oktoberfest across the globe. Although you can always duck away for a margarita or tacos, traditional German foods are the highlight, like spicy brats served with a Mexican flair. Hosted at the Club Alemán in the borough of Xochimilco, the German and German-Mexican community attend regularly, but you’ll see a diverse array of visitors and residents who come from around the world.
Denver Oktoberfest (Nearby Hotels)
Denver’s massive Oktoberfest celebration has been around for nearly 50 years and draws over 350,000 each year. The festivities take place over six days during the last two weekends in September. It includes keg bowling, eating contests, the popular long dog derby he race that determines Denver’s fastest dachshunds! Enjoy live music on the traditional Germany stage, marveling at the remarkable arm strength and perseverance of the men and women who compete in the Stein Hoisting Competition, dine on bratwurst, turkey legs, warm pretzels and all sorts of German fare, paired with a wide range of ales, including the Annual Denver Oktoberfest Brew.
Tokyo, Japan (Nearby Hotels)
Tokyo, Japan’s Hibiya Park hosts its own version of Oktoberfest too, including 10 days of drinking, traditional Germany foods and live entertainment. The longest-running Oktoberfest in Asia, the German Bierfest brings attendees that arrive from as far away as Bangkok, Shanghai, Taipei and Singapore, and for American beer lovers visiting the country, it’s a must-experience. Here you can taste beers from Germany like Weltenburger Kloster, Erdinger, Kostritzer, Krombacher, Paulaner and many others, along with beers from Japan like tasty Yokohama beer. Look forward to indulging in endless bratwurst, knackwurst, bockwurst, blutwurst and bergenwurst. Lots of attendees dress to fit the theme, so you can join in or just enjoy some great people watching.