Skip to content

Prost! Here are the best places to celebrate Oktoberfest in America

Sept. 01, 2022
14 min read
group toasting with beer
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s time to dust off your dirndl and lederhosen. After a two-year absence, Munich’s Oktoberfest is back in 2022.

Beer lovers in Germany and across the world have waited for this moment. However, if a trip to Europe doesn’t work for you this fall, don't fret: There are many great places closer to home where you can get your fill of German food and beer.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

To help you decide where to celebrate Germany's famous fall event without traveling abroad, we searched from sea to shining sea to bring you America's best Oktoberfest events. Regardless of what your favorite part of Oktoberfest is, you're bound to have a memorable experience at one of the celebrations this side of the Atlantic.

Solvang Danish Days — Solvang, California

Festival dates: Sept. 16-18

Although not a proper Oktoberfest, Solvang Danish Days is a free celebration that serves as the perfect warmup to the European festival season.

In 1911, a group of Danish families founded the city of Solvang in California's Santa Ynez Valley in the very heart of Santa Barbara County’s wine country. Twenty-five years later, they celebrated the first Solvang Danish Days.

Despite a break in 2020 and 2021, the festival is back this year. It offers a Danish immersion experience complete with Danish folk costumes, music, dancing and food and drink.

Solvang, California. GERI LAVROV/GETTY IMAGES

Begin your day with a breakfast of æbleskiver (delightfully small, round pancakes dusted with powdered sugar and served with jam and preserves). Then, pass the time ax throwing before grabbing a brew or glass of vino at the Viking Beer & Wine Garden.

If you're craving a dose of old-world charm, spend some time at the Viking Encampment at the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art. There, you’ll find artisans and craftspeople selling their wares, storytellers spinning traditional yarns and a number of family-friendly activities.

Other can't-miss activities include the evening Torchlight Parade and the festival's free concerts.

Of course, you don’t have to spend every minute at the event. Nearby, you’ll find more than 120 wineries, plus 18 wine-tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is also home to plenty of boutique shops selling fine art, antiques and jewelry, should you want a keepsake to commemorate your time in the area.

When you're ready to retire for the night, consider staying in nearby Buellton, where the Hampton Inn & Suites Buellton/Santa Ynez Valley offers easy access to the Solvang Danish Days festivities and the Santa Rita Hills Wine Trail.

Rooms rates during festival dates start at $236. If you're using Hilton Honors points, standard rooms are available from 49,000 to 60,000 points per night.

Frankenmuth Oktoberfest — Frankenmuth, Michigan

Festival dates: Sept. 15-18

Lovingly known as "Little Bavaria," the small town of Frankenmuth hosts a small but mighty Oktoberfest celebration in mid-September.

It's the only destination outside of Munich to be officially sanctioned by the Bundestag (Germany’s parliament) and Munich’s former Lord Mayor Christian Ude. Thanks to its deep German roots and longstanding dedication to representing Bavaria, Frankenmuth draws Germans and droves of other travelers in search of an authentic German experience.

In fact, Frankenmuth is so reminiscent of Bavaria that the Munich-based brewery Hofbräuhaus serves as an official sponsor of the festival. This partnership made Frankenmuth the first U.S. city to import its famous Oktoberfest beer.

FRANKENMUTH OKTOBERFEST

When you visit, be sure to stop by the cuckoo clock store to see an impressive selection of these German staples. Or, make a beeline for one of the food vendors serving Bavarian delicacies. While some eateries are open to the public year-round, the must-visit Harvey Kern Community Pavilion's beer hall-style tent — which features German music, food and, of course, beer — only welcomes visitors during Oktoberfest.

You may assume the highlight of this Oktoberfest celebration is the Hofbräuhaus beer (and you wouldn’t be wrong), but the family-friendly wiener dog race is also a highlight. It draws many fans and a cacophony of cheers as 50 to 100 dachshunds line up on one side of the pavilion tent and race to the other side. The short-legged pooches dart any direction their noses take them, so keep an eye on your pretzels and brats.

For such a small town, Frankenmuth offers a lot to do in addition to Oktoberfest. It’s home to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland (which claims to be the world’s largest Christmas store). Plus, its location by the Cass River makes it a prime place to get out on the water and explore via the Bavarian Belle Riverboat or a kayak.

While there are a few points hotels located in Frankenmuth, the Marriott-affiliated Fairfield Inn & Suites Frankenmuth on Main Street is one of the most convenient options. It's close to the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion and within walking distance of the Frankenmuth Brewery, the riverfront and dozens of shops. Rooms start at $222 per night or 25,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Oktoberfest — Helen, Georgia

Festival dates: Sept. 8-11, 15-18 and 22-25; daily from Sept. 29-Oct. 30

Nestled in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the town of Helen was overlooked by tourists for years. They’d stop to top off their tanks on the way to the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Unicoi State Park & Lodge, Great Smoky Mountains National Park or the High Country in western North Carolina.

Then in 1969, a business owner had enough. He noted the region’s similarity to Bavaria, where he’d been stationed while in the Army, so he made a proposal: Transform sleepy Helen into an alpine village that appeared to be plucked right out of a German forest.

Slowly, the town changed its face, adding half-timber facades, cobblestone alleys and gingerbread flourishes to eaves and rooflines. Soon after it became Alpine Helen, this year-round bit of Bavaria not too far north of Atlanta held its first Oktoberfest celebration.

Helen, Georgia. EXPLORE GEORGIA

Nowadays, more than 500,000 visitors attend the two-month event. The Oktoberfest Parade kicks things off on Sept. 10, culminating in a crowd at the Helen Festhalle, where the Official Tapping of the Keg marks the true opening of Oktoberfest.

German-style bands from across the U.S. and Germany, more than 30 beers from local breweries and German brewmeisters, authentic Bavarian cuisine, traditional Alpenhorn instruments and plenty of folks in festive costumes make Helen's Oktoberfest a memorable event.

Beyond the festival, visitors can peruse the town’s 100-plus boutiques and galleries or explore the nearby national forests and state parks.

Once you're ready for some shut-eye, head right down the street from the Helen Festhalle to the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Helen, a property that's part of the IHG family.

Visiting Helen’s Oktoberfest in September? Rooms begin at $262 per night for this particular weekend. However, during October, when the festival shifts to daily events, you’ll find midweek rates from $187 and weekends starting at $262. Your points will go a long way here, with stays starting at 10,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

Leavenworth Oktoberfest — Wenatchee, Washington

Festival dates: Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Oct. 7-8 and Oct. 14-15

Across the U.S., you’ll find charming little towns that, by design, remind of you Bavaria. Such is the case in Leavenworth. Its downtown is lined with half-timber buildings and window boxes filled with geraniums, just like you’d find throughout the German countryside.

The town celebrates its German heritage and leans into the Bavarian theme as a way to delight visitors and take part in traditional festivals such as Oktoberfest and the yuletide Christkindlmarkt.

Its Oktoberfest celebration is touted as one of Washington’s best.

Leavenworth, Washington. CONNIE COLEMAN/GETTY IMAGES

This year, organizers have moved down the road a few miles to Wenatchee to grow this popular festival into something even bigger. Visitors can hop a shuttle from Leavenworth's quaint downtown to the Wenatchee site's beer hall, where food, drinks, music and dancing are front and center.

The ceremonial tapping of the keg, which takes place at noon on Saturday, and all the hoopla surrounding it are worth the price of admission — tickets cost $10 on Fridays and $25 on Saturdays. Oompah and polka bands from across the U.S. and Canada play traditional songs. You can dance or sit back and watch passersby while diving into German classics like bratwurst and kraut, schnitzel and pretzels.

There’s an amazing array of German beers on hand, but if you’d prefer to drink something local, you’re in luck: Libations from local breweries and Washington wineries are available. If you've got little ones in tow, be sure to check out Kinderplatz, which is packed with things to keep younger kids busy.

This gorgeous pocket of Washington offers so much to do that you may want to stay for a week and bookend your visit with Oktoberfest weekends. On non-festival days, hit the trails with a mountain bike to log some miles. You can also go birding in the Horan Natural Area within Wenatchee Confluence State Park.

Stay within walking distance of Leavenworth Oktoberfest and enjoy views of the Columbia River from the Hilton Garden Inn Wenatchee.

Hotel rates vary over this multi-weekend celebration. We found rooms from $296 for the first weekend, $293 for the second and $320 for the final weekend. Standard king rooms will set you back 60,000 points a night, while river-facing rooms and suites offer starting rates between 117,000 and 139,000 points a night.

Oktoberfest — Fredericksburg, Texas

Festival dates: Sept. 30-Oct. 2

You may be surprised to learn that several towns in Texas have deep German roots. Of them all, Fredericksburg serves as the state’s epicenter for all things Oktoberfest.

Since 1981, the whole town — and then some — has turned out every October to find the town’s Marktplatz transformed into a miniature Munich. Live polka and oompah bands play on five different stages, and at this year's Oktoberfest celebration, musicians from Germany will add old home country authenticity to the music lineup.

ROBBYN DODD/FREDERICKSBURG OKTOBERFEST

There’s German fare (think: brats, kraut, wurst, potato pancakes and made-to-order pretzels), plus a seemingly endless supply of beer from Germany’s own Paulaner (a brewery that provides one of six beers poured at Munich’s Oktoberfest) and Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu. Oktoberfest beers from breweries in Texas and beyond are also readily available.

Younger attendees will enjoy plenty of kids' games in the KinderPark. There’s also a pair of juried art and artisan exhibitions featuring work from the best of the Hill Country’s creative types. Other must-attend events include a family-friendly lederhosen and dirndl contest, a yodeling competition and the Samuel Adams Beer Stein Hoist.

The Pedernales Creative Art Alliance organizes this Oktoberfest celebration. Proceeds from tickets, which cost $20 each and are valid for three days of admission, fund youth arts and music scholarships, community arts and musical programs, and more — another great reason to attend the festival.

When you're not at Oktoberfest, check out central Fredericksburg. The whole town is decked out in German regalia and offers several boutiques on Main Street selling authentic German goods imported from Europe.

Bird-watching is popular in the Hill Country, too, so don't forget to bring your binoculars when you head to Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park or the nearby Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

There are several points hotels available in and around Fredericksburg, should you want to cash in points or enjoy elite benefits during your visit. For example, the Hampton Inn & Suites Fredericksburg sits just a few blocks south of the Marktplatz on Fredericksburg’s Main Street. A standard room here starts at $430 per night or 41,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Trapp Family Lodge Oktoberfest — Stowe, Vermont

Festival date: Sept. 17

The hills come alive with the sound of Oktoberfest music when you celebrate at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. Yes, it’s the same von Trapp family whose story was immortalized in “The Sound of Music” and a pair of German films: “Die Trapp Familie” and “Die Trapp Familie in Amerika.”

The family’s story begins in 1905 when the real Maria was born on a train to Vienna. It follows through to the early 1940s when the Trapp Family Singers toured the U.S. and then settled in Stowe, where they found a farm with a view that reminded them of their beloved Austria. The family built a lodge and a life there, extending their hospitality and grace to visitors from all over before eventually growing the property into a full-fledged resort.

Stowe, Vermont.TOME NARWID/GETTY IMAGES

This year marks the 13th annual Oktoberfest celebration at the property's von Trapp Brewing Bierhall. During the one-day event, festivalgoers can listen to music from Germany's Inseldudler band, drink beer from the von Trapp Brewery, and savor a spread of German and Austrian cuisine that's bound to transport them to the Alps in a single bite.

It’s a family-friendly affair, and tickets (which range from $32 to $62 per person, depending on your age) include a lager and a commemorative mug for guests 21 and up. Those 20 and younger will receive a root beer with a commemorative mug.

Tickets are good for one of three sessions, each lasting two hours and 45 minutes, so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy some bratwurst and sauerkraut, eggplant schnitzel with Jaeger sauce, potato pancakes and, of course, pretzels and beer.

Also, save time for exploring the rest of the property. Available activities include disc golf, hiking, mountain biking and carriage rides. Remember to visit the nearby Ben & Jerry's Waterbury Factory, too, to sample some of Vermont's famous ice cream and learn how it's made.

A few points-eligible hotels can be found in Stowe proper. Just 13 miles away in Montpelier, there's the Capitol Plaza Hotel Montpelier, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Book a room starting at $197 a night or redeem 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Oktoberfest — Savannah, Georgia

Festival dates: Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 25-Oct. 31

Oktoberfest in this historic Southern city proves that entertainment and hospitality are two things Savannah takes seriously.

The city’s Plant Riverside District, a 1912 power plant that’s been re-envisioned and restored to an elegant modern standard, is home to high-end shopping, concert and comedy venues, delectable dining and a quarter-mile riverfront walk with gorgeous views.

It’s also home to the city’s Oktoberfest, a multi-weekend celebration packed with beer tasting, fine German food and several family-friendly events.

PLANT RIVERSIDE DISTRICT

There’s a bratwurst-eating contest, music and dancing. Plus, the whole of the Plant Riverside District is at your disposal. Check venue schedules for concerts and comedy shows that might pique your interest.

Oktoberfest spills beyond this entertainment district, and you’ll find celebratory beers on offer at Southbound Brewing Company, Moon River Brewing Company and other breweries in town.

While you’re in Savannah, spend time walking the city’s historical squares. They're great places to soak up the charm and mystery of the city while walking off all the mouthwatering Southern fare you'll eat while visiting. Also check out the multitude of galleries filled with local works, including fine art and traditional Gullah crafts.

Haunted tours, pub crawls, haunted pub crawls (naturally) and history tours keep many visitors busy. However, if you’re in town for Oktoberfest, you’ll also be there in time for other events that showcase the charm of Savannah and the low country.

Nearby Tybee Island’s Pirate Fest takes place the first weekend in October. The second weekend is the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival. The Isle of Hope Art and Music Fest and the Savannah Film Festival both occur on the third weekend of October, which just so happens to also be the Savannah Pride Festival.

As far as lodging goes, you'll find several points properties here, though one, in particular, stands out. For a convenient home base for all your activities, bed down at the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District. Weekend rates start at $460 per night or from 54,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Featured image by GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases