The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria. An annual festival in Munich, Germany, held over a two-week period and ending on the first Sunday in October.
Long before Starbucks tried to signify the fall season with the release their pumpkin lattes, party goers worldwide have been celebrating fall with Oktoberfest, one of the oldest and largest festivals in the world. The German festival long ago spread across the world, and now you can celebrate fall with beer, parades, and yes, pumpkins, no matter what country you are in.
Here are the Top 20 places to celebrate Oktoberfest you wouldn’t want to miss:
It goes without saying that Munich should take first place for any Oktoberfest standards. The largest festival in the world has been partying every year for the past 200 years, when it originated as a city wide wedding reception for Ludwig I and his bride. It’s the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world, with well over 6 million people from around the world coming to party for 16 days straight. The festival is still held on the same location the first wedding party was held, at Theresienwiese, in the heart of Munich. Only select German brewed beers that uphold the German Beer Purity Law are served during the festival, where nearly 7 million liters are consumed every year. The different beer halls around the city all have different themes, and some seat just a few people while other beer tents hold up to 10,000 Oktoberfest attendees at a time.
Wisconsin’s history is steeped in Germanic culture and influence; the state even had German speaking towns and newspapers well into the 20th century. So it makes since that during Oktoberfest, the entire state celebrates in style. One of the best, and largest, celebrations is at Milwaukee, where the entire city and thousands of tourists party German style in the streets with parades, numerous beer gardens, and plenty of sausages and sauerkraut. In fact, Milwaukee’s Oktoberfest is such a hit that the entire celebration is kick-started with Germanfest, a completely separate festival that starts before Oktoberfest and really gets the party started. Between the two you can easily spend several weeks dancing to Polka music and drinking authentic Munich beer.
If you can’t make it to Munich, celebrating Oktoberfest at the joint cities of Kitchener and Waterloo is almost as good as going to the real thing. It’s the second largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world, right behind Munich, and draws in well over half a million visitors and party goers. The festival features plenty of live music and polka dancing, races, beer gardens, and breakfasts around the city, as well as Canada’s largest parade. There’s even an Oktoberfest Idol competition, where contestants can showcase their musical talents in a friendly competition.
The oldest outdoor Asian Oktoberfest in the world, ’s Oktoberfest is as authentically German as you could wish for; they even serve the same brand of beer that traditionally has been served in Munich since the first Oktoberfest. The party lasts for almost a month and attracts over 50,000 people each year. There’s also plenty of other German snacks, including bratwurst, pretzels, and pastries to enjoy, as well as other beers from around the world.
South America has many pockets of Germanic migration, including Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city. Malloco, located just a short distance from the heart of Santiago, hosts a spectacular Oktoberfest lasting for three weeks. There’s plenty of traditional German cuisine, beer, and music, and the party has grown into Chile’s largest beer festival. Over 100,000 people attend the Oktoberfest party each year, and partygoers dress in traditional Germanic attire throughout the celebration.
It’s Ireland, so there will still be more Guinness served than German brews, but Dublin’s Oktoberfest celebration isn’t lacking in German style. The festivities even include traditional Bavarian games, where party goers can compete in German themed feats of strength, such as yodeling contests or drinking competitions. Of course there is plenty of German dishes and food served, and the beer is sold in extremely large mugs called masts, which gives an extra Germanic flair to the party. Admission to the party is free, although you’ll have to pay a bit to get into the giant beer tent.
Leavenworth’s setting in Washington State is the perfect place for an authentic Germanic feel across the globe, thanks to the Cascade mountains that can almost sub in for Germany’s southern alps and plenty of timber framed homes. The Oktoberfest party, located just a few hours from Seattle, hosts plenty of authentic German bands, food and beer for three consecutive weekends of non stop celebrating. The festival also features plenty of family friendly activities, including a German themed parade, races, and German crafts. It’s a great place for families to enjoy Oktoberfest celebrations together, as it is more family focused and kid appropriate than most of the other beer festivals you’ll find.
South Africa’s take on Oktoberfest is a unique spin on the Germanic holiday called Bierfest. Quite possibly the longest lasting Oktoberfest celebration, the festival travels through three different cities, Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. Party goers are encouraged to dress up in authentic costumes, with the winners being crowned as Prince Ludwig and his bride, in honor of the first Oktoberfest and similar to a high school’s prom king and queen. Even though miles from Germany, the festival still offers plenty of German beer, brats, and pretzels, along with non-stop German music and live concerts throughout the celebration.
Visiting “Hofbrauhaus ” may take you to the middle of the desert, but you’ll swear you're standing in Munich at the city’s Oktoberfest celebration. The festival takes place in an exact replica of the original famed Hofbrauhaus in Munich, and even serves beer brewed specially for the occasion that is imported from Munich and made according to the original Duke of Bavaria’s 400 year old recipe. If that isn’t authentic enough, there’s also plenty of German specialty foods and desserts served, and live polka music played night and day during the celebration.
If you want to celebrate the fall without ditching the flip flops just quite yet, head down to Blumenau, Brazil for a Oktoberfest in the tropics. Just because the weather will be sunny doesn’t mean you won’t think you’re in Germany; the city is known as Brazil’s “Little Germany,” complete with Tudor Revival architecture and stone churches. The city was originally settled by German transplants, and the city still retains a massive Germanic cultural influence. The town has celebrated Oktoberfest for the past 30 years, during which the population doubles in size.
Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest isn’t a purely authentic German festival, but it is a great place to go to see a blending of cultural influences and hybrid cuisines. It’s quite possibly the only Oktoberfest that serves burritos with a side of pretzels and beer, or where you’ll find brats with jalapenos and guacamole. The town was originally settled by German descendants, and the festival is a great way to celebrate the Germanic, Hispanic and true Texas cultural influences that make the town. There’s plenty of German music and dancing, and many of the party goers dress up in traditional Bavarian attire.
Sydney’s Oktoberfest takes the partying to a whole new level. The festival is more frat party than city wide festival; in fact, the first tickets available are only offered to college students attending the University of South Wales, which hosts the city’s Oktoberfest, before being offered to the public. It’s basically a German themed dance party, complete with beer, pretzels, and and brats. While it may not celebrate the authenticity of the Oktoberfest experience, it is still a great way to celebrate that fall is here.
The mile high city is a great place to embrace your German side; the city’s Oktoberfest celebrations include plenty of beer, German food, and music, as well as plenty of German dancing. What started out as a quiet German party almost 50 years ago has turned into one of the country’s largest Oktoberfest celebrations, attracting over 350,000 people each year. It’s one of the largest beer festivals in the US, and lasts for almost a week straight.
’s “Rocktoberfest” is the Japanese version of Oktoberfest meets rock concert. It’s the only place in the world where you can celebrate Oktoberfest by kicking back a keg of beer while watching multiple hard core rock concerts perform on stage simultaneously. It’s quite possibly also the only place where you can gorge yourself on a sauerkraut laden brat while watching a kimono-laden woman slam out on a bass guitar while screaming into the microphone.
Shanghai’s Oktoberfest celebrations may be in the middle of the Orient, but that doesn’t mean the party’s lacking in authentic Germanic vibes. It’s not uncommon to hear just as much German slang spoken in greeting as Chinese, and there’s plenty of German beer and pretzels passed around during the festivities. There’s plenty of smaller Oktoberfest parties around the city, and many of them brew authentic German style beer in true Munich style.
Located in the southern part of Mexico City, Xochimilco’s Oktoberfest is a true German themed party with a major Mexican twist. There’s traditional German food served, and plenty of open kegs with brews from around the world served up to the festival’s partygoers. There’s plenty of dancing and traditional festival activities, including amusement rides, street vendors, and craft tents as well. Many of the festival's attendees are of both Mexican and German descent, and the celebration is a fantastic hybrid of the two cultures in one city wide party.
Nicknamed the highlight of Palestine, Taybeh’s Oktoberfest is ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary as Palestine’s greatest (and possibly only) Oktoberfest celebration, with over 16,000 people celebrating at the German themed festival. Oktoberfest is celebrated over the weekend, with both days full of musicians from around the world, including real German performances. The country’s only Palestinian beer brewery has hosted the festival since its inception, and the party serves German style food along with more traditional dishes as well.
For ten straight days, thousands of visitors flock to Brasov, Romania, where the country’s largest Oktoberfest celebration occurs. Since 2009, partygoers and German spirited enthusiasts have celebrated by collecting under a large tent to enjoy authentic German style dishes, consume plenty of pretzels, and enjoy authentically styled German ales and beer. There are plenty of German music and dancing, as well as Bavarian inspired games and contests. It’s a smaller sized version of the party you’d find in Munich, but lacking none of the elements of a true Oktoberfest party.
The land down under may be on the other side of the world, and on the other side of the equator, than Munich, but that doesn’t mean it’s Oktoberfest is anything less than a full out Germanic affair. The fall festival was started by two families, who still run it to this day. It is Australia’s largest German festival, and many of the profits from the event are donated to charity. There’s plenty of authentic German feasting on German dishes, specially brewed beer, dances, and even classes, where visitors can learn how to cook, speak and dance like Germans.
"Oktoberfest Zinzinnati" is no laughing matter, despite the festival’s name. The festival is the largest Oktoberfest celebration held in the United States, and holds several other records as well, including the world record for largest chicken dance. Over half a million people attend each year, and it has been held annually since the late 1970's. You can read up on the statistics of the amount of German themed cuisine that’s eaten each year; the numbers are staggering and proof of Cincinnati’s record holder for easily the most impressively sized American Oktoberfest celebration. The party doesn’t take itself too seriously, however; the opening of the festival includes the official Running of the Wieners and and Goodwill Games.
Want to join in on the party and celebrate the fall this season? Grab your passport and head out to party at these Oktoberfest celebrations across the globe. Don't forget to plan your trip with Trekeffect!
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