Sixteen days, over five million people, and—most importantly—seven million litres of beer: that’s Oktoberfest in Munich.
What began as a wedding celebration in 1810 has grown into the world’s largest fair, attracting locals and tourists to the Bavarian city every September and October to down tasty traditional treats followed by long swigs of brew.
Sound amazing? Yeah, it’s pretty hard to beat. But nonetheless, it has inspired copycats all over the world, and they’re doing a pretty darn good job at keeping up. From Santiago to Hong Kong, Bavarian aficionados have hosted their own Oktoberfests for years: some are traditional, some not so much, but they all hearken back to their Munich origins in one way or another.
So if you can’t make it to Germany this year, don’t fret. We have the scoop on the most wunderbar Oktoberfests across the globe—and the best hotels for sleeping off those delicious Bavarian brews. Prost!
Multiple bierfests are celebrated every fall throughout Chile, due largely to a mass German immigration that began in 1848 and continued throughout the 19th century. And today's locals do not skimp on their festivals.
For example, Malloco's Oktoberfest--or Fiesta de la Cerveza--is held this year from October 30 through November. Just a short ride from Santiago's city centre, the festival serves food and drinks from Der Munchner, a traditional German restaurant in Malloco, whose owners also run an organisation promoting German events in the area.
Where to Stay: The Aubrey
For the last 23 years, Harpoon's Ocktoberfest has been a Boston tradition.
The brewery sets aside the last weekend in September each year to swill their Oktoberfest beer (but brewed with a New England twist, of course), serve up German fare such as würstl (sausages) and brezeln (pretzels), and pump some bangin' oompah music throughout Boston's Waterfront.
Where to Stay: The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston
Known for its Dutch roots, Pennsylvania is home to many Oktoberfest celebrations during the months of September and October. But the oldest and largest is hosted by the Reading Liederkranz, an hour outside of Philadelphia.
This group, which was founded back in 1885, serves all of the traditional fare and hosts several bands throughout the festive weekend. Plus, this is an Oktoberfest where you can bring the kiddies along: It offers numerous family-focused activities, such as clown performances.
Where to Stay: Le Meridien Philadelphia
Sydney may be the best option for the college set looking for a more rousing musical act than your standard oompah band, as The University of New South Wales hosts an Oktoberfest-themed concert every year.
Tickets are first sold to university students, so unless you know someone there--or you're an UNSW student yourself--you'll have to wait for general admission tickets to go on sale, and they sell out quickly. But if you do get in, expect an awesome dance party with raving music, food, and beer. Frat party meets Oktoberfest? Well, you gotta at least try it.
Where to Stay: Quest Potts Point
Hong Kong's Marco Polo German Bierfest (yes, we see the irony in that title) is the longest running German bierfest in Asia--and it never ceases to impress. For 20 years, the Marco Polo Hotel has served hundreds of thousands of guests in a tent overlooking Victoria Harbor.
Authentic German delicacies like roast pork knuckle are dished out, Oktoberfest beers are swilled, and the Notenhobler, a German band, plays throughout the night.
Where to Stay: InterContinental Grand Stafford
Denver's Oktoberfest has been bringing the best of Bavaria (as well as some fun, quirky activities) to the Mile High City since 1969.
In addition to the standard bier, brats, and music, this stateside version of Oktoberfest also features fireworks, stein hoisting, and a Long Dog Derby complete with costume contest (AKA the most adorable thing to ever happen at a bierfestival).
Where to Stay: Hotel Monaco Denver--A Kimpton Hotel
Guinness might be the name of the brewing game in Dublin most of the time, but every September, the Irish cede to the Bavarian way of life and indulge in German Weizenbier--or wheat beer--during Dublin's Oktoberfest.
They also cook up the typical German offerings and host the Bavarian Games--a series of events that test Irish muscle, prowess, and beer gut, including yodel contests, stein lifting, and, obviously, a drinking challenge.
Where to Stay: The Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin
Last but not least, Oktoberfest Chicago is hosted each year at St. Alphonsus' Church, which was founded by German immigrants in 1882.
Homemade bratwursts, cold beer, and music from authentic German bands are the usual contenders here. There's also a Kinderfest for the tykes to enjoy as well.
Where to Stay: Villa D' Citta
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