Oktoberfest is like the German St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a reason to drink beer, laugh, dance and take part in a culture that has traveled thousands of miles to become a part of the American fabric. While you throw on your lederhosen (men) or dirndl (women) and enjoy that giant stein of beer, remember to make eye contact (it’s bad luck if you don’t) while you cheer and say, “Prost!”
Twin Cities Oktoberfest
1265 Snelling Ave.
St Paul, MN 55108
The annual Twin Cities Oktoberfest just gets bigger and better every year. Running from Oct. 8 through the 9, and hosted at the Progress Building at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds, there is plenty of space for the whole family to come and join the fun. The building, which has basically been turned into a giant beer hall, will feature various vendors selling German food and merchandise (now is your chance to get that black, red and gold fedora) and plenty of live music throughout the day.
2101 S. Broadway
New Ulm, MN 56073
New Ulm is a very German town, and their roots are on full display on this most German of holidays. Hosted by Schell’s, the second oldest family-run brewery in the country and famous for many of their German-style lagers, there will be plenty of beer flowing, as well as countless other events, music, games and, of course, great German food. Its main hub is the Best Western, but you won’t have trouble finding the celebration upon driving into the city.
Black Forest Inn Oktoberfest
1 26th St. E.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
From Friday, Sept. 25 to Sunday, Oct. 4, you can celebrate the festival in true German style: there will be no shortage of alphorns, bratwurst or beer, and in the tradition of Munich’s Oktoberfest, even a poster-creating contest to design the new menu covers. The ten-day event always brings a crowd, but if you’re looking for a quieter celebration there are events, including a Brat Bar and Kinoabend (movie night with silent German films), throughout the week. More than just an excuse to get drunk on German beer, Black Forest is a true nod to German culture.
Related: Best German Food In Minnesota
8390 Lofton Ave N
Stillwater, MN 55082
Two weekends in September, the 18-20 and the 25-27, will see the enormous tent outside Gasthaus in Stillwater shaking with the sounds of polka music and laughter. Plenty of classic German dishes, including a fantastic brat with sauerkraut and giant melt-in-your-mouth pretzels, will be available for purchase, as well as an array of imported German beers. If you want to avoid the $5 cover charge, come Sunday for free admission and family-friendly games and events. Make sure to check out the mug designing contest as well.
Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit
2300 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
Every weekend starting Friday, Sept. 18 through Saturday, Oct. 10, Northeast Minneapolis’ Gathof zur Gemutlichkeit hosts one of the wildest, most carnivalesque Oktoberfest events you’ll find outside of Bavaria. Live polka music plays in the background as people from all over the state drink beer, eat giant pretzels, dance, sing and drink more beer. You can bring your own mug to show off ($5 per 1/2 liter for beer) or buy one of their commemorative mugs to fill. It’s a party like no other.
Related: Best Beer Gardens In Minnesota
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.