Oktoberfest might be one of our favorite holidays adopted from other lands (because, you know, beer). With all the craft beer the city has to offer—we have plenty of fantastic beer bars and biergartens in L.A.—Oktoberfest gives us the opportunity to visit them as much as possible and welcome autum with a bratwurst in hand. Put on your leiderhosen, brush up on your oompah dancing and raise a stein to the festival that encourages us to drink our dinner. Prost!
The best Oktoberfest events in L.A.
As the oldest Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California, Alpine Village has the month-long party down to a science. From October 4 to 27, expect beer (HofBrau, imported directly from Munich), food from Alpine (pork schnitzel sandwiches, anyone?), a market selling German sausages and baked goods, and all the Bavarian singing and dancing you could ever want. Bringing little ones? Sundays are familiy days and celebrate special various groups or activities, including German-American heritage.
The home to the L.A. County Fair turns into a German wonderland for Oktoberfest almost every Friday and Saturday from 6pm to midnight in October. Expect Bavarian music, beer and plenty of pretzels at this annual Fairplex event. Sink your teeth into bratwurst, knockwurst and sweet corn while knocking back authentic German suds at this 21+ celebration. (Word to the wise: Last call is at 11pm.)
Billing itself as "Orange County's biggest party since 1977," the Old World Oktoberfest promises all the beers, brats, babes and bands to make you feel like you're in Munich (though with better ocean views). September through October, there'll be dancers, a Kinderfest for little ones and, every Sunday at 3pm, daschund races. Entry is free if you go on a Wednesday or Thursday, when festivities run from 6:30 to 10:30pm. On Friday and Saturday, the party keeps going until 1:30am and a $10 to $15 cover is in effect. Sundays are family days, focused on the Kinderfest, with admission for $3 to $10 (children under the age of five are free).
Wear your lederhosen to this Fairfax-area biergarten, where an extensive selection of German brews gets served alongside traditional German fare like schnitzel, sausages and house-made pretzels. Every Friday and Saturday you'll find a big Oktoberfest celebration here starting at the end of September, complete with live music, food specials and even free beer (stop by on the kickoff day, 3pm on September 21, then take a seat and order an entrée for a free beer from the keg before it runs out). Through October 26, every Friday and Saturday there'll even be stein holding contests, where the ultimate winner receives a trip to Vegas.
Head to the mountains for the annual Oktoberfest at Big Bear Lake, where you'll be able to clink steins every weekend from now until November 2. Beer will be flowing, knockwursts will be cooked up and dirndls will be worn. The schedule includes numerous bands—four flown straight from Germany—and other performances, and some lucky damsel will be named the Oktoberfest Queen when she wins the stein carrying contest.
For four Saturdays in a row starting, October 5, the Venice location of this hip gastropub is throwing a Bavarian celebration, complete with live music, lederhosen, yodeling and finger-licking fare. Dive into a savory grilled link topped with temptations of your choosing and a side of double-fried Choose from a selection of German and Begian beers on draft, and hear the Munich Boom-Steiners perform live sets. The best part? Every $30 entry includes a Wurstküche liter mug full of Oktoberfest beer.
You can swap giant pretzels for dumplings on October 4, because that's when the returning Dumpling & Beer Fest hits the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. Each $40 entry includes a beer tasting wristband, which will get you unlimited craft beer from 6 to 10:30pm. Soak it all up with the dumpling vendors and assorted food trucks that will be on hand to sell an array of fried and steamed bites. Make sure to stick around for the festival's dumpling eating contest (if you can stomach it), as well as the competition for the most original dumplings.
If you're looking for a quieter alternative to the usual Oktoberfest, the Burbank Beer Festival might be your jam. This celebration, held on October 19, will canvas several blocks of downtown Burbank, transforming San Fernando Boulevard into an outdoor street fest featuring two separate sessions of more than 85 brews on tap from local and out-of-state craft breweries. Snag tickets for tastings, but note that admission to the street fair portion is free—so the rest of the family can enjoy the live music, vendors and more.