Autumn means cooler temperatures, shorter days and plenty of fall festivals. One of the most world-renowned festivals of the season is Oktoberfest in Germany. Celebrating German culture, drinking beer and enjoying festive cuisine don't need to require a plane ticket or passport. There are fantastic destinations in the United States that celebrate Oktoberfest, so you don't have to travel far. We talked with Expedia about some of the best places in America to enjoy authentic Oktoberfest vibes.
Oktoberfest Outside Munich
Enjoy the best of German traditions and culture without the hefty flight price and passport. Virtually all of Leavenworth, Washington is intricately themed in the Bavarian style, and visitors can enjoy beer gardens and German fare at locations like Leavenworth Sausage Garden, München Haus and Rhein Haus Leavenworth, just to name a few, and make sure to indulge in some sweets at the Bavarian Bakery. Attractions include the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, and Bavarian E-Bike Tours allow visitors to get a fun view of the town. There are also plenty of parks to explore for those looking to get outdoors. Accommodation options range from upscale lodges like the Bavarian Lodge to charming inns like Leavenworth Village Inn and budget options like LOGE Leavenworth Downtown. Leavenworth Oktoberfest starts September 30.
You can get your fix of all things German in Helen. This mountain village north of Atlanta is modeled after Bavarian towns and provides an excellent destination for nature lovers and foodies. Warmer months provide lots of tubing opportunities, and in the fall, the Helen Oktoberfest (running through October 30) is not to be missed. Enjoy alpine views at the Georgia Mountain Coaster, a round of golf at Valhalla Resort and Golf in Innsbruck (a lovely upscale resort for weekend getaways) or take in some of the local mountain wineries like Habersham Winery. Indulge in the baked goods at Hofer's Bakery and Cafe, enjoy river views at The Troll Tavern or try out some traditional German flavors at Hofbrauhaus Restaurant. Sleep under a windmill at The Heidi Motel or save your money for dining and shopping with a budget stay at Baymont by Wyndham Helen.
Gatlinburg is home to some stunning waterfalls, nature hikes and Southern cuisine, but did you know they also have a rousing Oktoberfest celebration? Ober Gatlinburg runs through October 30 with Bavarian food, music and atmosphere in the Great Smoky Mountains. If you can't get enough of the fun German vibes, check out some of the German restaurants in the area, like Cheese Cupboard & Hofbrauhaus and Wild Bear Tavern. Spend a couple of extra days and do some exploring or check out nearby attractions like Dollywood, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You'll find a variety of accommodations from independent properties like Gatlinburg Inn to chain hotels like Courtyard by Marriott Gatlinburg Downtown and budget options like LeConte View Motor Lodge, A Ramada by Wyndham.