Oktoberfest traces its history back to 1810 when the crown prince of Bavaria married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in a public, multiple-day celebration. While traditions have evolved over the years, the celebration continues. Variations of the events are celebrated in many other countries including Oktoberfest events in Washington, DC. In fact, Oktoberfest has only been canceled 25 times since 1810 including in 2020.
If you’ve been to Munich, you’ll know the festival serves beer from the only 6 breweries in Munich. Each brewery has its own tent and exclusively serves their beer. If you are celebrating Oktoberfest in Washington, DC, you’ll see a variety of local breweries serving their versions of these German beers. Plus, participate in time-tested traditions like wearing traditional Bavarian attire and eating traditional food.
Oktoberfest in Washington, DC
Wunder Garten in NoMA: Wunder Garten celebrates Oktoberfest from September 15 to October 15 with live music, DJs, German cuisine, and Bavarian games. The event is free to attend and does not require reservations. However, it can get busy so go early in the afternoon to get a table. Enjoy Oktoberfest beers from local breweries including Devils Backbone, Port City Brewing, Left Hand Brewing Co., and Red Bear Brewing.
The Wharf: The Wharf will celebrate Oktoberfest from September 15 to 17. Look out for polka dancing (September 15), the Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash (September 16), and the Stein Holding Competition (September 17). German food, music, Bavarian decor, and Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer will be available throughout the weekend. Special event weekends on the Wharf get crowded so plan to arrive early in the day.
Prost DC in Mount Vernon Square: Prost offers German food and beer year-round but celebrates Oktoberfest with special events from September 16 to October 14. Check the daily schedule on the website including an opening ceremony, Pup-toberfest, and live music nights. Prost DC offers a cost indoor space and an outdoor patio, perfect to kick off fall.
Cafe Berlin near Stanton Park: Need an extra special experience for Oktoberfest? Enjoy special menus and events from Cafe Berlin! Join them for a Pig Roast on September 23 and October 7 from 12 to 3 pm. $83.45 per person includes spit-roasted pig with your choice of two traditional sides, apfelstrudel, 1L of Oktoberfest bier, and a surprise amuse bouche from the chef. You can also join them for brunch on September 17, October 1, and October 15. $54 per person includes an appetizer or a dessert, an entree, and an alcoholic brunch beverage.
The Midlands Beer Garden in Columbia Heights: Midlands Beer Gardens celebrates Oktoberfest from September 15 to October 7. Enjoy deals on Oktoberfest beers, tein hoisting competitions, swag, and deals on food. Midlands has great indoor and outdoor seating so it’s a perfect afternoon spot rain or shine.
Hellbender Brewery: Hellbender will celebrate Oktoberfest from September 15 to 17 with food trucks, music, and lots of beer! Join them for the release of Fest Beer and Maibock on September 15 plays $22 pitcher specials all weekend. Be sure to look out for their sweet brew cat, Harvey while you are there!
City-State Brewing: City-State Brewing on the Metropolitan Beer Trail is celebrating Oktoberfest on September 23 and 30. Join them on September 23 for German-style beers plus meet some adoptable pups from Rural Dog Rescue from 1 to 3 pm. On September 30 from 12 to 8 pm, join them for Tacoberfest! This fun twist on Oktoberfest will feature Oktoberfest-style tacos, music, games, Stien hoisting, and a costume contest.
Oktoberfest in Virginia
Bronson Bierhall near Ballston: Bronson Bierhall is a large German pub with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating. Bronson Bierhall is one of my favorite spots for an Arlington happy hour any time of year. An Oktoberfest event isn’t on the calendar, but you can celebrate with German and local beers. They also offer a large menu with a variety of pretzels, a sausage board, and schnitzel.
Oktoberfest at John Carlyle Square at John Carlyle Square in Alexandria: Head to Old Town Alexandria for this free admission Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, October 21 from 11 am to 5 pm. Enjoy beer, food, artisans, and live music. Pet-friendly!
Wunderfest at Port City Brewing in Alexandria: Head to Port City Brewery on September 23 from noon to 6 pm for a celebration of German-style beers. Enjoy live music, contests, and German-inspired food from Haute Dogs & Fries and DC Slices. Port City will pour their German-style beers including Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Hefeweizen, Schwarzbier, and Helles. This event is free to enter – no tickets required.