If you’ve found yourself unable to travel to Germany for Oktoberfest this year, the Bay Area has you covered with events and celebrations designed to provide a slice of the traditional Bavarian Oktoberfest experience right in your backyard.
The mirth and revelry of Germany’s flagship drinking festival are coming to life at bars, restaurants and town squares across the Peninsula. And though each one promises to bring its own distinct twist to Oktoberfest celebrations, you’re certain to find the holy trinity of elements that make Oktoberfest one of the best times of year — classic German food like pretzels and sausages, a wide range of delicious German beers, and tons of live, traditional music and dance.
We’ve put together a roundup of Oktoberfest events coming up, so mark your calendars, dust off your best German attire and raise an overflowing beer stein to another exciting Oktoberfest in the Bay Area. Prost!
Oktoberfest in downtown Redwood City
Oktoberfest in downtown Redwood City is returning Sept. 20-24, celebrating its ninth year as the largest Oktoberfest celebration on the Peninsula.
The town’s Courthouse Square, usually a wide-open space, will look a lot more like a traditional Oktoberfest beer hall with large tents, community tables and plenty of bench seating to sit, sip, and savor the flavors of Bavaria. If you fancy yourself a singer, clear your throat and sign up for the festival’s yodeling contest.
The event’s organizers recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time online before they sell out, but remaining tickets will be sold at the event. Prices range from $16 to $27 depending on the day and time, and the cost of admission includes a commemorative beer stein, as well as one free drink ticket. Those under 21 or attendees who aren’t planning on drinking can purchase an all-ages ticket for between $10 to $17, which also includes a commemorative glass and non-alcoholic drink ticket.
Besides beer, event attendees can expect a variety of German fare from vendors spread throughout the square. Live music from several German bands will provide the soundtrack to the festivities, along with performances from traditional German Bay Area dance troupe Nature Friends Schuhplattler.
Redwood City Oktoberfest, Sept. 20-24 at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Afternoon seatings noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 23 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 24; evening seatings 5-9 p.m. Sept. 20-21, 5-10 p.m. Sept. 22, 5-9 p.m. Sept. 23 and 4-8 p.m. Sept. 24. redwoodcity.org.
Ludwig’s Biergarten, Mountain View
Ludwig’s annual Oktoberfest celebration returns this year with a spate of events at the end of the month at their downtown Mountain View biergarten. The events will run Sept. 22-23 and Sept. 29-30. Tickets are available on Ludwig’s website for a flat price of $140, which reserves a table that seats up to eight people, so bring your friends and family.
Food and beverage aren’t included in the ticket price, but the biergarten will be selling classic German beers alongside German grub like Nürnberger Bratwurst, baked chicken and the Bavarian classic Schweinshaxe — a crispy roasted pork knuckle.
Ludwig’s will have a steady stream of traditional Oktoberfest music playing, courtesy of a DJ, with live bands also scheduled to perform each day.
Guests who arrive in their finest German drindl and lederhosen can compete in Ludwig’s best-dressed contest, as well as a stein-holding competition to see who can hold a full liter mug of beer the longest. Beyond bragging rights, Ludwig’s says there will be prizes as well, yet to be determined.
Taplands Taproom & Brewery, Santa Clara
In Santa Clara, Taplands Taproom & Brewery will be hosting an Oktoberfest celebration Sept. 24.
The bar, which usually dedicates its taps to local craft beers, will be pouring a number of classic German beers — from full-bodied golden Helles lagers to rich, malty Märzens, and festbiers brewed specially for Oktoberfest.
Taplands will also serve German sausages and pretzels to stave off your hunger.
Mountain View’s Oktoberfest at Steins Beer Garden
Mountain View’s Oktoberfest celebration, hosted by Steins Beer Garden, takes place Oct. 7-8. The event marks the eighth year of the Mountain View Oktoberfest celebration, which returns after a three-year hiatus.
You won’t need a ticket to attend the free event, but attendees 21 years of age and up will be able to purchase commemorative glassware to buy beer. The festival will be held in the parking lot at the corner of Dana and Bryant streets in Mountain View, which Stein’s will convert to a tented beer garden.
Though details of the event, including food vendors, are still being finalized, Stein’s says you can expect food trucks, live music from traditional German band Deutscher Musikverein of San Francisco, and of course, plenty of German beers on tap. Check out the event’s website or Instagram account for more details closer to the event.
Steins Beer Garden, Oct. 7-8, 895 Villa St., Mountain View; 650-963-9568, Instagram: @steinsbeergarden and @mvoktoberfest. Check the event website or social media for times to be announced. steinsbeergarden.com.
Oktoberfest in downtown Campbell
If you’re willing to travel just a little bit south of the 650, downtown Campbell’s streets will transform Oct. 21-22 for the city’s 28th annual free Oktoberfest celebration.
At the heart of the festival area, which occupies four blocks of East Campbell Avenue, is the festival’s Biersch Garden. The tented area will hold one of the festival’s four event stages and play home to the Oktoberfest stein-holding and best-dressed competitions. German food including brats, pretzels and other fare will be available for sale.
Avid homebrewers should note that this Oktoberfest celebration is also hosting a Braumeister competition. Brewers can apply online, and 20 applicants will be selected to submit their finest Oktoberfest-style Märzen beers, with the top three beers to be announced at the Biersch Garden stage Oct. 21.
Outside of the main festival tent, plenty of food vendors offering a variety of cuisine from Caribbean jerk chicken to doughnuts will line the streets, and a dedicated Kids Zone will offer children’s activities and performers for younger festival attendees.
Campbell Oktoberfest, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Campbell. campbelloktoberfest.com.