Last updated: 01:54 PM ET, Wed October 07 2015

3 Unexpected Places to Celebrate Oktoberfest in the US

Features & Advice | Josh Lew | September 30, 2015

3 Unexpected Places to Celebrate Oktoberfest in the US

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Munich is the best place in the entire world to celebrate Oktoberfest. The Bavarian metropolis puts on the beer-and-schnitzel-fueled fall festival that everyone else tries to emulate. There are commercialized versions of Oktoberfest in most of the world's major cities, but you can also find more authentic celebrations in German communities as far away from the motherland as Namibia, Argentina and small-town America.

These communities, founded by immigrants from German-speaking Central Europe, have retained many elements of the homeland. Not only do the towns or their streets have Teutonic-sounding names, but the architecture often resembles the styles of Germany. It is not surprising that these places are the best options for celebrating Oktoberfest on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cincinnati, Ohio has the largest Oktoberfest in the US, drawing more than 500,000 people, but this year’s installment has already passed. But it’s not too late, as here are three additional towns, in rather unexpected parts of the country that are ideal for experiencing an authentic German-flavored party.

New Ulm, Minnesota

New Ulm, in rural Minnesota, has one of its state's most famous breweries. Like other businesses that still thrive in the town, the Schell's Brewery was originally started by German immigrants. New Ulm's annual Oktoberfest, once voted the best in the country by USA Today, is held on the first and second weekends in October. 

In addition to beer, polka and parades, people can explore the town's German architecture and see its popular glockenspiel. Other events are on New Ulm's calendar as well. There is a Christmas market, several annual beer and wine festivals, and a summer event called Bavarian Blast that celebrates the town's German heritage.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

No, it's not a small town, but Milwaukee is certainly known for one of the main ingredients of Oktoberfest: beer. The Wisconsin metropolis also has strong German roots. Its city hall building is considered one of the best examples of German Renaissance Revival architecture in the world. Milwaukee's Miller beer brand has gone corporate; it is now part of Coors. However, you can still get a tour of the original brewery, which sits right on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Fredericksburg, Texas

Texas is probably not the first place you would look for an authentic Oktoberfest. But the town of Fredericksburg celebrates its German roots with a plenty of beer, lots of polka and both German and local foods. The party is held the first weekend in October in a space called Marktplatz in the center of the town.   

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