With summer behind us, it's time to look forward to the next bright spot on the calendar: Oktoberfest! Despite a name that might suggest otherwise, the Bavarian tradition of Oktoberfest actually kicks off in September, running from Saturday, September 19 through Sunday, October 4 in 2015. Can't make it to Munich this year? No problem! Here, we've rounded up four of the best ways to celebrate the 16 days of Oktoberfest 2015 right here in Manhattan, where you'll find German-inspired cultural traditions (time to bust out those lederhosen and dirndls), music, food (schnitzels, giant pretzels, bratwurst), and yes, beer, lots and lots of beer. Prost!
Zum Schneider’s Oktoberfest: Munich on the East River
WHEN: Fri, Oct 2 (4pm–10pm); Sat, Oct 3 (12pm–10pm); Sun, Oct 4 (12pm–10pm); Fri, Oct 9 (4pm–10pm); Sat, Oct 10 (12pm–10pm); Sun, Oct 11 (12pm–10pm)
WHERE: 24-20 FDR Drive Service Rd., just south of E. 23rd St.
HOW MUCH: General admission from $25/person
MORE INFO: nyc.zumschneider.com
Hosted by popular Bavarian beer garden/German restaurant Zum Schneider (located in the East Village), this massive outdoors Oktoberfest event affords a traditional tent-style atmosphere à la Munich, set along the East River. The tent can accommodate nearly 1,000 revelers, and comes packed with all the musts: communal tables, liter steins, and an Oompah band stage for live music. Oktoberfest beers on tap include HB Traunstein Festbier, Andechs Festbier, and more; with food offerings like giant pretzels, roast chicken, and pork shank. Bonus: The waitstaff come dressed in dirndl and lederhosen and are even fluent in German, to help ensure the full transported-to-Munich effect.
Oktoberfest at Watermark Bar
WHEN: Fri & Sat, Sept 18–19, 25–26, Oct 2–3; 12pm–12am
WHERE: Watermark bar at Pier 15, 78 South St.
HOW MUCH: Free entry; two-hour beer tasting for $60/person
MORE INFO: oktober-fest.nyc
For three weekends, head to this South Street Seaport-area bar for live music, German beer served in steins, and traditional foods like brats, pretzels, and more on the menu. Plus, you'll be able toast to the stellar views overlooking the East River, onto the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges. Everything on the menu, including the beer (with a selection of Hofbrau, Weihenstephan, and Radeberger), will be priced at $8 (liter steins cost $16). Expect fun family-friendly activities like ping pong, foosball, and face painting, too.
During the crisp weeks of autumn – and especially during Oktoberfest – nothing beats the atmospohere of a good beer garden. Sitting at a beer garden and enjoying a tall mug of beer with your friends and friendly strangers is the perfect way to revel in the Oktoberfest spirit. Check out our roundup of Manhattan's best beer gardens, many of which are hosting their own special Oktoberfest celebrations, to boot.
German-American Steuben Parade
WHEN: Sat, Sept 19, 2015; starts at noon
WHERE: Parade runs from 68th to 86th streets, along 5th Avenue
HOW MUCH: Free to watch; reserved grandstand seats for $15
MORE INFO: germanparadenyc.org
Held annually on the third Saturday of September, the German-American Steuben Parade has been a NYC tradition for nearly 60 years. Today, the three-hour event is the largest of its kind in the US, serving to evoke Germanic heritage and culture via colorful costumes, floats, marching bands, dance groups, social and cultural clubs, and more. The 2015 parade will be led by Miss German-America and the parade's Grand Marshals: actor John Ratzenberger, German politician Klaus Wowereit, and TV news anchor Contessa Brewer. The parade is followed up with a massive Oktoberfest celebration in Central Park, including food, beer, wine, and live musical entertainment from Spitze and the Alex Meixner Band – unfortunately, 2015's tickets are already sold out.