Guide to Oktoberfest in Washington, D.C.: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Bavarian couple dancing at Oktoberfest

sebastian-julian/Getty Images 

When it comes to celebrating German heritage, communities around the Capital Region host some of the best Oktoberfest events in the United States, with dozens to choose from in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. These Oktoberfest events are family-friendly and focused on German beer, food, music, and dancing. While these aren't the only beer festivals in the D.C. area, they are some of the best. Whether you have German ancestry or just want to take part in a different cultural experience, these Oktoberfests, Bier Fests, and special events are worth trying out.

Many of these festivals and gatherings may be canceled or postponed in 2020, so be sure to check the websites of official organizers for the latest details.

01 of 10

Snallygaster D.C.

People playing bocce ball at the Snallygaster beer festival in downtown Washington, D.C.

Daniel Lobo / Flickr / Public Domain

This event has not been rescheduled for 2020.

Snallygaster D.C. is one of the city's largest beer festivals, featuring more than 300 different ales and lagers as well as multiple food vendors, live music, DJ performances, and recreational and family-friendly activities. Events take place on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest between Third and Sixth streets in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. The price of admission benefits the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, but drink and food tickets are sold separately.

02 of 10

Busch Gardens Bier Fest

Rollercoaster at Busch Gardens

Stephen Barnes / Getty Images

1 Busch Gardens Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, USA
Phone +1 757-229-4386

This event has not been rescheduled for 2020.

The popular Williamsburg, Virginia, amusement park destination Busch Gardens typically hosts its annual Bier Fest from mid-August to early September each year. At this time, you can sample a variety of beer and traditional German food while enjoying live music in this unique Bavarian celebration.

The Oktoberfest celebration features 75 beer varieties representing 10 countries, including Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States; several selections from Virginia-based craft brewers also will be on tap. Access to Bier Fest is included with park admission.

03 of 10

Biergarten Haus Oktoberfest

Biergarten House in Washington D.C.
Mr.TinDC/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
1355 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4406, USA
Phone +1 202-388-4053

From late September through mid-October, you can experience Oktoberfest by testing your skills in the world's oldest, noblest drinking game known as Stein Hoisting at the Biergarten House in Washington, D.C. All you have to do to win is hold a full liter of beer out at arm's length the longest, and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers.

Throughout the Biergarten Haus Oktoberfest event—which takes place every Thursday night starting at 8 p.m. from September 24 to October 15, 2020—this Bavarian pub offers its regular 12 drafts and an additional 11 Oktoberfest drafts, plus authentic German food and live music performances.

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Wunder Garten Oktoberfest

Wunder Garten Beer Garden in Washington D.C.'s NoMa neighborhood
Uncommon Fritillary/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
1101 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA

This bar is open, but there are no Oktoberfest events scheduled for 2020.

Wunder Garten is a beer hall in the NoMa neighborhood of D.C. that celebrates Oktoberfest with three days of traditions, including Bavarian food and drink, music, dance, and games. Stop by any time from open to close the last Friday through Sunday of September for draft beers served in Oktoberfest Märzen-style and hail from Bavaria's oldest breweries like Spaten, Weihenstephaner, and Hofbräuhaus.

Typically during this nightly event, you'll also enjoy a select lineup of seasonal locally-brewed beers as well as authentic German cuisine provided by Café Berlin, which includes grilled bratwurst, pretzels, sauerkraut, and potato and cucumber salads.

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05 of 10

Lovettsville Oktoberfest

Lovettsville Oktoberfest

Lovettsville Oktoberfest

This event is still scheduled for September 25 to 26, 2020.

Lovettsville—a small community in Loudoun County, Virginia—was originally known as the German Settlement before it was established in 1836 by the Virginia General Assembly. However, it became a major destination for German settlers who left Pennsylvania during the mid-1800s, and the city's German heritage is still celebrated to this day.

To honor this heritage, the community of Lovettsville celebrates Oktoberfest with authentic German foods, crafts, and entertainment over the last Friday and Saturday in September. While there, stop by stein-hauling and hoisting competitions, keg tapping ceremonies, acoustic performances, and even two wiener dog races, and you might even run into the newly-crowned Queen of Oktoberfest roaming the streets enjoying the festivities.

06 of 10

Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest

Post Headquarters building in Fort Belvoir

Orygun / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

9025 Richmond Hwy, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060, USA
Phone +1 703-898-3336

This event has not been rescheduled for 2020.

A United States Army installation located in Fairfax County, Virginia, might not be where you'd expect to find a quality beer festival, but this unique destination near Mt. Vernon celebrates the German heritage of the region each fall with a four-day celebration known as Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest.

Featuring carnival rides, games, music, and dancing, Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest gives visitors a chance to experience German culture and sample authentic beers and cuisine in a family-friendly environment. Attractions and vendors for the open-air market will be located on Fremont Field of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia.​​

07 of 10

Frederick's Oktoberfest

Accordion player performing at Frederick's Oktoberfest / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

797 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701, USA
Phone +1 301-663-5895

The 2020 iteration of this festival features a to-go menu, which means you can get your Oktoberfest goodies via carry-out and delivery on Saturday, October 3, 2020, at the Frederick Fairgrounds.

Frederick's Oktoberfest, presented by the Rotary Club of Frederick County and sponsored by Flying Dog Brewery, usually takes place at the Frederick Fairgrounds over two nights. The first night is a 21-and-over event featuring an opening ceremony, keg-tapping, Oktoberfest games, and live music. The following day, the whole family can enjoy German games and activities like a German spelling bee, a German genealogy workshop, a root beer luge, a yodeling contest, strength contests, and musical performances.

08 of 10

Das Best Oktoberfest

M&T Bank Stadium sign in Baltimore

franckreporter / Getty Images

1101 Russell St, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA
Phone +1 410-261-7283

To celebrate this Bavarian festival in Baltimore, Maryland, head to Das Best Oktoberfest at the M&T Bank Stadium Lots on September 26, 2020. This massive festival is the biggest Oktoberfest event in the city and features over 150 unique German beers.

The Das Best Oktoberfest also offers German wines and schnapps, authentic cuisine, and all sorts of festival goodies. Entertainment includes Oompah bands, live musical performances, contests for kids and adults alike, and even dachshund racing. While admission is required for adults and teens, children under the age of 13 enter for free.

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09 of 10

Port City Brewing Company's Oktoberfest

Tap room inside of Port City Brewing Company

_BuBBy_ / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

3950 Wheeler Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304-6409, USA
Phone +1 703-797-2739

The brewery has canceled many of their events in 2020, but it is still opening for beer delivery or curbside pickup.

Port City Brewing Company's Oktoberfest is a series of celebrations that take place sporadically at this beer company's headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, from early August through early October each year.

During these sporadic events, guests can enjoy live music, food trucks, games, plenty of lager, and lots more throughout the late summer and early fall seasons. Additionally, Port City Brewing company typically launches its Oktoberfest brew during the first event, but you'll have plenty of chances throughout August, September, and October to take home a growler of it—even if you just stop by the front desk during regular business hours.

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Oktoberfest at the Kentlands

Gaithersburg, Maryland

supermoving / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

217 Booth St, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, USA
Phone +1 240-449-9002

This event has been canceled for 2020.

The City of Gaithersburg and the Kentlands Citizens Assembly sponsor an event to honor the German heritage of the city. Known as Oktoberfest at the Kentlands, this family-friendly celebration typically features Bavarian music, dance, food, crafts, pony rides, moonbounces, pumpkin decorating, and face painting events spread throughout the Kentlands Village Green, the grounds of Kentlands Mansion, Main Street, and Market Square.

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Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest in Washington, D.C.