Skip a trip to Munich and toast to Germany’s most prominent folk festival in the Pacific Northwest.
By Nils Gollersrud
Seattle may be 5,000 miles away from Germany, but that shouldn’t stop you from raising a toast to the 186th Oktoberfest this fall. There are plenty of ways here to recreate the fun of this renowned Bavarian festival with local events featuring food, music, dance, and, of course, lots of German and German-style beer.
Courtesy Pike Brewing Company
Prost to the Pacific Northwest
Want to quench your thirst for German beer with something local? Washington is home to hundreds of breweries, many of which brew tasty lagers throughout the year. In downtown Seattle, Cloudburst Brewing Company (2116 Western Ave) and Pike Brewing Company (*1415 First Ave) offer year-round pilsners, while Capitol Hill’s kid- and dog-friendly Optimism Brewing Company (*1158 Broadway) rotates through styles including wheat beers and Bavarian lagers. Keep an eye out for seasonal specialties, like a small-batch Festbier from Redhook Brewing Company (*714 E Pike St) or anything by Bellingham’s Chuckanut Brewery (various locations), which specializes in German styles.
Courtesy Fremont Oktoberfest
Seattle’s popular Fremont Oktoberfest (3503 Phinney Ave) runs September 20–22, hosting unique events like yoga and a cover photo contest for CityDog Magazine. General admission to the festival provides a 5oz mug and tokens for tasting from a selection of more than 100 beers, including classic lagers from Munich’s Hofbräu and modern interpretations from Washington breweries like Dru Bru (10 Pass Life Way, Snoqualmie Pass). Those looking to show off some skill can participate in stein hoisting and chainsaw pumpkin carving competitions. The event is strictly 21-and-over, and if you buy tickets early, starting in August, you can get $10 off.
The Kirkland Oktoberfest (Marina Park Pavilion, Kirkland) runs the same weekend, September 20–22, featuring traditional German food, live oompah music, and human foosball. Other activities to go with the local and imported brews include beer pong and keg rolling. The festival is 21-plus, but the Weiner Dog Race on Sunday is open to all ages.
Seattle Mariners Oktoberfest courtesy Ben VanHouten for the Seattle Mariners
Looking to show your local sports pride? Visit the Mariners Oktoberfest at T-Mobile Park (*1250 First Ave S) on September 28 to pick up a commemorative stein, drink beer, and dance to live accordion and brass music from local band Happy Hans’ Music.
Austria Club Oktoberfest
Want to savor traditional German beer and food in a homier setting? On September 28 at the German House (613 Ninth Ave), the Austria Club of Seattle will be serving an Oktoberfest Dinner. Come for the Alpine cuisine and stay for the music, performed by the Bonnie Birch Trio and Enzian Schuhplatter.
Rhein Haus Courtesy Geoffrey Smith
These special events aren’t the only place to enjoy wurst, pretzels, beer, and German charm—Seattle is home to several restaurants and bars that channel Deutschland year-round. Experience the gemütlich, or warm and welcoming, atmosphere of an authentic beer hall at Altstadt (209 First Ave S) in Pioneer Square, Rhein Haus (*912 12 Ave) on Capitol Hill, and Queen Anne Beer Hall (203 W Thomas St). For something even cozier, check out smaller pubs like South Lake Union’s Feierabend (422 Yale Ave N), Die Bierstube (6106 Roosevelt Way NE) in residential Roosevelt, and Prost!’s (various locations) bars in Phinney Ridge and West Seattle. Each also hosts its own Oktoberfest festivities with live music and special beers, so check calendars for seasonal fun.
*Visit Seattle Partner