Things to Do DC

Oktoberfest: Where to Raise a Beer Stein in DC, Maryland and Virginia

Where to find Oktoberfest celebrations, family-friendly things to do and German food in the D.C. area

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Prost! The beer-fueled holiday Oktoberfest is being celebrated from Germany to the D.C. area and beyond.

Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest festival — which always begins in mid-September and draws millions of visitors annually — dates back to a royal wedding in 1810. Since then, it’s evolved and spread around the globe.

So, how do you ensure you’re having an authentic German-style Oktoberfest? According to Jennifer Clardy Chalmers of the German Embassy, there are a few basic ingredients: A pair of all-leather lederhosen, a warm pretzel and of course the right beer — which, under German purity laws stretching back more than 500 years, can only include water, yeast, barley and hops.

City-sponsored festivals, parties at beer gardens and specials at bars are all on tap for Oktoberfest celebrations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Here are 10+ ways to celebrate Oktoberfest in the DMV.

Oktoberfest in Washington DC

The Great Oktoberfest 2022
Saturday, Sept. 24
The Stacks Lot at Buzzard Point

Sample beer and seltzer until your heart is content while enjoying games, entertainment and food trucks. General admission costs $50 for runs 4 to 7 p.m., upgrade to VIP for $65 for an extra hour plus other perks.

Oktoberfest at The Wharf
Sept. 30 to Oct. 2

A weekend full of festivities includes Polka on the Pier (Friday, 7-9 p.m.), the Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash (Saturday, 2-5 p.m.) and a stein hoisting competition (Sunday, 2-5 p.m.). Restaurants around The Wharf are set to offer German food specials plus Sam Adams Octoberfest beers.

Dacha Beer Garden Oktoberfest
Through Oct. 2
Locations in Shaw and Navy Yard

Sept. 24-25 marks competition weekend at Dacha’s Shaw location, so look out for German spelling bees, stein holding contests and more.

Dacha Navy Yard will host live music weekends through Oct. 2. Check out the schedule here.

Through Oct. 3
Union Market Rooftop

Grab a beer and a bratwurst then stay for special events. Highlights include the Oktoberfest Party with a stein-hoisting competition (Saturday, Sept. 24), trivia (Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.) and live music (Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.). It’s free to visit, and seating is first come, first served.

Wunder Garten
Through Oct. 9
1101 First Street Northeast, Washington, D.C.

Oktoberfest beers from Germany and local breweries will be flowing as live bands play and revelers play in the Bavarian Olympics. Come in costume for a chance to win prizes. Pups are also encouraged to dress up for DOGtoberfest on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m.

Old Europe
2434 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

This German restaurant in Glover Park opened in 1948 continues to serve up tasty fare in a dining room that looks straight out of Munich. The menu offers favorites like schnitzel, goulash and sausages plus traditional dishes that may be new to you, like lachsschnitten. Their beer list includes $11 wheat beer pints and regional specialties.

Oktoberfest in Maryland

Mount Airy Oktoberfest
Saturday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Historic Downtown

Enjoy two stages of live music, shopping and a biergarten featuring specialties from Hofbräu München — one of the six official breweries allowed to serve at THE Munich Oktoberfest.

7 Locks Brewing Oktoberfest
Saturday, Sept. 24, 1-7 p.m.
7 Locks Brewing (12227 Wilkins Avenue, North Bethesda, Maryland)

Go for traditional German music starting at 2 p.m., then stay for contests and more live entertainment in the evening. It’s free to attend; attendees can purchase a stein with 25 ounces of beer for $25.

Gaithersburg Oktoberfest
Sunday, Oct. 9, noon to 5 p.m.
Kentlands Old Farm and Downtown

Bring the whole family for a day of live entertainment, Bavarian music, dancing and fall-activities and of course beer, mead and cider. Food will be available for purchase. Admission, shuttles and parking are free.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery
Sept. 23-25, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 and Oct. 7-9

Even Ireland’s most famous brewery can’t resist an Oktoberfest party.

Purchase a Guinness OGB stein and fill it with one of five German-style beers — you’ll get a discount on refills. There will also be live music on the weekends.

Oktoberfest in Virginia

Lovettsville Oktoberfest
Sept. 23-24

Lovettsville says its Oktoberfest is one of the best in the world, and the two-day celebration is packed.

The festivities will begin Friday with a ceremonial keg tapping at 7:30 p.m., plus ‘80s music and German food on the Town Green.

Saturday will feature wiener dog races at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Zoldos Square, Kinderfest at Town Hall, a race and pancake breakfast.

A Munich-style outdoor Biergarten is the main attraction, hosting music, food, performances and quirky competitions — including a singalong to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that attempts to break a world record. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Saturday. Purchase drink tickets in advance for a discount.

Here’s the full schedule.

National Landing Oktoberfest
Saturday, Oct. 1, noon to 4 p.m.
556 22nd St S, Arlington, Virginia

A performance from the Alte Kumpel Band, games and German lagers make up this all-ages festival in Arlington. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Vienna Oktoberfest
Saturday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Historic Church Street

Vienna is bringing back its Oktoberfest for the 14th year, and thousands of people are expected to attend.

Two beer and wine gardens will serve drinks from Caboose Brewing Company, Hawk & Griffin, Norm’s Beer & Wine and Vienna Vintner.

Hit up three stages with live entertainment, the Business Expo Showcase, an artisan marketplace and a Bavarian Car Show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Expect plenty of kid-friendly activities, too, including bounce houses and games.

A free shuttle will run from the Vienna Metro station’s northside and James Madison High School from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here are public parking options.

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