The Best Oktoberfest Celebrations Around Philly
The German beer fest is back, so grab a stein and a soft pretzel as big as your face — it’s time to party.
Munich celebrates its 188th Oktoberfest this fall. Closer to home, some old local favorites are also back — plus some new celebrations. We’ve got the best German beer-centric events where you can grab a giant stein and a soft pretzel as big as your face.
15th Annual South Street Oktoberfest
Brauhaus Schmitz lives every week like it’s Oktoberfest. On September 16th, they’ll take over the 700 block of South Street with live music and German dancers, games, face painting, and the “liter lift” competition where the person who holds a full beer stein for the longest wins. Plus, as always, abundant German food and beer from a place that specializes in it all year long. (You can also upgrade to an all-inclusive VIP experience which gets you private access to an indoor space (with bathrooms), a buffet with Bavarian food favorites, exclusive draft offerings, seven beer tokens, and some commemorative swag.)
Free, pay-as-you-go (VIP tickets are extra); September 16th, noon-8 p.m., Brauhaus Schmitz, 718 South Street.
USA vs. The World: An Oktoberfest Celebration
If you enjoy things more when there’s a little competition involved, Human Robot has the party for you. Breweries from Philly and beyond will be pitted against their German ancestors to determine whose lager is best. Want more competition? Enter their annual milktube race! Plus, eat food truck fare and enjoy live music and entertainment from Polkadelphia, the Grave Bathers, and a Eurocentric DJ set. The outdoor event is running rain or shine, and is for ages 21 and up. Tokens available online. Human Robot also has brewed a special Festbier in honor of the season, and have special goodies for sale, like a ceramic tankard and glass liter steins.
Pay-as-you-go (beer tokens are available online) ; September 16th, noon-5 p.m., 1725 North 5th Street (across from the brewery).
Celebrate Oktoberfest with an after-hours zoo visit! The Peacock Pavilion will be transformed into a Bavarian beer tent with more than 100 seasonal beers and ciders from dozens of breweries, and street food from local food trucks. Plus, there will be live entertainment from DJs and Polkadelphia, as well as stein-holding and pretzel-eating competitions (with prizes). This adults-only event is limited to those 21 and up. Tickets are available online, and zoo members get a $5 discount.
$75-$95 ($35 for non-drinkers); September 16th, 7-10 p.m., Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 West Girard Avenue.
Libertee Grounds’ Oktoberfest
The Best of Philly-winning mini-golf bar’s Oktoberfest celebration expands outside into their beer garden with an all-ages party including face-painting, Oktoberfest-themed food specials and live music by Polkadelphia. Not to let their golf course go to waste, the party will also include a “Chug n Putt” competition to see who can chug a half-liter stein and nail a hole-in-one the fastest.
Pay-as-you-go; September 16th, 3-7 p.m., Libertee Grounds, 1600 West Girard Avenue.
2SP Brewing is hosting a party at its Aston-based brewery, and they even have a special lager for the occasion. The afternoon will have live music from Polkadelphia, plus food trucks. The event is kid-friendly and includes games and a stein-hoisting competition, so start strengthening those forearms. 2SP will also be selling some limited-edition DelcoFest steins that include a pour from whatever you like on draft.
Pay-as-you-go; September 16th, noon-8 p.m., 2SP Brewing, 120 Concord Road, Aston.
Oktoberfest at Frankford Hall
Raise a stein at this family-friendly beer garden in Fishtown. The day includes live entertainment (including oompah band Heimatklänge), food and drink specials, kids’ crafts by PlayArts (plus s balloon artist and face painter) during daytime hours, and indoor and outdoor fun.
Pay-as-you-go; September 23rd, noon-2 a.m., Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Avenue.
So … this event used to be called Fishtown FestivALE and now it’s called Fishtown Feastivale. Why does this distinction matter to anyone beyond case-sensitive robots? Well, as the event website will tell you, the new name denotes a stronger focus on local food, not just beer. So, alongside your favorite beers and cocktails (of which there will still be many), you can chow down on burgers, brisket and Bavarian pretzels. Plus, carnival games, a dunk tank, DJ sets, and over 75 art and retail vendors. This event is family- and dog- friendly, too.
Pay-as-you-go; September 23rd, noon-8 p.m., Frankford Avenue from Girard to Columbia Avenue and side streets (Master Street from Front to Frankford, Thompson from Front to Frankford).
Fall for Ardmore Festival
Head to Schauffele Plaza (outside Tired Hands) in Ardmore for food, beer, live music, and fun for all ages. Tired Hands Brewing Company, Iron Hill Brewery and more will bring the beers, while Jack McShea’s and Sophie’s BBQ will serve up Oktoberfest-inspired snacks like bratwurst, sauerkraut, pierogies, and Bavarian pretzels. (If you’re looking to elevate your experience, spring for the VIP Beer Garden with reserved seating and pre-paid drink tickets.) This event is all-ages, and Lulu’s Casita will bring their “Lulu’s on Wheels” party bus for kids’ activities all day.
Free, pay-as-you-go (VIP tickets extra); September 30th, 2-6 p.m., Schauffele Plaza, Ardmore.
Docktoberfest at Dock Street South
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to dance the polka, now is your chance. As part of the Docktoberfest event, Dock Street Brewing Company is offering up a polka dance instruction at 3 p.m. The event also includes a stein-holding competition and lots of beer, including the new Docktoberfest festbier.
Pay-as-you-go; September 30th, noon-4 p.m., Dock Street South, 2118 Washington Avenue.
Oktoberfest at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company
Neshaminy Creek’s Oktoberfest is like a mini German-themed Olympics. The brewery is hosting a series of competitions where contestants can show off their feats of beer strength in the form of a wiener toss and a stein-hoisting competition, as well as a yodeling contest. Also, music from Polkadelphia! That band gets around!
Pay-as-you-g0; September 30th, noon-7 p.m., Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, 909 Ray Avenue, Croydon.
Oktoberfest at La Cabra Brewing
Enjoy seasonal beers, traditional German fare, and a variety of yard games and live music. Lederhosen and dirndls are encouraged, and there will be a costume contest for the chance to win the coveted title of Mr. or Mrs. Oktoberfest. La Cabra will bring back their seasonal Oktoberfest beer in addition to other traditional German-style beers. They’re also selling 20-ounce glass mugs for the event — and your first pour is free with purchase (pre-order here).
Pay-as-you-go; October 1st, 1-6 p.m., 642 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn.
23rd Street Armory Oktoberfest
The two-day Armory Oktoberfest returns, transforming the 16,000-square-foot fortress into a Munich-inspired festival tent with blue-and-white-striped ceilings, tables and benches imported from Germany, and a lofted stage for musical acts, which will include the Brauhaus regulars Die Heimatklänge — along with German dancing. Expect traditional Oktoberfest food (soft pretzels as big as your head!) and beer from Hofbräu München in giant steins, naturally. Tickets are by the session — choose one of three four-hour timeslots across Friday and Saturday — and include one liter of beer (it’s pay-as-you-go after that). VIP and “UBER VIP” options are available as well, which include more food and drink, reserved seating and more extras.
$20-$95; October 13th and 14th, 22 South 23rd Street.
In its 11th year, Roxborough’s annual fall street festival features craft beer, German folk music, circus performers, food trucks, and Oktoberfest-themed competitions: a lederhosen/dirndl costume contest (for people and dogs) and stein-holding. In addition, there will be over 70 arts and craft vendors and a kids’ area with face painting, games, and storytime with Flyleaf the Book Fairy.
Pay-as-you-go; October 7th, noon-6 p.m., Ridge Avenue between Lyceum and Leverington avenues.
Peddler’s Village OctoberFeast
While they’re also celebrating their 44th annual Scarecrows in the Village festival all month, Peddler’s Village will host a weekend featuring food trucks, a beer garden, live entertainment (including Philadelphia German Brass Band and Almrausch) and family-friendly activities.
Free, pay-as-you-go; October 14th-15th, Peddler’s Village.
Not actually Oktoberfest but gets honorable mention for its name: GOAToberFest
Philly Goat Project’s fundraiser at West Laurel Hill doesn’t seem to have any German-beer-inspired vibes, aside from its name. But if you’ve always wanted to drink cocktails while playing with goats, taking photos with goats, bidding in silent auctions for “exclusive goat experiences” and art created by goats, and generally raising money for the very worthy and adorable Philly Goat Project, PGP would love the honor of your presence on October 15th. They say that 13 goats will be present, which is delightfully specific (If it were only a mere dozen of goats, forget about it!), and they’ll be launching their 2024 calendar which features the goats at Philly landmarks. This year, the event welcomes “mature teens” ages 14 and older if accompanied by an adult; drinking is strictly for ages 21 and up.
$75; October 15th, 4-6 p.m., Laurel Hill West Conservatory, 215 Belmont Avenue, Bala Cynwyd.