Celebrating Oktoberfest in Chicago

I may not have been able to make it to Munich for Oktoberfest this year, but I did manage to make it to Chicago this weekend. And it just so happens that the Windy City also enjoys its beer and German folk music. Who knew? (Actually, who doesn’t enjoy those things?)

On a blustery and overcast last day in September, my family wandered on down to Navy Pier, which is hosting one of the many Oktoberfest celebrations to be found around Chicago.

Navy Pier, Chicago

Navy Pier

Here, we found a warm tent filled with beer-drinking revelers, German food, men in lederhosen, and even a traditional folk/polka band.

In my mind, there’s no better way to spend a chilly autumn day than in a warm tent eating a giant pretzel and listening to a man in lederhosen yodeling and playing an alphorn.

Here are my favorite photos from Oktoberfest:

Chicago Oktoberfest

Beer, pretzels, and schnitzel.

Chicago Oktoberfest

The band in lederhosen

Chicago Oktoberfest


Chicago Oktoberfest

Yodeling in action.

Chicago Oktoberfest

Playing "Edelwiess" on the cowbells.

Chicago Oktoberfest

Playing the alphorn.

And here’s a video, too! Make sure you watch the whole thing to see the alphorn, and the guy playing “Edelwiess” on the cowbells.

So tell me, did YOU celebrate Oktoberfest this year?


  • I had no idea this was going on… that’s the only problem with Chicago, it’s impossible to keep up with everything. Looks like a good time!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yeah, in such a big city I imagine it would be really easy to miss things like this. It WAS really fun, though — something my whole family was able to enjoy together, which is always a plus when traveling with them.

  • Kieron says:

    We saw them setting up at Navy Pier a couple of weeks ago – really would’ve loved to have hung around, looks like fun!

  • Annie says:

    Looks like fun! The only thing is that it’s not Oktoberfest without the dancing on tables! :)

  • Katie says:

    Wow, lived in Chicago 10 years and never knew Navy Pier did Oktoberfest. Probably because I usually celebrated up in Lincoln Square – the old German neighborhood of Chicago that holds fall and spring festivals each year, as well as a Christkindlmarket at Christmastime. Definitely check those out some time!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I think this may have only been the first or second year they did Oktoberfest at Navy Pier. I would have loved to go up to the one in Lincoln Square! That would have been fun (and a Christkindlmarkt? No way!). But we kind of stumbled upon this one since we wanted to visit Navy Pier anyway.

  • Emma says:

    It is so nice that you already celebrated your Octoberfest there. Can;t wait for ours! thanks for sharing your great shots!

  • We did Oktoberfest Oakland style! I’m so jealous you had schnitzel. We only had wursts, which were good but I really wanted schnitzel to go along with my beer.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      The schnitzel was pretty good, I thought. Though, I don’t think I’ve ever had “real,” authentic schnitzel. So who knows!

  • mmmmmmmmmmm….would love to have of their schnitzels rught about now…their food is soooo delicious…

  • Oktoberfest in Germany, well that’s a different story. I went there last year and its the perfect festival as far as I can see it, though I can’t really remember a lot of thing near the end, but yeah, sausages and lots of beer. What more can you want?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I know quite a few people who have gone to the “real” Oktoberfest in Munich, and, yeah, it sounds awesome! Maybe one day I’ll make it there. But, for now, I’ll have to entertain myself with local celebrations like this one!

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