Cleveland has become almost as synonymous with beer as it has with rock ‘n’ roll and "brisk" winters, so it makes sense that the city has a pretty killer Oktoberfest that features lots and lots and lots of beer. Every Labor Day Weekend, the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds turns itself into a giant German biergarten — there are dirndls and swimming-pool-sized beer steins to prove it.
What To Do There
- This one’s easy. You drink beer. Good beer. German beer. Local beer. Just about everyone who’s ever combined barley, hops and yeast gets involved. There’s also a Best Oktoberfest Microbrewery competition that allows you to taste some of the finest beers the Cleveland area has to offer and cast a vote for your favorite.
- Oktoberfest also turns into a veritable one-stop shop for locals and visitors alike to sample the best German and Polish food around. Kielbasas, pierogis, weiner schnitzel and potato pancakes are all offered from just about every local restaurant that embraces the region’s Eastern European roots.
What Else To Do
- What, did you think you were just going to drink and stare at the ground? Every year, Cleveland Oktoberfest has a robust lineup of musicians ranging from traditional German folk music and brass bands to local rock bands who play in the venue’s multiple tents.
- Wait, we forgot about the Wiener Dog Races, which are a definite highlight every year. Watching those stumpy little guys wiggle their way to victory is worth the price of admission alone.
- For those burly, beer-drinking Bavarians out there, the beer stein-holding contests will prove once and for all who's tough enough.
- Oh, and there's beer, too!
Proceeds from the festival go to multiple charities, which have included Rainbow Babies & Children’s Fund, The United Way, The American Cancer Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, March of Dimes, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, Altenheim Senior Living and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Where to Stay
Did we mention the beer? After a day of schnitzel, kielbasa, polka dancing, oompah bands and all of the glorious craziness that is Cleveland Oktoberfest, you're probably going to need to crash somewhere. The good news, ethnic reveler? You're very close to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and a variety of hotels that are only a 5 to 10-minute rideshare away
. The bad news is what the morning will be like if you fall asleep with your lederhosen on.