Happy Oktoberfest: 29 Top American Cities for Beer

If you can't make it to Munich for the original Oktoberfest celebration, a small city in the northern U.S. might be the next-best place to celebrate.

Happy Oktoberfest: 29 Top American Cities for Beer Photo (cc) by QuinnDombrowski

If you can’t make it to Munich for the original Oktoberfest celebration, a small city in Northern Michigan might be the next-best place to celebrate — or at least to grab a beer.

Traverse City, Michigan, is ranked No. 1 on Trulia’s Oktoberfest Index — a list of the 10 best places in America to celebrate the annual German festival.

Trulia, a real estate listing website, analyzed cities based on how many beer amenities — like breweries, bars and bottle shops — they have per household, as well as how many of their residents identify themselves as being primarily of German ancestry.

Smaller cities like Traverse City — which has a population of about 15,000 — dominate the top 10 spots on Trulia’s Oktoberfest Index:

The best place to be is in smaller metro areas, where your beer sources are plenty and the homes are cheap.

The 10 best-ranked cities on Trulia’s index are:

  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Bend-Redmond, Oregon
  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • San Luis Obispo, California
  • Lawrence, Kansas
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Portland, Oregon

Last month, Travel & Leisure magazine also ranked larger American cities based on their locally made craft beers:

Some of the top 20 beer cities have brewing histories that predate Prohibition, but many are still finding their own flavor — literally — using local ingredients like pecans, bourbon barrels, or even frozen lemonade. Others offer quirky settings and back stories: One city brewery came out of a weekly Bible study group (Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta); another offers regular yoga classes inside the taproom (GoodWood in Louisville, Kentucky).

Portland, Oregon, is No. 1 on the magazine’s list and is also the only city to appear in both Trulia’s and Travel & Leisure’s rankings.

The cities that made Travel & Leisure’s top 20 are:

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • Cleveland
  • Houston
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Austin, Texas
  • Denver
  • Atlanta
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Philadelphia
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Portland, Maine
  • Seattle
  • Boston
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • San Diego
  • Chicago
  • Baltimore

What’s your favorite place to celebrate Oktoberfest or grab a local beer? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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