Break out the lederhosen and polka moves – it’s Oktoberfest season. In San Diego, many communities will host their own versions of the German festival that celebrates fun, food and, of course, really good beer. Grab your stein and toast with friends in America’s Finest City.
Hotel Del Oktoberfest
11:30 a.m. (Sept. 17-21 and Sept. 24-25), Hotel Del Coronado
The Hotel Del Coronado’s Sun Deck will transform into a Bavarian-style hotspot for an Oktoberfest celebration that runs Sept. 17 through Sept. 21 and again Sept. 24 and Sept. 25. Each day, at 11:30 a.m., the Sun Deck will turn into a beer garden boasting specialty beers from Karl Strauss, plus a menu featuring German favorites like bratwurst and sauerkraut, pretzels, schnitzel and more. The Bavarian bash includes ceremonial keg-tapping and live music on Sept. 17-18 and Sept. 24-25. The special menu is available from Sept. 19-21. Admission is free, and food and drinks can be purchased a la carte.
Oktoberfest at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Sept. 25), The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
The luxurious Inn at Rancho Santa Fe will host its own family-friendly, Bavarian-style celebration on Sept. 25. The event will feature a Biergarten, live music, German food and a kids zone with fun activities for the little ones.
La Mesa Oktoberfest
4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Sept. 30); 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Oct. 1); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Oct. 2), La Mesa Village
A long-standing tradition in the downtown Village, the 43rd annual La Mesa Oktoberfest returns Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, bringing the ultimate street fair to the East County community. As always, the event will include German beer, German food and German music and dancing aplenty. The Oktoberfest party typically draws about 100,000 revelers to La Mesa Village, as well as 100+ vendors selling their unique goods. Admission is free; bring cash for brews and bites. Also, sporting your lederhosen is not a bad idea: usually, the event includes a German costume contest.
Oktoberfest in El Cajon
Times vary (Sept. 30 to Oct. 2; and Oct. 7-9), 1017 S. Mollison Ave.
Oktoberfest in El Cajon is so nice, it happens twice. The first round of Oktoberfest runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 (4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 30; 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 1; 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 2), and returns the following weekend – Oct. 7-9 – at the same times. Hosted by the German American Societies of San Diego, Inc., this traditional Oktoberfest takes place at 1017 S. Mollison Ave. and will feature authentic German food – think pretzels and ox-on-the-spit here – a beer garden, games and family-friendly activities. Also on the agenda: live “Oom-Pah” music from the Bavarian band, Guggenbach-Buam, straight from Baden-Württemberg, Germany, performing classics like polkas, waltzes and other famous beer-drinking tunes. Raffles, games, crafts and a kids zone round out the fun. Admission is $10 for attendees 21 and up on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 7 and Oct. 8; $5 on Oct. 2 and Oct. 9. Active-duty military members and anyone under 21 gets in free.
Oktoberfest Family Fall Festival in Carlsbad
12 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Oct. 1), Holiday Park
The longest running Oktoberfest in San Diego’s North County returns to Holiday Park in Carlsbad on Oct. 1. Entertainment includes live music and dancing, costume contests and lots of activities for the kids, including a pumpkin patch, face painting and arts and crafts. Food vendors will sell German-inspired items like pretzels and strudel; a Biergarten will give revelers a perfect place to toast. Buy your ticket ahead of time for $15, which includes a German meal (bratwurst, sausage and other selections), or buy a ticket on the day of the event for $5, without the meal. Kids 10 years old and under get in free.
4:20 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Oct. 7); 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Oct. 8), Ocean Beach
Tried, true and extremely fun, Ocean Beach’s Oktoberfest party is back, this time on Oct. 7-8. With a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, the event includes live music, beer and quirky contests such as Bratwurst Eating, Stein Holding, The Sausage Toss, Ms. Oktoberfest and the Brat Trot Beach Run. As usual, dozens of local vendors will line the grassy area at the foot of Newport Avenue and Abbott Street, too, selling their goodies to revelers. Organizers say the beer garden will be located in the adjacent Ocean Beach Pier parking lot, which will include a main stage for bands. The OB Oktoberfest runs from 4:20 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Oct. 7 and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Oct. 8.
CRAFToberfest at Liberty Public Market
Oct. 1 through Oct. 9, Liberty Station
Liberty Public Market will host a nine-day Oktoberfest celebration from Oct. 1 through Oct. 9 that shines the spotlight on German brews available at Bottlecraft, as well as Bavarian bites from a number of vendors. Crafted Baked Good, for instance, will sell fresh, large pretzels, while Mastiff Sausage Company offers German-style sausage specials. Other Liberty Public Market artisans will get in on the fun by offering their own Oktoberfest-style specials and goodies, including customized beer mugs. As shoppers stroll the market, fun activities will round-out the CRAFToberfest celebration, including patio games like giant Jenga and ring toss.
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Oct. 2), Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real
The 21st annual Encinitas Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest will be held from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 at Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real. The free event includes a concert from a German-American band, Bavarian dancers and a street fair filled with more than 200 vendors selling crafts and unique goods. There will be activities and rides for the kids, too, plus a parade at noon. A food and refreshment tent will boast authentic Oktoberfest food, including Tarantino Gourmet Sausage dishes, plus beers from national and local breweries. Free parking is available at Flora Vista Elementary School (1690 Wandering Rd.), and a free shuttle service will take attendees directly to the festival.