2016’s Best Cities to Celebrate Oktoberfest
If Americans were obliged to say danke schön for Germany’s most valuable gift to society, we’d unanimously agree on Oktoberfest as that gift. BMW would come in close second, followed by hard syllables — for writing good poetry or letting off steam. But that’s just our guess at WalletHub.
Oktoberfest, for those unfamiliar, is the time-honored tradition of debauchery often lasting from mid-September to the first Sunday in October. Originating from Munich, Germany, in 1810, the weeks-long event has grown to become the world’s biggest Volksfest, or “people’s festival,” attracting more than six million people from around the globe to guzzle nearly 2 million gallons of beer every year.
It was only a matter of time before the Oktoberfest madness would find its way to the U.S., where the nearly 47 million German-Americans, after all, make up the largest single ethnic group. If you’ve yet to partake in the wunderbar celebration, just imagine the most awesome beerfest you’ve never been to. Now multiply that by the power of 10 and enhance it with live music, folk dancing, German fare, elaborate parades and some original traditions invented by Americans like the “Running of the Wieners” race in Cincinnati or “Keg Bowling” in Denver. In other words, Oktoberfest is not your average beer tasting.
So grab your thirstiest friends and take advantage of this legitimate excuse to drink way more beer than usual — and learn about German culture, of course. Below, WalletHub’s number crunchers compiled a list of the 100 largest U.S. cities, ranked according to 20 key indicators of an epic German celebration. Our metrics range from the percentage of the German population to the number of breweries per capita. For more fun and interesting facts about this exciting event, make sure to check out our Oktoberfest By The Numbers infographic.
‘Oktoberfest Traditions’ Rank
‘Safety & Accessibility’ Rank
|12||St. Louis, MO||58.16||4||38||91|
|14||St. Paul, MN||57.35||13||57||6|
|16||Colorado Springs, CO||54.51||14||30||58|
|20||New Orleans, LA||53.15||25||6||81|
|27||Fort Wayne, IN||51.61||28||43||48|
|31||Las Vegas, NV||50.31||12||85||57|
|36||San Diego, CA||48.25||46||68||8|
|37||Oklahoma City, OK||47.90||54||7||70|
|45||San Francisco, CA||46.89||17||99||22|
|50||Kansas City, MO||46.62||50||25||67|
|57||New York, NY||45.13||48||92||1|
|63||St. Petersburg, FL||43.12||41||67||93|
|64||Virginia Beach, VA||42.91||83||52||45|
|66||Corpus Christi, TX||42.67||64||28||87|
|69||San Antonio, TX||42.21||77||3||92|
|74||Jersey City, NJ||41.57||62||96||3|
|75||El Paso, TX||41.48||74||62||44|
|76||Los Angeles, CA||41.06||65||83||27|
|80||Long Beach, CA||40.66||57||90||29|
|85||Chula Vista, CA||39.18||89||94||13|
|88||Baton Rouge, LA||38.35||82||46||89|
|93||Santa Ana, CA||36.08||95||89||21|
|94||San Jose, CA||36.03||86||88||43|
|95||North Las Vegas, NV||35.67||97||81||61|
|96||Fort Worth, TX||35.56||91||19||100|
|98||San Bernardino, CA||34.26||71||84||99|
To determine the best cities for celebrating Oktoberfest, WalletHub’s number crunchers compared the 100 most populated U.S. cities across three key categories: 1) Oktoberfest Traditions, 2) Costs and 3) Safety & Accessibility.
We evaluated these categories using 20 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the best conditions for celebrating Oktoberfest in a given city.
We then calculated overall scores for each city using the weighted average across all metrics, which we then used to construct our final ranking.
Oktoberfest Traditions – Total Points: 50
- Presence of Oktoberfest Festivals: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
- Time Since the First Oktoberfest Festival: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
Note: This metric measures the difference between 2016 and the year when the city's first Oktoberfest festival was held.
- Number of Oktoberfest Festivals and Parties per Capita: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
- Percentage of German Population: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
- Number of Breweries per Capita: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
- Average Open Hours of Breweries: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
Note: Average of the first 10 most rated breweries’ closing hours
- Number of Beer Gardens per Capita: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
- “Access to Bars” Grade: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
Note: This grade is a combination of bars per 100,000 residents and bars per square mile, a measure of both availability (per capita) and proximity (per square mile).
- Number of Beer, Wine & Spirits Shops per Capita: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
- Number of Pretzel Shops per Capita: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
- Number of German Restaurants per Capita: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
Costs – Total Points: 25
- Average Price for Oktoberfest Festivals & Parties Ticket: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Average Beer Price: Triple Weight (~10.72 Points)
Note: This metric measures both the price of a domestic beer (0.5 liter draught) and the price of a 6-pack Heineken (12 oz. containers), excluding any deposit.
- Average Sausage Price: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
Note: This metric was used as a proxy for average wurst price.
- Lowest Price of a Three-Star Hotel: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Prevalence of Affordable Breweries Rated 4+ Stars: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
Safety & Accessibility – Total Points: 25
- Crime Rate (Neighborhood Security): Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
- DUI-Related Fatalities per Capita: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
- Traffic Congestion: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
- Walkability (Pedestrian Friendliness): Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
Sources: Data used to create these rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Funtober, Eventbrite, Yelp, Numbeo, Council for Community and Economic Research, Kayak and Walk Score.
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