I must say, Oklahoma knows how to put on a German beer festival. Tulsa is known for having one of the most authentic faux-Oktoberfest events in the United States, and after a weekend spent there, I cannot disagree.
Here’s everything you need to know to survive the weekend!
Oktoberfest Tulsa 2018 dates and prices
Oktoberfest Tulsa takes place annually at River West Festival Park in mid-October and actually extends longer than just the weekend. Gates to the event open up at 5pm Thursday and stay open until the following Sunday night. In 2018, the dates are October 18-21.
Tickets are $10 each, but discounted tickets can be bought in advance online for $7. On the Friday, admission is free until 4pm.
Believe it or not, this beer festival is family friendly and I can actually recommend it as it seems to be good fun for all ages. Plus, kids 12 and under receive free admission. Wristbands for rides can also be purchased for $20 for all-day access. Giant tents that model that of the ones seen at the real Munich Oktoberfest in Germany can be seen well outside the gates.
How to get to Oktoberfest Tulsa
There is limited parking offered at the festival grounds for $10 or $20 VIP parking. It is recommended that you take advantage of free shuttles leaving from multiple places throughout Downtown Tulsa among other locations.
The Oktoberfest Tulsa website lists all shuttle picks up/drop off points, which includes the Blue Dome District, The Tulsa Doubletree Hotel, Hyatt Regency Downtown, the Holiday Inn Tulsa City Center, the Tulsa Transit Hub on South Denver Street, the Trade Winds Central Inn and the Crowne Plaza Southern Hills.
The shuttles run every 5-10 minutes or every 20-30 minutes (depending on destination) an hour before and after festival hours.
In addition, a student-friendly “party crowd” can be found taking the shuttle. This is a FREE system offered by the German bar, Fassler Hall, on Elgin Ave. I highly suggest taking this as a good opportunity to meet fellow festival-goers.
What beer to drink at the festival
Oktoberfest Tulsa offers over 50 traditional German beers in traditional one liter Oktoberfest beer steins. In order to have one of these beers, you will need to either purchase your own beer stein for $5 (liter) or $3 (16-oz) at the festival or simply bring your own from home. Also, you will need to buy your beer with tickets that you can purchase in tents near the front entrance of the festival.
Beers at Oktoberfest cost about $12 per liter. Expensive, but don’t forget you get one whole liter of strong beer for the price as well as free festival entertainment. 16-oz servings are $7 and other beverages (wine, alcoholic mixed beverages, and non-alcoholic options) are available too.
In addition to getting a taste of traditional German food and beer, don’t forget to take in some of the great examples of German culture offered at Oktoberfest Tulsa! All day, you will be surrounded by traditional German music, dancing, and dress — the bands are flown in from Germany to provide the most authentic experience possible!
The best spot for good music and a lively atmosphere is the Mittelpünkt Party Tent. It’s also where the most popular bands will perform throughout the day.
In addition to people watching, music, and beer drinking, there are also a plethora of rides at Oktoberfest Tulsa offered for a fee. There are also merchants at booths selling German art and knick-knacks that can be fun to check out.
Prepare for the festival by dressing the part
For guys, the traditional Oktoberfest attire is a pair of leather Lederhosen shorts, suspenders, and an alpine hat. For girls, it is common to see the traditional Bavarian Dirndl dress. Don’t be shy to get yourself one – there will be plenty of people wearing them! You won’t be the only goofy-looking person at the festival, trust me!
Other activities to do in Tulsa
Tulsa has much more to offer than just Oktoberfest — it’s easy to fill a weekend with activities. Make sure to visit the downtown area for its good vibe and plethora of restaurants and bars. I also attended Tulsa University’s Homecoming tailgate and football game during my visit — it usually takes place on the same weekend as Oktoberfest. It was good fun for a fair price.
You will find that Tulsa, Oklahoma is a grand spot to host an Oktoberfest. If you’re anything like me, you’ll leave hoping to make it back the following year.
Note: this article was first published in 2017, but was updated in 2018 with prices for the 2018 event.