September 22-23, 2012
Considering that the defining moment in the history of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (free, oktoberfestzinzinnati.com) is the world’s largest chicken dance—48,000 danced in 2004, for the record—it’s safe to say the festival is happily unpretentious. Now, some 500,000 people descend on this celebration of Cincinnati’s German heritage and beer-brewing history to imbibe and listen to German entertainment on some seven stages. Meanwhile, a host of goofy events accompany the beer, like a bratwurst-eating contest, stein-hoisting championship, and the running of the wieners. (Yes, wiener dogs.) Plus, where else can an average schlub get his picture taken with the St. Pauli girl?
Stay: Garfield Suites Hotel (from $104; garfieldsuiteshotel.com) has a central downtown location and free shuttle rides in the area. Condos have full living rooms and kitchens and views over the city.