German Theme Cities in the U.S.

Posted on August 26 2015

Oktoberfest Resource Guide

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Torrance, California
"Alpine Village, fondly known as "The Little City from the Alps" is open seven days a week from 11am with restaurants that have nightly entertainment; an outstanding Sunday Buffet Brunch; Alpine Market a gourmet's delight and extensive liquor department; homemade sausages and meat products from our own award winning butchery (with low sodium/low fat sausages and cold cuts); a European style bakery; 22 specialty stores for any gift imaginable including the Alpine Glass & Porcelain Store with repair and restoration services too and a wonderful open air market.

Greely, Colorado
This special German town that was settled by Germans from Russia also has a wonderful Oktoberfest. A contest that is unique to Greely is the Rival Kuga contest. 

Amana Colonies, Iowa
Just northwest of Iowa City (and off mind-numbingly monotonous I-80), this string of seven villages occupy a fun-to-take 17-mile loop. They were settled by German 'inspirationist' communities in the years before the Civil War. And unlike Amish or Mennonite religions, these communities embrace modern technology -- evident in their successful chain of refrigerators. Aside from learning about local culture at a half-dozen museums including the insightful Amana Heritage Museum, it's worth coming for truly wonderful German meals and a mug of local Millsteam wheat beer. Zuber's Homestead Hotel is a good-value B&B in a late 19th-century building.

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Lincoln Square, Chicago, Illinois
About 44,000 people live in the neighborhood along with over 1,000 small and medium sized businesses. It is accessible through the Brown Line of the 'L'. The neighborhood is bounded by Bryn Mawr and Peterson Avenues on the north, Montrose Avenue on the south, Ravenswood Avenue on the east and the Chicago Riveron the west. Its housing stock consists of private residences and small apartment buildings.

The commercial heart of Lincoln Square is located at the intersection of Lawrence, Western and Lincoln Avenues. Lincoln Avenue south east of this intersection is home to a wide variety of restaurants and shops. Lincoln Square is historically known as a heavily German influenced and populated neighborhood, but now one is just as likely to see shops catering to Thai or Middle Eastern cultures. Still, the neighborhood is home to a number of German businesses, notably the Chicago Brauhaus, Merz Apothecary and Lutz Café & Bakery, and is the home of the Chicago branches of DANK (the German American National Congress) and the Rare Dirndl Design Studio. The German-language weekly newspaper Amerika Woche was born in Lincoln Square in 1972, though its original headquarters above the Brauhaus is now only a bureau.

Alpine Helen, Georgia
Helen, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Chattahoochee River, is a re-creation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers. This Northeast Georgia village has a rich history linked to the Cherokee Indians and Indian burial mounds as well as early settlers who arrived to mine for gold and cut virgin timber for a thriving lumber industry in the early1900's.

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, the town of Helen, only 90 minutes north of Atlanta, was established in the 1800s but was turned into a replica of an Alpine village in the 1960s. With its mountain setting, you’ll feel like you stepped into a different time and place. For those who grew up in the ’80s, this area is also the home of the “Cabbage Patch” doll.

Helen lit up its village for Christmas on Nov. 29 when Santa and Mrs. Claus rode into town on their horse-drawn sleigh. Other holiday events include beautifully decorated trees throughout the Lodge at Unicoi State Park, a live Nativity at the North Georgia Zoo in nearby Cleveland, the annual Christmas parade on Dec. 7 and the Christmas in the Mountains Festival with arts and crafts, kids’ activities, hot cocoa, caroling and more, also on Dec. 7.

Must-sees include the Christmas & More German Christmas store; Elfmade Wooden Toys, a woodworker who crafts his own toys; Hofer’s of Helen, an authentic Bavarian bakery; and the Christmas Shoppe, which sells local artisan ornaments. Choose from mountain cabins and bed and breakfasts like Alpine Hilltop Haus and the Sylvan Valley Lodge for overnight stays.

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Some 75 miles north of Detroit, Frankenmuth -- aka 'the Muth' in these parts -- is a heart-melter for a grab bag of serious German-inspired festivals -- namely this weekend's World Expo of Beer, June's Bavarian Fest and Oktoberfest. It's also a place that's Christmas all year -- at the 'rah-rah Tannenbaum,' 45-acre, year-round Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.

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For those who love visiting Germany, but just can’t find the time or funds, visiting Frankenmuth is a great way to scrath the itch. Even though they do not have everything. It still fulfills the void felt by not being able to go back to Germany. Regardless of the time of year, the festivities are always in full bloom. Whether you come for a chicken dinner, to buy a special ornament, attend one of Frankenmuth's many festivals or to simply see what's new, Frankenmuth welcomes you with its flower-lined streets and Bavarian hospitality. Here is an interesting history of Frankenmuth

Hermann, Missouri
Set like a Rhine castle above the Missouri River, between Kansas City and St Louis, the site of Hermann was hand-picked by German immigrants for its Rhine-like setting and climate, perfect for the eight wineries in the area. It's a lovely town too -- and one of the best reasons to take scenic Hwy 50 instead of I-70 across the 'Show-Me State.' Plus there's a shocking amount of sausage and B&B options (includingHermann Hill) -- and a funny town flag

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Mt. Angel, Oregon
Mt. Angel is located 18 miles northeast of Salem on Highway 214. Founded in the late 1800s by German settlers, this town has an Old World flavor which is heightened by the many Bavarian style storefronts and the beautiful Benedictine Abbey. They celebrate their German heritage each year during the Oktoberfest, held in September. Mt. Angel Abbey, set high above Mt. Angel on a 300 foot bluff is a century old Benedictine monastic community built in 1883 by Swiss Benedictine monks. Views from the bluff include Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, as well as the lush Willamette Valley farmland. The beautiful library, designed by Alvar Aalto, stores a priceless collection of illuminated manuscripts, and features a display of rare, handprinted books. Guided tours can be arranged by appointment.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania 
The True Pennsylvania Dutch country. This is an area that visitors have grown to love. Here you'll discover Amish communities where life moves at a slower pace. You'll find beautiful scenery dotted with one-room schoolhouses and wooden covered bridges, modern farm machinery being pulled behind four-and six-mule teams, homemade clothing and quilts gently blowing in the breeze, and where you'll hear the clip-clop of horses' hooves echoing down quiet country roads.

Fredericksburg, Texas
Settled in 1870, Fredericksburg is a frightfully dainty, yet rewarding destination between Austin and San Antonio (each about 75 miles away) amidst Texas' lovely hill country. Visitors shop in boutiques in the collection of Victorian town houses, take in the area's 15 wineries via the wine-trail map, and grab a bite to eat at Rather Sweet Bakery (249 E Main St), run by Dan Rather's daughter.

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New Braunfels, Texas
When you think of Texas you probably think of a state that's stereotypically American -- cowboys, football, the Alamo. But "smack dab in the middle of Texas Hill Country" you will find the German-settled town of New Braunfels. There's plenty of fun to be had there -- from downing pints in a biergarten to strolling around the Gruene Historical District.

New Braunfels is home base for German-themed waterpark Schlitterbahn. The park has taken some liberties with its theme, naming areas of the park "Surfenburg," "Blastenhoff," and "Tubenbach."

Leavenworth, Washington
Bavarian village with all Bavarian street names and architecture. over 90 shops and right at the foothills of mountains that will make you feel like your in the Alps. Leavenworth Washington has been popular for four decades! Located in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains of Central Washington State, and in the heart of the Wenatchee National Forest, we have a wide range of activities for a romantic getaway to a family vacation destination!

Jefferson, Wisconsin 
We encourage you to visit our community and enjoy our proud German Heritage.  In September of each year, citizens of the City of Jefferson participate in "Gemuetlichkeit Daysto celebrate our German Heritage.  Young and old dress in traditional German costume and participate in contests throughout the festival weekend.  Just a few things you can enjoy are music and dancing, indulging in authentic German cuisine, and a huge parade on Sunday.  

New Glarus, Wisconsin
Often referred to as America's " Little Switzerland " New Glarus is located in the heart of Green County in Southern Wisconsin. Its rolling hills dotted with small towns, farms, and woodland pastures are much like the alpine farmlands of Glarus, Switzerland. When you arrive at the village entrance, you will quickly understand its popularity as a destination. New Glarus is America's "Little Switzerland."



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