(credit: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

Southport & Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL
Benefits: St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church
September 23: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
September 24: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
September 25: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
$5 -$7 donation
Oktoberfest in Lincoln Square Website

Nothing says October better than a brat and a beer on an Indian summer day. Spend an autumn afternoon exploring the historically German-American neighborhood of Lincoln Square and celebrate Oktoberfest with music, kids’ activities (Kinderfest), and, of course, homemade brats and kegs of beer.

What to Expect

Oktoberfest is the party of the year for this charming, traditionally German corner of Chicago, located at the intersection of Lawrence, Western and Lincoln Avenues. Explore pedestrian friendly Lincoln Ave., where you’ll find the bulk of the festival’s activities, including two music stages, booths highlighting local businesses and of course, the beer tent. Crowd pleasers The Polkaholics hit both stages Friday night at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. and the German folk band Die Musicmeisters, play at 11 a.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday, is sure to put you into the Oktoberfest spirit – don’t forget your dancing shoes!

Dine and Shop the Square

A visit to Lincoln Square wouldn’t be complete without stepping into some of its famed boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

Chicago Brauhaus
4732 N Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

Chicago Brauhaus has been serving up good Bavarian cheer and beer for over 40 years: order the German special plate for a taste of German bratwurst, Sheboygan bratwurst, Kassler rippchen potato and sauerkraut. They cater to people of all ages – so it’s a good spot to bring the kids and get their famous Spaten Oktoberfest Beer. The Brauhaus also offers a special Oktoberfest show on Wednesdays through Sunday from September 28th through October 30th.

(credit: MerzApothecary.com)

Merz Apothecary
4716 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

Pretty yourself up for th fest at Merz Apothecary – the 135-year-old Chicago institution for beauty and wellness products where you’ll find a wide selection of specialty items from Germany and beyond. A pharmacy steeped in history as it served a massive European clientele it’s now a mecca for folks to stock up on head-to-toe specialty items.

(credit: Chicago-Bakery.com)

Lutz Café
2458 West Montrose Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

Finally, round out your day of partying with dessert from Lutz Café & Pastry Shop where you’ll find German tortes, cookies, and cakes galore. Their Baumkuchen is known to be so authentic it would make Fraulein Maria swoon! Be sure to order a loaf of their famed strudel or two to go.

German Culture to Go

Dank Haus
4740 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

Dank Haus is the go-to spot for learning more about German language and culture. With a wide selection of German language classes for both children and adults and over 150 public cultural programs a year, Dank Haus serves as a cultural ambassador between modern-day Germany and Chicago. Take advantage of German cooking lessons the first Friday evening of every month or enjoy a contemporary German film and discussion on the fourth Friday evening of every month. Don’t miss the small museum’s Lost German Chicago exhibit, which showcases the area’s German-American history.

Amy Bocchetta is a writer, a teacher, and a mom to two kids. She lives in the city and blogs at TiramisuMom.com.