Drinking Made Easy
Where Can You Drink on the Streets in the US?

Where Can You Drink on the Streets in the US?

May 3, 2012 41

In almost every place in America it is illegal to drink in public. The actual law, known as the open container law, prohibits the possession of open containers of alcohol. Which means you don’t actually have to be drinking, making it easier to prove yada yada yada. But, along the travels of Drinking Made Easy we have come across a few spots where it IS legal to enjoy a beverage as your stroll the street. So here is a list of US cities where you can drink in public.

Savannah, Georgia

We visited Savannah in season 2 of Drinking Made Easy (see episode guide) and one of the great things about the city of hospitality was the ability to drink your drink on the go. Savannah is beautiful and it was nice to walk around with a nice Mint Julep or Savannah Tea.  However, open containers are only allowed in the Savannah Historic District near downtown; drinks must be in open plastic containers and no more than 16 ounces.

Butte, Montana

Montana and Georgia do not have open container laws and leave it up to the city to determine which ordinance to implement. When the open container law was attempted to be passed in Butte it was quickly opposed.  In Butte you are able to walk around the entire city with drink in hand. Montana Style!

Memphis, Tennessee

The ‘home of the blues’ on Beale Street is a huge tourist attraction for its rich culture, blues atmosphere, and drinking enthusiasm.  This section of Beale Street was given special permission to bypas the state-wide ban on open containers. Unlike Savannah, there is no limit to the size of the drink you can have. When Drinking Made Easy went there in season 2 (see episode guide) we picked up drinks like the  Walk Me Down (designed for walking the street) and The Diver, both of which holding up to 1 gallon of booze! Woohoo!

Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas City Power and Light District is a special shopping and entertainment section of Kansas City that is exempt from the state-wide ban on open containers. This 9 block district allows you to drink on the go as long as it is in an open plastic container. Though the rest of the city still enforces the ban, this district was designed specially as a draw for people looking for a good time.

Fredericksburg, Texas

This small German town allows for the drinking of beer and wine (no liquor) on the streets of their downtown shopping district. Though like every city on this list, the law only permits if the subject is well behaved. (though some cities are little looser in their definition of ‘well-behaved’)

New Orleans, Louisiana

The entire city of New Orleans is friendly to drinking on the go (no glass though). New Orleans and particularly Bourbon Street are famous for their drinking culture and for hosting one of the biggest parties in the world, Mardi Gras. With the number of bars in the area you can have a drink, and sip on it as you hop on over to the next bar for another with out ever not having a drink in hand.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas prides itself as the (live) entertainment capitol of the world and the Las Vegas Strip acts as a centralized hub for drinking and partying. Outside bars are scattered everywhere to provide patrons with novelty sized drink containers measuring up to as much as a gallon of booze. Many of these drinks are designed for walking with neck straps and gigantic straws to make walking the strip and drinking as easy as possible. Glass is also permitted on the street except for certain times of the year such as the 4th of July and New Years Eve.

Bending the Rules

Some places are a little more relaxed then others on the open container law. Key West is one such place where it is illegal to have an open alcoholic  beverage on the street, however, the city has a reputation for being very lenient or dismissive if you have it in a plastic opener container that is not obviously alcoholic. They certainly didn’t mind when Zane and Steve walked around with their drinks in the Key West episode.

Another popular occasion for public drinking occurs with tailgate parties, beaches, and certain parts of college communities. Technically, it is still illegal, but generally police wont care. This doesn’t mean they wont  though and telling them Drinking Made Easy said you would be cool with it probably wont work. So use your head when deciding where to drink and as always drink responsibly.


Know of a place we might of missed? let us know in the comments below!


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  1. Theo May 4, 2012 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Drinking downtown is OK in Pittsburgh, PA on St. Patrick’s Day. Might have something to do with Pittsburgh Metro PD being the primary sponsor of the parade…

  2. bret ward May 4, 2012 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Miami didnt seem to care last year when we were down in south beach. They whole sidewalk was full of drinkers.

  3. PR May 4, 2012 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Sparks, NV has bars with walk-up windows.

  4. Michael Swiderski May 4, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

    My little village Schenevus, in upstate NY, has no law on the books. You can walk with cocktail in hand around town and no worries!

  5. HillbillyDlux May 4, 2012 at 11:16 am - Reply

    The Stock Yards @ Fortworth Texas allows for walking and drinkin’ at least the last time I was there 10 years ago.

    • Dom June 23, 2013 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      The Fort Worth Stock Yard still allows open containers in that area… Really love going there…

  6. Dom Hardiman May 4, 2012 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Will be drinking on the street this weekend at the start to the festival season, gotta love Cali :o)

  7. joe May 4, 2012 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Coconut grove miami

  8. curt fenton May 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    erie, pa. I know it sounds crazy but its true…/upfront-open-container-ordinance

    im from erie, pa. you guys should plan a show here we LOVE TO DRINK

    thank you for taking the time to read this

    curt fenton

  9. Gordo Swift May 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Cannon Beach, OR.

  10. Rambo May 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    I believe you can still drink on the sreets of historic downtown Galveston’s Strand district. E ven with a bottle in your hand.

  11. Douche bag May 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Pismo beach at the dunes

  12. TG May 4, 2012 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Cannon Beach Oregon? I’d like to see proof of that.

  13. Zach May 7, 2012 at 11:55 am - Reply

    I was watching DME Key West last week, and the episode told me to log on to the website to see a list of places to drink in public in the US. I went to the episode guide, but didn’t see the list there, so i commented about it. Less than a week later, the list is up! Either its a huge coincidence, or someone actually reads the comments and takes action. Either way, keep it up Drinking Made Easy; you’re doing it right.

    • drinkadmin May 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      Yep, Thanks for catching that Zach!

  14. firewire1 May 7, 2012 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    From watching Alaska State Troopers it seems that they not do not have an open container law or a public intoxication law in certain places.

  15. jameson May 9, 2012 at 9:11 am - Reply

    St. John USVI…you can even drive with open beers too. just be sure to wear your seatbelt

  16. buddhaB May 15, 2012 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Yep St. John and St. Thomas. Walking and driving with open containers as long as your not drinking and driving. Just getting from Point A with your beer to Point B.

  17. MarkT May 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Sonoma, CA you can drink in the park at the center of the square..

    • Paula Jo June 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      The town of Sonoma, California (in the county of Sonoma) is very upscale, but laid back and old. And very much involved in wine making for a very long time. Decent behavior while drinking wine is what they have in mind there. It’s really such a lovely small town that even the worst would know to act accordingly.

  18. Nina June 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I live in The Villages in Florida where there’s nightly live entertainment in the town square. There are outside bars on each corner that have happy hour 2-for-1 drinks and you can walk all around the town square and down by the lakeside boardwalk with your drink in hand. We also save money by just showing up in our golf carts with coolers full of beers, etc and walk around with our drinks with no problem!

  19. mike August 8, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Cannon Beach and Government camp Oregon. Somebody correct me if i am wrong

  20. Ruby P September 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Fishermans wharf san francisco …. just brown bag it they don’t care!!

  21. Kate February 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Guy on Bar Rescue (NOLA episode) just said there were only 4 cities

  22. Cleo Greene February 11, 2013 at 1:19 am - Reply

    Laughlin Nevada doesn’t seem to mind people walking around with drinks. there are restrictions on glass, esp. during the River Run or special events like concerts (where they restrict to plastic and aluminum containers and you are not allowed to remove aluminum from venues.)

  23. Mr. Pickles February 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Man, I love Butte. I was born and raised there. No place drinks more or harder than Butte. Theres more bars there per capita then any other city. But sad for me, I just moved to Kansas for a job and the county I’m in is dry!!!! What am I gonna do? This is crazy that I’m gonna have to drive 30 miles just to get a beer.

  24. Soso Whaley April 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    You forgot Virginia City, NV… one of the most interesting places to visit in the U.S. … travel back in time and experience what the “wild west” was like…

  25. Soso Whaley April 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm - Reply


  26. Greg April 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    East Lansing, on MSU Campus during Football games.

  27. Kyle May 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    I don\\\\’t really think special ocassions such as holidays or sporting events count as being \\\\”legal to have an open container.\\\\” Seems the places mentioned refer to 365 days of the year.

  28. dom June 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Peaks island maine drinking is tolerated

  29. Brandon September 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    What ab 4th Street in Louisville, KY ?

  30. Al November 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Fourth Street only allows drinking once the pylons raise out of the street and they start carding people at the entrances. It\’s more like a large bar, and if you leave the confines, you have to toss whatever you have. Not really the same IMHO.

  31. B2S November 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Atlanta airport, once you’re behind security. Walked to the gate, beer in hand.
    Apparently, other airports allow walking the concourse with your favorite beverage.

  32. SASHA December 31, 2013 at 8:57 am - Reply


  33. Amber March 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Las Olas blvd. in Fort Lauderdale

  34. Stephan April 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    You say that the Power & Light District in Kansas City, MO is \”exempt from the \’State wide OCL\’ \”. How can that be, when according to several reliable sources on the Internet, the WHOLE state of Missouri has NO OCL at ALL and there never was any?

  35. joseph calagnas May 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    you can drink a 40oz beer in atascadero california 93432

    as long as your not infront of a school

  36. Tyler S. October 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Hood River, Oregon

  37. StephieT October 12, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

    In San Antonio it is legal to have an open container on their river walk.

  38. Jason S December 30, 2014 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Duke University campus you can drink wherever, whenever

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