In What States Can You Drink in Public?

Crack open a frosty Lone Star on the sidewalks of Fredricksburg, Texas, and the cops won't bat an eye. But open that same Lone Star on the sidewalks of Walla Walla, Washington, and you could face a steep fine--or worse for drinking in public.

The United States has all sorts of blue laws about the purchase of alcoholic beverages, from states where you can't buy liquor on Sundays to regulations on grocery stores selling more than beer and wine. But there are also laws about alcohol consumption, especially if you're interested in public consumption.

Drinking in public places--including sidewalks, parks, stadiums, and beaches--is considered illegal in most jurisdictions in the U.S. Penalties range from hundreds of dollars in fines to jail time. Therefore, when you find a state with open container laws, treat it with respect.

But while 17 states have banned the ability to drink alcohol in public spaces statewide, there are 15 states in the U.S. that permit public drinking in certain cities or select Entertainment Districts, like the Las Vegas Strip. Other states don't have a specific law on the books, but most cities or counties do officially prohibit it.

The Huffington Post put together this excellent map briefly detailing local and state laws and locations where you can start drinking alcohol on the street in the United States, whether it's in a brown bag or not. It's always best to double check local public drinking laws, since you may be able to have an open container of alcohol, but many places prohibit glass bottles or cans, meaning you can walk down the street with your margarita, but you can't buy a bottle of wine from the convenience store and sit in a public park to drink it.

As craft beverages become more popular, especially with wineries and breweries congregating together in some locations, people in many states and cities are working to change some of these drinking laws. Again, it's always best to check if you're allowed to have open containers in certain places.

Find out where your hometown stands with this guide to public drinking by state.

public-drinking-by-state
HuffPost.

Alabama

Public drinking is only permitted in select Entertainment Districts of the cities of Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.

Alaska

There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

Arizona

Public drinking of alcoholic beverages is prohibited statewide.

Arkansas

Public consumption is prohibited statewide.

California

Public consumption is only permitted in the city of Sonoma.

Colorado

Public drinking is prohibited statewide. The consumption of 3.2% beer in public is not prohibited by the state, though select jurisdictions may have laws prohibiting public drinking that apply to 3.2% beer.

Connecticut

There is no statewide ban, but public consumption of alcoholic beverages is illegal in most or all districts.

Delaware

There is no statewide ban, but public drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

Florida

There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts. However, the city of Tampa allows up to two drinks in plastic containers per person on the Tampa Riverwalk as long as they are purchased from a licensed facility between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 a.m.

Georgia

Public consumption is only permitted in the city of Savannah.

Hawaii

Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

Idaho

There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

Iowa

Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

Illinois

There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

Indiana

Public consumption is only permitted in the city of Indianapolis.

    Kansas

    Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

    Kentucky

    Public consumption is only permitted in the city of Louisville in select Entertainment Districts.

    Louisiana

    Public drinking is only permitted in the city of New Orleans for any beverage in an open plastic container.

    Maine

    There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

    Maryland

    Public consumption is prohibited statewide.

    Massachusetts

    There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

    Michigan

    There is no statewide ban, but public drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

    Minnesota

    There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

    Missouri

    Public consumption is only permitted in Kansas City in select Entertainment Districts.

    Mississippi

    Public drinking is only permitted in the city of Gulfport.

    Montana

    Public consumption is only permitted in the city of Butte (though it's prohibited between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.).

    Nebraska

    Public drinking is only permitted in the city of Lincoln in select Entertainment Districts.

    Nevada

    Public consumption is only permitted in the city of Las Vegas.

    New Hampshire

    There is no statewide ban, but public drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

    New Jersey

    There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

    New Mexico

    Public consumption is prohibited statewide.

    New York

    There is no statewide ban, but public drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

    North Carolina

    There is no statewide ban, but public drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

    North Dakota

    There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

    Ohio

    Public consumption is prohibited statewide.

    Oregon

    Public consumption is only permitted in the city of Hood River.

    Pennsylvania

    Public drinking is only permitted in the city of Erie.

      Rhode Island

      There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

      South Carolina

      Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

      South Dakota

      There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

      Tennessee

      Public consumption is only permitted in the city of Memphis in select Entertainment Districts like Beale Street.

      Texas

      Public drinking is only permitted in the cities of Arlington, Fort Worth and Fredericksburg.

      Utah

      Public consumption prohibited statewide.

      Virginia

      Public consumption is prohibited statewide.

      Vermont

      There is no statewide ban, but public drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

      Washington

      Public consumption is prohibited statewide.

      Wisconsin

      There is no statewide ban, but public drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

      West Virginia

      Public consumption is prohibited statewide.

      Wyoming

      There is no statewide ban, but public consumption is illegal in most or all districts.

      Do your state's laws on alcohol consumption surprise you?

      This article was originally published on March 24, 2018.

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