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. 

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 practice statewide, there are 15 states in the U.S. that permit public drinking in certain cities or select Entertainment Districts. The Huffington Post put together this excellent map briefly detailing where you can start drinking alcohol on the street in the United States, whether it's in a brown bag or not.

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 these cities:

  • Birmingham
  • Huntsville
  • Mobile
  • Montgomery

Alaska

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

Arizona

Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

Arkansas

Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

California

Public drinking 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 drinking 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 drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

Georgia

Public drinking is only permitted in the city of Savannah.

Hawaii

Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

Idaho

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

Iowa

Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

Illinois

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

Indiana

Public drinking is only permitted in the city of Indianapolis.

    Kansas

    Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

    Kentucky

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

    Louisiana

    Public drinking is only permitted in the city of New Orleans.

    Maine

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

    Maryland

    Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

    Massachusetts

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

    Missouri

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

    Mississippi

    Public drinking is only permitted in the city of Gulfport.

    Montana

    Public drinking is only permitted in the city of Butte.

    Nebraska

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

    Nevada

    Public drinking 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 drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

    New Mexico

    Public drinking 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 drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

    Ohio

    Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

    Oregon

    Public drinking 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 drinking is illegal in most or all districts.

      South Carolina

      Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

      South Dakota

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

      Tennessee

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

      Texas

      Public drinking is only permitted in these cities:

      • Arlington

      • Fort Worth

      • Fredericksburg

      Utah

      Public drinking prohibited statewide.

      Virginia

      Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

      Vermont

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

      Washington

      Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

      Wisconsin

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

      West Virginia

      Public drinking is prohibited statewide.

      Wyoming

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

      Do your state's laws on public drinking surprise you?

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