Oktoberfest Munich – Starting Saturday, September 21st at 10 a.m. it will start with the parade of the Wies’n hosts with traditional horse carriages to the Wies’n (local name of the Oktoberfest). At noon the Lord Mayor of Munich will pin the first barrel of beer in the Schottenhamel tent and will yell thereafter „O’zapft is!“ to a cheering crowd and the beer will start to flow for the next two weeks.
There is a lot to see and much more to do, and yet you’ll probably need more then one visit to grasp it all.
To make sure, that you can kickstart your Oktoberfest journey, I gathered all the information essential for your first Oktoberfest visit to become a great experience.
This compact local guide was created to give you a short glance on what to see and do (and don’t) at the biggest beer festival in the world. I hope you’ll benefit from it.
Some Oktoberfest Basics
Dates & hours
Oktoberfest starts on Saturday, Sept. 21 and ends on Sunday, Oct. 6.
Beer is served
Opening day Noon – 10:30 p.m.
Weekdays 10 a.m. -10:30 p.m.
Sat, Sun & Oct. 3rd 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Late hours at
‚Käfers Wies’nschänke‘ daily at 12:30 a.m.
‚Weinzelt‘ daily at 1a.m. (only Weißbier!)
Stalls are open
Opening day 10 a.m. – midnight
Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – midnight
Saturday 9 a.m. – midnight
Sunday 9 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
No cars! Use taxi or public transportation:
Subways: U4 or U5 to Theresienwiese
S-Bahn to Hackerbrücke and follow pedestrians
U3 or U6 to Poccistr and walk
Bus 62 to Hans-Fischer-Str.
Security & entrance
Since 2016 the Oktoberfest is fenced. Only access through 6 guarded entrances. Searches may occur. Backpacks, bottles and large bags are prohibited.
Oktoberfest has no entry fee but is costly nonetheless.
Calculate at least 60€ p.p. – Cash only!
Tents & rules
No reservation? Be early (weekdays by 2:30 p.m. & weekends in the morning)
Reservation? Be on time and at the right door.
If main doors are closed, check side doors.
Don’t buy scammy reservations online!
Beer ordering: No seat – no beer!
No dancing on tables! No downing beers! No touching without consent! No outside food or beverage! No beer mugs outside premises!
Oktoberfest Survival Guide
Beware of the weather! While it might be pleasant and warm during daylight, temperatures drop at night.
Tie them to a table leg to prevent loosing them or having stuff spilled on
Know your address
Keep the address where you staying with you on a sheet of paper or a business card. Do not rely on your phone, as the battery may die or you may loose it.
Plan your way home in advance
Know where to get help
If you need help inside a tent talk to security.
Memorize 110 for police and 112 for rescue.
There are several first aid booth at the festival (look for high rising balloons with a red cross)
Do not underestimate the beer! It is easy to drink but much stronger than regular brews. 1 Mass is equivalent to 2 double shots!!!
Try having a bottle of water or a Radler (beer&lemonade) every other beer.
Take care of each other
Have a meeting spot and time in case you get separated.
Do not let one sleep on the lawn around the Theresienwiese
When female always stay in groups of 2
Watch each other’s drinks
Mark your drinks
Use a napkin, bandana or alike to mark your mug. Oktoberfest is also a festival for germs and infections. Lower their chances to spread!
What to do at Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest has two components: the famous beer tents and the spectacular rides & fun fair. So when you go to the festival, make sure not to only see the inside of the tents, as there is so much more to see!
Without a reservation try to get in early in the day or try times of reservation changes (twice a day).
When you are in, be friendly and ask people whether you may sit with them.
You need to occupy at least one seat to be able to order beer.
Always tip the waitress, as this is their only income.
Make friends – sitting with strangers is common at Oktoberfest!
Dance & sing on benches. NEVER on tables. In the evening hours bands are more likely to play well known (english) pop songs.
Do not down your beer!
Try some delicious Bavarian food – but be aware that the prices are not budget!
No re-entry! When leaving the tent be aware that you may not get back in.
Around the fair
If you are not getting in, think outside! Sit in the beer garden of the beer tents enjoy a beer and the sun – if the weather permits!
Go on the spectacular rides – But be aware that they tend to be very expensive (some up to 15€). Ride the Kettenkarussell or the Teufelsrad while still sober.
Visit the Oide Wies’n (historic Oktoberfest) in the South of Theresienwiese. It is a separate part of Oktoberfest with small historic rides and tents. See what Wies’n was like in early 20th century. There is an entry fee of 3€.
Look for souvenirs around the fair. There is lots to find. Just don’t buy the chicken hats!
Ride the Weißbier-Karussell – just don’t fall off.
Take some nice pictures from above while riding the Ferris wheel at the south-tip.
Drinks at Oktoberfest
When going to the biggest beer festival in the world – no second guessing – beer is the number one drink at the Oktoberfest. For the Oktoberfest only breweries that are actually located in Munich are allowed to sell their beer. The big 6 breweries brew each a special beer for the Oktoberfest which is stronger than regular beer and has a higher alcohol content – so beware! While their are different brands of beer at the Oktoberfest in whole, at each tent you will only be able to get one brand. Each tent only serves the beers of one brewery. You can determine the brand by the label outside of the tents.
The most common type of beer is Helles – a lager type beer, easy to drink but – as said previously- much stronger. In addition there is also a dark beer (Dunkel) as well as a wheat beer (Weißbier).
If you want to start slowly, you may also try a Radler (Helles with Lemonade) or a Russn (Weißbier with Lemonade) which basically cuts the amount of alcohol in half. Some tents however do not serve readily mixed Radler. Instead you will receive a regular beer and an additional bottle of lemonade.
In the big beer tents you will also be able to purchase various non-alcoholic drinks. To ensure you make it through the day, I recommend to drink one bottle of water for every Mass or at least for every second Mass. For non-alcoholics also make sure to try at least one Apfelschorle and Spezi, which are both locally popular sparkling, refreshing drinks.
If you don’t like beer at all but want to try some wines instead, you can go to the „Weinzelt“. The have various types of wines, however, at very high prices. Also when in a group with people that still like beer, the only beer served there is Weißbier at a price of 15€ per liter.
If you want to experience what it was like in the old days to drink at the Oktoberfest, make sure to stop by the Oide Wies’n (in the south of Theresienwiese. There they serve the beers in authentic stone mugs instead of glas.
Oktoberfest Style Guide
Most people that go to visit the Oktoberfest dress up in the traditional Bavarian style with Dirndl dresses and Lederhosen. Even international visitors adapted this custom. Yet while people are dressing up like Bavarians, it still should be authentic. Don’t overdo it and dress yourself as if you were attending a costume festival. Either stick to the traditional ways to dress, or just keep wearing your regular clothes. If you choose the traditional option, there are various stores all across the city that offer sets for any budget.
Men should wear Lederhosen (leather pants) with a white button up shirt. You will most likely see a lot of sets with red, blue or green checkered shirts. Those are mostly the differentiator for Bavarian to tell non-Bavarians from locals. But it is so popular that it shouldn’t make a difference at all.
Women should wear a Dirndl (dress) with a blouse, a bodice and an apron. Don’t buy them too short (knee length or longer) as they look trashy else wise.
Make sure to wear a well fitting bodice. Regarding the apron there is custom to where you should tie the knot, depending which message you intend to send. A right-hand side knot means ‚married‘ or ‚in a relationship‘, left means ‚single‘ and a knot in the middle means ‚virgin‘ 😉
For both, men and women, it is a good idea to wear comfortable, closed shoes. You will be on your feet all day, dancing and walking, and eventually you might get stepped on, so you don’t want to wear heels or flip-flops.
As the weather changes from comfy temperatures during the day to chilly temperatures at night, it is a good idea to take a light jacket with you for your way home.
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