Oktoberfest is a 2 week festival held in Munich at the end of September and beginning of October. Every year, over 6 million people attend the festival for any number of days. The festival is free and anyone can attend, but come expecting to spend money. It is pretty much impossible not to if you plan on drinking. Beers cost just over 10 euro (remember it is about 3 beers in one and it is more alcoholic than normal beer) and food isn’t cheap either. There is a lot of the same food: pretzels (plain, bacon and cheese filled, cheese filled), chicken, gingerbreadlike frosted cookies, ribs, and some other options as well.
There are about 10-12 big beer hall tents and a bunch of smaller tents where people hang out, drink and have a good time. You can buy tickets for a table to guarantee you have a spot, or test your luck and try to find a spot at a non-reserved table. Note that you need to be sitting in order to be served in the tents. Thus, if you decide not to buy tickets or just want to wander around one day, it is easier if you have a smaller group. Most tents fill up by about 11 am on weekends (or earlier) and can be challenging to find a place to sit later in the day. On weekends, aside from the first day of the festival, kegs are tapped at 9 am. There are also food stands, carnival rides, a ferris wheel and other activities spread all around the festival grounds.
If you know when you are going, book in advance. Hotels and rental locations will fill up quickly and be very expensive. Fortunately, even if you cannot stay near the festival grounds, Munich has great public transit. You can easily use the subway system to get to and from the festival. I would recommend buying a multi-day ticket for the subway if you plan to use it throughout your time at Oktoberfest.
Buy Lederhosen (men) or Dirndl (women). Just do it. It makes the experience that much more fun. I would say almost 90% of people are wearing them. You can either buy them before you go, or buy them when you get to Munich. We bought our Dirndls in Munich after arriving for the festival. This required some energy because at full price, the girls’ outfits can cost up to 200 euros or even more depending on pieces you choose to purchase). I bought the dress, the blouse, and the apron (the way you tie the apron means different things so if you tie it to the left, then you are single but if you tie it to the right then you are taken). My dress was about 30 euro, “blouse” was 10 euro and apron was 10 euro. I would recommend wearing closed toed shoes just because your feet will likely get stepped on at the festival. For our outfits, we had to search for good priced options. We went to a store called Wiesn Tracht und Mehr (we went to the one on Neuhauserstr 10) which was in the city center. The one we went to was located about a 5-10 might walk from Marienplatz. It was on the main road and close to a Zara. Many of the big department stores have them but that is where they are pricier. There are also shops that have second hand outfits but we didn’t look any of these up ahead of time so we didn’t find them.
This tent is known for attracting a younger, rowdier, party going crowd. We had so much fun at this tent. However, a few things to note. First off, we went here on the first day of Oktoberfest and the first day is the day you have to get there the earliest. We got there around 7 and would’ve been better off if we got there 30 minutes earlier, definitely not later. There are a lot of reserved tables (which is not necessary to do especially because it has to be done far in advance and is expensive, but could have eliminated the scramble to find a spot) so everyone is racing for seats at the non-reserved tables. They opened the doors at 9 am and it was a mad dash inside with so much pushing and shoving. We first did not get a sitting table so snagged a standing one but fortunately we realized that some of the tables were not reserved until 3 pm so snagged one of those to sit at until 3. Beer doesn’t get served until after 12 on the first day since the mayor taps the beer at 12. Thus there’s a lot of waiting on the first day but it was well worth it. Another very important thing to know about this tent is that the waitress will NOT come to you if you do not tip her ahead of time and well. We tipped her 40 euro (split it between a bunch of people) because we wanted her to serve us. It was also hard to get the waitress’s attention (again we were here on the first day and it was right after the beer was tapped). This tent was well worth it and a must do for Oktoberfest!
This is one of the larger tents at the festival, with a notable interior as the inside is beautifully painted. The tent serves Hacker-Pschorr. It gets very lively and is a nice change from Hofbrau.
This is one of the smaller tents, with its own unique atmosphere. The inside has a horse racing theme with a bright ceiling over the tent.