For beer lovers all over the world, Munich’s Oktoberfest is a bucket list item. As a group leader for women’s travel company WHOA Travel I’ve seen my fair share of Oktoberfest as I lead their Oktoberfest trip. (Check out my upcoming trips on my Travel with Me page.) If you can’t join me on an upcoming trip (or even if you can) I’ve created this Oktoberfest Guide is full of tips and tricks to ensure you have a wonderful time!
The Ultimate Oktoberfest Guide
When is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest begins on the 3rd Saturday of September and runs through the first Sunday in October.
When should I start planning my trip?
As soon as Oktoberfest is over people are starting to plan for the following year. You should do the same, especially if you have a large party.
I recommend starting to plan in December and booking your accommodations as soon as possible. The best and most affordable rooms fill up quickly.
Oktoberfest Guide: Where should I stay?
Your wallet might not like it, but stay in Munich. And try to get as close to the Theresienwiese (the grounds where Oktoberfest is held known by locals as the Wiesn) as you can.
If you’re strapped for cash, which is going to be difficult because rooms get expensive in Munich this time of year, stay along the routes for the U3, U4, U5, or U6 lines. All 4 of these U-Bahn (underground train) lines are close to the Wiesn.
But be warned, the U-Bahn gets very busy so be patient and follow all rules and regulations.
All these lodging options are within walking distance of the Weisn:
- BOLD Hotel München Zentrum: 3-star hotel remodeled in early 2021 located within walking distance of the Wiesn and close to the Poccistrasse U-Bahn stop.
- Hotel Uhland: 3-star hotel located within walking distance of the Wiesn and close to the Theresienwiese U-Bahn stop. A free buffet breakfast is included with your stay.
- Boutique Hotel Krone München: 3.5-star hotel within walking distance of the Weisn. Breakfast can be added to your stay for an additional fee.
These lodging options are located close to a U-Bahn stop for easy access to the Wiesn:
- Leonardo Hotel München City West: 4-star hotel located a 1-minute walk from the Brudermuhlstrasse U-Bahn stop. This hotel is great for families.
- ibis Muenchen City West: 2.5-star hotel located a 1-minute walk from the Westendstrasse U-Bahn stop. Breakfast can be added to your stay for an additional fee.
- Pullman Munich: 4-star hotel is located a ways away from the Weisn, but close to the English Garden, which is a must-see when in Munich. It is a 5-minute walk to the Nordfriedhof U-Bahn stop. Breakfast can be added to your stay for an additional fee.
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How much money do you need?
This is a bit of a loaded question as only you know how much you’ll eat and drink throughout your time as Oktoberfest. However, I reccomend at least $150 per day per person (not including lodging). This will have you covered for food, beer, rides, and other purchases you might make,
Keep in mind that not matter what you’re buying from beer to ride tickets and everything in between you’ll been cash. There are several places throughout the Wiesn where you can get cash out of an ATM.
Oktoberfest Guide: What should I wear?
If you go to Oktoberfest and you’re not wearing traditional Bavarian dress or trachten you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb.
Both locals and visitors alike wear trachten. Ladies usually wear a dirndl and men wear lederhosen.
You can buy trachten all over Munich, especially around Oktoberfest. Here are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing yours:
- Don’t show up wearing a Halloween costume.
- The skirt of a dirndl should close to or below the knees.
- If your dirndl or lederhosen is really cheap, it’s total garbage and not traditional.
- A real dirndl is made out of cotton.
- Authentic lederhosen is made of deerskin.
- Go to a shop that sells real trachten or purchase it beforehand if you’re on a budget.
- If you’re on a budget find a second hand store, that’s where I got both of mine!
What should I bring with me?
As little as possible. Large bags and backpacks are not allowed past security in the Wiesn. Many of the tents even have security upon entering.
For women, I recommend a small cross body purse that you can have on your person at all times. While petty theft isn’t a huge problem at Oktoberfest you should never put your purse down just in case.
For men, well you always have the best pockets don’t you? The pockets in lederhosen are good sized and should hold your wallet and phone.
How do I get to Oktoberfest?
The main train station in Munich is the Hauptbahnhof. It is walk-able to get to the Wiesn from there, but it does take about 10-15 minutes. However, from the Hauptbahnhof you can get on the U-Bahn and head to the Theresienwiese U-Bahn stop which is the closest to the entrance of the Wiesn.
In addition to the Theresienwiese U-Bahn stop you can also use the Poccistrasse and Goetheplatz stops to get to the Wiesn.
For all the information you’ll need to get to and from the Wiesn download the MVV App. It will help you with times, tickets, and routes.
In total there are 38 tents at Oktoberfest; 17 big tents and 21 smaller ones. This number includes the tents in the Oide Wiesen too, which is not open every year, but has been a staple at Oktoberfest since 2010.
Each of the 17 big tents offers a different experience from the beautiful decorations to the band and other entertainment.
What follows is a full list of tents that take reservations with links to their reservation pages. You should book your table no later than March of the year you want to attend Oktoberfest. Tables fill up fast!
- Festzelt Tradition
- Käfer Wies’n-Schänke
- Kufflers Weinzelt
- Marstall Festzelt
- Paulaner Festzelt
- Zur Schönheitskönigin
Tips and tricks over learned at Oktoberfest
Eat a BIG lunch before heading to the Wiesn
Food is less expensive outside of the Wiesn so I recommend getting a big lunch beforehand. This will also provide you with a nice base for all the drinking you’ll probably be doing later. I’m a fan of getting a doner kabap at a local Turkish restaurant. they’re pretty cheap, full of bread, some veggies, and greasy meat.
Get the Official App
The Oktoberfest app is available for both Android and iOS. It will give you the latest news, a map of the Weisn and you can even share your lcation with friends.
Make sure you drink water
While water costs just as much as beer does at Oktoberfest it’s still really important to stay hydrated or you’re going to become a hot drunken mess. The beer tents don’t allow any outside food or drink inside. Ladies, make sure you buy a drindl with pockets so you can keep a small water bottle in there.
Hop from tent to tent
With so many amazing places to see and experience you can’t just stay at one of them! Hopping from tent to tent is something you should definitely do. However, I recommend you do this during the day, get a reservation for the late seating and then stay in that tent. In the evening is it difficult to find space in the tents.
Your Oktoberfest Guide to amazing views
There are plenty of rides throughout the Weisn, but if you only ride one it needs to the be the ferris wheel. From the top you will get an amazing view of the entire Weisn.
I also enjoying goes up on the big swings at night. The view is WOW!
Where you can and cannot dance
Despite everything your parents told you growing up you can dance on the furniture, at least some of it. In the beer halls there are hundreds of thousands of long wooden tables and benches. While dancing on the benches is permitted in many of the beer halls you should never dance on the tables. This will get you a one way ticket out the door.
Oktoberfest Guide: Don’t chug your beer
I know this sounds ridiculous, but don’t chug your beer. My friends and I were in a tent and wanted to go check out another one. A few of us still had beer in our mugs, so we chugged them. Before we knew it there was a security guard standing at the end of our table asking us to leave. Oh well.
Tents close at 10, but…
All the tents close at 10pm , the bands stop playing, and they make everyone leave. But all the rides and the grounds are open until 11pm. This is a great time to head outside and get on the swings or the ferris wheel fora cool view. Out of cash? No worries, go check out the crazy spinning rides and all the drunk people who decide to go on them. It’s hilarious!