Oktoberfest is one of the best international festivals out there, and most certainly the queen of the beer festivals. Gathering over 6 million guests each year in Munich, Germany – Oktoberfest is a grand celebration consisting of great beer, food, people, singing and dancing over 16 days.
I went to my first Oktoberfest in 2017 and the whole experience was a bit surreal but in a good way. I didn’t know many things about it before I went, up to the fact that I tied by dirndl bow wrong and everyone kept asking me if I’m really a widow.
Here are 10 essential tips for visiting Oktoberfest from personal experience to help you be a bit more prepared and less stressed during the event.
#1 What is Oktoberfest and where is it held?
The first Oktoberfest was held on Oct. 12, 1810, and was originally in honor of the wedding between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig, and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The fields in front of what was then the city gates were renamed Theresienwiese (Therese’s meadow) in her honor, which is the location where Oktoberfest is still celebrated. Other cities in Bavaria and the rest of Germany hold similar events, but Munich is the original one if you like.
# 2 Oktoberfest 2019 dates are September 21 – October 6
#3 There are 17 big tents and 21 small tents at Oktoberfest this year and each big tent has a different vibe, decorated differently and are known for different food. Schottenhamel tent is considered to be the tent for young germans, Augustiner tent is family-oriented. Hacker-Festzelt is where all the locals hang out, and Hofbräu-Festzelt tent is where you’ll find the tourists, especially lots of Americans and British. Decide on the right tent before you go. Here’s the overview of Oktoberfest 2019 tents
#4 Bring cash! Oktoberfest is very much a cash-based party. Even though there are ATMs on the grounds, the queues will be very long. I suggest bringing between 50-100 euros a day.
#5 There are six official breweries (Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu, and Staatliches Hofbräu-München) that are the only ones allowed to produce Oktoberfest Beer™ under special criteria and serve it at the event.
#6 You need to be sitting to order a beer. With the exception of the Hofbräu tent, you’ll need to find a seat on a bench in order to get the attention of any waitress. If you cannot find a seat – try a backup plan: sweet talk a seated individual to order you and your friends a beer the next time waitress comes around, and offer to buy them one too.
#7 Get in the spirit and dress the part – lederhosen for the guys, dirndls for the girls! Here’s my guide on what to wear to Oktoberfest and where to get it. You can get the traditional outfits all over Munich but to get the best price buy ahead of time. I recommend Amazon for a variety of choices of dirndls and lederhosens.
#8 Leave your big purse at home. Backpacks and large bags aren’t allowed. Bring a small crossbody bag like this one.
‘#9 Download the official Oktoberfest app which has all the essential information and tips for visiting the festival, as well as the most comprehensive site plan for the Oktoberfest, which lets you share your location with your friends.
#10 Explore Munich – Make some time to explore Munich and its Bavarian heritage. Munich is absolutely stunning in autumn.
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