**Updated : October 2023**
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Why Oktoberfest in Munich?
Let's be real here, there are Oktoberfest celebrations around the entire world, supposedly with some of the largest being located in Hong Kong and Brazil. However, the most epic of them all has to be Munich, where Oktoberfest originated all the way back in 1810. The story goes that on October 12th of 1810, Prince Ludwig - a.k.a. the man that later became the King of Bavaria - was getting married, and he invited the entirety of Munich to celebrate. Leading up to the event they had multiple events and celebrations like games, horse races, feasts, and of course, beer. Since then the celebration has only grown, and because the event typically ends around the beginning of October, they've added on celebration days to the beginning - meaning that Oktoberfest is actually celebrated in September.
Looking for a place to stay near Oktoberfest? We loved Schwabinger Wahrheit by Geisel and it was only a few subway stops from the Oktoberfest grounds!
What to Know Before you Visit
Before you put on your dirndls and lederhosen (more on that below) we recommend reading through this section quite thoroughly to properly plan your first visit to Oktoberfest in Munich. Not only does it contain things to bring with you, but also what not to bring, what to expect, what to avoid, and generally some things you'll want to know before you head into the Oktoberfest grounds - at least, we wish we would have known them before our visit to make our experience a bit smoother. PLUS, if you keep scrolling you'll find our list of 9 things you won't want to miss at the Oktoberfest grounds!
On our second day at Oktoberfest we did a tour similar to this one to learn more about the history of Oktoberfest!
9 Things You Won't Want to Miss at Oktoberfest
Other than the beer (although we've included that as well) there are a number of things at Oktoberfest Munich that are completely unique, and things we've never seen or experienced anywhere else in the world. Most of these things are often overlooked by tourists, and we only learned about most of these on our tour through the Oktoberfest Grounds. Overall, in order to enjoy a large portion of Oktoberfest, we highly encourage you to plan on spending a minimum of 2 or 3 days at the grounds.
1. Beer Tents - There are 17 large beer tents & 21 small beer tents throughout the Oktoberfest grounds, meaning you could spend an hour in each and still only maybe see them all in two full days. We highly recommend shooting your shot with the larger tents, even though they'll be much busier, because each of the larger tents has something unique about them! From the painted ceilings in the Hacker-Pschorr Tent, watching the first keg of beer getting tapped at Schottenhamel Tent, enjoying Munich's oldest brewery's beer at Augustiner Tent, watching (and hearing) the lion roar at the Lowerbrau Tent, or even seeing women attempt to fling their bras onto the Angel Aloisius statue in Hofbräu Festzelt - there is an unending amount of sights and experiences in these beer tents - and we encourage you to explore them all! It's important to note, that later in the day you'll begin to notice many people standing on the benches and chugging their beers - if you do this, it's about a 50/50 chance that you'll get escorted out of the tent afterwards. So, just keep that in mind and plan accordingly. ;) Also, if you want to continue getting served at the tables, it's important to tip your server. Although tipping in general is not expected in Germany, it is expected at Oktoberfest, and the starting rate is about 2 Euro per beer stein.
2. Rides - Although you'll see multiple rides throughout the entire fairgrounds, there are two rides that we highly encourage you not to miss that are unique to Oktoberfest. The first is the Toboggan Ride. At 4 Euro a person, you get to attempt jumping onto a moving conveyor belt before climbing a story or two up some stairs to take a toboggan ride down a giant, twirling slide. Sounds simple enough, except that the ride itself isn't really the attraction. The best part about the toboggan is actually watching others attempt to jump onto the conveyor belt, the later in the day the better. Trust us, you won't regret it. The second ride we recommend can't actually be seen from outside, and you'll have to pay 4 Euro per person to enter the building. Called "Teufelsrad," or "the Devil's Wheel" - this attraction calls people up in groups and encourages them to stay on the spinning wheel as long as they can, with the last person being crowned "the winner." Based entirely on volunteers, you can participate, or just watch, for as long or as little as you'd like. If the game makers aren't getting enough people off the turntable then they might just start trying to get you off with ropes and giant balls. Many people also recommend the ferris wheel for great views of the fairgrounds! (This was a bit out of our budget for a ferris wheel ride though, so we can't personally recommend it.)
3. THE FOOD - Arguable one of my favorite parts of Oktoberfest (other than then entire experience) there are so many delicious foods to try. From warm cinnamon almonds, to freshly fried potato chips, chocolate covered fruits, pretzels, smoked salmon salads and potato dumplings, to bratwursts and gingerbread hearts - the most popular dish at Oktoberfest has to be half a chicken. At all the tents, most reservations will come with 2 beer steins and half a chicken - and to be quite honest they are delicious. We highly encourage you to try at least one "half chicken" to really complete your experience at Oktoberfest.
4. Oktoberfest Cocaine - Like we mentioned in our video, Oktoberfest "Cocaine" is not cocaine - it's simple a mix of sugar, menthol, and glucose. If you spend some time in the beer tents, you'll soon notice people all around you snorting this white powder. With attendants coming through the tents and selling small bottles of this "Oktoberfest Cocaine" for 6.50 Euro a bottle, most people either love or hate the feeling - but it's said that snorting this mixture will give you a bit of an alert feeling and "wake you up" so that you can continue drinking and enjoying Oktoberfest.
5. Oktoberfest Outfits - Like we mentioned above, it's important to wear traditional dirndls and lederhosen at Oktoberfest, especially if you're planning to spend some time in the beer tents. However, if you're not interested in renting the traditional clothing from a shop in Munich, then we recommend ordering online from Amazon ONLY if you order the correct type of clothing. For example, dirndls should go down to your knees or ankles, have a separate apron to tie around, and should not be titled "costume" or "beer wench." You should not wear t-shirts with printed lederhosen or dirndls on them, and it's important that you choose an outfit that is respectable to the local Bavarian culture and their traditional clothing. Like we mentioned above, we were told by locals that this dirndl was very nice, and these lederhosen were "passable." ;)
6. Puke Hill - Alright, so this might actually be the one thing you can skip on our list, but even if you don't end up needing to puke on puke hill - it is definitely a sight to see. Located directly next to the Bavaria Statue, the story goes that any visitors that have had a little too much to drink head over to the statue to grovel for mercy from the beautiful bronze lady, however they typically end up spewing their guts nearby instead. If you're not interested in puke hill, then we at least recommend stopping by the Bavaria Statue, which, fun fact - you can actually head into the statue and climb to the top for some epic views of the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. The statue is also a great emergency meeting spot if you get separated from your group!
7. Make New Friends - In addition to beer, rides, and food - a huge part of Oktoberfest is the people. Even locals will tell you that Bavarians (or maybe Germans in general?) can often have a wall up when meeting new people - except at Oktoberfest. With a generous mix of international visitors, if you don't make at least a few new friends then you might not have done Oktoberfest right. We had the best time meeting locals and other tourists alike during our few days there, and met people from all over the world - even another young man from Alaska!
8. Oide Wiesn - The "Oide Wiesn," or the historical & traditional grounds of the Oktoberfest, require an entry ticket of 4 Euro per person. With a small gate separating it from the rest of the Oktoberfest grounds, you can purchase a ticket onsite. Inside you'll find a mix of food stalls, cozy beer gardens, and fun rides that'll help you "experience real Bavarian customs and get an idea of what Oktoberfest used to be like."
9. Old Beer Barrels - There is only one tent at Oktoberfest that still has their beer delivered in the traditional wooden beer barrels - and that's Paulaner Munchen. If you're lucky enough, you'll happen to run into this delivery on the main street of the Oktoberfest grounds. We tried looking up an official time of delivery, but couldn't find anything online - so we'll leave you with the second best option - when we saw them it was right around noon on the 2nd Tuesday of the Oktoberfest festival.
Looking for more things to do in Munich? Check out our guide with 11 things you won't want to miss during your visit!
Watch our Oktoberfest Adventures here!
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We're Deborah & Tyler, a pretty average husband and wife duo from a pretty average state that didn't want to live so averagely. After our *Covid wedding we sold everything that didn't fit into the Jeep and moved to Alaska, then decided to take a gap year!
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