The ultimate Oktoberfest guide for Wiesn beginners
“O’zapft is!” It’s that time of year again: Munich’s 186th Oktoberfest is approaching fast. Every year, the Wiesn (the local term for the Oktoberfest) attracts more than six million visitors from all over the world. But figuring out the perfect Oktoberfest outfit, choosing the right beer tent and managing your time correctly can prove to be quite a challenge, especially for tourists. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate Oktoberfest guide to help you find your way around the Wiesn madness:
Oktoberfest Tip Nr. 1: The right festive tent
Tourists visiting the Wiesn for the first time can find it a little overwhelming. After all, it’s the largest public festival in the world. Especially when it comes to the beer tents, you are spoiled for choice – there are 14 large festival tents and countless smaller ones. It’s always a good idea to find out in advance which crowds are to be found in which tents at the Oktoberfest and what the mood is like there. To make sure you know what to expect, we’ve listed some of the most important tents here:
This is the tent to be in at 12 noon on the first Saturday if you want to experience the official Wiesn ceremony live. It’s also a popular spot for young people to party.
If making international connections at the festival is what you’re after, then the largest Wiesn tent is the right place for you. Here, tourists from all over the world sing themselves hoarse to the tunes of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Atemlos durch die Nacht”.
The Augustiner tent is a favorite among locals, who come here to drink and socialize.
Rumor has it that the most beautiful people in Munich can be found here. That’s why the Hacker-Pschorr tent has the reputation of being a place where the locals come to flirt.
Not everyone gets in here. With a bit of luck, you might succeed and even encounter a celebrity or two inside the Schützen tent.
The Bräurosl tends to be more traditional, but on the renowned Gay Sunday, the atmosphere really kicks off.
Munich’s chic and fancy crowd are not stingy when it comes to spending money on partying. They can be found dancing on the benches in the Marstalltent.
The atmosphere in the Löwenbräu tent is a little more relaxed. Here, you will be in the company of families, older Wiesn-goers and fans of the 1960s.
The Ochsenbraterei is another relaxed place to hang out. Instead of a wild party, this tent offers a range of hearty Bavarian delicacies.
Käfer is where celebrities meet to party, but they prefer to keep to themselves. But if you’re lucky, you might spot a star or two at the entrance.
Oktoberfest Tip Nr. 2: Eat, drink, party
Before you can really let off steam at the Oktoberfest, you’ll need to find a spot in the tent, because no beer is sold in the corridors. If you don’t have a reservation, it’s best to arrive early, especially if you’re visiting the Wiesn with friends. At weekends in particular, all tables in the large tents tend to be occupied from 10 am onwards. Last orders are at 10:30 pm and the beer tents close one hour later. You can continue celebrating in the Käfer and in the wine tent until 00:30 am, or at one of the numerous After-Wiesn parties in the neighborhood.
The Oktoberfest exclusively serves beer from renowned Munich breweries such as Augustiner, Paulaner, Hofbräu, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr and Löwenbräu. But be careful! Even if the Wiesn beer tastes particularly good, it’s important to go easy on it, because it’s stronger than usual. A hearty Weißwurst (veal sausage) breakfast is the perfect preparation for those who have fought their way to a table at the crack of dawn. Later on, you will be tempted by traditional Bavarian delicacies such as Brathendl (roast chicken), pretzels with Obatzta (cheese dip) or Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick) as well as steamed noodles, and Kaiserschmarrn (pancake-like dessert) with roasted almonds for dessert. As the Bavarians would say “An Guadn” (Enjoy).
Oktoberfest Tip Nr. 3: Choosing the right outfit
Unfortunately, some tourists confuse Bavarian costumes with carnival costumes and dress accordingly. However, take our word for it: nothing looks less stylish than a plastic Dirndl from the main station or the artificial leather trousers from the airport for EUR 20. You can avoid sticking out like a sore thumb by wearing everyday clothes, which you can complement with a traditional Bavarian costume accessory. Alternatively, there are also traditional costume rental shops where you can dress up in an authentic Oktoberfest outfit without having to spend a fortune.
For the ladies, classic and high-necked Dirndls with elegant lace blouses are in vogue this year. This classic Oktoberfest outfit is topped off with matching heels, accessories and a cardigan. By the way, you can determine people’s relationship status according to which side they tie the bow of their apron. If you wear your bow on the right, it means you are taken. Left, on the other hand, signals that you are single and open to flirting. Wiesn waitresses and widows wear their bow in the back, and young girls and virgins in the middle at the front.
Gentlemen should also pay attention to a suitable Oktoberfest outfit: they can’t go wrong if they stick to deerskin trousers, a traditional white linen shirt and a matching traditional costume vest or a jacket. Combine these with traditional cable-knit socks and Haferl shoes and the look is complete.
It’s better to leave backpacks and large bags at home, otherwise the security staff is likely to cause you problems when you enter.
Oktoberfest Insider Tip
An insider tip from our Oktoberfest Guide: We recommend visiting the Oide Wiesn behind the Ferris wheel. It costs EUR 3 to enter, but it’s far more peaceful away from the crowds. Once there, you will enjoy historical rides, the cozy Oktoberfest flair of yesteryear and a slice of real Munich tradition.
Now all you need is the right accommodation – no easy undertaking during the Wiesn period. Our final Oktoberfest tip: Come to us! Fortunately, we still have free in our Munich Living Hotels, not far from the Theresienwiese!