As the leaves change colors and the weather cools off, you know what time it is: Oktoberfest time! During Oktoberfest in Germany, millions of visitors from all over the world travel to Munich to experience delicious German cuisine and endless steins of Oktoberfest beer.
But, before you book your Oktoberfest trip just yet, I’m here to tell you the honest truth – this event can be a madhouse! I was born and raised in Munich, so Oktoberfest in Germany has been something I’ve experienced countless times as a local.
There are certain things to keep in mind when traveling to Oktoberfest, especially as a woman if you’re doing a solo trip. (But more on this later!)
If you’ve never been before, you might be wondering how to do Oktoberfest in Munich the right way, or which is the best tent at Oktoberfest. Take it from a native, I’m going to share some insider tips with all the information you’ll need for the best Oktoberfest experience. Consider me your Oktoberfest guide.
The History and Culture of Oktoberfest
The origin of this cultural tradition of Oktoberfest in Germany dates back to October 1810. The festival was held over two weeks to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese. In the present day, Oktoberfest has become an annual festival highlighting German culture and lots of Oktoberfest beer, of course!
Traditional German outfits were, and often still are, worn during the event. The traditional Oktoberfest in Germany look includes lederhosen breeches for men and dirndl dresses for women. These are typically paired with a white button-up shirt for the men and white blouses for the women.
Oktoberfest attendees will dress as they please, but let’s keep in mind that this isn’t a Halloween costume. Our Bavarian costumes are tradition, an appreciation of our culture, craftsmanship, and preservation of the original way of dressing. My advice to the ladies who want a sexier traditional outfit is to do so with the upper half of the body in the décolleté area rather than by wearing a skirt that’s too short.
When is Oktoberfest in Munich?
Although the festival is called Oktoberfest, it actually begins in mid-September! It goes on for two weeks ending on the first Sunday in October, or October 3 (German Unity Day), whichever is later. Plan your trip accordingly with these dates, and add some other activities in and around Munich to make a complete Oktoberfest in Germany itinerary throughout many parts of the city.
Where is Oktoberfest in Munich?
Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, Germany, in “Theresienwiese,” also called “Wiesn” by the locals. It has been held annually on the Theresienwiese (named after Princess Therese) since 1810. The park is located southwest of the city center, and it’s easy to get by public transport with its own stop on Munich’s U-Bahn train line.
How to Go to Oktoberfest Like a Local
I’ve been experiencing Oktoberfest for over 30 years now (time flies!). Ask me anything, I’m confident that I can help you! For me, the most precious thing about Oktoberfest in Germany is the opportunity to make new friends and see them when they come to Oktoberfest each year. Some of my most beautiful friendships have been made thanks to Oktoberfest!
So, after many years of attending Oktoberfest, here’s what you need to know:
Find The Best Tents at Oktoberfest
A newcomer, and even Oktoberfest returners, can get easily overwhelmed by the number of Oktoberfest beer tents. However, when I’m at Oktoberfest in Germany, I only go to three tents: Marstall Festzelt (formerly Hippodrom), Kufflers Weinzelt and Käfer Wiesn-Schänke. Here are my reasons why:
They Serve Champagne and Wine
Since I don’t drink beer, I go for these tents that serve bottles of wine and champagne instead of just Oktoberfest beer. One could argue whether or not people behave differently drunk on wine vs. beer. Let’s just say I prefer the vibe of champagne-drunk people!
They Have a Sophisticated Vibe
These are considered fancy tents with a twist of luxe. I know Oktoberfest is a folk festival, but I feel like the drunken “folk” don’t match my energy, so I prefer the fancy atmosphere of champagne-drinking people.
They’re More Exclusive
The idea that “you can’t get in there” always intrigued me when I was younger. It’s true, these three tents are exclusive, and you can’t just wander in on a drunken whim. If you don’t have a reservation, you would have to know the doorman and security to enter. To get in, you definitely have to know the rules of standard etiquette and how to keep your inhibitions.
Know You Don’t Have to Drink Oktoberfest Beer
Yes, I said it. You can go to Oktoberfest and not be a beer drinker! While I do like two particular types of beer (Flötzinger Hell and Tegernseer Hell), I only drink beer once every few years. Instead, I prefer to find the bubbly. You can find champagne options, and there’s not exclusively sour Veuve Clicquot, but also Moet and Ruinart, from 0.75 liters to 15-liter bottles, which I prefer. Beyond the taste, I also have no desire to drink a beer from a Masskrug (1-liter jug) with a thick rim. Pass the bubbly instead!
Avoid Going to Oktoberfest in Germany Alone
I went to Oktoberfest once alone. I must preface this section by telling those who don’t know that I was born and raised in Munich. I know everything there is to know about the intricacies of Oktoberfest. There was one year I didn’t stand long at the side entrance until a waiter (who knew me) pulled me past the bouncer into the tent. It was a pure stroke of luck! Honestly, standing alone in a jostling mass of people in groups (or at least in pairs), is uncomfortable. Even in the tent, it’s almost alien-UFO style when you’re by yourself.
It’s not the being alone that would bother a die-hard solo adventurer, but in the context of all that alcohol, it’s just not cool. I would even go as far as to say it’s not safe for women!
Harness the Positive Energy of Oktoberfest Instead
While there are definitely some important points to note about Oktoberfest in Germany, I do genuinely love being able to meet people from all over the world! So many travel far to come here, and it creates this incredibly high energy level with positive vibes. As an energy-sensitive person, I feel this vibration throughout my body. The concentrated joy I experience is an energy booster that lasts long after Oktoberfest is over (called “Wiesn” by us Munich locals, which is Bavarian and comes from Wiese = meadow). And yes, the Wiesn-Blues, once it is over, is real!