Skip to content
  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

Ultimate Guide to Oktoberfest Munich: Trip Planning Tips & More

Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, is a celebration of Bavarian culture that draws millions of visitors to Munich each year. This annual event is a fun blend of traditional Bavarian customs, vibrant music, mouth-watering food, and of course, plenty of beer. We visited Oktoberfest in September 2023 and are eager to share some of the tips and knowledge we learned from our own experience at Oktoberfest with you, our fellow Jetsetters. Planning your Oktoberfest trip is a thrilling endeavor, and this blog post will guide you through the essentials for an unforgettable experience.

Oktoberfest: A Brief Overview

Oktoberfest is a 16 to 18-day festival that starts in late September and runs into the first weekend of October. The duration of the event depends on the year as it typically ends on the first Sunday in October, but if the 16th day of the festival is before October 3rd, also known as German Unity Day which is a nationwide public holiday, then Oktoberfest is extended until then.

Oktoberfest 2024: Saturday, September 21 – Sunday, October 6

Oktoberfest 2025: Saturday, September 20 – Sunday, October 5

Oktoberfest 2026: Saturday, September 19 – Sunday, October 4

Oktoberfest originated in 1810 when Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The people of Munich were invited to join in on the wedding celebration, which took place in a large meadow just outside the city gates. The festivities included horse races, feasting, and, of course, beer. The people of Munich had so much fun at the first Oktoberfest, it took place again in 1811, before eventually evolving into the grand event we know today.

Fun Fact: Theresienwiese, where Oktoberfest takes place, is named after Princess Therese! Wiese is the German word for “meadow”, so translating to Therese’s Meadow! However, don’t be caught off guard when you hear locals referring to both Oktoberfest and its location as “Wiesn”.

Oktoberfest offers a truly unique experience that is incomparable to any other. With carnival games, thrilling rides, iconic beer tents, and the charming Oide Wiesn, there is so much to enjoy at this world-renowned festival. Describing the anticipation and excitement for first-time visitors can be a challenge, as the vibrant atmosphere filled with traditional Bavarian music, delectable cuisine, and, of course, copious amounts of beer, is beyond words.

Hacker Tent_Sky

Oktoberfest Weather

Oktoberfest, despite its name, primarily takes place in September due to better weather! The weather in Munich can be unpredictable in October, with cooler temperatures and the potential for rain or even snow. To provide a more pleasant and comfortable experience for visitors, the organizers of Oktoberfest made the decision to start the festival to late September when the weather is generally milder and more conducive to outdoor festivities.

You can typically expect the weather during September to range between an average high of 66°F and an average low of 48°F, while the weather in October in Munich is far chillier with an average high of 56°F and an average low of 41°F. Be certain, however, to check the weather before you start packing for your own Oktoberfest adventure.

Beer Tent Opening Times

There are 17 large tents and 21 small tents at Oktoberfest, including in the Oide Wiesn. The opening times for these tents are below.

  • First Saturday of Oktoberfest: Tents open at 9:00AM; non-alcoholic beverages are served beginning at 10:00AM, and beer is served after the first beer barrel tapping at noon.
  • Monday through Friday: 10:00AM - 11:30PM
  • Weekends & the October 3rd Public Holiday (German Unity Day): 9:00AM - 11:30PM

Last call is typically 10:30PM, but there are some exceptions. Käfer Wiesn-Schänke and Kufflers Weinzelt (wine tent) are open until 1:00AM and last call is at 12:30AM.

Most stalls and fairground rides follow similar opening times, but close at midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.

Oktoberfest_Paulaner Tent_Cropped2

Best Places to Stay in Munich for Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest takes place at the Theresienwiese, which is centrally located within Munich.

Choosing the right accommodation is crucial for a memorable Oktoberfest experience. Munich offers a variety of options, from luxury hotels to cozy hostels and traditional Bavarian guesthouses. Staying in the city center or near the festival grounds, Theresienwiese, is ideal for easy access to the festivities. Theresienwiese, while the most convenient, is also the most expensive neighborhood to stay in during Oktoberfest.

To save money, be certain to book your accommodations as early as possible. More affordable and centrally-located options tend to fill up nearly a year ahead of time. Be prepared to spend at least €300/night for a decent hotel during Oktoberfest. Less expensive camping options and hostels are available, but they fill up quickly.

We have stayed at a number of different hotels in Munich, but stayed Hotel Torbräu in Old Town when we visited for Oktoberfest. We could not recommend this hotel enough! While it was on the pricier side (it was €450/night, but thankfully we had a quite a bit of One Key rewards to redeem to help lower the overall cost), it was centrally located to many of the popular tourist attractions within Munich and close to both the U-Bahn and S-Bahn. The hotel itself was great, our room was large and extremely comfortable. The front desk staff were all very gracious and helpful too. There were also tons of fantastic restaurants and German bakeries nearby.  

Old Town is about a 30-minute walk to the Oktoberfest festivities at Theresienwiese. Although, we never actually walked since you can very easily take the U-Bahn - the U3 (orange) and U6 (blue) - from Marienplatz to either the Goetheplatz or Poccistraße stations, both of which are just a short walk to the Oktoberfest gates. Taking the U-Bahn from Marienplatz to Oktoberfest takes about 11 minutes. However, be prepared for the U-Bahn to be incredibly busy during Oktoberfest, although trains will be running more frequently than usual.


Traditional Dress

To immerse yourself fully in the Oktoberfest spirit, consider donning traditional Bavarian attire, also known as Tracht. For men, this typically includes Lederhosen (leather shorts), a checkered shirt, suspenders, a waistcoat, and a hat. Women can opt for a Dirndl, a dress with a bodice, blouse, and apron. Dirndls and Lederhosen are traditional Bavarian garments that hold deep cultural significance and have a fascinating history.



Dirndls are traditional dresses worn by women in the Alpine regions of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. A Dirndl typically consists of a dress, blouse, and apron. The origins of the Dirndl can be traced back to rural Bavaria and Austria in the 18th century. It was originally a practical outfit worn by working-class women (essentially a maid's dress for farm and housework). By the 1870s, however, Dirndls were all of the rage amongst the aristocracy. Instead of wearing Dirndls made from wool, the Dirndls of the aristocracy were made from expensive materials, such as silk. Over time, it evolved into a symbol of traditional Bavarian and Alpine culture. 

Today, Dirndls are not only worn during festive occasions like Oktoberfest, but are also cherished as a symbol of regional pride. Dirndls can come in different lengths, a short length (which is typically knee length), a midi length (the most common), and a maxi length (which is typically worn by older women). Dirndls are also available in a variety of colors, but most blouses worn with the dirndl are white. Occasionally, you will see black blouses, but white is the most common color.

It's worth noting that women can also wear Lederhosen! So, if dresses aren’t your thing, but you still want to dress up for the festivities, Lederhosen are an option!

Dirndl Undergarments & Accessories

Since the weather in Munich in September and October can be on the cooler side, I highly recommend wearing tights under your Dirndl and a cardigan or sweater if the weather calls for it. If you are afraid that the look of tights might clash with your outfit, I bought a pair of nude-color tights that worked out great! I purchased Danskin brand tights off of Amazon since that was a brand I used to wear when I danced as a kid, but there are plenty of other options out there too from Sheertex to Wolford, Calvin Klein, Spanx, and more. I also paired my Dirndl with a white cardigan I already had in my closet that did a decent job of keeping me a bit warmer when outside. (Although, to be fully transparent, I could have used a warmer jacket in the evening, but I did not want to carry it around with me all day.)

If the weather is warm when you visit Oktoberfest, then I still recommend wearing spandex shorts or Spanx underneath your Dirndl. The odds are pretty high that you will be standing on top of benches in the beer tents and you do not want to flash someone, if you can avoid it anyway! 

Another key piece of your Dirndl is your bra! Most women will wear a push-up bra or buy an actual Dirndl bra (yes, that is a thing) so they get that signature cleavage with their Dirndl. However, Oktoberfest is a long day with a lot of drinking and dancing, so wear whatever is the most comfortable for you! 

As far as accessories go, along with a small purse, feel free to play up your hair and jewelry. A lot of German women will wear their hair in braids or add flowers to their hair for the occasion. Fancy headbands were also extremely popular last year. Jewelry comes in all shapes and forms too, but some pretzel earrings make for an adorable - and festive - addition to your outfit! 


Lederhosen, which translates to "leather trousers" in German, are iconic Bavarian garments primarily worn by men. These leather shorts are often accompanied by suspenders, a checkered shirt, and occasionally a waistcoat. Lederhosen have a more extensive history, dating back to the Alpine regions in the 18th century, where they were originally worn by laborers and hunters due to their durability. Like Dirndls, Lederhosen have evolved into a symbol of Bavarian and Austrian heritage and are frequently worn during traditional festivals, such as Oktoberfest. 

Traditional Lederhosen are made from genuine leather, typically sourced from animals like goats or deer. The use of leather for making Lederhosen is not only for its durability but also for its suitability to the rugged lifestyle of the Alpine regions where these garments originated. The leather used for Lederhosen is robust and can withstand outdoor activities, making it ideal for laborers, hunters, and individuals living in mountainous areas. Plus, leather is naturally water-repellent, making them the perfect attire for spilled beer.

Lederhosen come in various lengths, including short, knee-length, and long styles. Short lederhosen, known as "Kurze Lederhosen," typically end above the knee and are often worn for casual occasions or warmer weather. On the other hand, knee-length lederhosen, known as "Kniebundhosen," extend below the knee and are considered more traditional, suitable for formal events or cooler climates. Long lederhosen, referred to as "Lange Lederhosen," extend below the knee and are sometimes worn for formal or ceremonial occasions, showcasing a more traditional and conservative look. The short and knee-length Lederhosen styles are the most popular at Oktoberfest. 

Traditional shirts worn with Lederhosen are called "Trachtenhemd." These shirts are often white or checkered, with some featuring embroidery or decorative elements. To be completely transparent, there is little need to go out and buy a shirt specifically to wear with your Lederhosen for Oktoberfest. Any long-sleeve button down will do, particularly if you already have one that is checkered or plain white.

Lederhosen Accessories

The following Lederhosen accessories are completely optional, but common additions to your Oktoberfest attire. 

  • Waistcoats: A traditional waistcoat known as a "Trachtenweste" is often worn over the shirt. These vests can be plain or embroidered and are usually made of materials like wool.
  • Socks: Knee-high socks, known as "Trachtensocken," are commonly worn with lederhosen. These socks can be plain, an accent color, or feature patterns such as checks or stripes. The socks are typically made of wool.
  • Calf-Warmers: Calf-warmers, also known as "Wadenwärmer" in German, are typically made of wool and are worn with ankle socks. They can provide additional warmth, especially during colder weather or when spending long hours outdoors at Oktoberfest.
  • Hats: Some men also wear hats, usually a Tyrolean hat or a felt hat called a "Tirolerhut."

Buying Trachten in Munich

Many shops in Munich sell Trachten, even shops inside the train station, so you can purchase your Lederhosen and/or Dirndl upon arrival or even rent them for the duration of your stay. A few Munich retailers that were recommended to us, but we didn’t use to find our Trachten, are below.

Buying Second-Hand & Trachten Online

While authentic Trachten can often come with a hefty price tag, you can still find budget-friendly options that exude authenticity rather than appearing like they are straight out of a costume shop. For those mindful of their finances, consider exploring second-hand Trachten, which can yield a substantial cost savings. For example, I personally acquired my Dirndl on eBay. It had been purchased by a tourist in Munich for a prior year's festivities, worn just once, and I was able to snag it for a mere $65.00. This was a significant deal, especially considering that the retail price for that same Dirndl, brand new, exceeded €200. (If you do not have any luck with eBay, you can check Poshmark as they had a pretty large selection of pre-owned, well-priced Dirndls and Lederhosen too.)

We got Brian's Lederhosen online prior to our trip to Oktoberfest from the retailer, Chubbies (yes, the shorts company). Their Lederhosen typically go on sale during the summer in the lead-up to Oktoberfest. While they are not the most authentic option out there, they were budget friendly and got the job done. 

Keep in mind that when shopping for Trachten online, in advance of Oktoberfest, it is essential to exercise caution regarding sizing. The sizing of authentic Trachten differs significantly from what we are accustomed to in the United States, as most of what is sold online will be in German sizes. Therefore, we recommend that you carefully check your measurements against the provided size charts before placing your order.

One other thing to note when buying your Trachten online is to steer clear of items labeled as "Beer Wench," "Halloween Costume," "Flirty Fraulein," "Bavarian Wench," "Beer Girl Costume," and the like. It is important to remember that Dirndls and Lederhosen are cherished symbols of traditional Bavarian culture. Choosing attire that resembles a costume or is deemed inappropriate can make you stand out from the crowd in a less-than-favorable manner. Opting for authentic Trachten ensures you blend in seamlessly and respect the rich heritage of these traditional garments.


Traditional Dress - Footwear

For footwear, remember that comfort is key. Choosing the right footwear to complement your Trachten is an essential part of completing your traditional Bavarian look while ensuring comfort for a day of festivities. (We both opted to wear leather sneakers with our Trachten for Oktoberfest since they're comfortable and able to be easily cleaned.) Here are some popular footwear options for both men and women:

For Women (with Dirndls):

  • Ballet Flats: Simple and comfortable, ballet flats in neutral colors can pair well with Dirndls, especially if you want a more relaxed look.
  • Mary Janes: Mary Jane-style shoes, with their strap across the instep and low heels, are the traditional footwear choice for women wearing a Dirndl.
  • Booties: A more modern footwear option, especially if the weather is cold, can be a great option for Oktoberfest.
  • Sneakers: While not traditional by any means, there is nothing wrong with dawning a pair of sneakers to Oktoberfest. In fact, they’re a really popular option amongst young locals.

For Men (with Lederhosen):

  • Haferlschuhe: Traditional Bavarian leather shoes known as "Haferlschuhe" are the classic choice for men wearing Lederhosen. These shoes feature lacing and a rugged sole.
  • Trachten Boots (Trachtenstiefel): For a more robust look, some men opt for Trachten boots, which are higher-cut leather boots with a sturdy sole. 
  • Loafers: If you prefer a more relaxed and modern look with your Lederhosen, you can choose loafers in a complementary color.
  • Sneakers: It’s pretty much a guarantee that beer will be spilled at Oktoberfest, so if you want to leave your fancy leather shoes at home and opt for a pair of sneakers that is fine too. Adidas even designed sneakers for Oktoberfest back in 2019, proving that they really are an acceptable form of footwear for the occasion.

Regardless of what you choose to wear, ensure your footwear is weather-appropriate since Munich's weather can be unpredictable in late September and early October. Finally, comfortable and sturdy shoes are a must, as you'll likely be on your feet, walking, and dancing throughout the day and night.

What to Eat & Drink at Oktoberfest 

Oktoberfest is renowned for its hearty Bavarian cuisine and, of course, its beer. Here are some must-try dishes and beverages:

  • Roast Chicken (Wiesn Hendl): The most popular dish at Oktoberfest, whole chickens are roasted over an open flame until the skin is crisp and the meat is cooked through. Served in halves and often (but not always) accompanied with a salad or potatoes.
  • Schweinebraten: Slow-roasted pork, seasoned with spices, and served with a flavorful gravy, making it a delicious and hearty Bavarian dish.
  • Schweinshaxe: A crispy, roasted pork knuckle that's a Bavarian specialty.
  • Wurstl: A variety of sausages, such as bratwurst and weisswurst, which are grilled to perfection and served as a quintessential Bavarian snack.
  • Brezen (Pretzel): These soft, doughy delights are perfect for snacking while you enjoy your beer.
  • Käsespätzle: A delectable Bavarian dish consisting of soft egg noodles (spätzle) smothered in a creamy cheese sauce, often with crispy fried onions on top. It's a rich and comforting comfort food, similar to macaroni and cheese, but with a distinct Bavarian twist. (Käsespätzle is also my favorite Bavarian dish!)
  • Reiberdatschi: Also known as Kartoffelpuffer or potato pancakes, Reiberdatschi is often served with applesauce or sour cream.
  • Sauerkraut: Fermented cabbage that pairs perfectly with meat dishes.
  • Beer: The star of the show, Oktoberfest beer is specially brewed for the occasion. It is a rich, amber lager with a slightly higher alcohol content - although each beer tent is going to have their own variation. Be sure to try a Mass, a one-liter beer mug, served inside the beer tents.
  • Radler: A refreshing mix of beer and lemon soda, perfect for a lighter option.

Food - and of course, beer - is served throughout the Oktoberfest grounds. The beer tents, which are the main attractions at Oktoberfest, indeed serve both beer and food. Each tent is operated by a different brewery and offers a unique atmosphere, but they all serve traditional Bavarian beer, primarily Märzen-style beer brewed specifically for Oktoberfest. This beer is amber in color, with a malty flavor and a slightly higher alcohol content than typical lagers. Visitors can enjoy the beer in liter-sized steins known as "Mass." The beer tents also feature extensive menus of traditional Bavarian cuisine, including many of the dishes listed above.

It is a common misunderstanding that Oktoberfest is solely a beer festival where one can sample a variety of different beers. While breweries do indeed create unique brews for Oktoberfest, the truth is that each beer tent usually offers only its designated beer or occasionally a radler variant, which mixes their Oktoberfest beer with lemon soda. Therefore, visitors should not anticipate a selection of beers to choose from, as this expectation may lead to disappointment.


Wine at Oktoberfest Munich

If beer is not your thing, there is a wine tent at Oktoberfest Munich -  Kufflers Weinzelt! The wine tent offers a wide selection of wines, including local German wines as well as international varieties. Visitors can enjoy red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines, catering to different preferences and tastes. To complement the wines, the wine tent also serves a range of delicious food options. These include cheese platters, cured meats, seafood, and other internationally-inspired gourmet dishes that pair well with wine.

A Note About Water & Non-Alcoholic Options

There are free water fountains located on the Oktoberfest grounds, but there are not many and they are a bit challenging to find. (This year the water fountains are supposed to be located on the central delivery street, behind the eastern beer tents.) While all of the beer tents do have non-alcoholic beverage options, they do not come cheap. Water in the beer tents ranges in price between €8 to €14 for a liter of mineral water. You will pay similar prices for sodas, too. While you definitely need to stay hydrated while drinking at Oktoberfest, we also recommend making sure you drink plenty of water before you arrive at Oktoberfest and have plenty of water back in your hotel room waiting for you once your evening ends.  

One other note, you can bring beverages - as long as they are not in glass containers - with you onto the Oktoberfest grounds. However, outside drinks are not allowed inside of the beer tents. 

Oktoberfest Souvenirs

Oktoberfest offers a plethora of unique souvenirs that allow you to take home a piece of Bavarian culture and memories of the festival. Here are some popular souvenirs to consider:

  • Beer Steins: Traditional beer mugs, often adorned with Oktoberfest designs or the logo of a specific beer tent, make for a classic souvenir. You can choose from various sizes and styles, and some even come with lids. Whatever you do, do not try to steal a beer stein from a beer tent at Oktoberfest! The beer steins are large and I promise you, you will get caught. If you want one, buy one!
  • Beer Glasses: If you prefer a lighter and more practical option, consider beer glasses featuring Oktoberfest branding or designs.
  • Gingerbread Hearts: Gingerbread hearts, known as "Lebkuchenherzen" in German, are sweet and elaborately decorated heart-shaped cookies that are a beloved tradition at Oktoberfest and other festivals in Germany. Gingerbread hearts come in a wide variety of designs and colors. They are often adorned with colorful icing and feature romantic or humorous phrases, making them popular gifts and tokens of affection. The phrases on Lebkuchenherzen can range from sweet sentiments like "I love you" (Ich liebe Dich) to humorous and cheeky sayings. They are often used to convey affection or as playful gifts among festival-goers. The gingerbread hearts are not meant to be eaten (although they are technically edible - they just do not taste good), so you will often times see people sporting them around their necks as a necklace.
  • Clothespins: Also called “Glupperl”, these clothespins have your name etched into them and are worn on your person. Basically, a fancier version of a “hello my name is…” sticker.
  • Trachten Accessories: Accessories like Bavarian hats, feathered pins (Gamsbart), and traditional jewelry are great ways to bring a touch of Bavaria back home.
  • Christmas Ornaments & Nutcrackers: Bavarian-themed Christmas ornaments are a popular purchase, as they can serve as festive reminders of your Oktoberfest experience during the holiday season. Authentic nutcrackers also make a great souvenir and you can often find Oktoberfest-themed ones for sale in shops in Munich.
  • Souvenir T-Shirts & Apparel: If you prefer wearable souvenirs, Oktoberfest-themed T-shirts, hoodies, and hats are readily available.

While in Munich, we highly recommend taking the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and authentic Bavarian products outside of the Oktoberfest gates. Often times, the prices will be less at shops in Marienplatz when compared to those vendors inside the Oktoberfest grounds. Some great places to shop in Munich include:

  • Viktualienmarkt: A bustling food and crafts market where you can find local specialties, including cheese, sausages, and spices.
  • Marienplatz: Munich's central square offers a mix of high-end boutiques, souvenir shops, and department stores.

Looking for additional shopping recommendations in Munich? Check out this comprehensive list from

Remember to shop around and compare prices, as prices for similar items can vary from one vendor to another at Oktoberfest. Additionally, always check the authenticity and quality of the souvenirs before making a purchase.

Gingerbread Hearts_Oktoberfest

Additional Notes for Oktoberfest Attendees


Oktoberfest itself is generally free to attend. There is no admission fee to enter the festival grounds, which are located at Theresienwiese in Munich. Visitors can walk around, enjoy the lively atmosphere, listen to music, and take in the Bavarian culture without paying an entrance fee. The notable exception here is entrance into the Oide Wiesn which does charge a small admission fee of €4, per person.

While entry to Oktoberfest is free, you should be prepared for expenses once you're inside. You'll need to purchase food, beverages, and any souvenirs or rides you wish to enjoy. The cost of these items can add up, especially if you plan to indulge in traditional Bavarian dishes and beer. We recommend a budget of €100 per person, per day for Oktoberfest.  

It is also worth noting that if you want to secure a seat in one of the festival's many beer tents, particularly if you are traveling with a large group, it is advisable to make a reservation in advance, which requires a deposit. (More information on reservations can be found under Reservations below.)


Pretty much all of the vendors and beer tents at Oktoberfest are cash-only, so arrive prepared with plenty of cash on hand. In fact, the only time we used a credit card at Oktoberfest was to ride the Ferris wheel. If you need more cash, ATMs are available throughout the Theresienwiese. However, we personally ran into an issue with one of the on-site ATMs and it ate our debit card, so we would not recommend them even as an option of last-resort. Instead bring cash with you to Oktoberfest from a reputable bank ATM outside of the festivities. More information about cash and banks can be found here, under the Money section.

While at Oktoberfest, you can expect to pay around €15 per one-liter beer (or Mass). Food costs vary from €2-3 for a pretzel, to up to €30 for something heartier. To help you plan in advance, you can check out the beer prices for each tent here.


Although tipping customs in Europe often differ from those in the United States, it is important to note that at Oktoberfest, tipping your servers is customary and appreciated. Many recommend leaving a tip of one euro per beer or meal, as it demonstrates your gratitude for the service provided. Keep in mind that tipping plays a significant role in ensuring prompt and attentive service during your visit.

At food stalls or stands outside of the beer tents, tipping is less common, but if you’ve received good service or enjoyed your meal, you can round up the amount or leave small change.

When using a restroom within the beer tents, it is customary to consider leaving a €1 tip for the bathroom attendant as a polite gesture.


Luggage and large bags are not permitted inside the Theresienwiese during Oktoberfest. Do not plan to bring a bag larger than 8 in x 6 in x 4 in (20 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm), otherwise it will not be permitted inside. Bag storage is available, for a fee, so if you do need to bring larger bags with you, you can safely store them on the premise. Follow signs or ask security for bag storage locations. 

Security guards outside of each beer tent will also ask to check your bags before you enter a beer tent. They are on the lookout for stolen items (i.e., beer steins), and other contraband. 


Oktoberfest is CROWDED. We are not going to sugarcoat it – expect large crowds. If you do not have table reservations or are looking to visit when Oktoberfest is the least crowded, then try to visit on weekdays (Monday to Thursday) and in the mornings/early afternoons.

  • Monday through Thursday is typically the least crowded time to visit Oktoberfest since many locals and tourists flock to the festival on weekends. (The notable exception to this is the October 3rd public holiday.)
  • Mornings and early afternoons are also a way to more readily get a seat at a beer tent, as the festival tends to become busier as the day progresses, especially in the evenings.

We visited Oktoberfest on a Monday and Tuesday last year and while it was still extremely busy, the crowds were manageable. We were able to hop between tents pretty easily until late-afternoon, after which point we stayed in the same beer tent until we called it a night.

Looking to find the best time to go and avoid the crowds? Check out this Oktoberfest Barometer on the official Oktoberfest Munich website.

Italian Weekend

The middle, or second weekend of Oktoberfest is "Italian Weekend" and it is the busiest weekend of the festival. As the name suggests, thousands of Italians come north to Munich to partake in the festivities. Beer tents fill up particularly early in the day during Italian Weekend and the crowd is a bit more rambunctious on other days of Oktoberfest. Italians do like to drink after all! The Munich Police Department even imports Italian police officers to help handle the crowds. If you can avoid attending Oktoberfest during this weekend (September 27-30, 2024), you will do yourself a favor!

Oktoberfest Lion

Beer Tents

As previously mentioned, there are 17 large tents and 21 small tents at Oktoberfest, including in the Oide Wiesn. Each beer tent is associated with a specific brewery, and they are operated by different breweries from Munich and other parts of Bavaria. Inside the beer tents, visitors can expect a lively and festive atmosphere. Traditional Bavarian music, as well as more mainstream international pop music, played by live bands or DJs, fills the air, and attendees often join in singing and dancing on the benches.

The large beer tents at Oktoberfest seat over 6,500 people! While a good portion of the seats are for those with reservations, each tent also has plenty of room for walk-in visitors. Reservations for seats in the beer tents are highly recommended, especially during peak times and/or if you are visiting Oktoberfest with a large group. However, many tents also have non-reserved areas where visitors can find a spot on a first-come, first-served basis.

Oktoberfest Tent_HB_Balloons

Popular Beer Tents

Among the large beer tents, we visited five of the most popular. A brief breakdown of each tent we visited is below. 
  • Augustiner Festhalle: Augustiner offers a charming, nostalgic ambiance that sets it apart from the other tents we explored, with a rustic wooden interior and traditional wooden beer barrels. The lively music only added to the festive atmosphere as the night progressed!
  • Hacker-Festzelt: With its ceiling painted to resemble the sky, the Hacker-Festzelt tent stands out as the prettiest beer tent at Oktoberfest. Not only is the ambiance great, but the food at Hacker is truly top-notch. Our personal favorite? The mouthwatering schnitzel which was some of the best we had on our entire trip!
  • Hofbräu-Festzelt: The Hofbräu-Festzelt is a favorite among international visitors, offering great beer and a lively atmosphere. While it may not be the go-to spot for locals, the tent's standing section makes it easier to grab a drink even on the busiest days.
  • Löwenbräu-Festzelt: The Löwenbräu beer tent is really popular amongst Italian tourists and gets crowded early in the day. The massive lion tower standing proudly outside is truly an icon in its own right, just don't be started by the lion's roar!
  • Paulaner Festzelt: We absolutely loved the Paulaner tent for its fantastic beer (in fact, Paulaner was home to our favorite beer of the trip) and vibrant atmosphere! We spent our entire second day at Oktoberfest completely immersed in the lively vibes of Paulaner. The diverse range of bands playing, from traditional polka to modern party tunes, truly brought the tent to life and added to the unforgettable experience.

Looking to learn more about what each beer tent at Oktoberfest has to offer? Check out the official Oktoberfest website for more information. 

Beer Tent Seating

One notable aspect of Oktoberfest is sitting in the beer tents at long picnic-style tables, often with strangers, which encourages mingling and making new friends. We met fascinating people from all around the world, including Brazil, Vietnam, Wales, Switzerland, and of course, lots of locals from Munich. 

Upon entering a beer tent, you may or may not receive assistance in finding a seat. If left to find a seat on your own, seek out tables in non-reserved areas of the beer tents and simply ask if there is room at a table for your group. Most tables easily seat 8-10 individuals and the earlier you go in the day, the easier it is to snag a spot. The welcoming atmosphere at Oktoberfest encourages mingling with fellow attendees, so don't hesitate to ask to squeeze in at a table, introduce yourself, and make new connections!

Oide Wiesn 

The Oide Wiesn, also known as the "Old Oktoberfest," is a special section within the larger Oktoberfest festival grounds. It offers a nostalgic and traditional experience, featuring historic rides, attractions, and beer tents that showcase Bavarian culture from past eras. Visitors to the Oide Wiesn can enjoy classic carnival rides, traditional music, historical exhibits, and a more intimate atmosphere compared to the main Oktoberfest grounds. As previously mentioned, there is an admission fee of €4 to enter the Oide Wiesn area. 


The music at Oktoberfest is an integral part of the festival's vibrant atmosphere. Traditional Bavarian music, including lively polkas and waltzes performed by brass bands and folk musicians - oompah bands - fill many of the beer tents. In addition to traditional Bavarian music, some beer tents at Oktoberfest feature lively DJs playing popular music genres such as pop, dance, and electronic music, adding a modern twist to the festivities and attracting a younger, international crowd. Other tents host rock bands that perform classic hits from an assortment of international artists like ABBA, Michael Jackson, and other iconic musicians, catering to diverse musical tastes and ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy at Oktoberfest. We will say though, you have not experienced Oktoberfest until you have belted out songs like "Country Roads", "Sweet Caroline", or "Y.M.C.A." with hundreds of revelers, standing on top of shaky benches, swaying back and forth, while tightly clutching your liter of beer!

And yes, the rumors are true - the beer tents go WILD when "Sweet Caroline" plays. No matter the beer tent or the time of day!


If you are traveling to Oktoberfest with a large group, you should make reservations for the beer tents in advance. As mentioned previously, reservations do require a deposit which typically comes with beer and food tokens/vouchers. Reservations fill up quickly and you must make your reservations directly with each beer tent. To learn more about making a reservation, check out this page on the official Oktoberfest Munich website for additional information.

Keep in mind that a reservation is for an entire table, which seats between 8-10 people. If you are not traveling with a group that size, you can still get seats at a table without a reservation, especially if you are attending Oktoberfest on a weekday or in the morning/early afternoon. All beer tents hold tables for walk-ins, just be prepared to get cozy with strangers. There are outdoor areas at each of the beer tents too, so that is another feasible option if you cannot find a seat inside of the beer tents. You do have to have a seat in order to be served. (The exception to this rule is the Hofbräu-Festzelt tent which has an area with high-top tables and plenty of standing room where you can get beer without a seat.)

If you are looking to attend on the weekend or in the evening, and would feel more comfortable securing a reservation in advance, check out some of the Oktoberfest tours via GetYourGuide as these come with a reservation but are available for individuals.

If you book an experience or tour through our GetYourGuide affiliate link, we may earn a small commission. 

Carnival Rides & Games

Oktoberfest features a variety of carnival rides (think: the state or county fair), including classic carousel rides, thrilling roller coasters, and family-friendly attractions like bumper cars and a giant Ferris wheel. Traditional Bavarian games, such as the Devil's Wheel are also popular. These attractions create a lively and enjoyable atmosphere for visitors of all ages at Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest Rides

The Devil's Wheel

The Devil's Wheel, known as "Teufelsrad" in German, is a popular attraction at Oktoberfest. It is a traditional spinning ride where participants sit on a large rotating disk inside a circular enclosure. As the disk spins faster and faster, centrifugal force throws participants off the disk, causing them to tumble and slide across the padded floor.

The Devil's Wheel is not just a thrilling ride but also a spectacle to watch, as spectators enjoy seeing participants try to maintain their balance and hold onto the disk. It's a fun and interactive experience that adds to the carnival-like atmosphere of Oktoberfest. Participants compete to see who can stay on the longest. The Devil's Wheel is a classic attraction that has been entertaining visitors at Oktoberfest for decades, providing memorable experiences and laughter for both riders and onlookers alike.

Oktoberfest Ferris Wheel

If you are only going to do one ride while at Oktoberfest, we recommend the Ferris wheel! The 150-foot (50 meter) Ferris wheel offers the best views of Munich! From the top, you have a clear perspective of the expansive Theresienwiese grounds, allowing you to truly appreciate the sheer size of the beer tents below. Plus, if you are lucky and the sky is clear, you can see other landmarks in Munich, including the BMW building, Munich's Old Town, and more! The tickets for the Ferris wheel were a bit steep at €10 per adult (children were less), but they did accept credit cards!

Oktoberfest Grounds_Ferris Wheel

Family Days & Children

Tuesdays are family days at Oktoberfest, but do not be surprised to see children during any day of the week! On Tuesdays, rides are half off for families and a number of the beer tents have meal specials for children. Children are also allowed inside the beer tents, with parents, but those under age 6 must leave by 8:00PM.

More information about visiting Oktoberfest with children can be found here.

Other Things to Do in Munich

Munich is a vibrant and culturally rich city with a wide range of attractions and activities to enjoy outside of Oktoberfest. Here are some of the top things to do in Munich:

  1. Visit Marienplatz: This central square is the heart of Munich and home to the iconic Glockenspiel, a clock tower with mechanical figurines that perform daily displays.
  2. Explore Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg): This stunning Baroque palace complex features beautiful gardens, opulent interiors, and a glimpse into Bavaria's royal history.
  3. Take a Stroll in the English Garden (Englischer Garten): Munich's expansive city park is one of the world's largest urban parks. Enjoy the serene landscapes, a picturesque lake, and even a traditional beer garden.
  4. Visit the BMW Museum: Car enthusiasts will appreciate the fascinating history and exhibits at the BMW Museum. Also be sure to check out the BMW factory, BMW Welt, nextdoor after your visit at the museum concludes. 
  5. Explore the Art Museums: Munich is home to several world-class art museums, including the Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek, and Pinakothek der Moderne.
  6. Enjoy a Beer in a Beer Garden or Beer Hall: Munich is known for its beer gardens and beer halls. Visit one like the Hofbräuhaus or Augustiner-Keller to savor traditional Bavarian brews.
  7. Visit the Olympic Park: Explore the grounds of the 1972 Summer Olympics, which include a stadium, tower, and a scenic lake.
  8. St. Peter's Church (Peterskirche): Climb the tower for panoramic views of Munich, and explore the historic church.

Oktoberfest in Munich is a celebration of Bavarian culture that offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers. From traditional attire and cuisine to, of course, world-class beer, Oktoberfest has something for everyone. Experiencing Oktoberfest was an incredible and unforgettable adventure, and we are eagerly counting down the days until we can return for more fun! By planning ahead and immersing yourself in the local customs, you can make the most of your trip to this iconic festival. Prost!

Have you visited Oktoberfest? We would love to hear from you!

If you book a hotel through one of our Expedia Group affiliate links embedded within this blog post, we may earn a small commission.

An earlier version of this blog post was previously published on Casa Horatio, a sister site of Jetset Seeker, in September 2023. 

, ,