First Timers Guide to Oktoberfest

A work trip to Germany in August gave me the perfect excuse to head to Munich for Oktoberfest. I had been to the festival once before when I was studying abroad and had an amazing time. What’s not to love about people from all over the world gathered to drinks steins, ride carnival rides and have a good time.

Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world bringing in over 6 million tourists a year! In 2017 Munich broke their beer consumption record by consuming over 7.5 million liters of beer… now that’s a lot of beer! Glasses clinking, cheerful singing, the smell of roasting nuts, carnival rides, colorful Dirndls and chocolate brown, leather Lederhosen are what you can expect from your trip to Oktoberfest in Munich! Also don’t be fooled by the name – Oktoberfest actually starts in September and closes down the first weekend in October.

What To Wear To Oktoberfest:

First things first, let’s talk about your Oktoberfest attire. If you go to Oktoberfest you should definitely – 100% buy a traditional German Dirndl (for women) or Lederhosen (for men). The first time I went I didn’t wear a Dirndl and I felt extremely left out – literally everyone is wearing one!

I recommend buying your outfit once you get to Germany. You will have a lot of options to get a more traditional looking outfit and trying on Dirndl’s is part of the fun! Almost all department stores in Germany start selling these outfits around the middle of August. Trust me, you will have no issue finding one you love. If you won’t get to Germany with enough time to go shopping you can also order one online.

There is a tradition about how your tie the ribbon on your Dirndl. Right is for taken, left is for single, center is for virgin, and back is for widow.

Beware that a nice dirndl will cost you a pretty penny. Most of the ones I tried on were around 200 Euro for the Dirndl and the white shirt to go under it (I bought mine at Kaufhof department store).

Where To Stay

I stayed at the Hilton Munich Park hotel. It was a gorgeous hotel and the rooms were nice and spacious. The hotel is located next to the English Gardens and is close to public transit which made it easy to get to and from Oktoberfest. It’s a great place to stay if you don’t want to be in the middle of the action when you’re trying to get some sleep, or if you are a Hilton Honors member and want to use or rack up some points while you are there!

Tips For The Festival

  • Before heading to the festival, make sure you have plenty of cash.  You won’t want to deal with using credit cards and if I remember right most  beer tents require cash.
  • When you get to Oktoberfest I recommend going to a tent early and staying there for the day. Once it starts to get busy you will end up waiting in lines for at least a few hours. Something I found interesting is that they do not let people into the tents based on where they are in line. The waitresses choose who they want to be let in for their tables -probably based on who looks like they will spend the most money…
  • Wear comfortable shoes! You will most likely be on your feet all day
  • Each tent is decorated differently and is known for having a specific food specialty and atmosphere.. Hofbräu is popular with tourists and known for playing more American music, Weizenzelt serves light beer (weiss), Fischer Vroni is known for their smoked fish, Schottenham is popular with young Germans, AugustinerOchsenbraterei and Schützenzelt are popular among locals.
  • Be prepared to meet new friends! Make sure to socialize with the other people at your table – as the night goes on you will most likely get squished closer and closer together.
  • Beer is served in one liter glasses. These glasses are huge and beer maids can carry up to 12 at one time! It’s a serious feat to see how many they can hold. I can barely hold one.
  • Germans cheers by saying “Prost” and look each person in the eye to prevent the superstition of bad sex for 7 years.
  • Besides the beer tents there are also a ton of fun carnival rides and food tents. No matter what you do you will definitely have a good time!
  • A beer usually costs between 9€ and 13€ and don’t forget to tip!
  • Beer is served from 10am to 10:30pm. The grounds stay open a bit after that but once the beer stops flowing, most people leave.
  • Backpacks and large bags are not allowed. Make sure to bring a small shoulder bag!
  • Don’t forget to take time to see Munich!

Oktoberfest is one of the most fun experiences I have had traveling. It’s so cool to see people from all over the world enjoying beer, singing, dancing, having a blast and really enjoying life!

Have any other tips for going to Oktoberfest? Comment them below – I would love to know!

Thanks for stopping by!


1 Comment

  1. Robert
    September 6, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    Another great blog. Makes me want to drink beer rather than work out. Can’t wait for your next Blog.

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