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Oktoberfest: A Guide To The World’s Greatest Festival

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Oktoberfest - Augustiner Tent

For those who don’t know, the greatest time of year is from the third weekend in September through the first weekend in October… otherwise known as Oktoberfest! With bier tents, Lederhosen, carnival rides, and food stands galore, if you’re unhappy at the Oktoberfest it’s probably because you lost your phone on the way there (guilty) or you’re drunk and in your feelings. Either way, with another stein and a round of “Ein Prosit,” you’ll be back in the fun and forgetting what you were upset about in no time.

A Brief History

In October of 1810, King Ludwig I (Crown Prince at the time) married the Princess Teresa of Sassonia-Hildburghausen. They had this huge wedding and invited all of the citizens in Munich to attend. No wedding is complete without a feast of delicious foods and drinks, and, naturally, a horse race. Everyone had such a good time that they wanted to make it an annual event. And here we are over 200 years later, still partying like it’s 1810.

Keeping with tradition, Anthony and I also got married at the Oktoberfest… in the Hofbrau tent… on the bandstand. It was incredible. If you’re inspired by our idea (that we stole from Ludwig and Teresa) make sure to tag me or something so I can see (or attend!).

Survival Tips

Alright, weddings aside, Oktoberfest is fun for everyone no matter your age, race, or gender. And while it’s a huge tourist destination, there are plenty of locals who enjoy joining in on the festivities as well.

However, if this is your first Oktoberfest, your goal, or my goal at least, was to make it through the day without Ralph’s presence. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with my first Oktoberfest experience. So let me help you not be like me.

1. Eat the Food

The best way to pace yourself while drinking the 6.3%+ bier is to eat the delicious german food. You can order right in the tent by the same badass waitress who just hauled 10+ steins to your table (without spilling a drop).

From oversized pretzels to half of hens (halbas henne), to knodel in gravy, or my favorite, the cheesy spetzles… you’re bound to get a meal loaded with carbs just wanting to soak up the bier in your system. Embrace it… your future sloshed self with thank you. But don’t stuff your face… get a halbas henne, spetzel and a pretzel and snack on it throughout the day.

Oktoberfest - Spetzel

Oh, quick side note: they don’t take card in the tents to make sure you have enough cash. Steins of bier are about 10 euro a piece, and food can range from 10 – 20 euro a plate depending on what you’re getting.

2. Take A Nap

If you’re feeling Ralph’s presence approaching, it’s probably a good idea to head outside for some fresh air. And if you’re by the Hofbrau tent, you have a glorious hill that is perfect for mid day sleeps. Take advantage of the hill and nap off a little of your queeziness. You’ll wake up feeling ready to go… either home without paying the extra fee for Ralph accompanying you in the cab (guilty), back to the tents for some more gemütlichkeit or the outside carnival.

Oktoberfest - Hill

3. Hydrate

You honestly won’t even think about water while you’re in the tents. But as soon as you leave the tent (or wake up from your nap on the hill) head over to one of the many food stands, grab a semmel (haxen is a particularly delicious drunk munchie imo) and a bottle of water or two and you’ll be ready to hop on some of those carnival rides.

Trust me, they are better when you’re drunk. You don’t pay nearly enough attention to how scary they actually are. I’ve fallen off of one and I chalk it up to not being drunk enough when I got on. They are fun, pricey, but fun. At least worth trying. A spinny, flippy one is a good choice, but if you need a chill ride with a great view, the huge ferris wheel is of course the way to go.

Oktoberfest Hofbrau

4. Go Early

Finally make sure you get to the tents early… especially if you’re going Friday – Sunday. Those tents max out as fast as 11 am, depending, so you want to make sure you can get in. It’s always better to go early and hang out than to go too late and you’re stuck hearing the oompa band and the cheers and the boo’s of those who suck at chugging their biers (guilty) from the outside.

Oktoberfest - Hofbrau Tent

In all the times that we have been to the Oktoberfest, we have yet to catch it on the first day with the parade and opening ceremony. But it’s a bucket list item that i’m sure we will check off one of these years.

Have you been? What is your favorite part (besides all of it)? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

Ready for your own Oktoberfest adventure? Schedule your complimentary vacation planning call here.

Need some other Munich recommendations? Check out my posts below.

And feel free to follow my adventures on instagram.




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