by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | October 10th, 2017
Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany and attracts more than six million visitors each year. Running from mid-September until early October, this traditional event offers food, fun, and of course, beer!
During our European road trip, we were so excited to attend the 2017 festival. Dressed to impress, John in a lederhosen and me in a dirndl, we giddily skipped into Munich's famous fairgrounds.
What to Do
Oktoberfest is all about eating, drinking, and being merry. Locals and tourists alike go for nothing other then enjoyment with friends and family. There are numerous beer tents throughout the fairgrounds, as well as food stalls, amusement rides, and games. Whether you want to hang inside a beer tent all day, sample every kind of German cuisine, or ride every ride, Oktoberfest is fun for everyone.
When to Go
Oktoberfest runs for 16 to 18 days from mid-September until the beginning of October every year. We attended during the first week and had an amazing time. A tip that we received from a German friend we met during our June 2016 trip was to go to the festival during the first ten days. The beer and food is at its freshest, and visitors, locals, and vendors are happily kicking off the festivities.
Here are the upcoming Oktoberfest dates.....
2021 - Cancelled due to COVID-19
2022 - September 17 - October 3
2023 - September 16 - October 3
2024 - September 21 - October 6
Where to Stay
There are dozens of great hotel options near the fairgrounds. Be sure to book EARLY because the hotels will sell out. Be prepared to pay double or three-times the price for a room during Oktoberfest.
Here's a list of some good hotel options within walking distance to the fairgrounds...
-Best Western Atrium Hotel
-Eurostars Grand Cental
-Four Points by Sheraton München Central
-Sofitel München Bayerpost
-King's Hotel Center
-King's Hotel First Class
-Helvetia Hotel Munich City Center
-Best Western Hotel Cristal
If you can't stay near the fairgrounds, don't worry. Public transportation in Munich is so easy! Take a taxi, Uber, or better yet, the S-Bahn or U-Bahn (trains) to Oktoberfest. Taking the train is cheap, fast, and hassle-free. We took the U-Bahn, it cost $2, and we simply followed everyone dressed in lederhosen and dirndls off the train and straight to the festival. If you need help, just ask an employee at the train station and tell them you are going to Oktoberfest. They will definitely know the way.
What to Wear
I highly suggest that you dress in traditional garb. Lederhosen for men and Dirndls for ladies! Of course, you don't have to dress up but it really is that much more fun if you do. Almost everyone is wearing some sort of German costuming at the festival. Amazon is a great place to get an Oktoberfest costume. They're inexpensive and they look great! If you're looking for a high quality dirndl or lederhosen, there are numerous stores around Munich. Expect to pay around $200 to $500 USD.
What to Bring
An ID (that clearly states your age), cash, and a positive attitude are the only things you need to bring with you to Oktoberfest. The drinking age in Germany is 16, however, you must be over 18 to drink hard alcohol. Beer is okay for those aged 16 and over. Cash is important to bring with you because a lot of the vendors and beer tents only accept cash. If you forget, there are a handful of ATMs on the festival grounds. And, lastly, don't forget to bring a positive attitude with you. It's going to be crowded. It's going to be loud. And there will be a lot of people drinking heavily. If you don't drink a lot or if you prefer a more relaxing environment, then walk around to different tents until you find an atmosphere that better suits you. When you do find a tent you like, make friends! Everyone is usually happy and having a great time, so join them!
Leave large bags at the hotel. They aren't allowed on the fairgrounds.
Entrance to Oktoberfest and the beer tents is free. Bring cash for food, drinks, and souvenirs.
No outside food or beverages are allowed on fairgrounds.
Bring your ID. Drinking age is 16+ in Germany.
Book a hotel EARLY! They will sell out during Oktoberfest.
Beer tent reservations are nearly impossible to get, but finding a seat is relatively easy. Go early for better seating options.