First Time at Oktoberfest: 34 Can’t-Miss Oktoberfest Tips for Tourists

If you’re planning your first time at Oktoberfest, you’re in for a treat, but definitely in need of some crucial Oktoberfest tips. This two-week-long folk festival is unbelievably fun and brings all the joyous spirit, even if you’re not a beer drinker (like me). It’s easy to have an incredible time, as long as you do your research.

Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world, attracting visitors from all over. Over five million people flood (5,700,000 people, to be exact) into Theresienwiese, the festival grounds where Oktoberfest takes place, across two weeks.

The festival does a great job of equipping visitors with crucial information for enjoying the Wiesn, but take it from someone who’s been: not just surviving, but thriving at a few days of a giant beer festival requires a little insider knowledge from someone who’s been.

Oktoberfest tips.

I got the chance to visit the Wiesn recently and learned SO much about what makes for a successful visit. As someone who recently was a first-timer at the festival (and did some avid research before going), these are the Oktoberfest tips you actually need to know for your first Oktoberfest:

Oktoberfest tips for first time visitors.

1. Oktoberfest Actually Starts in September

That’s right, the festival named after the month of October is at times, exclusively a September affair in Munich. The festival commemorates the wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in October of 1810.

The lengthy beer festival was previously held in October, but as the celebration continued to grow in size and length, starting dates were pushed up to September as the weather is warmer and days are longer.

2. Plan and Book Your Oktoberfest Trip Early

Oktoberfest is serious business. The festival brings in thousands of tourists both from within Germany and around the world. As a result, hotels fill up quickly and flights get expensive fast. Large chain hotels sell out months in advance—just imagine how quickly Munich boutique hotels go!

One of the best Oktoberfest tips I could give you is to book your trip as far in advance as possible. As much as I hate trip anticipation (you know, those long months and months when you can’t stop thinking about that trip you’re taking), it’s worth it for Oktoberfest to ensure you’re able to book reasonable accommodation and transportation.

No one wants to be on the subway for an hour at midnight when they’re schwasted because you waited until the last possible second to book, m’kay?

It’s also worth booking early in the event that you’re traveling with a large group and need a table reservation. While most tents open their table reservations between February and April, some have been known to open up as early as November or December.

Oktoberfest tent.

3. Don’t Fall Victim to Oktoberfest Scams

Munich is such a safe city that you might be surprised to hear Oktoberfest scams are a thing. They very much are, and they run deep—down to dirndls, actually.

Ignore anyone tour operator offering to sell you skip-the-line festival admission, or festival admission in general. Oktoberfest admission is free. The only time you’ll need to pay for admission at Oktoberfest is if you’re visiting the Oide Wiesn. You’ll pay for that admission in cash at the entrance to the Oide Wiesn when you’re already in the Theresienwiese grounds, and it’s just a few euros.

Oktoberfest scams are also common for table reservations. Never, ever buy table reservations from a third-party vendor. Table reservations can only be made through the tens directly, and cannot be transferred or sold.

Finally, we have the dirndl scam. Traditional Oktoberfest outfits can be expensive. As a result, online retailers, especially on platforms like eBay, have been known to pull bait-and-switch schemes. Within Munich, cheap, touristy vendors have been known to sell chintzy dirndls that definitely aren’t the real deal for unrealistic prices.

Avoid being scammed during Oktoberfest by only ordering from reputable tracht stores. Luckily, I’ve outlined exactly where to shop for Oktoberfest clothing in Munich and online.

Paulaner Festzelt, also known as Winzerer Fähndl, one of the large Oktoberfest tents in Munich.

4. Oktoberfest on the Weekend vs. a Weekday: Pick the Best Days to Go

You’ll do yourself a huge favor by visiting Oktoberfest on a weekday instead of on the weekend. The festival will be much less crowded so it’ll be a lot easier to jump between tents without a reservation and really experience everything.

Going on a weekday doesn’t mean you’ll miss any part of the party that is Oktoberfest. Even on weekdays, imbibed festival goers will still be dancing on the tables and singing at the top of their lungs by mid-afternoon.

If you do decide to go on a weekend, take note of the differences between Oktoberfest’s three weekends. Weekend one is when the first keg is tapped by Munich’s mayor at Schottenhamel, with a an exclamation of “O’zapft is!” (It’s tapped!). It’s incredibly busy. Tents open at 9 am, but you’ll probably want to get there much earlier to line up.

The second weekend of Oktoberfest is colloquially known as Italian weekend, as it’s extremely popular with Italian tourists. This weekend tends to be less overwhelming than the first, though still super busy and crowded.

Oktoberfest’s final weekend sometimes lines up with German Unity Day on October 3, a national holiday in Germany. When the holiday falls on a Monday or Tuesday, the festival will be extended to the holiday, and you can expect greater crowds than you’d normally see during the third weekend.

Oktoberfest in Munich.

5. Pay Attention to Oktoberfest Special Events and Days

Like any good fair, there’s a handful of special events and dedicated days During Oktoberfest. Among these are Family Day, the traditional costume parade, the annual outdoor Oktoberfest concert, Gay Sunday, and Pink Monday.

The traditional costume parade takes place on the first Sunday of the festival, complete with a marching band, ornately decorated horse-drawn carriages, and performers.

At 11 am on the second Sunday of Oktoberfest, the traditional brass bands of all the large Oktoberfest tents come together to play an outdoor concert at the foot of the Bavaria statue on the Oktoberfest grounds.

During Family Day, rides are discounted and some of the more family-friendly tents and vendors may offer discounts on snacks. There are two Family Days during Oktoberfest, occurring both Tuesdays of the festival.

Gay Sunday on the first Sunday of Oktoberfest attracts large crowds of LGBTQ individuals to the pretty Bräurosl tent. Also popular with the LGBTQ crowd is Pink Monday on the second Monday of the Wiesn in the Fischer-Vroni tent.

On the final day of the Wiesn, 60 marksmen execute a traditional Bavarian gun salute at the foot of the Bavaria statue at 12 pm as dictated by festival tradition.

6. Spend More Than One Day at Oktoberfest

Although Munich locals typically visit just one day of Oktoberfest, as a tourist, don’t take this approach! Many tourists only allocate one day of their trip for Oktoberfest, which is definitely a mistake.

Oktoberfest is huge and there’s so much to see, do, and eat. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice and will be barely scratching the surface if you only visit for one day. Two days is a good amount of time to go and get a taste of the Wiesn, but three is even more ideal.

Don’t travel all the way to Munich for Oktoberfest and feel rushed during your visit—some of the fun of the festival is sitting in a tent for a few others and making friends with those around you. Munich locals have been visiting Oktoberfest for years and can return whenever you don’t have that luxury, so take full advantage while you’re there!

Exterior of the Augustiner Oktoberfest tent.

7. Stay at a Hotel in Munich Near Oktoberfest

Where you stay during Oktoberfest is so important. I cannot stress this enough.

Munich is large and even though a hotel might look close, it could actually be upwards of an hour away from the folk festival. The last thing you probably want to be doing after singing, dancing, and drinking all day is spending another hour on a train or in an expensive Uber.

Staying somewhere within walking distance of the festival is the way to go. There are tons of hotels in Munich that are easily accessible. Plus, staying in the Altstadt (Old Town) means that you’ll be within walking distance or a short drive away from the best things to do in Munich.

We stayed at Hotel Motel One München-Sendlinger Tör and it was the perfect home base for the festival. It was about a 15-minute walk from the hotel to Theresienwiese, and a similar distance to Marienplatz. Plus, Sendlinger Straße is full of shopping including stores to buy dirndls or lederhosen.

If you’re traveling alone and looking to do Oktoberfest on a budget, Euro Youth Hostel is also near the fair.

Woman wearing a dirndl in an Oktoberfest tent.

8. Wear Traditional Oktoberfest Outfits

Can you visit Oktoberfest without dressing up in traditional Oktoberfest outfits? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you should.

Plenty of tourists and locals alike visit Oktoberfest in regular street clothes, but in my opinion, wearing authentic Bavarian tracht is a big part of the fun at the festival, and contributes to the whole atmosphere.

You might notice more people in regular clothing walking around the fairgrounds outside than you do in the tents. This isn’t by mistake—when talking to Munich locals we befriended, it became clear that wearing traditional clothing can help your chances of getting into a tent when you don’t have a reservation.

There are a lot of different pieces to a complete Bavarian tracht look. If you want to find out exactly what to wear to Oktoberfest, read my guide on Oktoberfest outfits.

Shop traditional Oktoberfest clothing below:

9. Don’t Wear Cheesy Oktoberfest Hats or Inappropriate Costumes

From “sexy beer maid” to inflatable lederhosen costumes and those giant chicken leg hats, offensive Oktoberfest clothing comes in all types and categories.

While you may think that it’s a good laugh to buy these chintzy costumes, keep in mind that Oktoberfest is a folk festival, and locals may not feel the same.

As a rule of thumb, if your dirndl has the word “wench” in the title, it’s probably a no-go.

There are so many ways to get in the Wiesn spirit with your clothing that don’t involve caricaturing someone else’s culture. For example, Amazon has affordable dirndls for around $60, and one retailer in Munich offers an awesome lederhosen bundle specifically for Oktoberfest.

At an even lower price point, there are tons of cute graphic tees on Etsy that pay homage to the festival without that aren’t that awful printed lederhosen or dirndl shirt.

If you’re unwilling to buy tracht for the festival, it’s much better to go in regular street clothes than to wear cheap, offensive costumes.

Click below to shop affordable Oktoberfest clothing:

Woman wearing a dirndl with the bow tied on the right in an Oktoberfest tent.

10. How You Tie Your Dirndl Matters

Oktoberfest outfits are full of detail, down to the way you tie your dirndl. The side of your body that your dirndl apron is tied on indicates your relationship status (yes, really).

It sounds outdated but hey, this festival does date back to the early 1800s, with Bavarian culture going back even further. As a protest to the public display of relationship status, some women have taken to tying their dirndl in the center.

Here’s what you should know about what your dirndl bow symbolizes:

  • Bow on the right: Married or in a long-term relationship
  • Bow on the left: Single
  • Bow in the back: You’re a widow, waitress, maid, or a child
  • Bow in the center: Virgin, or refusing to divulge (it’s no one’s business anyway)

In all honesty, regardless of how you tie your dirndl bow, you probably still will receive unwanted attention (drunk men can be aggressive men), but tying your dirndl on the right might just help avoid it a little.

11. Pack for Cold and Rainy Weather

Even though Oktoberfest was moved up to September for the nicer weather, Munich does still get chilly, especially toward the end of the month.

You could have a temperate day that’s 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny, or end up with rain in 40 degrees Fahrenheit weather (we had this one day, and it was miserable).

At night, temperatures drop, and you’ll definitely want layers when that happens, even if it felt comfortable during the day.

I recommend packing a lightweight jacket (like a thin puffer or trench coat), a heavy cardigan, a light cardigan, and an umbrella to prepare yourself for all possible weather. Bring things that you don’t mind beer getting spilled on—no belongings are safe from it.

12. Bring Cash: Oktoberfest is Cash-Only

Oktoberfest is a mostly cash-only event. You’ll pay cash directly to your server in tents, and will also need it for the Oide Wiesn entrance fee, rides, and stalls. Souvenirs inside tents are sometimes an exception—I was able to use my card at Marstall’s gift window.

 Although many tents have ATMs, trust me when I say that you don’t want to use them. The fees and conversion rates are astronomical! Definitely designed to take advantage of demand, and drunk festival goers.

Instead, go to a bank in the Altstadt nearby for much more reasonable conversion fees.

I was able to easily withdraw cash from a Santander Bank just off of Sendlinger, about a 15-minute walk away from the Wiesn. The conversion rate was actually the best I saw out of anywhere in Germany, and we easily saved $40 by not using the ATMs at Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest food.

13. Eat Outside of Oktoberfest Tents to Save Money

Personally, I don’t find the food prices inside of tents too egregious (especially considering the heaping portion sizes), but if you are looking to do Oktoberfest on a budget, you’ll save the most by limiting your snacking to stalls not associated with tents.

You’ll still get to try tons of traditional Bavarian snacks like those pretzels larger than your face but will pay lower prices.

Of course, if you want a full meal, or to really enjoy the festival in its entirety, eating inside tents is still the way to go.

I recommend doing a balance of both. If you just want a simple snack like a pretzel or some obatzda (my fave!), grab it from a stall outside of the tents. Plan ahead and decide in advance which large tents have food that interests you to plan your large meals strategically.

If you need help figuring out where to find the best food in tents, read my guide on Oktoberfest tents.

14. Get to Oktoberfest Early in the Day

Save for when you might have a tent reservation, the best time to get to Oktoberfest is early in the day. If you wait until late afternoon or evening, you’ll find that many tents are already full or are standing-room-only.

On weekends, showing up at the time the Wiesn opens is almost essential if you don’t have a tent reservation. You likely won’t be able to tent hop but will have a better shot of securing a seat.

On weekdays, you’ll likely be able to show up as late as 3 pm and still be able to duck in and out of most tents before settling in for the night (I recommend doing this by 7 pm at the very latest). Show up even earlier for a chance to get into more exclusive tents like Käfer’s.

Marstall Festzelt beer tent.

15. Learn Popular Oktoberfest Songs Like Ein Prosit

You may be in for a shock when the entire tent immediately drops what they’re doing and busts out into German song during Oktoberfest! Music is such a big part of the festival that over time, a few songs have become absolute Wiesn classics.

Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit is by far the most popular of those songs. The ditty is easy to follow along with when you know the lyrics, which are as follows:

“Ein Prosit, ein Prosit

Der Gemütlichkeit

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit

Der Gemütlichkeit”

Alongside Ein Prosit, common Oktoberfest songs include both German and English music. The list below are the songs you should familiarize yourself with:

That’s only a small part of the list, I could go on and on!

Don’t stress about memorizing all—or any—of the lyrics to the Oktoberfest songs. As long as you know a few words of Ein Prosit and are willing to dance along to the rest, you’re in for a good time!

16. You Probably Don’t Need an Oktoberfest Reservation

International tourists tend to stress more about getting an Oktoberfest reservation than they really need to. If you follow my tips on the best dates and times to go to Oktoberfest listed above, you shouldn’t have any issue getting into at least a few tents if you’re just a small group.

However, if you’re visiting with a large group, like 8-10 people, you may want a reservation to ensure you all get to dine and party together at a specific tent at least once during busier times.

Reservations can be tricky to get, so make sure you read all of my tips on securing one in my Oktoberfest tent guide.

If you visit with a large group of up to 10 people, you still likely won’t need a reservation if you’re flexible on which tents you’re visiting, and are going to the festival early on a weekday.

Oktoberfest oide wiesn.

17. Make Time to Visit the Oide Wiesn

The Oide Wiesn is where Oktoberfest pays homage to how the festival was historically. The traditional area of Oktoberfest is charming and much quieter than the rest of the grounds, making it a great place to take a break from the chaos.

Settling into Festzelt Tradition for the 2 pm or 6 pm traditional dance and whipping performances is a must. The tent serves its beer from wooden barrels, in stone beer steins instead of the glass beer mugs you’ll see outside of the Oide Wiesn.

The Oide Wiesn also has classic rides for €1, a marionette show, and a small museum tent highlighting Oktoberfest’s history.

The Oide Wiesn is the only area of Oktoberfest you’ll need to pay admission for. Admission is €4 per person and is only payable at the gate to the Oide Wiesn in cash.

18. Tip Your Oktoberfest Waitress, and Tip Her Well

Tipping in Germany is minimal and very optional, but at Oktoberfest, it’s definitely mandatory. Servers at tents move around like mad, servicing tons of tables and people while balancing some seriously heavy armfuls of glass beer mugs filled nearly to the brim.

If you tip your server generously from the get-go, you’re much more likely to get speedy service and won’t find yourself frantically trying to wave one down. When tents start to reach capacity, you’ll be grateful for the speedy service.

Ochsenbraterei, one of the large Oktoberfest tents.

19. Make Friends With Strangers

Of course, “stranger danger” rules apply no matter where you travel, but thanks to the security, police presence, tight tables, and joyous vibes all around at Oktoberfest, strangers are typically incredibly friendly and good-natured.

In most large tents, there’s no such thing as having your own table. You’ll squeeze large community tables and rub shoulders with Munich locals and other tourists. This is much more fun when you make friends with those around you!

I found that typically when we were at a table, Germans would start speaking to us before we even got a chance to greet them! Everyone was welcoming and fun to talk to. We met a lot of great people, got some good tips for Germany, and even walked away with a standing invitation to dinner on our next trip back.

20. Familiarize Yourself With the Oktoberfest Tents Before You Go

There are 17 large Oktoberfest tents. Unless you’re incredibly efficient or are spending an entire week at the Wiesn, it’s unlikely you’ll have time to enjoy a beer in all of them.

Each tent has its own distinct identity, and as a result, attracts a specific type of crowd. Learn which tents interest you the most so you can prioritize them during your visit.

Tents also serve beer from different breweries. Look for tents serving Augustiner if you want the best Oktoberfest beer.

Then, there’s the wine tent, Kufflers Weinzelt, which doesn’t prioritize beer at all, instead serving a list of over 15 different wines. Several other large beer tents also offer wine, even if they’re more beer-forward.

On our first day, we ducked in and out of each tent early in the day so we could get a feel for them in person, then chose a few to hone in and actually sit down at for the rest of the day. Then, on our second day, we had a game plan of exactly where we wanted to go.

I’ve made it easy for you to make the distinction between each large tent by ranking Oktoberfest tents from best to worst. Of course, there’s no true “best” Oktoberfest tent—that totally depends on the type of experience you prefer!

Augustiner Festhalle, a large green Oktoberfest tent with lights.

21. Don’t Dance on the Tables, Dance on the Benches

Dancing on the tables is strictly forbidden at Oktoberfest in Munich. Dancing on the benches is totally okay, if not encouraged, but if security catches you on a table, they’ll be swift to get you down and kick you out.

You don’t want to be on the beer tent tables anyway—some of those tables are tall, all will be covered in beer eventually, and you don’t want to be tipsy on a surface like that! A recipe for disaster all around.

22. Wear Comfortable Shoes for Walking

Earlier in the day, before the party really gets going you’ll be seated in tents, but when things start heating up, you’ll definitely want to be on your feet!

Oktoberfest’s fairgrounds (known as Theresienwiese) are large. You’ll put in thousands of steps just running from end to end of the festival, exploring everything on display.

As mentioned in my Oktoberfest outfit guide, traditionally, dirndls are worn with a Mary Jane heel. Although I’ll always fully support you in authentically representing local culture, you may want to consider a more modern, comfortable choice of footwear like a ballet flat designed for travel, or ankle booties (very popular with local women).

I opted for a white leather sneaker with ruffle detail to keep with the femininity of the dirndl, and my feet were still in pain by the end of day one.

If your shoes of choice get painful, there is a ballet flat vending machine at the Wiesn to save your feet, though I don’t know if you’d want to spend time hunting it down.

Oktoberfest food stall in the Oide Wiesn.

23. Don’t Wear Sandals or Open-Toed Shoes

You don’t want any part of your foot exposed to the world at Oktoberfest. Between spilled beer and who knows what else, wearing open-toed footwear is like asking to walk home with sticky, gross feet.

It’s likely you won’t want to wear sandals or open-toed footwear anyway considering how cool temperatures can get in Munich in September.

24. Leave Your Big Bags, Backpacks, and Strollers at Home

Large bags and backpacks are banned at Oktoberfest. Your bag needs to be under 20 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm (approximately 8 in x 6 in x 4 in) and can’t have a capacity over three liters. Carrying a large, heavy bag around for hours would be annoying anyway. A small crossbody bag is perfect.

If you bring a bag that’s considered too large, you won’t be allowed into the festival (security searches and tags every bag brought in). There are paid lockers available just outside the festival gates for this reason.

Strollers are allowed, but only during heavily restricted hours. Prams, buggies, and strollers may only be brought into Oktoberfest before 6 pm on weekdays. After that, and on weekends, they’re fully banned.

Although the rules are strict, this helps keep children away from times when the Wiesn can be rowdy and too aggressive for little ones, in addition to helping with crowding.

Oktoberfest in Munich at night.

25. Keep Your Group Size Small

Going to Oktoberfest with a small group (no more than three or four people) is essential if you’re trying to get into tents without a reservation. On the weekends, two people are even better.

Seating at tables is communal, so your ability to get in is really tangent on finding a few inches of bare bench next to some friendly strangers who are willing to squish. Make sure to ask “Ist dieser platz frei?” (Is this seat taken?) before sitting down.

Understandably, Oktoberfest is an event that attracts large groups of friends. Large groups can still become more nimble by being willing to split up during the day and go with the flow. 

You’ll be able to tackle more tents as groups of four or five than as a full group of ten. Plus, there’s so much to do at the Wiesn that you’ll probably want to explore different things anyway!

26. Download the Oktoberfest App

When I visit music festivals, the festival’s app is typically a lifesaver for finding any information I could need. Oktoberfest is trying to do exactly that with theirs.

Need to figure out which tent to go to? No problem. The Oktoberfest app displays how busy each tent is at any time, monitoring open seats.

Lost your friend? The app has a built-in feature to track everyone in your group.

The Oktoberfest app isn’t crucial to enjoying the festival but downloading it will make your time there easier, especially if you’re with a group.

27. White Powder at Oktoberfest: It’s Not What You Think It Is

Tons of white powder is snorted in Oktoberfest tents but no, everyone around you isn’t doing cocaine (this isn’t that type of party). If you’re not in on the very open secret, you might be shocked to see other attendees snorting what well, looks a lot like Wall Street’s favorite drug.

Munich police aren’t turning a blind eye to drug use at the Wiesn because that white powdery substance everyone is snorting isn’t coke in the literal sense. It’s Wiesn Koks (also known as Wiesn Pulver) which, okay, does translate into “Oktoberfest cocaine,” but really is just a totally legal mixture of menthol powder and glucose.

Tent servers and souvenir booths sell Wiesn Koks for just a few euros. The substance gives you a quick jolt of energy and clears your sinuses. It has a similar effect to those Vicks VapoInhaler sticks. Attendees like them for their cooling effect, which is a bonus in hot tents.

If you’re making friends with others, you’ll probably be offered some of the stuff before you even manage to buy some of your own. While I won’t advocate for or against Wiesn Koks, I’d err on the side of caution and buy some for yourself if you do want to try it. The other white powders are probably at Oktoberfest too.

Oktoberfest gingerbread hearts.

28. Don’t Eat the Gingerbread Hearts

Oktoberfest’s signature gingerbread hearts are pretty to look at, and terrible to eat. They’re purely meant to be decorative and are not to be consumed (even when those alcohol-induced cravings kick in).

If you’re in desperate need of a snack, find a pretzel, and put down that gingerbread!

Oktoberfest tips.

29. Try Traditional Oktoberfest Food

Internationally, Oktoberfest seems to mostly be synonymous with beer, but the food is such a big part of the Wiesn as well! The oversized pretzels may be the most familiar fair food, but you’ll also find some of Munich’s most authentic Bavarian plates within the gates of the Wiesn.

Bavarian food is all over the festival, with tents serving elaborate snack spreads and hearty plates, and individual vendors honing in on easy-to-carry snacks.

Some tents are specifically known for their food, like Ochsenbraterei, the oxen tent; and Fischer-Vroni, the fish tent.

Tents also often have daily lunch specials, which allow guests to sample dishes they may not otherwise offer.

Below is a short list of the best food to try at Oktoberfest, but honestly, there’s so much more that could’ve been included!

If you’re not able to try all the food below at the festival, head into Munich’s Old Town where many are on the menu at beer halls.

  • Brotzeit – like a rustic German charcuterie board)
  • Hendl – crispy roasted chicken seen all over tables at Oktoberfest
  • Kaiserschmarrn – pancake dessert from Austria
  • Käsespätzle – I call this “German mac and cheese.” It’s a handmade egg noodle in an Emmental cheese sauce
  • Obatzda – I call this “grown-up easy cheese.” I’m obsessed with it
  • Ochsen – Oxen delicacies are served in tons of different ways at the Ochsenbraterei tent
  • Rahmschmankerl – Fluffy, cheese, herb-y savory pizza-like snack found in the Oide Wiesn. Also obsessed with this, it hit the spot.
  • Schweinshaxe – Pork knuckle. If you skip it at the Wiesn (I’m not responsible for whatever happens to your stomach if you don’t), head to Spatenhaus an der Oper. It’s one of Munich’s prettiest restaurants, and Sean claims the pork knuckle there was some of the “best meat (I’ve) ever had in my life”
  • Soft pretzels – You can’t miss these, but don’t get one in a tent. They’re cheaper at stalls outside of tents.
  • Steckerlfisch (found only at Fischer-Vroni)
  • Würstl (sausage) of all kinds (currywurst is a particular favorite of the festival)
Oktoberfest Family Day ride.

30. Visit on Family Day to Save on Rides

Rumor has it that the best view of the Oktoberfest is from the top of the ferris wheel.

If you want to catch this view for yourself or take a spin on any of the Wiesn’s other rides (I was eyeing the swings, until the weather had other plans), visit during one of the two Family Days during the festival when rides are discounted.

Family Day takes place on both Tuesdays of the Wiesn. You’ll see more children than you would otherwise, but they tend to stick in the rides area and Oide Wiesn rather than the popular large tents.

31. Need a Restaurant at Oktoberfest? Look for Cupid

When nature calls, finding a restroom at an event as large as Oktoberfest might feel overwhelming, but it’s actually easier than you might think.

Restroom areas are indicated by large cupids pointing the way on top of towers (you’ll need to look up). I found that finding a restroom was easy and intuitive if you are walking down the main road where the large tents are located. Restrooms were located in alleyways between tents and usually had large crowds by them.

Hacker-Pschorr Festzelt tent with cloud-painted skies at Oktoberfest in Munich.

32. Take Your Oktoberfest Photos Early

In case you haven’t figured out by my constant mentions of it in other Oktoberfest tips, there are so many benefits to visiting Oktoberfest early in the day, and being able to get some good photos is one of them.

If you want the perfect Wiesn photo (I won’t judge), get it done early. By the time people start standing on the benches, you’ll struggle to get a good shot and definitely won’t want to pull your camera out (not just for the risk of spillage, but also for the good times you’ll be missing out on).

33. Don’t Sleep on the Grass

At the end of the fairgrounds is a large grassy hill that can look oh-so-enticing for a little rest when you’re tired and a little tipsy.

Don’t do it.

“Puke Hill,” as it’s known to some, is not a good place to be. It attracts the drunkest of the aggressively drunk and is filled with people whose drink limit never existed, and yes, vomit. In addition to the belligerently drunk, the hill has also been known to attract pickpockets who prey on those that don’t totally have their bearings.

If you want some rest from the chaos of Oktoberfest, I recommend skipping the hill and seeking out one of the charming, relaxed small tents like Café Theres’ where you can get a coffee, or Schützenlisl in the Oide Wiesn, which tends to feel more like a restaurant than a large Oktoberfest tent.

34. Send a Postcard for an Inexpensive Oktoberfest Souvenir

You don’t need to shell out for an official Oktoberfest stein to have a unique souvenir from the Wiesn. Little known to many, the festival has its own post office, where you can buy and send postcards home.

Your postcard won’t get some standard postage stamp—Deutsche Post, Germany’s flagship mail carrier, has a unique cancellation stamp just for mail sent from the Oktoberfest post office. How fun is that?

Oktoberfest stall at in Munich at night.

Oktoberfest Tips: FAQ

What do you need for Oktoberfest?

Bring a small bag, cash, your ID, an external battery with a charging cable for your phone, warm layers like a sweater or light jacket, an umbrella, and of course, your phone to Oktoberfest. You do not need a ticket to enter the festival. Make sure you wear traditional clothing like a dirndl or lederhosen.

What is popular food at Oktoberfest in Munich?

Popular food at Oktoberfest in Munich includes hendl (crispy roasted chicken), kaiserschmarrn, obatzda, oxen delicacies, soft pretzels, spätzle, steckerlfisch, and currywurst.

How do you say cheers at Oktoberfest?

“Prost!” is how you say cheers at Oktoberfest. You won’t just hear it in beer tents, it rings all over Munich when Oktoberfest is happening. Ein Prosit is a popular drinking song at Oktoberfest done before a toast (the song’s title translates into “a toast”).

How much do you tip at Oktoberfest?

Prepare to tip your Oktoberfest waitress or waiter up to 10% of your bill. Tipping in Germany overall is 5-10% at sit-down restaurants, where tipping is truly optional.

Do you tip at Oktoberfest in Munich?

Tipping in Germany is minimal and not mandatory, but at Oktoberfest, it’s recommended to ensure good service.

What is the greeting for Oktoberfest?

Servus! Is an informal Bavarian greeting heard all over both Oktoberfest and Munich.

What does ziggy zaggy mean?

Some say the Zicke Zacke chant means “A toast, a toast, a cozy place! One, two, three, drink!” while others say it’s a gibberish phrase. The phrase is chanted as part of a popular Oktoberfest party song, Ein Prosit.

What do you yell at Oktoberfest?

After hearing the song Ein Prosit at Oktoberfest, you’ll probably hear the band leader call out, “Zicke zacke, zicke zacke,” to which you’ll yell back, “Hoi, hoi, hoi!” Then, the band leader will probably raise his beer and yell “Prost!” to which you’ll yell back “Prost!” before taking a sip.

Planning a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest? Find more travel tips by clicking here!

Oktoberfest Tents: Complete Guide to the BEST and WORST Beer Tents

What to Wear to Oktoberfest: COMPLETE Outfit Guide for Men and Women

Where to Buy Oktoberfest Clothing: BEST Places for Dirndls and Lederhosen in Munich and Online

A Single Girl’s Guide to Munich, Germany: Unique Things to Do, Eat, and Shop for Solo Travelers

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