Top 10 tips for Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest is somewhat akin to Thanksgiving, in that it is a harvest-time celebration of nature’s abundance – though in Munich that means ingesting enormous quantities of sauerkraut hot-dogs washed down by your ale of choice.

Oktoberfest best tent, Hacker

Oktoberfest is a blast – everyone knows that. But for those who’ve never been to Munich to celebrate it, here are a few facts you might be unaware of:

  • Everyone looks good in Oktoberfest gear. Honestly, it’s a great look for men and women alike. Men look manly in a mountaineering kind of way, while its Heidi-chic femininity for women.  The dirndl – women’s Oktoberfest outfits – made me wonder why we bother with skinny jeans at all. The dirndl makes it all work – it heightens the right attributes, flatters the curves, defines the waistline and makes pretty much any girl look awesome. With regards to bosom support and the overall look of the dirndl, the secret is in the bra.
  • Beer is served in 1-litre pints. That’s right, 1 litre. And it’s somewhat stronger than normal beer.
  • There are 14 tents at Oktoberfest, each capable of holding thousands of people, some over ten thousand. They open between 8 and 9 am and close between 10 pm and midnight.
  • The Hofbrau tent is the biggest, but it’s also the international (read tons of Americans, Canadians and Aussies) tent. It’s fun, but it feels more like spring break than Oktberfest (at least compared to the others). I suggest the Hacker tent (right next to Hofbrau): it’s very German, but not speaking the language didn’t stop us from making lots of friends.

Oktoberfest Munich, best tent Hacker

  • Each tent I went into had a big, live brass band playing all day. Everything from classic polka to swing music.

Oktoberfest best tent, inside preview Hacker

  • There are huge kitchens in the tents, and much of the food they produce is actually quite good, while the roast chicken (at Hacker) is worth a specific mention because it is simply phenomenal. It made me compare with my own roast chicken (yet again) and accept after many minutes of internal debate that there can be many chicken champions. You can also indulge in a smoking plate of creamy spaëtzl.

Oktoberfest Munich, eats

  • With that many people drinking, you’d assume that there would be fights and arguments everywhere, but no! The crowd is nice, and the ambiance (buoyed by the bands, no doubt) is relaxed and happy.
  • It’s Germany, so it shouldn’t be surprising that everything is impossibly efficient: Kitchen and wait staff never seem to be overloaded; bathroom line-ups are short or non-existent (and remember, everybody’s been drinking since 9 am.); pints come out quick and fresh; and everybody leaves in an orderly manner when their table’s been reserved or the tent is closing.

Oktoberfest Munich, beer garden

  • Food during Oktoberfest is quite cheap, especially downtown Munich. I had delicious pork knuckles drenched in sauce at the beer garden for 5 euros – and a handful of delis sell delicious cold cut and sweet pickle sandwiches for less than 3 euros. This can be a great idea if you need a change of pace from the tents and can make for a great pre-oktoberfest morning if you grab breakfast at the market.

Oktoberfest deli, Munich

  • Do it right and get decked out. Beautiful lederhosen and dirndl outfits can be sold at quite hefty sums. That being said, its possible to score traditional wear for a fraction of the cost at a great second hand store located downtown called Weisn Tracht und Mehr. All in all, our outfits cost us around 100 euros per person (that is averaged between the two of us, since we pay things together). This is a bargain of about 60 euros compared to most online buys. While it may be tempting to buy your suit before hand I don’t recommend it; the outfits fit tightly and the fabrics don’t give, so a size too small is really, well, too small.

Oktoberfest outfits, Dirndl and Lederhosen

  • Men’s second hand knee length leather lederhosen / bundhosen with straps: 148 euros (instead of over 200 euros for a new lederhosen)
  • Dress shirt: pre owned Banana Republic – and brought for Oktoberfest.
  • Shoes, pre owned Aldo Shoes
  • Men’s socks 7 euros
  • Scarf: complimentary with our purchase
  • Second hand dirndl: 29 euros
  • Embroided underskirt garment: 20 euros
  • Short sleeve shirt: 16 euros
  • Apron: 12 or 16 euros
  • Stockings and shoes pre owned (Aldo flats)

If you’re in need of a rational justification for the expense caused by the purchase of your outfit beyond the fact that you spared yourself a chunk of change by “thrifting”, we came up with the great idea of using our suits as our preferred Halloween costumes for the next 10 years (hopefully we will remain fit enough for this plan to work). Also, Oktoberfest is no joke in Munich and nearly everyone, especially locals, are dressed up – so you’ll be happy to look the part.


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Categories: Travel


Aspiring food writer, serious traveler, media enthusiast and communications specialist from Montréal, Canada. Follow me on twitter @aalavoie

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