I just got back from Oktoberfest this weekend, so while the advise is fresh in my mind, I’m writing this blog post! Here are a few tips and tricks to help you enjoy Oktoberfest and most importantly stay safe.
Before the Festival
Getting Here: Transportation
Munich public transportation is fairly easy to navigate and much cheaper than a taxi. Make sure to check which direction you want to get on the S-Bon and your final destination. When in doubt, follow the dirndls!
What to Wear:
Lets talk dirndl. This traditional German outfit consists of a white blouse, dress, and apron and can usually be purchased together. Now, not everyone at Oktoberfest dresses up, but if you are like me, the outfit is (one of) the most important part! Some people spend a whole lot of money on the ‘authentic’ high quality outfits, I on the other hand was much more budget conscious.
I bought my dirndl for only 19.95 euros at a store called Arico right across from the Haupbanhof train station. Keep in mind that many stores in Germany close at 8 pm, so if you are dead set on wearing one for the festival, I would recommend trying to get to a store the night before.
I would also recommend wearing closed toed shoes because the floors are a little sticky. I wore converse along with a light jean jacket, it will be cold outside by the time you leave the tents and also in the morning when you get there. Bring a small purse to carry you money and phone in, but make sure to keep it with you at all times. I used a good old-fashioned fanny pack and love it!
To recap: through on a dirndl, wear some sneakers, tie a jacket around your waist with your fanny pack, and most importantly braid your hair to really play the part!
Day of the Festival
When to Get Here
Rise and Shine! In order to truly experience Oktoberfest in all its glory, wake up with the sun and get in line. Most people start lining up as early as 6:30, but I would recommend sleeping in a few extra minutes. My friends and I got to the line around 7:30 and it worked out great.
A good thing to keep in mind is that the line that forms outside the Festival grounds in the morning is actually the line to get into the festival. Once you get through this line you are not out of the woods yet, you then need to line up for the tent that you want to sit down in.
So wear some comfortable shoes and get ready to make friends with the people around you because you won’t get into your tent until 9:30 at the earliest. I went on a Saturday, so the timing might be different for different days of the week.
Choosing a Tent
There are over 15 tents at Oktoberfest so make sure you line up and get into the right one! I spent all day in Hofbrau Festzelt and had a blast! This tent was full of other study abroad kids and we had almost 3 full tables of Georgetown students. Seating at these tables are competitive, so make sure to snag a table with your friends the first chance you can get!
Tips for in the Tent
I spent over 10 hours in the tent, so just know that Oktoberfest is a marathon not a sprint. Make sure to eat a good breakfast before you get here and continue to eat throughout the day. I would highly recommend trying the friend dough (basically just warm sugar bread). Stay away from the giant pretzels, they are terrible tasting!
Have fun at your table and get into the German music! I personally thought that all the songs sounded a little like the “Genovia” national Anthem from the Princess Diaries and loved it!
Pro tip: Standing on the benches is fun, even dancing on them is encouraged when the traditional German band is playing. Standing on the tables is a BIG no!
If you think you need to go to the bathroom, get ready to wait in a 20 minute line! Make sure to take a buddy with you to navigate to the bathroom inside the tent. Some of the security guards will tell you to leave the tent to get to a shorter bathroom line, DO NOT LEAVE THE TENT!
This is really important to know: once you leave the tent for any reason you have to go back in the super long line you where in at 7:00AM. So stick it out in the crazy long bathroom line safely inside the tent.
Before You Leave
Make sure you have all the personal belongings you came int the tent with. The last thing you want to do it crawl around on the beer soaked floor looking for the purse you left near your table. Once you have probably taken 5 million photos, seen 3 kid you went to high school with, and lost your voice from singing german songs you don’t even know the words to, you might be ready to leave.
Just remember to stay safe and always have a back-up plan. Make sure to stay with a buddy at all times and if you get separated have a meeting place.
I had a great time at Oktoberfest this weekend, and hopefully these tips will help you guys on your own Oktoberfest adventures!