Oktoberfest in Munich: What You Need to Know

Your practical guide of everything you need to know for celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich for 2018.


Hacker-Schorr, “Heaven” of Bavaria tent at Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest Dates 2018:

Saturday, September 16th at 11:00 am – Tuesday, October 3rd.


Beer Serving Hours
Opening day: 12.00 noon – 10.30 pm
Weekdays: 10am – 10:30pm
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 9am – 10:30pm

Daily Tent Closing Time: 12:30 am
Insider Travel Tip: The “Käfer Wiesn-Schänke” and the “Weinzelt” are open until 1am with the last call for alcohol: 12:15am.

Grounds at Oktoberfest where there are also lots of rides to choose from - just be sure to hit them before the beer tents!

Grounds at Oktoberfest where there are also lots of rides to choose from – just be sure to hit them before the beer tents!

How to Get a Table at Oktoberfest

There are several ways to get a table:
1) Reserve your table months in advance as locals do
2) Go early – 9:00 am on Saturday and Sunday or by 3:00 pm weekdays
3) Skip the line, get a guaranteed seat in the fun Löwenbrau Tent, a walking tour of the Oktoberfest grounds and 2.5 litres of beer with this tour.

Where to Stay

While you may want to be within walking distance of Theresienwiese, the grounds where Oktoberfest is held, it’s pricy. Fortunately, the grounds are very easy to get to with Munich’s excellent train system, so look for a property anywhere along the S-bahn, U3, U6, U4 or U5, which is still convenient.

Finding a hotel during Oktoberfest is very difficult. Some hotels are booked months in advance, so if you know you’re going, book as early as possible. I’m a big fan of a which has over 380 properties in Munich listed.

An alternative and often much cheaper is to book a holiday apartment on Airbnb, which has over 1000 properties listed in Munich. You will find properties where you can rent out the place, or just a room, saving you money. Plus, it’s a great way to meet locals!

Oktoberfest parade participants entering the grounds in Munich.

Oktoberfest parade participants entering the grounds in Munich.

Octoberfest Location:

Theresienwiese.  Insider Travel Tip:  Don’t drive, parking is extremely limited and difficult to find.  Walk or take public transport.

How to Get There:

  • S-Bahn:
    S1 – S8 to Hackerbrücke, then a 15 minute walk to the Theresenwiese.
  • U-Bahn:
    U3 or U6 to Goetheplatz or Poccistraße
    U4 or U5 to Theresienwiese or Schwanthalerhöhe
  • Bus:
    MetroBus-Line 53 to Schwanthalerhöhe
    MetroBus-Line 58 to Georg-Hirth-Platz or Goetheplatz
    StadtBus-Line 131 or 132 to Hans-Fischer-Straße
    StadtBus-Line 134 to Schwanthalerhöhe
  • Streetcar / Straßenbahn:
    Line 18 or 19 to Holzapfelstraße or Hermann-Lingg-Straße
More people are wearing dirndls and lederhosen than not at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

More people are wearing dirndls and lederhosen than not at Oktoberfest in Munich.

Special Oktoberfest Events

Saturday, September 16th: The Schottenhamel tent is the place to be at 12:00 if you want to watch the official opening ceremonies. At 12pm, the mayor of Munich will tap the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Once the barrel has been tapped, you’re allowed to quench your thirst.   Insider Travel Tip:  Be there by 9:00 am to make sure that you get a seat.

Sunday, September 17th: Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade at 10:00. You can see what it looks like by clicking here.

Sunday, October 3rd:  Traditional gun-salute on the steps of the Bavaria monument at 12:00.

Each beer tent has its own flair.

Each beer tent has its own flair.

Beer Tents

There are a whopping 14 beer tents to choose from. Here are a few highlights:

Augustiner-Festhalle – considered the friendliest of all the tents.

Winzere Fahndl – the place to be if you want to do some celebrity spotting.  Also known for its cozy feel.

Armbrusthschützen – home to the famous crossbow competition.

Hippodrom – if you’re young and single you’ll want to head here.  It’s known for its single and ready to mingle scene.

The Wine Tent – for non-beer drinkers like myself! You can still order beer here – along with 15 different types of wine!

Beer Prices for 2017: 

 The cheapest beer is €10.60 and the most expensive is €10.90. Plus, remember a tip between 10 – 15%, if you want the waitress to keep coming back!

How Much Money to Bring:

There is no entrance charge to the Oktoberfest grounds or tents.  A litre of beer will cost you just over €10, plus tip.  I recommend bringing a minimum of €50, to purchase a couple of beers, some food and for the fair grounds. If you plan to be there from opening to closing time, then bring more.

Gingerbread hearts are a popular souvenir at Oktoberfest.

Gingerbread hearts are a popular souvenir at Oktoberfest.

Did you know…..

  • The grounds and tents are all free to enter.
  • There is security storage at the entrance so you can leave anything that you don’t need.
  • Children are allowed in the tents at certain times. But children under the age of six must leave the tents at 8pm even if they are with their parents.
  • Smoking is not allowed in the tents. Punishment is not being served or a fine.
  • The world’s largest festival has taken place since 1810 in honour of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen? It was such a great celebration that it’s been held almost every year since! Find out more Oktoberfest facts!
  • Every Tuesday is Family Day – meaning you get a discount on rides.

More Insider Oktoberfest Tips

  • On weekends you should be there by 9:00 am to get a seat.
  • If you still want the atmosphere, but a little less craziness, go on a weekday.  You can likely get a table if you’re there by 4:00 pm.  Any earlier and you’ll be hanging with the elderly crowd.
  • Plan to go more than once.  It’s huge and it’s fun to try different tents.  But once you’re in a tent stay there, as the other tents will likely be full unless you’re there really early.
  • Do dress in Tracht, that’s a Dirndl for the ladies and Lederhosen for the men.  It’s not required but most people will be wearing it and it’s a lot of fun. Check our more Oktoberfest tips for the ladies!
  • Over 30? Don’t go to Oktoberfest without reading this post first!
  • Don’t even think of going to Oktoberfest unless you know this song and the dance moves that go with it. You’ll hear it several times over the course of an evening.
You'll see lots of pretzels for sale at Oktoberfest. Be warned, they make you thirsty...for more beer!

You’ll see lots of pretzels for sale at Oktoberfest. Be warned, they make you thirsty…for more beer!

Can’t Get Enough of Oktoberfest? Then check out these related attractions in Munich:

Bier and Oktoberfest Museum – All signs are in German, but it’s in the oldest crickety character filled residential house in Munich.  The cozy pub is worth a stop, even if you don’t go to the museum.

Andechs Monastery – Not directly related, but directly related to beer brewed by monks.  Some of Munich’s finest and just a short train ride (on the S-bahn) from Munich. You can also beg for forgiveness here if you did something naughty the night  before.

While you’re in town, also be sure to check out these other places in Munich:

Relax at one of the four beer gardens in the English Garden, larger than Central Park in NYC.  Of special highlight are the surfers that surf a standing wave while being critiqued by tourists and locals alike. Get your culture on by visiting the Munich Residenz, home to Bavarian royalty for centuries.

All that sightseeing will probably make you hungry so be sure to check out my favorite places to eat in Munich.