Ten Reasons to Love The World’s Best Beer Festival – the Oktoberfest!

Beer, dirndls, lederhosen, felt hats, gingerbread hearts, carnival rides, oompah bands…there are so many more than 10 reasons to love the Oktoberfest.

No matter who you are, when you think of Germany, you inevitably think of the Oktoberfest! Everyone has heard of the world-famous Oktoberfest. It might just be the largest party on Earth. Over six million people attend this three week event each year, and people come from over 80 countries just to experience some down home Bavarian charm.

If you are one of the millions that want to go to the Oktoberfest, don’t worry.  There’s plenty to do in fall in Germany, and you can do so much in just a day trip from Munich that you should start planning now so you won’t miss out.

Pretzels and Beer sums up the Oktoberfest!
Even as the Oktoberfest first gets underway with its amazing parade, there is toasting and drinking and having a general merry time.

Ten Reasons to Love Oktoberfest

Everyone is your friend when sharing a toast at one of the Oktoberfest tables.
Prosit! (pronounced Prost!) That’s the cheer for toasting your tablemates as you down your liter mugs of the best brew in the world.

Pin the Top Ten Tips for the Oktoberfest to help you plan your trip!

Top 10 Reasons Not to Miss the Munich Oktoberfest!

One / Eins – It’s all About that Oktoberfest Beer!

The beer is plentiful! It’s brewed specifically for this time of year, and the kegs are first tapped on opening day. There are six official beers which all sport their own party tents. Each beer has its own beer tent, and you can visit the Augustiner, Hofbrau, Paulaner, Spaten, Lowenbrau, or one of our favorites, Hacker-Pschorr, areas and try them all.

The Hofbrau Munchen float full of beer barrels goes by in the opening parade.
One of our favorite beers! If you don’t have one at the fest itself, don’t forget to go to the Munich Hofbrauhaus and raise one there!

Power Tip: Beer tent table reservations are pretty hard to come by, but there are a couple of options. 1. You can arrive at the site in the morning and get into a tent. You might get kicked out around 2 pm. but you will have been in there having fun up until then. Also, the outside of the tent has plenty of tables as well, and they don’t take reservations, so you can hang out there as long as you like. 2. You can go to a food or wine tent and you will experience much the same thing as in a beer tent, complete with bands and of course lots of beer.

Lederhosen is preferred wear during a beer festival in Germany.
Oktoberfest is fun for everyone. We’ve sat with people from all over Germany, but from other countries as well like Italy, Taiwan, and Portugal!

All beers are served in liter mugs. There are no “smalls,” so if you aren’t used to drinking a lot of alcohol, you might want to share one with your buddy, especially since each beer costs about 11 Euros (US $12). It may sound pricey, but take it from me, it will last you a good long time!

In Germany, it’s traditional to share tables, and there is no better place to do this than the Oktoberfest.  Every year, we make new friends from around Germany and the world.  It’s customary for the bands to stop every few songs and do a toast. It won’t take you long to be singing and shouting along, “Eins, Zwei, Sofa!”

Green hats with medallions and feathers are part of the band's wardrobe.
Traditional Bavarian dress includes these amazing green felt hats. Many people decorate them with pins from clubs, events, or mountains they’ve climbed.
Making new friends is one of the best of the 10 reasons to go to the Oktoberfest.
There’s something about those leather pants! You just can’t resist a man in lederhosen.

Two / Zwei –  See Real Bavarians Wearing Lederhosen

This is one time of year that everyone, young and old, is wearing traditional Bavarian dress called Trachtenmoden. Women wear dirndls and men wear lederhosen. Dirndls are often gingham, with embroidered aprons, and sporting a pretty busty look. Nowadays, though, you will see some women wearing lederhosen just like the men.

You’ll find Trachtenmoden available all around Munich and you can find some real bargains during the fest, so why not buy your own and join in the fun!

Beer, floats, lederhosen and more at the Oktoberfest opening parade.
Horses, cows, oompah bands, flag twirlers, beer wagons, and much more. The Oktoberfest opening parade last a couple of hours, and the whole time you are enjoying the trachtenmoden and Bavarian hospitality.  
Just because you are carrying a garland in the parade doesn't mean you can't enjoy a beer.
Colorful costumes, men with beers, who knows what you will see during the Oktoberfest’s opening parade.

Three / Drei – Oktoberfest Opening Day Parade

On the first Saturday of the festival, you can watch the opening parade right in downtown Munich. To get a good view I would recommend getting there an hour or so early. At the end of the parade, you can follow it right into the fair grounds where at noon the first keg is tapped and the Oktoberfest is on its way!

Oompah music led by this guy was definitely fun to listen to!
No matter what tent you are in, you will hear traditional Bavarian music all day and night long.

Four / Vier – Who Doesn’t Love an Oompah Band?

I don’t know what it is, but good beer should be accompanied by a great oompah band. Before you know it, you’ll be singing along to some of the traditional songs as they play them pretty regularly. Getting close to the band might not be great for your eardrums or conversation, but it will get your feet stomping…sometimes on top of the benches!

A full on Bavarian feast in one of the many restaurant tents.
You can make reservations for the food tents, but it’s not necessary. They will seat you with other people so that everyone gets served sooner and you can make a new friend over your grilled pork knuckle and liter of beer.
Don't miss out on this yummy Oktoberfest dish - Haxn!
One of our favorite stops! The Haxnbraterei is a rotisserie serving up huge pork knuckles. Luckily there is the option for a full or half plate. The knuckle is served with crispy skin and some sauerkraut. I believe it’s something everyone should try! A half knuckle plate will cost you about 18 Euros, but it will keep you full and fortified for quite a few hours.
Here's another restaurant tent, this one serving chicken.
Like the Haxen, this tent is just for chicken (and maybe some duck), again roasted on a spit and dripping with fatty goodness. It’s cheaper than the pork knuckle, but it’s also easier to get outside of the Oktoberfest.

Five / Funf – Fest Food is Amazing!

The Oktoberfest food is varied, a bit different, and delicious. You will find everything from huge pork knuckles (hax’n) to herring on a stick. It’s practically impossible to walk past the chicken spit as the fatty hens drip and sizzle, or trying out all the candied almonds in various flavors. Some of the best dishes are the huge wheels of Emmenthaler cheese sliced and served with a sprinkle of paprika or the orange-colored cheese spread called Obatze! You’ve got to wash down all that beer with some delicious foods, so start early!

Festival rides make it fun for kids of all ages.
Have you ever seen a swing like this? High above the fair grounds, this swing tilts its riders around and around. It’s a great view, as long as you haven’t had too much beer!
Bumper cars - Germany style.
Bumper cars….so.much.fun! 

Six / Sechs -The Carnival with Rides and Games

The rides. Like any great festival, Oktoberfest has all of the big rides making the carnival circuit. There’s roller coasters and Ferris wheels, bob sleds whirling round and round, faster and faster! You’ll find small, tame rides for the toddlers, horse and pony rides for the children, and enough twisting, turning, and reeling rides to keep your head spinning even before you’ve had a beer. Which, by the way, is a good idea! Go on the rides before you have a liter or two of that golden nectar sloshing around in your stomach.

Ich liebe dich, or I love you found on some gingerbread hearts.

Seven / Sieben – Gingerbread Hearts Galore!

Get a Lebkuchen (Gingerbread) Heart for your sweetheart, child, mother, father, best friend, dog, cat, boss, house-cleaner. Look long and hard enough and you will find just the right Lebkuchen heart for any occasion or acquaintance. The messages run from the sappy sweet to sarcastic wit, but regardless of the message the hearts are always ornate and tasty! (Just don’t eat them at the fest…no one does, and there is plenty to keep you going). When you receive a heart, you wear it proudly along with the rest of your Bavarian trachtenmoden.

Eight / Acht – More Carnival Fun!

Test your strength or your nerves! Somewhere scattered around the fair grounds you’ll find fun houses, houses of terror, hammers to swing, and even electrified pistol grips. How long can you hold on to the ever increasing current surging through this crazy device? Will you last long enough to earn a Superman rating or will you let go in writhing agony at the lamb setting? For extra fun, join hands with one or two friends and make your electrical circuit even longer and more dangerous!

Kids and adults alike dress up, eat junk food, and have a blast at the Oktoberfest.

Power Tip: A lot of people wonder whether they should take their kids to Oktoberfest, and the answer is a resounding yes! The hard-core drinking doesn’t really start until nighttime, so take your little ones early. Get some fair food and ride the rides. It’s fun and safe!

Games! You can throw darts, toss rings, shoot targets, guess numbers, race steamships, catch goldfish, shoot baskets, you name it, if you’ve seen it at a fair or carnival anywhere the chances are high that you can try your luck at the same game in the Oktoberfest. And of course there are prizes to be won. Spend enough money and have enough luck and you could be going home with a giant elephant.

Bavarian bears for a one of a kind souvenir!

Nine / Neun – Souvenirs!

Shop until you drop!  There is a surprising amount of stuff for sale from souvenir Oktoberfest mugs to cute little teddy bears dressed up in Bavarian garb!  Bring some money, because you are going to spend it!

Have a great time at the Paulaner Festzelt.

Ten / Zehn – It’s a Blast!

It’s just plain fun!  Oktoberfest should be on everyone’s bucket list no matter how young or how old! There really is nothing like it anywhere in the entire world! Prosit! Cheers! Enjoy!

Everything You Need to Know for Going to the Oktoberfest in Munich

How to Get to the Oktoberfest

If you plan on going to the Oktoberfest and you are already in Germany, you are in luck. You can find a tour from just about anywhere during this three weeks. However, if you aren’t in Germany already, you might be out of luck. Airplane tickets, train tickets, rental cars, hotels, everything books up months in advance. But, hey, this just means plan early!

The closest airport to the Oktoberfest is Munich, and you can take the S-bahn (subway) right to the grounds if you like. However, you might want to check into your hotel first, because you cannot bring any backpacks or big bags into the fairgrounds at all. There just isn’t enough room.

When you are in Munich, you can take all kinds of public transportation to get down to the fairgrounds. Visit the official Oktoberfest website for detailed directions.

How to Buy Tickets and Get into the Beer Tents

The good news is that the Oktoberfest doesn’t cost anything! That’s right it’s free, however if you want to be sure to have a seat in a tent, you can rent a table if you do it almost a full year in advance at this website.

Like we’ve mentioned before, though, you can still have the time of your life without a reservation in a beer tent. Remember to go earlier in the day, and on a weekday if possible, to improve your chances at spending time inside the bigger tents. But don’t worry, we’ve had just as much fun in the food tents and outside than inside the tents.

Where to Stay in Munich

Oktoberfest can’t be a spur of the moment decision. You’ll want to make reservations for hotels as far in advance as possible. However, there is always a chance that something will come open. One year we decided to just drive in to Munich for the day, but when we checked we found a room at an Ibis Budget in the outskirts. How lucky was that?

Our favorite Munich hotel, however, is the trendy boutique hotel, Design Hotel Stadt Rosenheim. Perfectly situated near the Ostbahnhoff and right in the middle of one of Munich’s best neighborhoods. Design Hotel has large, tastefully designed rooms with free drinks and a delicious breakfast included in the highly competitive price.

Have you been to the Oktoberfest in Munich?  Any tips?

31 thoughts on “Ten Reasons to Love The World’s Best Beer Festival – the Oktoberfest!”

  1. I’d love to properly do Oktoberfest once. Last year, we’ve celebrated it with a Bavarian friend Down Under, it was a good start to learn a lot about it. But not comparable to what you show in your article!!

  2. You got me with the gingerbread hearts! Bill can get all the beer he wants. He just has to give me four gingerbread hearts!

  3. Great round up of Oktoberfest scenes that are beckoning me to raise a glass! I’ve been to Munich, but not to Oktoberfest. Definitely want to have that experience sometime. Looking forward to wearing a dirndl, too.

  4. We don’t like crowds, or drunks so we avoided it when we were nearby. After reading this, I see there is a quite a bit more to Oktoberfest than we realized. Just to see the clothes would have been worth it.

    1. Rhonda, Oktoberfest is always crowded, but if you leave early you can miss most of the drunks. I haven’t ever stayed later than 9:00 pm, but the last few times I’ve left by 5:00. It’s been perfect.

  5. Ha ha, great photos. I really got into the swing, ooops swig of things. We were there too many years ago to remember much more than lederhosen (my fav!) those huge heavy mugs of beer and the bossy attendants in the loos, oh and the bands! Loved the photos – just had to say that again.

  6. Amazing, I have to go. I love everything about the atmosphere, the music and the color. 2016 I think would be a good time to go. Great photos, which totally capture the party mood. You look lovely Corinne.

  7. Wow, this brought back memories. My parents went to Germany when we were young. They brought back dirndls for us girls and lederhosen for our brothers. I think those were the beginnings of my learning to love other cultures and customs! We are German by heritage and my grandmothers and mom made lebkuchen cookies every year for Christmas. I miss them! Your photos are great and bring the celebration alive! I hope I get to go one day and celebrate my heritage!! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top