Oktoberfest: 6 Things You Should Know From A Local
The first time I heard about Oktoberfest, I had no idea what it was. So eventually, in 2011 I decided to go find out what all the hype is about. I was even more confused as it started in September and not October, I’m sure you are too :-).
The event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021, but is currently being held from September 16 to October 3, 2023. You can read about it here if you care to.
In short, its a party that started back in 1810 in October as a wedding festival after the then Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became King Ludwig I, married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Aha! Got it.
Date: September 16, 2023 – October 3, 2023
Train: Every S Bahn to Hackerbrücke or Subway U4/U5 to Theresienwiese
Nearest Airport: Munich International, Munich Germany (MUC)
Airport To The City: Take the S Bahn, it takes 40-45 minutes; alternatively you can take a taxi for 60 EUR or so, or shared ride service.
I have a few friends in Germany and one of them that lives in Munich have these tips for you:
1. Don’t go as its really expensive 🙂
He’s kidding about the not going part, but not about it being really expensive. As its a festival, be prepared to shell out some bucks. Even though the Euro is at ($1.07 to 1 EUR), things are still expensive. When I went in 2011 the steins (beer mugs) was 10 EUR a pop! So brace yourself.
Ensure that you use an ATM to get money rather than change at a currency exchange place as you’ll more than likely get a better exchange rate. Also if asked if you prefer to be charged in USD or EUR choose EUR as you will get a better exchange rate when the transaction hits your bank.
2. If you are thinking of trying a roller coaster, do so before you go to a beer tent.
I actually did the roller coaster before the tents indeed. This one is common sense though, no throwing up while on the roller coaster please.
3. If you can avoid it, don’t go on the weekends unless you have a reservations or are coming in the early morning.
The crowds are insane on weekends. People from all over Germany comes to this event and of course on weekends they are free from work, so the crowds are more. And I’ll tell you there is a huge crowd.
4. Go at midday
This one speaks for itself. Not sure why, but he says there are less people there. Maybe they are having lunch elsewhere :-).
5. Make sure you’ve eaten enough as the beer is strong
Yes please eat before drinking. Typically, once you enter a beer hause, you’ll stay there and just drink, sing and be entertained. They do serve food, but its pricey, so be prepared. And have cash to buy your beer.
6. In terms of choosing a tent to go, its a matter of taste
So pick a tent with the beer you like. When I went, I was just standing outside one of the tents and two guys came by, said hello and invited me to their tent. I had way too much fun. They were a bunch of local college students who had come in for the day.
Where Am I Going To Stay For Oktoberfest?
Hotels are either going to be packed and/or overpriced and more than likely sold out. Augsburg is a town close by, so you can try finding a place there if you cannot find anything in the city itself. But use Google Maps, find a town with train service and see if you can find a place to stay there.
You can also try hostels as well, but their prices will be a little higher during Oktoberfest. You can also use VRBO as well as AirBnb and HotelTonight (App download required and use my code kmckenzie15, to get $25 off your first hotel booking and I will get a $25 credit as well. So we both win.).
Plus you can use this hotel booking widget to check for rooms.
Flights To/From Munich, Germany (MUC) For Oktoberfest
With that said, getting to Munich by plane during the Oktoberfest time period is tricky despite the many nonstop U.S. gateways into Munich. But I’m here to help you over that hump. So here is a list of nonstop flights to/from North America.
Note that you can pretty much get to Munich nonstop from any of the major European hubs. So if any of these nonstops are full, then fly to a major European city and then take the train or plane to Munich. Learn more about the Munich airport.
Oh, there is a beer gaarten at the airport called Airbräu, plus a plane spotting area close to the airport. Munich is the only airport with a brewery so it should be on your list of things to check out.
As its Oktoberfest, the brewery is having lots of special offers, plus the airport will be decked out to celebrate Oktoberfest. You will see airport staff in traditional Bavarian dress and you can also buy your own Bavarian outfits. Learn More.
Airlines Flying Nonstop between North America and Munich
Here’s a list of airlines and the cities they served between North America and Munich, Germany (MUC) (subject to change):
Atlanta, GA (ATL) – Delta Air Lines (DL)
Boston, MA (BOS) – Lufthansa (LH)
Charlotte, NC (CLT) – American Airlines (AA), Lufthansa (LH)
Chicago, IL (ORD) – Lufthansa (LH), United Airlines (UA)
Denver, CO (DEN) – Lufthansa (LH), United Airlines (UA)
Detroit, MI (DTW) – Delta Air Lines (DL)
Houston-Intercontinental, TX (IAH) – United Airlines (UA)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Lufthansa (LH)
Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) – Lufthansa (LH)
Miami, FL (MIA) – Lufthansa (LH)
Montreal-Trudeau, QC, Canada (YUL) – Lufthansa (LH)
New York – JFK (JFK) – Lufthansa (LH)
Newark-Liberty, NJ (EWR) – Lufthansa (LH), United Airlines (UA)
San Francisco, CA (SFO) – Lufthansa (LH), United Airlines (UA)
Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ) – Air Canada (AC), Lufthansa (LH)
Vancouver, BC Canada (YVR) – Lufthansa (LH)
Washington-Dulles, D.C. (IAD) – Lufthansa (LH), United Airlines (UA)