If you love beer, Oktoberfest is probably already on your bucket list. Don't love beer but enjoy fun festivals and the German culture? Oktoberfest should still be on your bucket list!
Oktoberfest in Munich is a festival of fun for the whole family. Besides the roughly 7 million of liters of beer that flow at the festival grounds (Theresienwiese) every year, there are also dozens of carnival rides, tents featuring traditional Bavarian foods such as sausages and schnitzels, roasted almonds, cotton candy, crepes, and music ranging from American country to Bavarian folk songs.
People from all over the world get together to celebrate the golden treasure that is German beer and to enjoy that cozy feeling of coming together in warmth, friendliness, and good cheer - a word that in German can be summed up as "Gemütlichkeit."
The festival grounds is a treat for all five senses. They might all be lost by the time you leave as you consume too many liters...but that's a whole different story.
The energy buzzes all around as soon as you get off the subway and throngs of people rush to get to the gates, excited to get to the beer! When you step into this magical world, your nose will be welcomed by the smell of sweet roasted almonds, freshly baked pretzels, and fried pork schnitzels and sausages. Although blue and white are the main colors of Bavaria, you will see lights of all colors from all the rides as well as in every piece of the German heart-shaped gingerbread cookies.
The "Wiesn" (as the locals like to call the festival grounds) boasts 14 enormous beer tents, which can fit between 5,000 - 11,000 people each. Each tent is represented by a different beer company and has a different vibe. Some are more traditional with more Bavarian music while some cater more to tourists as they play songs that most visitors are likely to be able to sing along to. There are large community tables which make it super easy to become part of a new group as you intermingle with other beer-lovers and cheers "Prost" with your large glass of golden German treasure!
To Keep in Mind If You Want To Go:
Oktoberfest 2020 is scheduled for September 19 - October 4. More info on the city of Munich's website: https://www.muenchen.de/int/en/events/oktoberfest.html
I would recommend allocating at least two or three days in Munich. One day to fully explore the city including Altstadt (Old Town) and the English Gardens, one day to fully immerse in Oktoberfest, and an extra day to either recover or go back to Oktoberfest for more fun.
The beer is sold by the liter which in 2019 cost between 10.80 to 11.80 Euros.
You technically do not need a reservation to get into any of the tents. However they fill up quickly as soon as the festival grounds open (10am on weekdays, 9am on weekends). If there are only two or three people in your group, you will likely be able to squeeze into a table somewhere and make new friends from all around the world. If you are with a larger group though, reservations may be a better way to go to ensure you can all sit together. All tents offer food so if you end up sitting at a table, you will be able to order your beer and food there.
Give yourself at least an hour or two to walk around the festival grounds and take in the full experience, including some of the rides, before you step into one of the tents. There is a merry-go-round with gorgeous views of Munich that is a must-do...but not after a few liters of beer.
Don't be shy - everyone is there to have a good time! Join in on the songs and the cheersing!
"Prost" = Cheers!
YouTube the song "Ein Prosit" - you will likely hear it at least once an hour while in the tents