10 Tips to Survive The Outrageousness that is Oktoberfest
You think you’ve mentally and physically prepared your body for this day. Your phone is charged, you’ve set yourself a budget and have purchased your traditional Oktoberfest attire.Think you’re ready? You are wrong. There is no real way to prepare for the chaos you’re about to endure but here are a few tips to make the best of your experience.
Tip #1: Go in September not October
Do not be fooled by the name, Oktoberfest takes place between mid and late september. Originally the festival was held in october but due to harsh weather conditions was moved to a warmer month. The festivities take place for three weeks but I would personally recommend the first week with the opening parade! Also, the actual fairgrounds are located in Theresienwiese so don’t just walk around Munich expecting to stumble upon Oktoberfest.
Tip #2: Arrive a Day Early
If you’re like me and have terrible luck traveling, it might be a good idea to arrive a day early. This extra day will give you time to figure out the metro, find an outfit and enjoy the street life in Marienplatz. There are plenty of stores that sell the traditional Oktoberfest clothing but the cheapest stands are located outside the train station. Dirndl’s can range from 30 to 100+ euros while lederhosens tend to be more expensive. Definitely buy the outfit, but save money for the beer. Although the festival takes place in tents now, it use to happen inside the original beer halls. Explore them if you have time!
Tip #3: Take a break from the beer and ride some rides
The Airplane chair swing ride is a must! As the ride lifts you up, you get an amazing view of the entire festival. It is almost surprising to see how many young children and families attend considering this is a massive beer festival. Other popular rides include the Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and a haunted house. Rides typically cost between 5 and 6 euro, but are totally worth it.
Tip #4: Buddy System
Over 6 million people attend this festival annually and some tents can fit up to 11,000 people inside it. Trying to drag a large group of drunk people anywhere is a disaster waiting to happen. The best thing to do is to split into smaller groups and have a designated meeting place if someone gets lost.
Tip #5: Pick 1 or 2 Tents
Although the tents do not officially open up till 9am, lines begin to form as early as 5am. Waiting in line may suck for the first hour but as the time gets closer till the doors open, the crowd gets anxious and the excitement rises up through the air. As the day goes on it gets harder and harder to tent hop. Make sure to tip your waitresses because this may come in handy later when you need to get back in the tent. If you’re friendly to the waitresses you may get lucky enough to have her sneak you in the side doors to avoid the long lines.
Tip #6: Don’t End Up on the Drunk Hill
DO NOT END UP HERE!
Behind the tents is a small grass hill where the drunkest are dropped off to sober up. Sometimes security will put you in a “10 minute timeout” here, other times they’ll kick you out. If security doesn’t like what you are doing, they have no problem picking you right off your feet and throwing you out. Nodding off, dancing on tables, or public nudity can all lead to a nice escort out of the tent. As I said in the last tip, your friends might be a little upset with you if you get kicked out because it can be difficult to get back inside.
Tip #7: Make friends
It is almost impossible to do anything in large groups due to limited seating, so break off into small groups and go socialize. Young and old, people from all over the world travel here to celebrate this magnificent drink. After a stein or two everyone is pretty friendly, so don’t be shy!
Tip #8: Bring Enough Money but Not Too Much
You’re going to have to face the harsh reality that a weekend at Oktoberfest is going to make a dent in your budget, but it’s 100% worth it. Money varies from person to person, but I recommend bringing about 200 euro. Most places inside the festival don’t take card or have fees if they do. Steins are 10 euro each and snacks can range from 5 to 10 euro. This adds up really fast and before you know it you don’t have enough money for a souvenir. Bring enough money to enjoy yourself but be aware of your spending!
Tip #9: Pace yourself
Remember, this a a marathon not a a sprint. There is no rush to get drunk that early in the morning. Enjoy your stein, make good conversation with your new friends and dance to the music of the band. 12 hours of drinking is tiring on the body so make sure to get good rest the night before and hydrate like you never have before! It is still a good idea to bring whatever your hangover cure is with you because it is almost inevitable to avoid.
Tip #10: Buy the Food from the Vendors Outside the Tents
Oktoberfest has carefully crafted over the years the perfect drunchies. It may be tempting to want a pretzel with your beer but wait till you’re outside. Not only is vendor food cheaper, but it tastes better. Ranging from brats to crepes, you can find almost any type of food you could want.
There is no way to plan where you will end up, who you will end up with or how you got there. So the best you can do is live in the moment and order another stein!