8 Tips For First-Timers At Oktoberfest
Even if you don’t really like beer, you should at least consider giving Oktoberfest a try. Here’s Why.
Even if you don’t really like beer, you should at least consider giving Oktoberfest a try. Chances are you might really enjoy the specially-brewed beer (especially after a couple of steins) as well as the lively atmosphere, carnival rides, and delicious German food. Outside the Oktoberfest grounds is the city of Munich, an incredible area full of places to explore, in addition to the whole Bavaria region of Germany (Neuschwantstein Castle is a day trip from Munich)!
There are six tents from six Munich breweries at Oktoberfest: Hofbräuhaus München, Hacker-Pschorr Bräu, Augustiner Bräu, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Palaner Bräu, and Löwenbräu. Each brewery serves a special Oktoberfest beer and only their beer is served inside their tents. Each tent serves just their one type of beer, and in one size. The stein that the beer is served in is huge and holds one liter of beer. Outside the tents you will find carnival rides and games.
8 Tips For First-Timers At Oktoberfest
1. Wear traditional German costumes to blend in
Men wear lederhosen and women wear dirndls. Wearing normal clothes to Oktoberfest was my mistake. I didn’t splurge on an authentic dirndl (about $100). However almost everyone (including all the Germans) are dressed up in authentic costume. You will never find a local German not in lederhosen or a dirndl. It’s fun to get into the spirit of the festival!
2. Get to the tents in the morning, and get there early
There will be huge crowds outside the tent entrances before they open at 9 or 10 am. Be prepared to get your foot stepped on, elbowed in the side, or pushed around a little. Don’t worry – once you get in and find a table you won’t have to deal with this crowd again! (That is, unless you leave the tent and try to re-enter…)
3. Sprint to find a table
Once the doors open, everyone literally sprints to get a table. Tables fill up very quickly so just take whatever you can get. Have your friends’ phone numbers on hand in case you get separated so you can find them – the tents are quite large with thousands of people inside. While a table reservation isn’t required, you may do so beforehand by contacting the brewery.
4. Tip the ladies that serve you beer and food
They deserve it! Tip at least a euro per stein. They carry 10-12 steins full of beer at a time, all day long, for days on end. Also, if you don’t tip them, they won’t come back. And you definitely want them to come back, because it can get tough to find a new server during the chaos.
5. Pace yourself
You don’t want to be that guy/girl that couldn’t handle it and vomited/passed out at the table, with photo evidence on Facebook for years to come. Note that the alcohol percentage in Oktoberfest beer is 6%, higher than regular beer.
6. Write down the address and phone number of where you’re staying
Having it in your phone is great, but in case you lose your phone or it gets stolen, you want to keep a hard copy of this info with you. If you need directions walking back or are giving your address to a taxi driver it can be much easier to show people an address they can read – pronouncing German words when you’ve been drinking beer all day probably won’t get you very far (or to the right location).
7. Mingle with other Oktoberfest go-ers. Join others at their table if they have extra room and strike up a conversation. You’re bound to make new German friends (or friends from all over the world)!
8. Take the chugging challenge
….only if you dare. If you chug your whole stein while standing on a table, you will be applauded by everyone. If you try but fail to finish, you will be booed! Before you take the challenge, remember that a stein is a whole liter. This means chugging a whole liter of 6% beer at once!
Enjoy yourself at Oktoberfest this year, and as they say, “PROST!”