Oktoberfest Do's & Don'ts
Updated: May 21
How to prepare yourself for Oktoberfest
This was a very common and highly recommended tip of advice from the locals of Munich. Beer at Oktoberfest is not your regular percentage. The beer served at Oktoberfest has 7% alcohol rather than your regular 4.5%. So having said this, you really do need to pace yourself. You may be an avid beer drinker and think you can handle it, but no matter what your tolerance is you want to pace yourself. By pacing yourself you can enjoy a full day of Oktoberfest compared to those who spend their day on the floor near the bathroom stalls at 1 in the afternoon (this is true).
Locals also told us that you may see people standing on the benches getting ready to chug their mass (stein). They advised us that it is very rare to see a veteran of Oktoberfest chug their beer. Locals associate these people to be the tourists of the bunch because they know locals aren’t chugging their beer. So we simply watched and enjoyed the show. We joined the chanting and watched people finish their beer, but also watched them not even make it halfway.
This is us after a full day of Oktoberfest... LOST hahah
TIP: This again was told to us from a local as to why you should pace yourself. When drinking inside the tents there are lots of people, meaning there is less oxygen than there would be outside. Just be prepared for your buzz to be intensified once you exit the tent, because of the increase of oxygen. That’s why some would say they would rather sit on the patios.
You need cash for almost everything at Oktoberfest. Almost all the tents only accept cash, so if you want your beer and food hit the ATM beforehand. Trying to pay with a card is extremely difficult only because the server has a very high pace to keep up with and does not have time to take card payments.
HOW TO BUDGET FOR OKTOBERFEST
Beer= 10.80 euros
Food= ranges from 5-15 euros
Oktoberfest T-shirt= 10-20 euros
Oktoberfest Stein= 25-70 euros
Gingerbread cookie Necklace “Lebkuchen”= (depending on the size of cookie) small 5 euros
TIP: For one day of drinking, eating and buying souvenirs I brought 150 euros (although I didn’t spend all of it, I just wanted to be safe and I wasn’t sure how much souvenirs cost or if I was going to get any.)
TIP YOUR SERVER
The servers are working very hard to get your drinks and food to you quickly and are working on their feet all day. They carry more than five full steins on each hand (trust me it's more difficult than it sounds, I tried to carry two full ones and I was having a hard time). Tipping your server is not just a gesture of courtesy but it also puts you in the good books. By tipping you will guarantee that your server will be coming back quickly with refills. Having said that, each mass of beer costs 10.80 euros so just give them 12 euros and tell them to keep the change. For our sake Ryan (my boyfriend) and I were paying together, for two steins we gave the server 25 euros and told him/her to keep the change.
GET TRADITIONAL...WOMEN DIRNDL AND MEN LEDERHOSEN
Although I find it to be a much better experience when ‘looking the part’, some walk through the entrance of Oktoberfest wearing regular clothing. Try to get in the spirit of things and get your own Dirndl (for women) or Lederhosen (for men).
Where to buy these outfits?
I got my Dirndl online at Dirndl.com, I only did this because I was travelling Europe for 2 months and I wasn’t sure if I would find a store to get my outfit once I got to Munich. But I was wrong, you can find the traditional outfits all over Munich. You can check out the major outlet/department stores like K&F, C&F and Kaufhof, just make sure you check the closing times because they aren’t open too late.
I got mine ahead of time but Ryan didn't have his outfit yet. We ended up finding this cute little boutique near our airbnb named, Schwabinger Boutique. The lady who was helping us out was so sweet, a true Bavarian that barely spoke english but was kind enough to give us a discount on the vest we got. She was so sweet to the point where she even got us pumped up for what would be our first experience at Oktoberfest. We ended off with a “PROST” and went on our way. If you are looking for unique finds I suggest going to Schwabinger Boutique. At this boutique they had new and used dirndls and lederhosen. What we didn’t know was how expensive a lederhosen can be so Ryan got the classic gingham patterned shirt with a traditional velvet vest to pair on top. Talk about a Bavarian hottie;)
ALL ABOUT DIRNDL
Dirndl cost depends on the design of the dress, I got mine for 70 euros. There are cheaper ones although you can tell that they are by the quality. It all depends on the style of the dirndl and your budget.
Not only is there a traditional dress there are also traditional ways of wearing your dirndl. Each dirndl is designed with elegant embroidery (the more elaborate the dirndls used to show how well off you are) but, in this case I just picked one I thought was pretty. The dress consists of a white shirt that is under your dress that can either be a long sleeve, short and puffed sleeve or a short turtleneck. The dress can vary in colour and paired with an apron. However, here are some of the fun traditional rules in wearing your dirndl…
The way you tie your apron can tell others your relationship status.
If you tie it on the...
Center= chastity belt
THE WAY OF THE LEDERHOSEN
So what are Lederhosen? Lederhosen are knee high shorts that are traditionally made from tanned deer leather, making the shorts soft and light. This is paired with a gingham pattern shirt, vest or knitted sweater and a hat if you want.
Lederhosen can get pricey... on average they cost 200 euros. This is because of the leather it is made with. Although, some were just wearing the gingham pattern shirt with pants or own shorts of their own. This too can look the part and can be a lot cheaper if you are on a budget. The shirt and vest that Ryan got was 120 euros but you can find cheaper ones at the department/outlet stores like K&F, C&F and Kaufhof.
DO AS THE GERMANS
Learn some of the basic need to know words. Everyone does speak english, but if you can impress a few people why not.
Thank you: Danke
A stein of beer: ein maß (ß is double ss, maß = mass)
DON'T WAIT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!!!
The line to the bathroom is always insane, especially on the peak days like on the weekend. So even if you think you don’t need to go, GO. Do not wait till the last minute. I did that and I thought my bladder was going to explode.
DON'T TENT HOP ON BUSY DAYS
Getting a seat on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday is a gold mine. Once you find your seat GET COMFORTABLE. It is super difficult to explore as many tents that you can on those days. However, if you go on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday you are more likely to be able to explore more than two tents.
DON'T WEAR OPEN TOE SHOES
Open toe shoes is a no no. With the crowd that comes to Oktoberfest daily there are many things that fall to the ground like broken steins. To avoid any injuries wear closed toe shoes.
DON'T BRING ANY VALUABLES
At the Oktoberfest entrance there are certain restrictions in regards to bags. Backpacks are not allowed and will have to be checked in. This is just to help regulate stolen items and avoid unwanted items within the event grounds.
There is a lost and found at Oktoberfest and they have collected many items, including a live rabbit one year!
Here are number of the items at the lost and found Source CLICK HERE
Identity cards= 950
Clothing = 1,000
Walking sticks/umbrellas= 45
Wedding rings= 2
French horn= 2
Hearing aid= 1
Eyeglasses with Swarovski crystals= 1
So avoid bringing anything you do not want to lose and just make sure you have pockets for your wallet, money and phone. I decided not to bring my camera but instead take photos with my phone because I did not want to worry about breaking or losing my camera. Also, for women, avoid bringing a large purse. Either put stuff in your pockets, bras or fanny pack. I tied the keys to our airbnb to my bra strap and had Ryan hold the money in his wallet where he kept in his pocket.
DON'T SAVE SEATS
You will get noticed by others or a server if you are withholding seats from others. Make sure you are all present when looking for a seat to avoid getting called out. The server has the right to tell you that you cannot hold seats (we learned this because that is how we got our seats).
TIP: Get comfortable with being very close with other people. Shoulder to shoulder action will happen, but you get to meet so many people from all over the world and you will be buzzed so it's fun! At one time we had Italians, Croatians, Brits and Germans (local and non local) all sitting with us at our table.
DON'T STEAL A STEIN
When leaving the tent, park or honestly anywhere there are security guards waiting and they have the right to check your bags. Like I said before, backpacks are not allowed on the grounds and will have to be checked in. But, when you are buying souvenirs you get a plastic bag for your purchase. When you leave Oktoberfest there are tons of security guards all spread out by the exit and they are all checking your bags. If you get caught with a stein that you drank from you can get a large fine. Well… I was drunk I admit and was stupid but I don't regret it hehe. I stashed an Augustiner stein in one of my souvenir bags and……… did I or did I not get away with it?