Oktoberfest: 7 Tips for the 30+ Year Old Crowd

I live in Munich.  I know that I’m supposed to like Oktoberfest.  Not liking Oktoberfest when living in Munich is comparable to being the Grinch at Christmas.

It’s not that I don’t like Oktoberfest. I do, but I don’t love it. But not wanting to be the Grinch (neon green is not my colour), I do go every year and actually have a good time – with these tips:

oktoberfest munich germany for the older crowd

Oktoberfest Survival Tips for the 30+ Crowd:

  • Go on a weekday.  Any other festival might be lame on a weekday, but not Oktoberfest.  We’re talking about the world’s largest folk festival people.  On a weekend, you’ll need to be there by 9:00 am to have any chance of getting a table.  On a weekday, 4:00 pm should do it.
  • Visit the Wine Tent.  I like beer but can’t drink it sadly due to a gluten allergy, which is the primary focus of the 14 beer tents in Munich.  Therefore, I usually find that I end up in the wine tent. Not only do they offer a decent selection of wines, but it’s also an older (30+ crowd), which is more to my liking.
  • Avoid the Hippordrom Tent at all costs. I should clarify that statement.  If you like to see really drunk single 20-year-old people hitting on each other, then go have a peak. It will have one of two effects:  you will be very thankful that you are no longer 20, or you will feel really old.
  • Go with a Group.  I’m not single, and not looking to meet cute boys (although I’m quite happy to look thank you very much – there’s something about a man in lederhosen….).But I digress. Going with a group of friends is so much more fun than just going with a couple of friends.

This year, Oktoberfest has also made it easier for individuals to book tables, which in previous years were about as scarce as snow in Florida since all the companies had booked them up.  You still need to make a reservation in advance, but weeks out, not months out.  A friend of mine just booked one last week  – something that would have been unheard of in previous years. You can book a table (for a hefty fee) through the individual beer tents. In my 20s I had a good time dancing on tables with strangers, in my 30s I prefer to do it with friends.

  • Check out the Rides. Despite what most people think, Oktoberfest is not just about the beer.  OK, it’s mainly about the beer, but there is also a really good selection of carnival rides.
  • Go see the Oktoberfest Parade.  You’ll see traditional costumes and the six Munich breweries taking their beer to Oktoberfest.  It really is something to see.  Check out my pictures from it here.  It’s happening on Sunday, September 23rd, starting at 10:00 am.
  • Check out a smaller Oktoberfest Celebration in a neighbouring city. They will still be busy, have a festive atmosphere, but be less crowded.  The first one I attended was the Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart.  I was in Nuremberg a couple of weeks ago and it looks like they also have their own smaller version of Oktoberfest.
  • Learn the dance moves to this song. OK, you may be getting up there in age, but you should still let loose a little.  One way is to learn the dance moves to this popular Oktoberfest song.  It will make you feel like you’re 20 or even younger again!  How’s that for anti-ageing? Plus you will hear it several times a night. It’s almost impossible not to have fun when you’re hopping on your bench like a tiger.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you obviously haven’t listened to the song…

You can also skip the line, get a guaranteed seat in the fun Löwenbrau Tent, a walking tour of the Oktoberfest grounds and 2.5 litres of beer with this tour.

Where to Stay in Munich

While you may want to be within walking distance of Theresienwiese, the grounds where Oktoberfest is held, it’s pricey. Fortunately, the grounds are very easy to get to with Munich’s excellent train system, so look for a property anywhere along the S-bahn, U3, U6, U4 or U5, which is still convenient.

Finding a hotel during Oktoberfest is very difficult. Some hotels are booked months in advance, so if you know you’re going, book as early as possible.

Hotels in the City Centre

The city center is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a convenient location and want to explore the city on foot. These hotels are within walking distance of the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), Marienplatz and many other sights. From there, you can quickly reach the Oktoberfest by public transportation.

Bayerischer Hof – This five-star hotel is a hot spot for celebrities and heads of states when they visit Munich. It’s conveniently located close to the Bavarian State Opera and Marienplatz. It’s a great choice if you’re seeking luxury. The rooftop bar (open in summer) has some of the best views of Munich.
Rocco Forte The Charles Hotel – This elegant hotel overlooks the Old Botanical Garden providing an oasis even though you’re in the heart of the city, steps away from the Hauptbahnhof. It’s also home to the longest indoor pool in Munich. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a larger hotel room.
Anna Hotel – Munich’s first design hotel has beautiful aesthetics with attention to details like lamps and textiles carefully thought out. Located right at Stachus (Karlsplatz) you’re right in the heart of all the attention. If you’re interested in design and architecture, you’ll love staying here.

Hotels Close to Oktoberfest

BOLD Hotel München Zentrum – This modern hotel is only a 5-minutes walk to the Oktoberfest and 50 m from the Underground station, from where you can quickly reach Marienplatz. BOLD Hotels also has apartments, some of which equipped with a kitchenette.
Roomers Munich, Autograph Collection – A modern and stylish provides a wide range of amenities, including a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a spa. The Asian in-house restaurant also caters to vegetarians and vegans.
Hotel Senator München – This hotel is just minutes from the Oktoberfest and near Munich train station. It features contemporary rooms and underground parking.

Another great and an often cheaper option is to find a place to stay while in Munich for Oktoberfest is Airbnb, which has over 1000 properties listed in the city.

If you’re new to Airbnb, click on this link to get €25 in travel credit when you sign up.

Feel free to add any Oktoberfest survival tips in the comments below.

Comments

September 19, 2013
I've yet to make it to Oktoberfest, but it is one of those things one should try once, so these are useful tips for when I eventually give it a go.... :)
September 21, 2013
@Sophie - Agreed, definitely worth going to at least once. Let me know if you make it and I'll be your personal tour guide.
September 20, 2013
Great tips! I definitely think a weekday would be more enjoyable. I don't drink beer so have ordered the very expensive and tiny bottles of wine in the beer tent. I had no idea there was a wine tent!
September 21, 2013
@Jennifer - You would love the beer tent. I hit it up every year.
kaylyn
September 20, 2013
I love your writing style, and though I'm not technically in the 30+ demographic (yet), I feel like following these rules would be the only way I'd survive Oktoberfest in Munich. Thanks for the tips :)
September 21, 2013
@Kaylyn - Thanks so much! Agreed these tips are good for anyone who is not seeking a really, wild crazy drunk fest, but still wants to have fun.
September 20, 2013
How about tips for 10 year olds :) I actually really really want to take my family and kids there. Not sure where I heard this, but I was told that some parts of Oktoberfest are becoming family friendly.
September 21, 2013
@Marina - Great idea. The only one I have at the moment is to go on Tuesdays, it's Family Day and the rides are cheaper. Will try and get some tips though for next year.
September 21, 2013
What a sea of people! I love the idea of going on a weekday - that's when I do most events with large crowds. Great tips, Laurel!
September 21, 2013
@Marcia - I know it's crazy right? Way too many people for me.
September 21, 2013
A lot of Danes go to Munich fest but I've never heard of anything but beer and lederhosen. Thanks for enlightening me:)
September 21, 2013
@Mette - Well to be fair there is a lot of both beer and lederhosen :), but yes, there is more.
September 21, 2013
Great idea for a post! as a thoroughly young at heart and celebratory person who is no longer in my 20's, I really appreciate your list of suggestions! It's also great to know that tables can be booked on shorter notice now a days. I will look forward to taking full advantage at first opportunity!
September 21, 2013
@Mary - I'm "young at heart" too and also very happy about the change in making a table reservation. You'll have to let me know if you do go and we can go together!
Andrea
September 22, 2013
Great tips! I loved Oktoberfest -- shame it's so hard to get a table though
September 24, 2013
Maybe it IS that I'm over 30, or maybe crowds just aren't my thing regardless of age, but Oktoberfest does NOT appeal to me. If I ever do go, I will definitely follow some of these tips because I have no desire to get stuck in a crowd of rowdy, obnoxiously drunk 20 year olds. And seeing it in a nearby city sounds like fun too.
September 25, 2013
I like that you're still dancing on tables ;)
October 15, 2013
@Roy - I'll be doing it with my walker :)
September 25, 2013
I'm going to Oktoberfest tomorrow (!!!) and while I'm in my mid-20s, I'm definitely past the drunk debauchery stage of my early 20s so will probably be enjoying it more like this :) Cheers for the tips and maybe see you in Munich!
September 25, 2013
Great tips my friend!! I wish I could experience this in Germany one day. Been to many German celebrations in New Jersey but would love to see the real thing! Like you, I don't like beer much but I would have to try at least one giant mug and then head to wine tent as well.
September 25, 2013
What helped me survive Oktoberfest was starting at noon (on a weekday when it wasn't crowded so we still got a table) and being done and in bed by 8pm. Lots of water and lots of sleep :-)
September 30, 2013
It's definitely something to experience once! And handy tips for a different experience :-)
October 11, 2013
I feel like this was written for me. If I ever make it to Oktoberfest, I'm going with you!
October 15, 2013
Yes, you must come. We'd have a blast. I'd make you wear a dirndl and your hair in braids :)
September 29, 2014
LOL at the Oktoberfest dance song moves! I did Oktoberfest when I was still in school. This would definitely be helpful if I ever went back as I'm approaching 30 now....YIKES!
December 18, 2014
@Will - Yeah you'd probably want to hang out in different tents that you did when you went while you were in school :)
Elisabeth
September 22, 2015
Glad I read this and the 5 tips for women before going, very useful :D And by the way, there is a nice small version of Oktoberfest in Erlangen called "Der Berg" happening every year in May. It's definitely a good 30+ alternative. The festival is great with all age groups, but it's not unreasonably crowded. You actually get a table without booking ahead and it's much smaller and more convivial.
July 14, 2016
#Elisabeth - I'll have to check out "Der Berg", thanks for the tip. It sounds like a great festival!
Becky
September 24, 2015
You didn't mention the Ode Wies'n, which is a quieter version of the Oktoberfest, on the same grounds but separated by walls. You get the feel of the fest without all the craziness. Good for families with little kids (and oldies like me). Wouldn't go anywhere else.
September 24, 2015
@Becky - Excellent point! Thanks for mentioning the Ode Wies'n!
Gina and Zeke
September 18, 2017
We love Oktoberfest but you are right, the older we get it's becoming harder to tolerate some of the drunks. But these are great ideas for us next time!

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