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 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. 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.