Celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich at the Theresienwiese is so much fun but can take quite a lot of advance planning. I would book your accommodation as far ahead of time as possible as hotel room prices can triple in price or more at the end of September because the festival usually starts around 21st September. You also need to think about whether you want to be as close as possible to the Oktoberfest grounds or if you are happy to stay a little bit further away. This might help with price but you would have to either pay for taxis or tram/bus. I have been twice to Oktoberfest and the first time stayed near the river in the Living Hotel Princessin Elizabeth This was a great hotel base but quite far away from the Theresienwiese. This year I stayed in the Mercure Hotel Munchen City Centre which is more central and a 15 minute walk. Also on the first Saturday of the festival the parade passes at the end of the road (Schwanthaler Strasse) so a perfect spot for seeing that. There are lots of hotels in that area including hostels so for every budget.
Booking a beer tent for the first or second day of Oktoberfest is a difficult task because all the tents get completely booked up. You can’t just choose which tent you would like to go to, each time I have applied to all tents and only got one offer! It can be a bit frustrating especially if you are only going to be there for the opening weekend. From this experience I think next time I will go for the second week where you are likely to get more choices of tent and what time sitting you would like. Also you have to book a table of ten so you will have to go with some friends. The price per head direct from the beer tent should work out around €36 which includes two steins and usually half a chicken and a table. Any website charging more than this is a reseller site making lots of money from you! Or even worse a scam site it’s really not recommended.
If you are not able to book a tent in advance there is always a chance you might find a table/seats as a walk in, but you would have to get there early and queue.
To figure out which tent you are interested in I found a few blogs very helpful, namely big boy travel, have a look it’s very informative!
I went to the Crossbow Tent (Ambrustschutzenzeit) which was great, a medium sized tent, room to move about and really good fun. I also really liked our afternoon slot. The second time I went to the Hofbrau Festzelt which is the largest tent at Oktoberfest which was absolutely packed full of people during the 5pm-10pm evening slot. To be honest I found it a bit too crazy in there, it’s definitely the party tent. There are also small tents which are just lovely, we came across the Haxnbraterei and had lunch there. The food was absolutely amazing!
Dressing for Oktoberfest; if you have time, there are lots of shops selling dirndl and leiderhosen of a variety of quality and prices in the center of Munich. They also have second hand shops where you could pick up something which was originally very expensive. It is better to buy something German for quality and style, I bought my dirndls online from Kruger Dirndl and found them true to size. They also sell menswear leiderhosen. Probably better to buy in advance online if you are short on time when you get there.
Oktoberfest is a fairground so there are lots of rides, some tame and some crazy! You don’t have to visit a beer tent at all. There are some bars spotted around so you could get a beer in there. Also lots of stalls selling food and biscuits and trinkets.