Prior to going to Oktoberfest, the most I knew about it was that I would be drinking liters of beer every day and possibly trying to nurse my liver back to life with the amount of sausages and sauerkraut I would eat.
After attending Oktoberfest, I found this to be true. Very, very true.
Here are my dos and don'ts for a jolly good time, and a few notes if you plan on going (which, you totally should, because beer):
Don’t sleep in other people’s pee.
I would highly recommend an AirBnB split between friends, which is exactly what we did. We only booked a couple of months in advance, and it was still pretty expensive (around $340 a person total for 4 nights) BUT it ends up being cheaper than a hotel and almost the same price as you’d pay camping. (Also, while some people LOVE the camping thing, I’d rather have a hardwood floor as opposed to a grass one that’s possibly covered in pee and puke. Plus, SHOWERS. Because you WILL get dirty. (Shout out to Heike, who's apartment [and dat COUCH] was AMAZING, clean, well-designed, and a 10 minute walk to the festival. Even though originally we bought a train pass because we were stupid. Also kids, don't take Uber during the fest. It was cost $24 for a 3-minute Uber ride all because you thought you couldn't hold your pee. This def didn't happen to one of us...) You can rent it here.
Be a Bavarian Wench.
Literally. No f*cks given. Buy a costume, get it dirty, throw it away. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I bought one of those Halloween-type drindls as opposed to the real thing. (AKA the Bavarian Wench costume on Amazon. *shrug*) While the Germans take these v seriously, mine ended up so disgusting afterward that I was happy to rid myself of it (and the term wench, but I actually ended up growing fond of the word as an insult, and will now be bringing it back. NBD.) Also, it saves a TON of money. Drindls are upwards of around $200. I spent that on beer instead. #smart
One real Drindl, one Bavarian wench, 2 happy gals with beers. (And one Dan.)
Get there early to get a table.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you ain’t rich. And you’re not reserving a table unless you’ve got a suave uncle that works at Mercedes in Munich. So just arrive early, and then when they open the doors, RUN TO A TABLE, FAST. We underestimtated how, err, aggressive, this act would be. Be prepared to claim your space! (We were there SO early that it was legit empty. And we still ended up waiting in a line and running.)
Don’t go for more than three days unless you want to hate yourself.
That’s about all I could tolerate. We actually booked four nights and five days but I left on day 4 early to catch my flight to Thailand. On that note…
Never say you’re just going to “browse the fest grounds and not drink” after drinking liters of beer every day for four days.
While the rest of the group decided they were going to “take it easy” on day 4 and just “walk around” (in normal clothes), I got 82 WhatsApp messages as I was boarding the plane about how they were prosting again in a tent! And then, on day 5, I think they all hated themselves more than I did. Not to say that this was a bad idea, but if you’ve got a long flight back somewhere, you probs don’t want to be vomiting in the airplane bathroom the whole time. Unless you do. What are your life goals? (Also, this pic is legit what my friends sent me from that day. I love pickles and was looking for them all of Oktoberfest. They found one the day I left. Those bastards.)
Check out other parts of Munich.
I wish I had that extra day to actually get more time in the city in. Since the fest is normally more packed, the city seems to be the place where more locals are hanging out. (read: adorably large German men that yell at each other randomly to drink their beers and then sing songs and also they’re dressed in lederhosen but like, actual lederhosen which is surprisingly weirdly attractive?) We went to the Hofbrau Haus downtown and it wasn’t bad at all. And, on that note:
Go to the top floor and garden of Hofbrau Haus rather than just the main downstairs area.
This place is HUGE and some people fail to realize there’s an awesome garden (if the weather permits) with a giant fountain that people will fall into drunkenly (which is hilarious to watch) and then get kicked out (which is hilariously sad to watch). Also, the top floor has a very traditional beer hall complete with band and constant singing of my favorite German drinking song (which you can see below in the video). You can even order a full German meal or your favorite snacks (SAUSAGEEEEE!)
Go to as many tents as possible.
The ambiance is pretty similar (DRUNKEN!) but each one does have a different feel. One has an awesome roof that looks like a sky, one has a bunch of fun, colorful streamers, etc. And it’s fun to drink in ALL of them! DO ITTTT.
Or don’t. You do you. However, I would recommend hydrating. In. tens. ly. DRINK ALL THE WATER DAYS BEFORE! You can’t order anything but liters of beer, and it is SO HARD TO FIND WATER. Bring it with you in your bag or just hydrate with beer and then fall over later. It’s whatever.
Don’t pull a Ben. (Love you, Ben!)
Falling asleep at a table causes Germans to yell at you because they want your spot at that table. WHY? Because you can only order beer if you have a table. That being said,
Get a lil' tipsy and ride rides with ur bestiez. (DO PULL A BEN!) or whoever will spend $10 on a twirl-a-wheel with you. Find a stranger, make a friend!)
Don’t go drunk, because no one likes a spinny ride when you’re brain is already spinning, but DEF go tipsy. If you like carnival rides, Oktoberfest has them ALL. JUST LOOK AT THIS STUFF! And yeah, they’re expensive, but hey, you’re drunk! Who cares! Charge that shit. #fakemoney
PROST! DRINK! BE DRUNK! BE HAPPY! YOU’RE AT OKTOBERFEST!
It’s hard not to be, especially with people like these. (But your friends are okay too, I guess.)
Professional writer, designer, and do-it-aller. Remote Year citizen/alum. Currently living in San Francisco and probably trying to avoid the terrifying amounts of pigeons.