7 tips for Oktoberfest
Munich's Oktoberfest kicks off on Sept. 22! Here are some helpful hints about this year’s festival:
What to know before you go
1) Security has ramped up considerably. This year, law enforcement has fenced off the area surrounding the festival. No bags or large purses are allowed. There are three different levels of security: two different screenings when you enter the festival grounds, and one when you enter the tents. If you have a jacket on, you will be asked to open your jacket.
2) Transportation. If you’re staying in the Munich area, public transportation is your best bet. If you take U6 to Goetheplatz, it will drop you about 2 blocks from the main festival entrance. There is no parking available near the grounds, so it’s best to not even try.
3) No reservations? Go early. My friends and I went on Tuesday evening, thinking the crowds would be fairly light. Imagine our surprise when we could barely squeeze the three of us into a table at 4 p.m. However, when we went back at noon the next day, we were able to sit down inside a tent with no problem. Most tables that are reserved in the evenings are free during the day until about 3 p.m.
4) The Biergartens are a good choice. If you’re not a fan of big crowds or you have a large party without reservations, each tent has a Biergarten outside. The music is often broadcast through speakers outside, and the beer is just as cold and delicious. Because the weather has cooled off considerably, most also have heaters on the patios. Personally, I enjoyed the Biergartens a little more than the tents.
5) Drink responsibly. Please know your limits. The staff will not hesitate to remove you from the tent and/or festival grounds if you’ve had too much or if you start misbehaving. There are plenty of offerings aside from beer that are both cheaper and alcohol-free. Remember to stay hydrated, eat something and pace yourself throughout the day.
6) It really is family-friendly. Oktoberfest is quite possibly the pinnacle of all festivals. There is a plethora of carnival rides, midway games and, of course, amazing food vendors. There are two family days: the first was Sept. 20 and the next one is Tuesday, Sept. 27. Special discounts and deals will be available for families. Children are allowed in the tents with parental supervision until 8 p.m.
7) Have euros handy. The average price of a beer (11 euros) and food (half of a chicken is about 14 euros) will run you close to 30 euros. Be sure to bring plenty of cash, as most tents don’t take cards.