Telling you about the Oktoberfest in Munich is not that unique, but I want to add a little info that you might not know. Perhaps, like me, you’ve never been because you are not a big drinker, or keen on being in a tent with a bunch of drunken um papas. Well, by chance I was in Munich during the fest and I saw a different side to it. I saw no drunks the entire week I was there.
Firstly, if you are going at all make sure you are there for the first day opening parade. The parade passes through the streets of Munich from Sonnenstraße-Schwanthalerstraße to the Oktoberfest grounds. Horse drawn wagons decorated in flowers, marching bands, a few floats, and everyone in German national costume. You can view the parade from anywhere along the route for free, or you can buy tickets to get a seat on raised benches along the side of the road. I don’t think it’s necessary to buy a ticket. on the first Sunday of the Fest there is another longer parade called the costume and rifleman’s parade, where a procession of costumed Germans show off their traditional attire.
Secondly, the Fest is one enormous fun fair/ fair ground/ Luna park/ amusement park, or however they call it where you come from. Row after row of roller coasters, haunted houses, shooting galleries, flying swings and more. In amongst the rides are the beer tents, which are large and colorful, and worth stopping in to look around as they have the traditional um papa bands, and are all decorated creatively – apart from of course the huge mugs of beer.
Thirdly, the Oktoberfest is ideal for a family with kids. On Tuesdays during the Fest there are reduced prices for kids on the rides, and other kinds of discounts.
There is of course also the food. Ah the food! Ginger bread hearts hang from strings outside little wooden stands, and the smell of German sausage permeates the air. The locals dress up in their traditional cloths to celebrate this event, and the shops are full of these cloths, as well as locals riding the subway in their costumes.
The one draw-back is that there is no cover fee to get in, entrance is free and then every ride charges separately. So if you want to go on a lot of rides it will cost you.
Munich fair grounds,
You can enter the fair ground from Goetheplatz or Poccistraßeunderground stops, which are reached by U3 and U6 or Schwanthalerhöhe and Theresienwiese on the U4 and U5 lines. I would go for Theresienwiese.
In 2014, 20th September – 5th October
Roughly speaking 10:00 – 12 midnight.
Oktoberfest accommodation is hard to come by, book early.
Don’t go at peek times (lunch and dinner) to avoid crowds.
take the kids!