First things first:
The Beer Serving Hours are: on weekdays from 10.00 am - 10.30 pm. Tents are open about 1 hour longer for you to get tha last beer down.
On Saturday, Sunday & holidays from 09.00 am - 10.30 pm.
Two tents are open a little bit longer: 'Käfers Wiesnschänke' and 'Weinzelt'.
Usually, if you go late afternoon you will not get a seat in the beer tents anymore and tents close the entrances once filled. Waiting lines in front of the tents are long and frustrating.
Go early! The unofficial rule is 'don't go later than 2:30pm' on weekdays. On weekends it's best to go before noon.
Beer price per 1 Liter mug: around 10.oo Euro.
Munich Beer Festival - the Oktoberfest: The Munich “Wies’n” (how it is called by locals) is the world’s largest folk festival with 6+ million visitors. On an average people drink 6.5+ million Liters, known as a “Mass”, of the especially quaffable Oktoberfest beer, whilst eating more than 100 oxen and around 80 calves. Almost half a million roast chickens (“Brathendl”) are consumed in the two weeks on the Theresienwiese, over 100,000 pairs of pork sausages and some 80,000 pork knuckles.
Note: it's more or less impossible to find any parking space for your car. Take public transportation. The subway station is directly at the entrance.
The Oktoberfest has its origins in the celebrations of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become Ludwig I of Bavaria, to Therese von Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810. The Oktoberfest grounds in the centre of the town are also named after her: the Theresienwiese (Wiese meaning meadow), affectionately referred to by Munich folk as the "Wiesn", which has also become the term for the world's biggest funfair itself.
Every year in the last week of September, this huge area at the foot of the statue of Bavaria is turned into a vast "Festwiese" for 16 uproarious days until the beginning of October (the Oktoberfest always begins on the (second-) or last Saturday in September and ends usually on the first Sunday in October).
The Wiesn is a festival for all the senses, a merry mixture of sideshows, traditional roundabouts, high-tech switchbacks, a Ferris wheel and "Super Loopings", small and larger sales stands for such delicacies as candy floss, gingerbread hearts and roast almonds or for balloons, stuffed animals and other souvenirs, and, of course, the "landlords' alley" with the 14 beer tents of the Munich breweries.
Ca. 6+ million people visit the Oktoberfest each year, drinking about 6+ million liters of beer.
Beer is served in 1 liter mugs. To order a beer you don't say: 'Ein Bier bitte' (one beer please). You say: 'Eine Mass bitte'.
All six of Munich's major breweries are represented with seven "Festhallen" -- that's the name for a beer tent. The largest tent – Hofbräuhaus – seats over 10,000 guests. In the Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu festival hall the tradition of roasting oxen will be continued.
Alltogether, there are 14 tents for beer lovers, but wine lovers should go to the 'Wine Tent'. Most English speaking folks are usually found (onto or sometimes under the table) in the 'Hofbräu Zelt'.
Beer Prices at the Oktoberfest
The price for 1 liter beer is ca. 10.oo and above -- it varies slightly from tent to tent.
Yes, tipping is expected by the strong ladies who serve you the beer.
The price for non-alcoholic beer is not higher than the Oktoberfest beer.
Remember, you order a beer by saying: "Eine Mass bitte". A 'mass' is the correct bavarian expression for a 1-Liter beer mug (certainly filled with beer).
The Oktoberfest is famous for pork knuckle (in German: Schweinshaxen) and roast chickens, but there are certainly plenty of other Bavarian and German delicatesses like 'Bratwurst', 'Weisswurst' (mostly only until 12 noon), 'Brezen'.
A wide range of entertainment-businesses, carousels, shooting and throwing galleries, attractions for children and nostalgic merry-go-rounds can be found on the grounds. This year altogether 650 businesses have been admitted. Apart from the 14 festival halls – popularly known as “beer tents” – of the major Munich breweries and the other large catering companies, there are about 65 medium-sized and small catering firms as well as other sales kiosks for tobacco, sweets, ice cream, fruit, souvenirs, espresso and a stand for milk and milkshakes.
Among others you'll find several roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, chain flyers, etc.
There are also 38 shooting galleries and 38 stands for games.
The festive setting for the opening of the Oktoberfest is the entry of the festival hosts and breweries. During the ceremonial opening of the fest, the families of the festival hosts in coaches adorned with flowers, the bands of the festival tents, the waitresses on decorated carriages and the magnificent horses and carts of the Munich breweries enter the festival-grounds; this procession is lead off by the “Münchner Kindl” – Munich’s symbol figure – on horseback, followed by the festival coach of the Lord Mayor. It was first held in 1887.
The procession of folklore and marksmen groups is seen on the first Sunday of the Oktoberfest. Some 8.000 persons from Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Lichtenstein, Poland, Rumania, Switzerland and other European countries participate in this festival parade which is some six kilometres long. Highlights are historical uniforms, marks-men, folklore groups, local bands, bandsmen and thoroughbred horses. This folklore procession was held for the first time in 1835 on the occasion of the silver wedding anniversary of Ludwig I. and Therese von Bayern.
A bigband open-air concert of all Oktoberfest bands with some 400 musicians takes place on the second Sunday of the festival. For the grand finale of the Oktoberfest on the last Sunday some 60 marksmen salute their farewell accompanied by the band of the marksmen’ tent.
Typical for the Oktoberfest are the popular traditional attractions which have again been admitted like the show "Off We Go At Schichtl’s”, the “Re-vue der Illusionen” – a show of historic fair illusions, the old-fashioned merry-go-round “Krinoline” with live music, an old Russian Wheel, Punch-and-Judy-Shows, the “Zugspitze-Railway”, the toboggan, a devil’s wheel and the witches’ swing.