Attending Oktoberfest as a tourist is a blast, whether it’s your first time or not. It is a unique and satisfying experience that lets you enjoy the German culture and atmosphere of Oktoberfest.
But if there is an experience that most Oktoberfest goers from other countries do not experience, it is to attend and enjoy Wiesn’s madhouse like a local.
To help you enjoy a much more unique Wiesn that only locals experience, we have made a list of suggestions to enjoy Oktoberfest like a local.
It may be Oktoberfest, but it starts in September.
Many people think that Oktoberfest is in October because of its name, but in fact, Oktoberfest starts in September. While the first Oktoberfests were in October, the authorities changed it to September due to longer days and warmer weather.
It is the Wiesn
It is known as Oktoberfest to tourists, but many locals call it the Wiesn. Why? Because Wiesn translates to “the meadow” in German, and the Wiesn takes place in the Theresienwiese, a large meadow.
Know the tents
Many beer tents open during Oktoberfest, each with a unique vibe and atmosphere. Most tourists go to Hofbrauhaus, while locals go to Augustiner. If you want to experience Oktoberfest like a local, going where the locals go is a great way to immerse yourself in the community. To make it easier to choose a tent, make sure you have a certified guide with you, like Thirsty Swagman.
Get there very early, especially if you don’t have a reservation.
Ideally, you should make a reservation before Oktoberfest. But, in case you don’t have one, you have to be there very early to have any chance of making it into a tent. Did you know that the locals go outside as early as 6 AM, sometimes even at 5 AM, and this despite the fact that the doors only open at 9 AM? So, if you don’t have a reservation, try to be there as early as you can.
Take your time
The tents open at 10 AM on weekdays and 9 AM on weekends, but don’t let the large sizes of the tents fool you; they fill up quickly, especially on weekends. While the night is also fun, if you want to catch the locals, it’s best to go there on a weekday afternoon.
Avoid the Italian Weekend
Italian Oktoberfest Week is during the second week of the event. If you’re wondering why it’s called the Italian Weekend, it’s because it’s the time when thousands of Italian tourists arrive, essentially filling all the tents with Italians. The Italian Weekend is so crazy that the local police and medics need reinforcement. While there is fun in the Italian Weekend, if you want to enjoy Oktoberfest like a local, it is best to avoid the Italian Weekend.
Oktoberfest is more fun with other people. So, make sure you are friendly and try to talk to people who seem friendly. If there are empty seats for you or your group at a table with other people, politely ask if you can join them. By immersing yourself in the local community and getting to know more people and their cultures.
Of course, be prepared to do it the other way around. If you have available seats at your table, give them to other people too.
Dress up for Oktoberfest
During Oktoberfest, you will see many locals in lederhosen and dirndls, as they are the traditional attire for the occasion. If you are a tourist, there is no reason why you should not follow this tradition.
However, when buying lederhosen and dirndls, be sure to respect the local tradition by not getting ones that are too tacky or draw attention. To gain the respect of the locals and feel the Oktoberfest, be sure to dress appropriately for the event.
Of course, for women, take note that there is significance where the bow is placed on your dirndl. If it’s on the left, you’re single. If it’s on the right, you’re taken.
Visit the Oide Wiesn
Most of the tents during Oktoberfest have the atmosphere of the modern event. But, if you want nostalgia and a bit of history, you should visit the Oide Wiesn, which is far from the frenzy of other tents. By visiting the Oide Wiesn, you can try traditional Bavarian cuisine, old-school rides, various activities, and the beer garden for folk music performances.
Of course, it’s not free, as admission is about $4 for adults and free for children 14 and under. If you are bringing younger children with you, it is better to try to go on Tuesday Family Day from 10 AM to 7 PM for special prices and a more wholesome experience.
Know how to interact with waitresses
If you have a table, you don’t have to stand up to order drinks and food. But, if you’re standing, you don’t have table service, which means you need to order through the kitchen windows.
Also, when talking to waitresses, make sure you never touch them, even when they don’t seem to notice you. It is not easy to be a waitress during the Oktoberfest, and foreigners should only make the job more difficult for them, and most likely, you will be shouted at, and everyone will be looking at you.
Oktoberfest Wiesn like a local
Going to Oktoberfest is one of the most unique experiences you can ever have. To make it as authentic a German Wiesn experience as possible, the Thirsty Swagman they can revolve around you.