Lederhosen are cool here.
1. Traditional Bavarian Gear: People in the States like to dress up as Naughty Frauleins or don lederhosen without shirts underneath for Oktoberfest and Halloween. But in Munich, traditional Bavarian gear is the norm. Of course, it's not so slutty here.
Skirts are longer and men definitely wear shirts under their lederhosen, preferably of the checked kind. If you want to spice up your dirndl, you can check out Munich's department store, Ludwig Beck, which sells Juicy Couture-inspired gear.
Failing that, you can just wear a shirt low enough to show off your cleavage and your hair in pigtails. Men, you can fake it by wearing one of those checked shirts--or by buying a ridiculous hat. Either will suffice.
2. The Fairground: Oktoberfest is held at the Theresienwiese fairgrounds. It has its own subway stop, making it easily accessible from all parts of the city. Cabs are also plentiful.
The fairground looks pretty much like an old carnival from the '80s that comes into town once a year--which is really what it is. There are rides and vendors and lots of cheesy Oktoberfest memorabilia on display. There are also a lot of horses from various beer houses, so things are kind of smelly. See this video for a better idea of what we're talking about:
3. The Tents: Of course, what separates this carnival from others are the beer tents. These things are enormous and can hold what seems like a few thousand people. Each beer house has its own tent.
We spent our time at Hofbrau and Paulaner. We walked around Augustiner but it was full of old people. Seriously.
4. Reservations Are Required: For groups of six or larger, you need to book ahead. Most of these reservations start later in the day, between 3 pm and 5 pm, so you can walk around to tables and crash them until then. Keep in mind, though, that security is strict about enforcing bookings.
You may be wondering, why we are so fussy about sitting down at a table? Can't we just go to the bar and drink? No. There is no bar and the waitresses will not serve you unless you are sitting down.
We also recommend ordering food. If a beer tent full of drunk people smoking (the smoking ban is ignored here) and drinking and standing on tables and prosting every two minutes sounds like a terrible place for a meal, that's because it is. But eating will also help you last a bit longer.
5. Befriend Germans: This is so easy to do because they are very friendly and they all speak very good English. We met some Germans in the first tent and they squired us around to the next.
They also taught us the words to the famous prosting song, and they were very helpful in dealing with the cranky servers and security men. They even helped us get home. Or so we assume, as it was pretty much lights out for us at 5 pm.
So these are our tips for Oktoberfest. Anyone else out there who hit up Oktoberfest this year? Drop in your suggestions in comments below.
· Oktoberfest coverage [Jaunted]