Before I arrived at Oktoberfest in Munich, I had no idea that there were so many unspoken rules about the festival. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way. So here is a bit of information to help you choose what to do, what to wear, and what not to wear at Oktoberfest.
What To Wear To Oktoberfest
Molly and I arrived in Munich ready to drink beer and eat pretzels. We had our attire ready and we wanted to get to the party tents as quickly as possible.
With traditional German music blasting and German beer being poured in every direction, we were more than ready to embrace all that was Oktoberfest. Here is what we learned:
1. Lederhosen & Dirndls
The traditional outfit for women to wear to Oktoberfest is a dress called a dirndl. Dirndls can be found on Amazon or when you arrive in Munich. Basic dirndls shouldn’t cost more than $50 dollars, but if you’re looking to splurge, you can find dirndls for over $300.
Whichever avenue you choose, affordable or expensive, I recommend buying a traditional one.
There are plenty of stores online and in Munich that sell the silly dirndls that don’t cover your butt. I don’t suggest buying one of these.
Traditional dirndls should be at or below your knees.
For the guys, you’ll be donning the traditional lederhosen outfit. Lederhosen are leather shorts, most with attached suspenders. Now, before you get spooked by the prices, understand that lederhosen are expensive.
They will cost you at least $75 dollars or more. Remember, they are leather, which is why they are so expensive. Again, you can find lederhosen on Amazon or in Munich; both are great options.
2. Comfortable Shoes
Wearing comfortable shoes to Oktoberfest is a must. You’ll be walking from beer tent to beer tent, dancing, and standing basically all day. Get a pair of supportive and comfortable shoes to wear for your Oktoberfest adventure.
The girls at Oktoberfest typically wear close-toed black shoes and the guys wear long socks with loafers.
3. Regular Clothes
If you don’t plan on wearing a dirndl or lederhosen to Oktoberfest, just wear your normal clothes. Plenty of people show up to the Oktoberfest tents wearing just their everyday sweatshirt and jeans attire.
This is especially perfect for Oktoberfest-goers looking to stay on a budget. Of course it’s fun to dress up, but you can have the same experience wearing anything you’d like.
What Not To Wear To Oktoberfest
Now let’s dive into the things you should not wear during your time at Oktoberfest:
1. Lederhosen Or Dirndl Halloween Costumes
Save yourself the horror and don’t buy those silly Halloween Oktoberfest costumes.
I’m talking about the ones that are clearly unauthentic. Girls, this means the “sexy” costumes and guys, this means the lederhosen that aren’t actually made from leather.
You’ll likely pay more for the fake ones anyway, so just go for the authentic version.
While searching for the perfect thing to wear to Oktoberfest, you’ll come across many variations of dirndls and lederhosen. It’ll be easy to tell which ones are meant for a silly Halloween costume and which are meant for the actual festival.
2. Flip Flops
When I visited Oktoberfest I had two choices: I could wear my bright blue running shoes or flip flops. I figured flip flops would be the better and cuter option.
Nope. Wrong. Seriously, so wrong.
Now, I’m not one to be embarrassed by the way I dress. I am not fashionable and I’m totally okay with it. But wearing flip flops to Oktoberfest was NOT a smart choice for many reasons.
First and foremost, you’ll be in beer tents filled with people. And when I say filled, I mean FILLED. Stepping on other people’s feet is unavoidable. Wearing flip flops and getting your feet stepped on by huge, drunken men? Not fun.
You also don’t want to wear flip flops to Oktoberfest because you’re likely to be spilled on. What did you expect with a tent full of intoxicated partiers? By the end of the day, your feet will be wet, sticky, and just plain disgusting if you choose to wear flip flops to Oktoberfest.
So my advice? Wear any type of shoe you want. Molly wore hiking boots and they worked perfectly. Just don’t wear flip flops.
What To Do At Oktoberfest
Well, this one is extremely easy. What should you do at Oktoberfest?
DRINK BEER. Eat jumbo pretzels!
That was pretty obvious. But what isn’t as obvious are the things you can do at Oktoberfest in addition to drinking beer and eating jumbo pretzels.
1. Make New Friends
Talk to people. There are people from all over the world at Oktoberfest. Enjoy the cultural diversity and excitement.
You’ll hear traditional German music blasting through all of the beer tents. Get up and show off some of your best moves.
3. Visit Oide Wiesn
The best part of Oktoberfest for me was visiting Oide Wiesn. (Wiesn is German for Oktoberfest). Oide Wiesn is the traditional Oktoberfest where it isn’t everyone’s goal to get so overly smashed that they wake up in an alleyway.
Oide Wiesn is a place to enjoy your beer, enjoy some delicious Bavarian cuisine, and dance to traditional German music.
There are people of all ages in Oide Wiesn and it’s so fun to see how they celebrate traditional Oktoberfest.
4. Stroll Down The Roads And Try Different Food.
Obviously I would mention this since food is amazing. One of the best things we did at Oktoberfest was try all the different types of festival food. Sausages, chocolate-covered strawberries, sugar-roasted almonds. Absolutely delicious.
Try everything. Twice.
4. Get Out Of Oktoberfest For A Day
Yes, I realize you are in Munich specifically for the festival, but allow yourself a day or two to discover the city, visit Marienplatz, take a tour through Dachau concentration camp, or catch a German hockey game (one of the best things we did, thanks Dan!) There’s so much more to Munich than just Oktoberfest.
5. Drink Water. Best. Advice. Ever.
Keep your body hydrated or you will hate yourself for it.
What NOT To Do At Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is one of the biggest parties in the world. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement.
But, always remember that you are in an unfamiliar city surrounded by people that you don’t know. It’s easy to trust someone when you’re partying and having a good time but there are dangerous people out there, especially when alcohol is involved.
This applies to both men and women. Keep your personal safety as a top priority.
Ladies, we know what can happen at parties. Although it is completely unfair and wrong, I think the safest way to enjoy Oktoberfest is to not “blackout”. It’s easy to be taken advantage of when we aren’t in the right state of mind.
Guys, keep in mind that the ladies will be drinking. If she’s clearly had too much to drink, move along. If she isn’t sober enough to make a conscious decision, the answer is always no.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that you should have a TON of fun at Oktoberfest, but be careful about how much you drink.
Beer at Oktoberfest is actually MUCH stronger than the beer you would find in a bar or liquor store. Not to mention those steins hold more than two regular beers. It can be easy to forget how many you’ve had when you get caught up in the party atmosphere.
Want more on Germany? Read this post next: The Best Towns to Explore in the Bavarian Alps
The Wrap-Up: What To Wear And What Not To Wear To Oktoberfest
In my opinion, every traveler should experience a traditional Oktoberfest in Munich at least once in their life. But, before you arrive in Munich for this epic beer festival, be sure you know the unspoken rules of what to do, what to wear, and what not to wear to Oktoberfest.
Enjoy your time at Oktoberfest. Prost!
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