First off, lets discuss clothing. The most common attire at Oktoberfest is the traditional lederhosen for men and dirndl for women. I have been to Oktoberfest a few times now, and I have never spent the money to purchase a dirndl. Yes, they make the experience much more fun and the pictures you take way cooler, but don’t sweat it if you can’t afford one. If you want to wear a dirndl, however, I have a few good tips for you.
If you are looking to purchase your dirndl before going to Oktoberfest, there are plenty of websites online selling dirndls ranging from very expensive to pretty cheap. If you do not want to purchase one online, however, there are several places around Munich to try on and purchase a dirndl. Dirndls usually come in a few pieces: the skirt, the blouse, the corset and the apron. Usually it makes sense to buy these together because it will be cheaper that way.
When it comes to tying the knot on your apron - BE AWARE. Knots tied in different places mean different things. A knot tied in the front of your apron on the left means that you are single, on the right means married, in the front and center means you are a virgin, and on the back and in the center means that you are widowed.
Additionally, if you do not feel like wearing the traditional dirndl, (some women find the skirt aspect to be too girly for them) many stores are now selling a woman version of the lederhosen. This comes with shorts, a checkered shirt, long socks and you can choose to wear suspenders or not!
When it comes to accessories for your dirndl I would highly recommend wearing flats with your outfit. Flats are the most common footwear that German women tend to wear with dirndls. Even though heals might dress up your outfit, you do not want to be wearing heals at Oktoberfest…trust me. The floors get wet with beer and chances are you will be standing on one of the tables during the course of the day and night (almost everyone is standing on the benches and tables singing and dancing.) Additionally I would recommend wearing tan stockings. It tends to get cold at night and when you are leaving the tents you will be happy you do not have bare legs! Also, depending on the weather, do not forget to bring a jacket. It might be a pain to keep track of during the night, but it can be pretty cold in the morning or late at night once the sun goes down. Depending on where your hotel or hostel is, you could have quite a long walk home.
My other suggestion is do not bring a purse if you do not have to. I usually just put my money and phone in my bra. If you have to bring a purse, however, I would suggest a cross body bag. There are a lot of people at Oktoberfest and you do not want to put down your big purse and lose your money, phone and camera. You don’t want to be that girl who loses all her stuff at Oktoberfest and then ends up crying all night.
Last but not least, the most common way to wear your hair is in braids. There are many different styles of braids you can wear, so look up online some fun ways to braid your hair!
My advice to you is to get to the tents as early as possible in the morning. I would suggest being in line by 7:00am latest if you want to get a table. Standing all day without a table really sucks. Additionally, when you are in the tents you should try to get a stamp on your hand as early as possible (usually they start giving stamps around 12.) If you leave the tent for any reason, to get food, to see the fair, etc., you can get let back in without standing in long lines with a stamp. Usually at Oktoberfest you stay in the same tent all day because it is almost impossible to go tent hopping with all of the lines.
At night the tents fill up very quickly. Even if you have a stamp you can be standing in line for a very long time to get into a tent. If this happens to you, I suggest standing in line for the beer gardens. These are the tables outside the tents and can be just as fun as being inside the tents, plus the wait is generally less!
If you don’t like beer, Oktoberfest is probably not the place for you to go. There is one tent that sells wine, but the atmosphere is much different. It tends to be an older and more sophisticated crowd. (If you can even be that sophisticated at Oktoberfest.) They also serve a type of beer mixed with a bit of lemonade. It is still close to the same alcohol percentage as other beers, but it helps to cover up the beer taste if you do not like beer. They do sell water and soft drinks in the tents if you need a bit of a break from drinking beer all day. It is usually a good idea to hydrate during the day because you will probably be drinking from 8:00am to 10:00pm - or even later.
JUST A HEADS UP…the beers are very sugary. Oktoberfest beers are absolutely delicious, but they will give you a hangover so make sure you are drinking a lot of water. They also have a bit of higher alcohol content so you will get drunker quicker. Ladies, I know you all think you can handle your alcohol, and SOME of you probably can, but remember those steins are easy to chug and drink, especially with everyone chanting and having a great time. You can lose track of how many steins you are drinking and how quickly you are drinking them. Remember that the “drunk” will hit you quicker than you are used to and you don’t want to be the drunkest girl at the party- especially at 1:00pm!
Additionally, it is customary to tip the waitresses who bring you your beer. This is the only way they are making their money. The beer maidens will remember that you tipped them and will come back to you quicker the next time you need a beer. You will see how hard these ladies are working when you are there, and they deserve a tip. Some women will even stand there and wait for you to tip them before they walk away.
You can eat inside the tents or outside the tents but most importantly MAKE SURE YOU EAT! It is easy to get distracted by all of the fun and drinking and forget to eat. This is a mistake. You will be waiting in line early in the morning so make sure you get breakfast before you get in the line and eat during the day. Only drinking and not eating will make you way too drunk way too quick. They sell food inside the tents such as chicken and potatoes and sausages and snacks such as pretzels, donuts and different breads. If you want to take a break and go outside of the tents you can eat the food around the fair grounds. The food there is really amazing. They sell great sausages around the fair grounds and a bunch of other fair foods such as French fries, cotton candy, nuts, popcorn, etc.
The lines for the bathrooms are generally pretty long but there’s always an attendant in them so they are generally clean and always have toilet paper. It is also good to tip these attendants, even if it is just once a day. They are working very hard and you will appreciate having clean toilets and toilet paper - especially with all of the people there.
Make sure you check out the fair grounds. The rides can be a bit expensive but are really fun; especially when you are a bit drunk it is fun to ride the giant swings and Ferris wheel! Munich is also a beautiful city, so make sure to check out some of the amazing castles and the Dachau concentration camp!
As a woman you have to remember to keep your guard up and be safe! The same rules apply that your mother probably instilled in your head for a long time. Do not take drinks from strangers. Do not walk home alone. Do not leave with a strange man. Chances are you or one of your friends will get a little drunker than planned. Take care of each other – mistakes do happen. You will never forgive yourself if your friend ends up hurt because you didn’t want to take her home when she was too drunk to stand. Most importantly, however, HAVE FUN! This will probably be one of the best and most fun weekends you will have in your life! You will meet tons of new people at Oktoberfest - it is very easy! People come from all over the world just wanting to party and have a great time!