Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: Sebastian Lehner

When is Oktoberfest?

The 186th Oktoberfest 2019: Dates and venue

When the Wiesn 2019 happens, where exactly you need to go and why Oktoberfest is not called Septemberfest – the most important info at a glance!

When is Oktoberfest 2019 happening?

Tapping the barrel is on Saturday September 21st 2019 at midday. With the words “O’zapfn” the Oberbürgermeister of Munich taps the first barrel with Wiesn beer in the Schottenhamel beer tent. Only once he’s shouted “O’zapft is!”, often followed by “Auf eine friedliche Wiesn!” (“to a peaceful Wiesn!”) does the beer flow to the whole of Oktoberfest and into the beer mugs.
The fun times last till October 6th 2019 – at 10.30 pm is the last call and at 11.30 pm they shout: “Aus is und gar is und schad is, dass’ wahr is!” (“it’s drunk and drunk fully and it’s a shame that it’s true!”)

Oktoberfest 2020 is happening from September 19th to October 4th 2020.

Where exactly does Oktoberfest take place in Munich?

The Wiesn actually happens on a type of meadow, the Theresienwiese, even though its base isn’t grass or a lawn but primarily asphalt. Theresienwiese, where throughout the year other events happen like Springfest and the Winter Tollwood Festival, is relatively centrally located in Munich, slightly south-west of downtown. For your Satnav or online mapper, type in “Theresienwiese” or “Bavariaring”. However it is better to travel by public transport. The nearest U-Bahn stations are Theresienwiese and Goetheplatz; the S-Bahn station from which you can walk to Oktoberfest quickest is Hackerbrücke.

There is more information about arriving by public transport here.

Why is Oktoberfest not called Septemberfest?

Fair enough – the majority of the 16 to 18 days of the Wiesn take place not in the eponymous October but in September. The name comes from the history of the Wiesn: The occasion for the first Oktoberfest in 1810 was the wedding of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. On October 12th 1810 the festivities began and they ended on October 17th with a horse race. Since it was so well-received, the festival was repeated in the following years, then extended and at this point brought forward into September. The weather surely played a role in moving the dates, which in Munich at the end of September often provides a pleasant, mild Indian summer – true Wiesn weather, in fact!