Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: Sebastian Lehner

When is Oktoberfest?

The 187th Oktoberfest 2020: Dates and venue

When the Oktoberfest 2020 happens, where exactly you need to go and lots of information about the fifth and most beautiful Munich season – the most important info at a glance!

When is Oktoberfest 2020 happening?

The traditional Oktoberfest tapping will take place on Saturday, 19 September 2020 at 12 noon. Before, splendidly decorated horse-drawn carriages of the breweries will roll through Munich's city centre, accompanied by traditional music bands. At the so-called "O'zapfn", as the Bavarian calls it, the Lord Mayor of Munich traditionally tapped the first barrel of Oktoberfest beer in the Schottenhamel tent. Only after his exclamation "O'zapft is!", usually supplemented by "Auf eine friedliche Wiesn!" (“to a peaceful Wiesn!”) the tasty Bavarian beer is allowed to flow into the beer mugs throughout the whole Oktoberfest.
The fun times on the Theresienwiese, which attract over 6 million visitors every year, lasts until October 4, 2020 - at 10:30 p.m. there's the last beer call, and at 11:30 p.m. they shout: "Aus is und gar is und schad ist, dass' wahr is!" (“it’s over and completely done and it’s a shame that it’s true!”). On the last evening thousands of sparklers light up the tents and some visitors even have tears in their eyes.

Where exactly does Oktoberfest take place in Munich?

The Oktoberfest takes place every year on the largest fairground in Munich, the Theresienwiese. It is adorned, or rather overlooked, by the bronze, 18-metre-high Bavaria statue, on which steps you can perfectly enjoy a break from the hustle of the Oktoberfest. The fairground, where also the Spring Festival or the Winter Tollwood take place at other times of the year, is located quite centrally in Munich, slightly southwest of the city centre. For navigation or the online map, we recommend entering "Theresienwiese" or "Bavariaring". However, it is better to take the public transport. The nearest underground stations are "Theresienwiese", "Goetheplatz" and "Schwanthalerhöhe"; the S-Bahn station from which you can walk to Oktoberfest quickest is "Hackerbrücke".

→ There is more information about arriving by public transport here

What's the "Oide Wiesn"?

On the more traditional "Oide Wiesn" the atmosphere is rather cosy away from the riot of the real Oktoberfest. Originally it was planned in 2010 as a unique event for the 200th anniversary of the Oktoberfest, but since that time it is located in the northwestern part of the Theresienwiese. For an admission fee of 3€ for adults (children up to 14 years are free), visitors are offered a mini Oktoberfest with lots of nostalgia: historical rollercoasters and rides, beer tents with genuine Bavarian customs and special dark beer (brewed together according to the historical recipe of the Munich breweries, served in a stone mug) await you.

Look out! The "Oide Wiesn" will not be back until 2021. Every four years it has to make space in favour of the Bavarian Central Agricultural Festival.

How can I reserve a table in one of the Oktoberfest tents?

In order to secure a place as a group at one of the tables in the tent, you must book online or by telephone via the central reservation office of each marquee. With good luck, its possible to get a place without a reservation, as a part of the tables is always kept free for spontaneous visitors, but especially in the evenings or on weekends, it pays out to have his own place. For every reservation, you receive beverage and food vouchers with which you can pay the Oktoberfest waiters.

→ All central reservation offices for the tents can be found here.

What wears a traditional Bavarian at the Oktoberfest?

Whether young or old, the clothing of the visitors is definitely eye catching at the Oktoberfest. So called Dirndls with blouses and festive aprons and fine leather trousers paired with traditional shirts and jackets have become a must have for all those who want to visit the world-famous Oktoberfest. The traditional costume can be traced back to the 19th century, when it was first worn as clothing by farmers and workers. Today there is a real hype about the most beautiful dirndl robes and stylish leather trousers.

By the way: The side on which a dirndl wearer places the bow of its apron shows whether she is single, widowed or in a relationship. What exactly you have to look for is revealed here!

Why is Oktoberfest not called Septemberfest?

Fair enough – the majority of the 16 to 18 days of the Oktoberfest 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 Oktoberfest weather, in fact!

Any questions? All answers can be found here:

More impressions from the Oktoberfest 2019