There’s something really special about the first weekend of Oktoberfest. Even though the first keg isn’t tapped and the tents don’t start pouring steins until after noon on Saturday, this is the weekend when Munich truly comes alive.
Plus, the first weekend of Oktoberfest is when you can have your cake, err—stein—and drink it, too!
We’ve been taking study abroad students to Oktoberfest for years now, so we can safely consider ourselves to be experts in everything from lederhosen to liter steins. If you want the best experience at the world’s largest beer festival, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re eager to join, check out all the options for our Oktoberfest packages.
If you’re just trying to figure out the best weekend to go, here are our top reasons why the first Oktoberfest weekend is our favorite here at Bus2alps.
1. Pre-Oktoberfest, You Don’t Need a Tent to Drink Beer
First and foremost, Munich is a city filled to the brim with beer gardens and breweries. Before Oktoberfest officially kicks off on the first weekend, fill your boots with beer in a city devoted to drinking!
In fact, on the first weekend of Oktoberfest, we take a bike tour to not only one, but two of the most famous beer gardens and breweries in Munich: Hofbräuhaus and Chinesischer Turm in the English Garden.
The beer culture in Munich is strong. You can experience more of the real-deal Munich at one of these spots than you will at a tourist-packed Oktoberfest tent.
Plus, public drinking is allowed in Munich! So grab some brews and picnic, or walk around and look at all the sites there are to see!
There’s no need to have to pick sightseeing over a little party when you can do both at the same time.
If a massive party is what you’re after, make sure to book our Oktoberfest camping option to be right in the middle of the biggest party all weekend long.
Even after the beer tents close, the party continues at our campsite! There’s a bar and even a chicken nugget machine. You’re welcome.
Trust us, there’s no missing out on a party, even on the first weekend of Oktoberfest.
2. The Official First Weekend of Oktoberfest Events is Awesome
Opening weekend at Oktoberfest offers a little extra cultural insight into the party atmosphere.
Get in the Oktoberfest mood by donning a dirndl or lederhosen, and then make your way to the opening Ceremony Parade. Get all the details on what to wear at Oktoberfest so you can get the iconic look!
Watch as over 1,000 people follow the carriage of the Munich mayor throughout the town on their way towards Theresienwiese, the festival grounds.
The floats are a spectacle! Each Wiesn landlord and their family — plus each brewery — have a flower-covered carriage, sometimes led by draft horses.
Lastly, we can’t forget to mention the marching bands and live music. If you like events like the Pride parade, where a city comes together to celebrate and watch as floats drift by, you’ll definitely enjoy this experience.
3. Likely Nicer Weather at the First Oktoberfest Weekend
Well, we aren’t exactly meteorologists and we certainly can’t control the weather, but it makes sense right?
The closer it is to summer, the higher the chance of enjoying sunshine and warmer temperatures at the first Oktoberfest weekend.
If the days are sunny and warm, you won’t have to worry if the tents are too full to get inside. You’re still going to have an amazing time in the outdoor beer gardens of each tent.
You’ll be able to soak up the sunshine as you sip your steins. Plus, show off your dirndls and lederhosen without needing a coat to stay warm. #Fashion!
When the night comes to an end, you’ll love the warmer weather so you can stay super comfortable in your tents as you camp out under the stars (and as the party continues)!
4. Explore Munich & the Bavarian Countryside without FOMO
Perhaps one of the best things about the first weekend of Oktoberfest is that it allows you to have the best of both worlds.
Go see as much of Munich as you want! You won’t feel like you’re missing out on some incredible story at the festival grounds. There are tons of things to do around Oktoberfest while you’re visiting Munich.
Oktoberfest doesn’t really kick off until Saturday afternoon. So that leaves Friday wide open for the bike tour we mentioned above, plus plenty of exploring the city and enjoying other festivities in the lead-up to the opening ceremony.
It might feel like you have all the time in the world to travel, but your fall study abroad semester will go by so quickly! Take advantage of being in Munich to actually see Munich during the first Oktoberfest weekend.
Does this sound like the Oktoberfest weekend for you? Let us help you decide!
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This article was originally written in August 2019 and updated in July 2022.