Major Oktoberfest Mistakes to Avoid at the Festival

There are a lot of myths about Oktoberfest as well as mistakes that first time visitors may make such as not booking an accommodation in advance, missing out on the German delicacies, not respecting local customs, etc. If you’re loud, disrespectful, or obnoxious, you can get kicked out of the beer tents or even the festival in no time. A lot is tolerated and accepted but not considered ethical. Doing what not to do at Oktoberfest can lead to a less enjoyable experience, financial losses, and even safety issues.

13 Oktoberfest Mistakes to Avoid: What Not to Do at Wiesn

Despite offering a lot of fun, there are some Oktoberfest don’ts that you must be aware of before attending this world’s largest beer festival in Munich, Germany. By being aware of the Oktoberfest mistakes, you can make the most out of your visit. 

1- Trying to Drink 10 Liters of Beer Before Evening 

6.5 million liters of beer were consumed in year 2023 at Oktoberfest but this doesn’t mean the festival is all about beer consumption. The event is a time for celebration and fun and you must remember to drink responsibly. 

Alcohol-related incidents are the most common reason for hospitalization during the event as Oktoberfest beer is stronger than the regular beer. Oktoberfest veteran and travel blogger, Sarah Johnson, advises, “Don’t feel pressured to keep up with the locals as they’ve been training for this all year!” Stay hydrated, enjoy the food and festivities to avoid any unpleasant incident. 

Did you Know? According to the Munich Police Department, in 2022, 77 people were taken to the hospital due to excessive alcohol consumption.

2- Buying Tickets for Oktoberfest Entry 

There is nothing that exists like an “Oktoberfest entry ticket” as entry to this biggest funfair is free. Anyone can wander through the event without needing to buy tickets in advance. Do not let anyone fool you by offering Oktoberfest tickets online or by hand as it’s only a scam. 

Contrary to popular belief, Munich Oktoberfest is not a commercial event. The city itself organizes the festival, which already in the 70s imposed the condition on itself not to earn any money from Oktoberfest.  There’s no entrance fee for the main area or the tents, with the exception of a small €4 fee for the Oide Wiesn section. Even though the tent reservations are free, they require buying a certain amount of food and drink vouchers directly from the tent owners. 

Did you Know? Unlike other festivals, most large tents have 50% seats that don’t require reservations, ensuring space for everyone.

3- Wearing Culturally Inappropriate Oktoberfest Costume 

In the run-up to 2018’s Oktoberfest,  the UK’s newspaper The Guardian reported that visitors wearing sexy Alpine outfits at the Munich beer festival have been accused of being culturally inappropriate.

As 79% of the visitors are locals, they value Oktoberfest attire very much and attend the event in Lederhosen and dirndls.  Don’t make the Oktoberfest a fail by wearing these German outfits in inappropriate styles, with offensive symbols or slogans, or worse, without understanding their cultural significance. “Cultural appropriation is not a fashion statement – it’s disrespectful and hurtful,” warns cultural sensitivity expert Dr. Maria Rodriguez. 

Did you Know? Paris Hilton, a reality show star, is permanently banned from Oktoberfest as she attended the 2006 event clad in a shiny, golden dirndl to promote a brand of canned wine. Locals were offended by her take on the traditional Bavarian dress and convinced the organizers to ban her.

OKTOBERFEST LEDERHOSEN OUTFITS

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4- Dancing on the Tables is a No at Oktoberfest

Dancing on tables is strictly prohibited for all, according to Oktoberfest rules and regulations. Not only can it lead to injuries and accidents, but it’s also a surefire way to get kicked out of the beer tent. 

Once you get inside the tent, it’s natural to be carried away by the music and fun but don’t let it go out of hand. You can dance on benches, and designated dance floors but not on the tables. 

Did you know? According to Oktoberfest officials, dancing on tables is one of the top three reasons for being thrown out of tents and even from the festival grounds. 

5- Going Alone to the Festival 

Don’t make the mistake of venturing solo into the crowded beer tents and festival grounds, where it’s easy to get lost. If you come alone, you’ll have to struggle more to find a place to sit or connect with others. 

While not in the form of large groups, but always visit Oktoberfest with a small group of friends or family to fully experience the fun. Without a group to share the experience with, you’ll miss out on the activities and festive atmosphere that makes Oktoberfest so special. 

Did you Know? If none of your friends is able to head to Germany, there are many Oktoberfest tours that you can join. These tours are taken by individual travelers who still want to experience the world’s largest beer party.

6- Not Carrying Cash and Relying on ATM/Credit Cards 

Many vendors and beer tents only accept cash, so it’s essential to come prepared. With the average cost of a beer at €13.50-15.50 and traditional German food prices ranging from €10-25 , it’s crucial to have enough cash on hand. 

Well over 200 establishments at the Oktoberfest offers cashless payment systems, making an important contribution to digital accessibility and growing visitor service but sometimes these systems can go out of work. Keeping this is view, prepare yourself ahead and carry an essential cash with you. 

Did you Know? ATMs can be found at the entrances to the festival grounds, but there are long queues, and also they may charge a higher fee per transaction. 

7- Carrying Luggage with you over 3L

Big bags, over 3L, are not allowed at the festival as Oktoberfest has strict bag restrictions to ensure a smooth experience for everyone. Security checks bags upon entry, so pack light and prioritize essentials. 

Men can keep their phones and cash safe in their lederhosen pockets. Ladies can carry a small Oktoberfest bag with essentials. This isn’t just about bag size; certain items are also banned. This includes anything that could be considered a weapon (like sharp objects), harmful sprays, staining substances, and even glass bottles. Leave these items at home or in your hotel room to avoid any inconvenience at the entrance. 

Did you know? On Saturdays and October 3, German Unity Day, strollers are not allowed all day. On the other days of the Oktoberfest, this ban on strollers applies from 6 p.m. onward.

8- Trying to Save Seats for Friends in the Beer Tents

Snagging a seat at an Oktoberfest beer tent is key, but saving seats for latecomers is a no-go. The tents operate on a first-come, first-served basis. If you see an empty spot, grab it; otherwise, someone else will if you hesitate. 

Servers won’t hesitate to fill empty seats, so your friend who’s running late is out of luck. To guarantee your group sits together, either arrive early as a unit or consider booking a reservation in advance, which is usually only available for larger groups.

Did You know? The large tents at Oktoberfest have anywhere between 5,000 – 10,000 seats, but there are always more people than that trying to get in. 

9- Asking for a Small Beer 

On the list of common Oktoberfest mistakes that is most embarrassing is asking for a small beer. Unlike most festivals offering various sizes, Oktoberfest has one rule: one size fits all. 

You’ll be served a full liter of beer, called a “maß” (pronounced moss), in a large glass mug known as a “maßkrug” (moss-kroog). There are no exceptions for lightweights or slow sippers. Asking for a smaller size is a surefire way to get noticed as a tourist, so embrace the spirit and the challenge. 

Did you Know? The exceptions are Kuffler’s Weinzelt tent, where the only beer sold is ½ liters of Paulaner Hefeweizen. Even there, you will just get one size.

10- Going for a Ride on the Roller-Coaster After Having Food or Steins 

There are many carnival games, rides, and roller-coasters to try out, that offer a great fun experience but trying them after food and beer falls under the things not to at Oktoberfest for a reason. They might be best enjoyed before having food and beer. You can feel severe nausea and vomiting so it’s wise to prioritize games and coasters with an empty stomach. You digestive system will appreciate this strategic planning. This way, you can also fully embrace the fun without any post-ride regrets. 

Did you know? The tallest Ferris wheel at Oktoberfest reaches 70 meters (230 feet) and offers stunning panoramic views of the festival grounds.

11- Taking the Crowded Public Transport Routes 

Another thing not to do at Oktoberfest is taking the usual lines for public transport. While public transport seems really suitable for reaching Oktoberfest, the Theresienwiese station can get crazy crowded during the festival hours.  You might be better off skipping the chaos and prefer walking on your feet. Navigating Munich is easy with smartphone maps.

Instead of using the usual U4/U5 lines take the U3/U6 from Marienplatz to Poccistraße. The festival is just a short walk from there. Alternatively, hop on an S-Bahn to Hackerbrücke. Follow the enthusiastic crowds across the bridge for a 10-minute walk to the festivities. 

Did you know? During Oktoberfest, you will be very lucky to find a parking spot if you arrive in private cars as the parking is totally filled due to the heavy crowd. And if you find one, the parking cost will be higher. 

12- Bringing your Pet with You 

Leaving your pet including cat, dog or anything at home might be a tough call, but Oktoberfest is a no-go zone for pets. The loud crowds, bustling atmosphere, and potential for spilled beer can be overwhelming and even dangerous for animals. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, festival organizers strictly prohibit pets from entering the grounds.

Did you know? Service dogs are allowed to enter the Oktoberfest grounds, but you cannot take them inside the beer tents. 

13- Wearing Open or Uncomfortable Footwear 

Oktoberfest is all about comfort and exploring the festive grounds; walking and dancing require a lot of footwork. Keeping this in view, both men and women should prioritize wearing comfortable shoes.   

Whether men choose Hafrel shoes, loafers, and women wearing ballerina, heels or any other Bavarian shoes, they should be sturdy and well-fitted. You can even wear traditional sneakers with Lederhosen for a relaxed Oktoberfest experience. 

Did you know?  While traditional Bavarian Haferl shoes are a popular choice, make sure they’re broken in beforehand to prevent chafing. Wearing knitted Bavarian socks with shoes is a great idea for added leg comfort and reduced fatigue throughout the long, celebratory days.

Summarizing Things Not to Do at Oktoberfest

Gear up for the exciting fun of Oktoberfest in Munich while remembering the mistakes that you should avoid. You don’t need to get extra careful or puzzle as many people have just created myths. To navigate the lively crowds and ensure a safe, unforgettable experience, keep these essentials in mind: be respectful and responsible with tight security, prioritize comfy shoes for all the walking and dancing, and pace yourself when enjoying the famous beers. Avoid these Oktoberfest fails and have a lively, memorable experience at the festival. 

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