Oktoberfest 2023: What's New, What's Classic, and What Not to Miss
Mark your calendars for the highly anticipated 188th Oktoberfest, set to delight visitors from September 16th to October 3rd, 2023, at the iconic Theresienwiese in Munich. This year, the festival will span an impressive 18 days, thanks to a decision by the Munich City Council to extend the festivities.
As the fifth and most beautiful season in Munich, Oktoberfest holds a special place in the hearts of locals and international visitors alike. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide essential information on how to reach Wiesn, as well as everything you need to know about this grand celebration of Bavarian culture, including its rich history, attractions, and traditions. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Oktoberfest 2023.
Beginning of Oktoberfest: Wiesn Tapping & “O'zapft is!”
Each Oktoberfest begins with Wiesn tapping. In case you haven't heard about it, the Wiesn tapping refers to the ceremonial act of officially opening the beer barrels at Oktoberfest. It is a highly anticipated moment that marks the beginning of the Oktoberfest. The Wiesn tapping traditionally takes place when the Lord Mayor of Munich, or a notable figure, uses a wooden mallet to tap a wooden spigot into the first beer barrel. As the spigot is inserted, they declare, "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!"). This announcement signals the start of the festival and the commencement of serving beer to the attendees. The Wiesn tapping is accompanied by cheers and applause from the crowd, setting the festive atmosphere for the rest of Oktoberfest.
Best Time To Attend Oktoberfest 2023
Oktoberfest takes around three weeks of celebration, and staying there all time may be too much. So deciding when to attend Oktoberfest 2023 requires careful consideration, as there are various factors to weigh. So, it would be best to consider when exactly you want to attend Oktoberfest.
AT THE BEGINNING VS. AT THE END. Two key moments to choose from are the opening and closing ceremonies. Both are awe-inspiring and come with their unique appeal. The opening ceremony, held at the Schottenhamel tent, marks the official start of Oktoberfest. Witness the Lord Mayor of Munich tapping the inaugural keg and exclaiming, "O'Zapft Is!"—a rallying cry akin to waving a green flag at a race track. With that, the festivities kick off. The closing ceremony at the Hacker-Pschorr tent is another remarkable spectacle. Picture yourself with around 10,000 newfound friends, massively sing-along, and drinking various beverages.
WEEKDAYS VS. WEEKENDS. Fridays and weekends are the most crowded at Oktoberfest, excluding opening and closing days. If you opt for this timeframe during Oktoberfest 2023, be prepared to arrive early at the Theresienwiese and secure your spot at a beer tent. Some even reserve tables, but I'll write about it a bit later. For those seeking a more relaxed atmosphere and easier seating options, weekdays (particularly during the day) are your best bet. You can catch a few more winks in the morning if desired, although we wouldn't want to waste precious drinking hours, now would we?
SPECIAL EVENTS. Oktoberfest 2023 will feature the special signature events that have become hallmarks of the festival. Prepare for the costume parade, family day, traditional Bavarian concerts, and other delightful festivities that will enhance your Oktoberfest experience. Here's the list of the events:
- Oktoberfest opening parade of the hosts and breweries | 10:45 am, September 16, 2023 | Josephspitalstraße, Munich
- O’zapft is! / Tapping of the first keg | 12 pm, September 16, 2023 | Schottenhamel tent
- Costume and Riflemen's Parade | 10 am, September 17, 2023 | parade starts at the Max II monument on Maximilianstraße
- Family Day | until 7pm, September 19, 2023 |
- Annual Open-Air Concert | 11 am, September 24, 2023 | in front of the Bavaria statue
- Family Day | until 7pm, September 26, 2023 |
- Gun Salute | at noon, October 3, 2023 | in front of the Bavaria statue
Do You Need To Reserve Table Or Not?
Are you considering attending Oktoberfest without a reservation and wondering about the possibilities? Well, here's the good news: some tables in the vast Oktoberfest tents are going to be reserved for spontaneous visitors. However, it's important to note that during the evenings and when in larger groups, I’m pretty sure that you may not find a seat available or, in some cases, may not even gain entry to the tent due to capacity limits. If you are planning to attend Oktoberfest 2023 with your friends and stay at one of the most famous tents such as the Hofbräu, the Löwenbräu, or Schottenhamel-Festhalle tent, I highly recommend making a reservation for the table.
How Much Beer Costs?
Why else would you like to go to Oktoberfest if not for beer? Beer prices at Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, can vary yearly. As of the latest information, the anticipated price range for beer will be approximately €12.60 to €14.90 per liter. This represents an average increase of 6.12 percent compared to the previous year's prices. It's important to note that these figures are subject to change and may vary slightly depending on the specific beer tent or brand. The beer prices 2023 of the big tents in detail:
- Armbrustschützen-Festzelt - €14,40
- Augustiner-Festhalle - €13,50
- Bräurosl - €14,30
- Fischer-Vroni - €13,70
- Hacker-Festzelt - €14,40
- Hofbräuhaus-Festzelt - €14,50
- Käfer Wiesn-Schänke - €14,50
- Löwenbräu-Festzelt - €14,50
- Marstall - €14,50
- Ochsenbraterei - €14,50
- Paulaner-Festzelt - €14,50
- Schottenhamel-Festhalle - €13,60
- Schützen-Festzelt - €14,50
- Weinzelt (Weißbier) - €17,40
At Oktoberfest, it's worth noting that the price of a liter of water and other non-alcoholic beverages is nearly comparable to that of beer—a sad reality considering there are attendees who opt for non-alcoholic options. While there isn't a specific recommended amount of money to bring, my advise to have some cash because it's the preferred method of payment at the festival, as opposed to relying solely on credit or debit cards.
Rides at the Oktoberfest 2023
In addition to the lively beer tents and festive atmosphere, Oktoberfest also offers an exciting array of amusement rides that add to the event's excitement. From the towering Ferris wheel and exhilarating Dr. Archibald's & Olympia Looping roller coasters to classic carousel rides and spinning attractions, you'd definitely find your favorite attraction.
The most famous is the Teufelsrad, known as the Devil's Wheel. A large rotating disc takes center stage in the center of a wooden arena. With commands from the spirited moderators, different groups are invited to join the excitement, such as "All children ages 8 to 14, hop on!" or "All ladies over 18 wearing dirndls, take a seat!" As the disc gradually gains momentum, accompanied by the moderators' Bavarian charm and sometimes rude humor, passengers cling to their spots, aiming for the prime middle seats. However, the centrifugal force is challenging, causing one rider after another to slide off the spinning surface. Those who hold on too tightly are skillfully "shot down" using a well-aimed lasso or a hanging ball on a rope. It's an engaging and entertaining spectacle that captures the essence of Oktoberfest, leaving an indelible memory for all who participate.
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