It may come as a surprise to many travelers to Germany that children are most welcome at Munich’s Oktoberfest, the world’s largest folk festival (and drinking party). Almost 10% of Münchner visit with their children while the percentage for foreigners is below 3%
In addition to the famous beer tents, Oktoberfest has also numerous rides and other entertainment, which are eminently suitable to families traveling with children of all ages. Das Familienplatzl is a special tent for families with facilities, entertainment, activities, and food suitable for smaller children. It is open daily.
Where is Munich’s Oktoberfest held?
Oktoberfest is held annually on the Theresienwiese (generally known as the Wiesn), a large festival ground a few blocks to the south of the Hauptbahnhof (Main Station). At least 2,000 Oktoberfest festivals are held around the world but this is the only real one. Even those festivals held in other German and Bavarian cities pale in comparison to the Theresienwiese.
When to Travel to Munich’s Oktoberfest with Children
Oktoberfest is mostly held in September – it lasts for 16 days and finishes on the first Sunday in October. (If October 3, a German national holiday, is on a Monday, Oktoberfest is extended by a day.)
The Wiesn is open daily from 6 am to 1:30 pm but the action is from 10 am (9 am on weekends) to just before midnight. Alcoholic drinks may only be served from noon to 10:30 pm.
It is a good idea to leave before 10 pm (and before 6 pm if traveling with children) for less crowded public transportation and to avoid drunken louts. Close to 7 million people – on average each consuming a liter (just over a quart) of beer – visit Oktoberfest annually.
The best days to go with children are the official Oktoberfest family days: Tuesdays from noon to 6 pm. Families receive discounts on admission tickets and some rides are cheaper too. Many rides offer discounts on all weekdays during the slower daylight hours.
Mondays and Wednesdays are generally quieter while weekends and all days after 6 pm are very busy.
Guided tours of the festival grounds and its history are available. Many schools book educational morning tours for their school classes.
In Need of Hotel Accommodation in Munich for Oktoberfest?
It is best to reserve hotels or other accommodation well in advance when planning to visit Munich for Oktoberfest. Expect to pay top euro for even simple hotels during this period. The Munich Tourist Office claims there are always beds available in most price classes but travelers who reserve late may have to be accommodated in smaller towns in the Bavarian countryside surrounding Munich. Last-minute reservations are best done through dedicated hotel reservation agencies that will have access to the limited number of rooms available.
Popular day-trip destinations from Munich suitable for families include the fantasy castles of Mad King Ludwig, especially the Disney-like Schloss Neuschwanstein castle.