Locals and tourists alike who visit the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, are quite frankly spoiled for choice. For the first timer to the event the level of choice can be quite overwhelming indeed. There are so many beer tents to choose from, with each one having its own distinct feel, flavour and atmosphere, as well as the obvious different varieties of fine beer, food and drink on offer.
No matter what Oktoberfest experience you desire, you will find a beer tent that fits your needs. Entrance to some of the most popular beer tents are Oktoberfest are free to enter. It is not necessary to book tickets in advance, though it can be helpful to order a table, especially if you are part of a large group.
*Update: the Hippodrom closed in 2014 and was replaced by the new Marstall tent.
The Hippodrom beer tent is one of the first that you are likely to see as you arrive at the Theresienwiese, the 42 hectare grounds where Oktoberfest takes place. The Hippodrom is a favourite among the local Bavarian crowd, and is often frequented by the younger demographic. The Hippodrom is certainly hard to miss, it is decorated in a wondrous, striking red and yellow, with its presence proclaimed in giant letters. The Hippodrom is one of the smaller beer tents, and it tends to fill up early on in the day, so get there as soon as you can if you want to catch a seat there.
The Schottenhamel beer tent is the oldest one at the Oktoberfest. The Schottenhamel beer tent in fact dates all the way back to 1867, giving it a truly historic look and feel that drips with the hints of times gone by. Many argue that the Schottenhamel beer tent is the best place to get started on a fun filled evening, and it certainly comes highly recommended by most who have visited during Oktoberfest. The Schottenhamel beer tent also has the distinction of being the largest at Oktoberfest, with some 10,000 seats providing a real party atmosphere that always truly pulses with life.
The Hofbräu Festhalle
The Hofbräu Festhalle is renowned by Oktoberfest fans from around the world, and it is easy to see why. The Hofbräu Festhalle has proved itself time and again to be a consistently integral and exciting part of the Oktoberfest each year. The Hofbräu Festhalle is a favourite of many tourists who visit there. American and Australian tourists in particular have tended to make the Hofbräu Festhalle a true home away from home at the Oktoberfest.
It is not unusual to find that as early as midday, the fun is already beginning at the Hofbräu Festhalle, with glasses clinking and copious quantities of Hofbräu beer being quaffed. The Hofbräu Festhalle also furnishes upon its guests great amounts of Bavarian local delicacies and other foods and drink. Get there early to take advantage of the various special offers and happy hours that are common at the Hofbräu Festhalle.