Oh, Oktoberfest. The holy grail of beer experiences is why bucket lists exist. For many, attending Munich’s infamous beer fest is an accomplishment on par with one’s graduation, wedding, or the birth of a child. It’s an event that will leave you regaling your friends and family with boisterous stories often enough that they won’t even be able to hide their lack of enthusiasm or conceal their excessive eye rolling. 

It all began some two hundred years ago to celebrate a royal wedding and the party hasn’t stopped since. Morphing along the way from a humble agricultural fair to the pinnacle beer event on the planet, Oktoberfest is still first and foremost a tradition among locals. A gathering spot for friends and family to celebrate the season and enjoy their city’s most popular local product.

Many have aspirations to visit Oktoberfest and experience it for themselves. As avid Germany travelers and drinkers of copious amounts of beer, Oktoberfest is one of our favourite festivals and it draws our team to Germany year after year. Instead of inundating you with facts and tips (which we’ve done at length in our sister publication Departful), we’re going on a visual tour of Oktoberfest tents and its grounds. Prost!

Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide

One of the more locally oriented Oktoberfest tents, Augustiner- Festhalle is known to be a family friendly spot that also welcomes well behaved tourists. Considered by many Münchners to be the city’s best brew, Augustiner is the only beer at Oktoberfest to still be tapped in wooden kegs. For staff, this means having to constantly lug and heave heavy barrels of beer faster than thirsty patrons can drink them up. Thankfully, and in spite of the extra work out, the Augustiner tent is known for having the friendliest staff.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide

The Schottenhamel tent carries a lot of significance at Oktoberfest. As the oldest Oktoberfest tent, the Schottenhamel is where the festival officially kicks off as Munich’s mayor taps the first keg at noon on the opening Saturday. It’s also the only one of the Oktoberfest tents that isn’t owned by a brewery – instead by a family, the Schottenhamels. One more unique element of the tent: the seating in the Schottenhamel tent is a full square around each table, instead of separate benches, so everyone around a table can interact with each other. In recent years, Schottenhamel has attracted a younger and more local demographic looking for a good time.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide

As you enter into the Hacker-Pschorr tent, you’ll understand immediately why its slogan is “Himmel der Bayern” (or Heaven of Bavaria). One of the more aesthetically pleasing Oktoberfest tents, Hacker-Festzelt’s ceiling is a spectacularly painted blue sky complete with fluffy clouds, while scenes of Munich cascade the walls. Traditional oompah music is performed on the revolving stage until the early evening, when a rock ‘n roll band is brought on to rile up this party loving crowd.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide

Marstall is the newest of the Oktoberfest tents, with it’s first year on the scene in 2014. Formerly the Hippodrome, a ritzier tent within the festival that was often visited by local and international celebrities, Marstall has kept the upscale feeling alongside a historically appropriate equestrian theme. Marstall is one of the only large tents at Oktoberfest that serves wine alongside beer.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide

The Ochsenbraterei is known for the roast oxen that revolves around a spit inside the tent, as well as a mechanical version that rotates above the tent’s entrance. It’ll come as no surprise that most of the food options at this Spaten serving tent revolve around oxen, which has been a major draw for patrons since 1881. The interior features blue and white streamers that swoosh from the ceiling and depictions of people from local cultures within Germany in their traditional attire, though a new tent is planned for 2018. The Ochsenbraterei tent has a pretty mixed crowd but is one that thoroughly enjoys a good time, propelled by the traditional music during the day and the rock anthems throughout the evening.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide

The Armbrustschützenzelt is a hunting-themed tent where the annual Oktoberfest crossbow competition has taken place since 1895. With wild animal busts adorning the walls, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to a bonafide hunting lodge as you sip your Paulaner alongside archers and hunting groups from across the country.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide

The Bräurosl tent has served up steins of Hacker-Pschorr since the turn of the 20th century and has been run by the Heide family since 1936. Legend has it that Bräurosl was the nickname of the original owner’s daughter, Rosi Pschorr, who was quite the yodeler and enjoyed a good beer. Not forgotten today, a highlight of the Bräurosl tent is the twice daily yodeling performances, which entertain beer the 6,000 plus people that the tent accommodates. Given its traditional elements, Bräurosl is most popular with local Bavarians.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide

Widely recognized as the most rambunctious at Oktoberfest, the Hofbräu tent attracts an enormous amount of non-locals, eager to imbibe on litre after litre of delicious Munich beer. Much like the infamous Hofbräuhaus in Munich’s altstadt, the Hofbräu tent is a spot where you will find more Australians, Americans, Brits and Italians getting in on the local beer festivities than Germans themselves. An important perk of the Hofbräu tent is that you can order a beer without being seated – a requirement of all the other large tents.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide

Winzerer Fähndl is Paulaner’s main Oktoberfest tent holding a whopping 8,500 people inside, making it the largest at the festival. You’ll be able to spot the tent as soon as you enter the grounds as an enormous stein of Paulaner spins atop a tall column, enticing you to come inside and enjoy its cheery patrons and vibrant decorations.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide

The specialty of the Fischer-Vroni tent is steckerlfisch, skewered fish that is slowly smoked just outside the tent’s main doors. While this Augustiner serving tent is on the small side (only around 3,000 people can snag a seat inside), it’s a perennial favourite of the festival and offers an alternative to the meat dominant meals prolific throughout all of the other Oktoberfest tents. The décor emphasizes the fish theme with several nautical elements, most prominent of which is the giant boat protruding from the wall, forming a stage on which the brass band plays classic Bavarian tunes.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide

While today most people associate Oktoberfest with beer, it’s also the world’s largest fun fair, complete with carnival rides, food stalls, parades and live music.

Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide
Oktoberfest Tents Guide

For more Oktoberfest content, check out our in-depth guide and cheatsheet over at Departful.


Oktoberfest tent photos by Lauren Barth