I'll be visiting Munich during Oktoberfest this year, albeit mostly by happy coincidence: we had already made plans to visit family nearby in Austria, and we realized only afterwards that we're flying smack bang into the middle of Oktoberfest season. Our flight lands at two in the afternoon and we're continuing our trip by car the next day, which basically means the day of arrival is our only chance to experience Oktoberfest (unless we drop in for breakfast and substitute Apfelschorle for beer -- not quite the same).

The problem: while it's apparently reasonably easy to get into a tent without a reservation for weekday lunch, we're arriving too late for that (absolute best case around 4 PM) and snagging a dinner reservation requires paying for a full table of 10 people plus local connections and/or a hefty dose of luck.

Is there any practical way for a family of four to get into a tent in the late afternoon/evening? Should we try our luck queueing (are any of the tents noticeably better for this?), or not even bother and just stick to the general festival grounds?

  • Have you looked at October festa in Austria? I believe they used to be common in most of the area.
    – Willeke
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 14:10
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    It's difficult to predict from year to year how many visitors there will be at the Oktoberfest. Last year (2022) had an unusually low number of visitors, but it is not easy to say why. Some countries still had corona related travel restrictions in force, some people likely didn't want to go to a potential super spreader event even if there were no legal restrictions and queueing for more and more intrusive safety checks has also been mentioned as a possible cause. I was not there, but had many friends visiting last year and they had no problem being seated on weekday evenings. Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


Given you're still visiting on a normal weekday, it should not be an issue to get into some tent. But depending on the actual time you'll most likely be limited in your choice of tent.

For more details on tent selection and the full Oktoberfest experience, I can forward you to an older answer here on travel.SE

  • Thanks for the answer! So how exactly does getting into a tent without a reservation work? Do you need to queue outside or do you just try your luck inside? Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 10:26
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    the largest part of the tents can not be reserved, which means you either still have some completely free tables you can just sit down at, or you politely ask people to join on their tables. Generally people are quite open for that.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 7:55

To answer my own question, the solution appears to be to get some locals to do the booking.

Reservations for Festzelt Tradition opened on April 1st at midnight. I put in my reservation for 8 people (smallest group) for 5 PM (earliest possible time) less than an hour later, with my non-German address & contact details. On April 15th, I got my reply: Diese Anfrage wurde vom Ratskeller oder vom Interessenten abgelehnt. ("Your reservation was rejected" — Germans really don't beat about the bush now do they...)

I then asked my buddy in Munich to try his luck in the same tent, same day, same time, same group size. Two weeks later, he got his answer: Gern bestätigen wir Ihren Reservierungswunsch. ("We are happy to confirm your reservation request.")

If you don't know anybody in Munich, there are various commercial services that resell seats under the guise of "tours", but they charge a pretty penny for the privilege: the going rate seems to be several hundred euros per person.

Update: When we arrived at 5 PM on a mid-Fest Wednesday for our reservation, there were plenty of tables free and we could easily just have walked in. Things got much busier by 6 PM though, and it's worth underlining that Festzelt Tradition is in the paid-entry Oide Wiesn area that's generally quieter than the rest of Oktoberfest.

One more thing that's worth mentioning is that while Festzelt Tradition reservations require preordering 16L of beer and 4 roast chickens for a table of 8, you can both negotiate down the amounts before you prepay (we went with 6L and 2) and, even more surprisingly, staff were happy for us to use the chicken coupons to pay for other, more interesting food. Again, these may both be a function of choosing a less popular time slot.

  • Maybe I'm a bit naive but... could you just pretend you're "Hans Muller" living in Bavaria? :-) I assume they don't ask for a copy of your ID and don't actually mail anything physically to your mailbox.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 3:23
  • @JonathanReez Not sure, but I believe some of the tents including Festzelt Tradition do, in fact, mail out physical food and drink vouchers. Commented May 16, 2023 at 6:16
  • I'd try with a forwarding address then, its possible they won't notice. Fighting discrimination is always a noble cause.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 16:06
  • @JonathanReez Eh, it's their party and we're the ones crashing it, I'm not too upset about them reserving tables for locals. Most seating is still free-for-all. Commented May 16, 2023 at 23:53
  • If they explicitly limit it to Munich residents without regard to national origin, then sure, it's their right. But if they're being xenophobic against foreigners, then it's definitely fair game to use subterfuge.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 0:18

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