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When Is Oktoberfest in Germany in 2024? Dates, Best Cities, and Other Info to Know | Frommer's Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

When Is Oktoberfest in Germany in 2024? Dates, Best Cities, and Other Info to Know

In a typical year, around 6 million people descend on Munich for Oktoberfest, Germany's two-and-a-half-week-long annual celebration of beer and all things Bavarian (pretzels, lederhosen, oompah bands, the Chicken Dance) at the city's Theresienwiese fairgrounds.

Because the event is so popular, there's no such thing as too early when it comes to planning to attend the festival. In fact, competition for places to stay can get fierce—if you're already finding that traditional hotels and rentals are full up, consider alternative lodging options such as campgrounds and accommodations in other cities nearby.

This year's Oktoberfest in Munich is slated to last from Sunday, September 21, through Sunday, October 6. 

If you're wondering why a celebration of October takes place mostly in September, blame the weather. While the festival did originally occur entirely in October when it was introduced in 1810, officials eventually moved the start date up to mid-September to take advantage of longer days and warmer temperatures. There are a lot of outdoor components, after all—carnival rides, parades, and such—and October comes with a nip in the air. 

Admission to Oktoberfest is free if you just want to walk around and soak up the atmosphere. If you want to soak up some suds, though, you will have to pay by the beer. Last year, the price for a liter serving was €12.60–€14.90 ($13.50–$16), depending on the brew. Prices for 2024 haven't been announced yet.

Beers are served in elaborate tents—17 large ones and and 21 small ones. You don't need a reservation for entry; the idea is that there's supposed to be room for all. 

On the southern end of the venue, there's a historical section called Oide Wiesn with nostalgic fairground rides, folk musicians, traditional Bavarian games, and other forms of old-timey fun. That part of the fest does charge an admission fee of €4 ($4.28), though it is free for kids ages 14 and younger. 

Elsewhere, you'll find more modern carnival rides and booths selling gingerbread, bird-imitating whistles, souvenir steins, and a lot more.

As you might expect from a German institution, the official Oktoberfest website is thorough and well-organized, with info on how to get there, the best days of the week and times of day to visit to avoid the biggest crowds, and anything else you could possibly need to know

One thing worth noting: Though Germany recently legalized recreational cannabis, Bavarian authorities have said pot will still be banned at Oktoberfest, at least for now. Better stick to beer.

Outside of Munich, several other German cities also host Oktoberfest celebrations and similar folk festivals around the same time. Many of them are held outside Bavaria in Germany's southeast, where Oktoberfest traditions originated. But hey, fun is fun and beer is beer. 

Noteworthy options include Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest (Sept. 27–Oct.13) in the southwest, Hamburg's Oktoberfest (Sept. 20–Oct. 6) and Hanover's Oktoberfest (Sept. 22–Oct. 8) in the north, and several events in Berlin (Sept. 13–Oct. 26), including one that brings Bavarian beer and brass bands to the medieval Spandau Citadel

Of course, you can mark Oktoberfest in plenty of U.S. communities with a lot of German immigrant heritage, too, from Chicago (Sept. 6–8) to Helen, Georgia (Sept. 5–Oct. 27).  

Frankenmuth, Michigan, known as “Little Bavaria” for its timber-frame alpine architecture and restaurants serving schnitzel, holds an annual Oktoberfest that has the distinction of being the first event of its kind outside Munich to have received the German city's official seal of approval. Head to Frankenmuth Sept. 19–22 for the usual beer and pretzels, plus polka dances and a race involving up to a hundred wiener dogs. 

Related: The Best U.S. Travel Destinations in Autumn