At least from Sundays through Thursdays, you should always be able to find free seats in the tents.
The average Oktoberfest visit does not include a table reservation, hence, without one you’re in good company. All the large tents, except the Weinzelt and Käfer, are obliged to keep large sections unreserved. As many struggle to find free seats nonetheless, we’d like to offer some tips to you.
How do I find free seats without a reservation?
- Avoid high crowd levels, especially Friday nights and Saturdays.
- Don't look for seats during the reservation change, which is at around 5 pm in many tents. Some tents even close their entrances during that time, even if they don't risk getting overcrowded.
- Go there on weekdays before 4 pm.
- A normal table at the Oktoberfest offers tens eats.
- Later in the evening, when most people stand on the benches, the central aisle may look packed from the outside. Don't let that fool you and go into the central aisle.
- Ask service personnel if they have free seats for you, also for the boxes.
- Separate your group. Finding seats in groups of two or three is much simpler than for larger groups. Later in the evening, you may be able to join again when seats open up.
- Stay friendly and don't get discouraged after getting turned a couple of times. Friendliness raises the chances that someone is willing to move closer together to squeeze you in at their table.
- If you absolutely had to go on a Saturday and all the tents are closed for overcrowding, don't forget the beer gardens. Especially the beer gardens of the small tents tend to fill up a little later. Therefore, check the Weißbiergarten, Knödelei, Ammer. Glöcklewirt, Goldener Hahn and Heimer also offer some tables on the outside. Bratwurst also offers a beer garden. There, however, doormen, evaluate the “quality” of guests before allowing them to enter...
- If the tents need to prevent overcrowding, they'll close the main entrances at first. Usually, it's better to check the side entrances in the beer gardens.
- When even the beer gardens start closing for overcrowding, they very often only close the main entrance. Under no circumstances, it's a good idea to queue up there.
- If the actual Oktoberfest is overflowing, the Oide Wiesn may be a good alternative.