How could Bavaria's Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese have known that their cozy nuptials in a Munich meadow would birth an annual booze-a-thon? Oktoberfest brings nearly 6 million people to Munich each year to slosh their way through 34 beer tents over 16 sudsy days. We guide you through the city's hot spots.
The Deutsches Museum
On the first day of Oktoberfest, revelers can't officially get their drink on until noon. Bide your time with a morning stop at the Deutsches Museum, the world's largest technology and science museum, crammed with interactive exhibits and touchscreen displays. Don't miss its new wing, the Zentrum Neue Technologien, devoted to nano and biotechnology.
Beer snobs consider this a must-visit on a trip through Munich: The family-owned former research brewery has a tiny beer garden where guests down fastidiously crafted brews that are made on-site, like the St. Jakobus Blonder Bock, a honey-colored pale lager with a bittersweet bite.
Spatenhaus an der Oper
Dig into authentic Bavarian eats in this white-tablecloth and antler-filled restaurant overlooking the city's sumptuous opera house. The seven-page menu ranges from Bavarian pork with dark beer sauce to veal sausages and apple sauerkraut to all manner of potato and bread dumplings, apple strudel, and "bretzel."
Central Lost and Found
A prosthetic leg. A Superman costume. Wallets, wedding rings, and cell phones galore. The 4,000 or so items that are lost each year by the beer-chugging masses wind up in the city's Central Lost and Found, neatly categorized by object type and manufacturer. Before you go toasting German efficiency, be warned that to get those goods back, you'll have to offer up 5% of the value of the item.
Souvenir nuts, rejoice! The kitsch-fest is chock-full of groan-inducing goodies to bring home to loved ones, like rubber duckies sporting lederhosen, sausage-shaped Christmas ornaments, belt buckles with pretzel cut-outs, and all manner of cuckoo clocks. For the slightly less ironic shopper: T-shirts galore.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.