Disabled visitors and wheelchair users at Oktoberfest in Munich (München), Germany will find special services, access to all beer tents, reserved tables, and increasing availability of toilet facilities and rides. Families with strollers (buggies) appreciate many of these facilities.
In recent years, facilities for wheelchair users have improved at Wiesengelände where Munich’s Oktoberfest is hosted each year. All beer tents have special tables reserved for disabled visitors while wheelchair access to the festival grounds has also been improved. Families with small children using strollers or buggies also appreciate the even walkways and ramps, as Oktoberfest is a surprisingly family-friendly event during day time. Getting to Oktoberfest is relatively easy for disabled visitors with all train stations in the region now having elevators (lifts) while special parking places are reserved for disabled visitors. Some rides, including the Big Wheel, have cabins big enough to fit most standard-size wheelchairs.
Traveling to Oktoberfest in Munich with a Wheelchair
Getting to the Wiesngelände where Munich’s Oktoberfest is held is easiest by public transportation, as streets get very congested near the festival grounds. Disabled travelers and wheelchair users may use the Hackerbrücke S-Bahn station or any U-Bahn trains, as all U-Bahn stations near the Oktoberfest festival grounds now have elevators (lifts) to street level.
The closest S-Bahn train station to Oktoberfest is Hackerbrücke while several U-Bahn stations are near the Wiesngelände: Goetheplatz, Heimeranplatz, Poccistraße, Schwanthaler Höhe, and Theresienwiese.
Disabled visitors with an official blue parking permit (German or EU standard) may use free parking spaces at the Bavariaring / Südlicher Esperantoplatz at the southern end of the Theresienwiese. Access to this disabled car parking area is from Stieler Street. These parking spaces are on a first-come-first-serve base but disabled drivers, like all other private car users, will find traffic cumbersome around the festival grounds during the whole Oktoberfest period.
Using Wheelchairs in Oktoberfest Beer Tents in München
In recent years, access to beer tents (Bierzelte) and festival halls (Festhallen) at Oktoberfest has dramatically improved for disabled visitors and wheelchair users. All tents and buildings have level access or wheelchair-suitable ramps – something very much appreciated by parents with strollers or buggies as well. Larger beer tents and festival halls are required to reserve at least 20 spaces free for wheelchair users, while smaller tents must have space for at least ten handicap users.
Reservations for seats in beer tents and festival halls are usually not required up to 5 pm on weekdays and 2 pm on weekends. After these hours, reservations may be made, and are highly recommended whether using a wheelchair or not.
The quieter times to visit Oktoberfest on the Theresienwiese in Munich are weekday mornings. Sunday nights can often be fairly quiet too while Saturdays and Fridays are best avoided if possible. Oktoberfest tents can fill up fast – on weekends often before noon – and once full, no further visitors are allowed to enter the beer tents or festival halls.
Toilet Facilities for Disabled Visitors and Wheelchair Users at Oktoberfest in Munich
Toilet facilities at beer tents at Oktoberfest are essential but queuing may be expected from all visitors at peak periods. All beer tents and festival halls have toilet facilities for wheelchair users. Suitable WCs for wheelchair users on the rest of the Oktoberfest festival grounds are limited to the toilets at the Service Center (Servicezentrum) Theresienwiese and at the Esperantoplatz/Matthias-Pschorr-Straße entrance.
Theresienwiese U-Bahn station is the only train station close to the Oktoberfest festival grounds with toilet facilities for wheelchair users but in general, U-Bahn station toilets are best avoided.
Wheelchair Access to the Rides at Oktoberfest Munich
An increasing number of rides at Oktoberfest are accessible to disabled visitors. Wheelchair users may use the cabins of the Big Wheel (Riesenrad) for the best views of the Oktoberfest Theresienwiese festival grounds. A few further rides and fun fair booths are barrier-free including bumping cars. Most of the other rides are not able to accommodate wheelchairs.
Oktoberfest in Munich is considered the largest folk festival in the world. In contrast to many spin-off festivals held in other cities and around the world, Oktoberfest in München is also considered a family-friendly event with 10% of Münchner visiting the Theresienwiese with children.