Oide Wisen History
Oide Wiesn translates to “Old Wiesn” or “Old Oktoberfest.” Interestingly, though, the Oide Wiesn in its modern form is not actually that old. It was founded in 2010 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first Oktoberfest as a special festival event called the Historische Wiesn or Historic Oktoberfest. This was only supposed to be a one-time event and featured two beer tents, historical attractions, and a horse race. The horse race is significant as a nod to the first Oktoberfest, which was hosted to celebrate a wedding and included a horse race.
The Historische Wiesn was so popular that many wanted it as a permanent fixture at Oktoberfest. The event changed a bit from the first one held in 2010 – for example, there is no longer a horse race, and there are now three beer tents and attractions covering three hectares. In its new form, the Oide Wiesn happens annually, except for every 4th year (but more later).
What to Expect at the Oide Wiesn
Walking into the Oide Wiesn is like stepping back in time. It is best to experience it yourself, but the best way to describe it would like be visiting a county fair circa the 19th century. As you explore the Oide Wiesn, you’ll see old Bavarian tractors on display, old carnival-style games such as Kegelbahn – or German bowling, and all sorts of old German attractions, games, and rides. A large tent in the back, called the Museumzelt or museum tent, houses many of these games and a collection of Oktoberfest artifacts, such as some of the old posters and artwork from past events. Intermixed with the attractions, food vendors sell snacks such as sandwiches. Of course, there is plenty of beer and full meals within three large unique beer tents – which I’ll discuss in more detail later. Inside the tents, you’ll often find traditional brass music and folk and cultural dancing displays like the traditional Bavarian Schuhplattler.
The focus here is wholesome family fun, as there are plenty of activities for kids and adults alike. It is not the place to get plastered with your mates in tacky Oktoberfest costumes. But that doesn’t mean it is just for families. I enjoy the somewhat relaxed atmosphere and focus on Bavarian culture and traditions of Oktoberfests past.
Oide Wiesn Location
The Oide Wiesn is on the same fairgrounds as Oktoberfest, so you can easily walk between the two areas – depending on how crowded it is. That means you get there the same way you would arrive at Oktoberfest. Take the U4 or U5 Ubahn Line directly to the festival or walk to the Theresienwiese. You will need to enter the main Oktoberfest grounds first, which is free to enter and does require a security check – leave the large bags at home. Depending on your chosen entrance, once inside the fairgrounds, you will look for the large Ferris wheel to the NW and head in that direction.
Behind the Ferris wheel, you’ll see a walled-off entrance that says Oide Wiesn. Choose a line and make your way to the cashier.
Entrance Fee for Oide Wiesn
Unlike the rest of Oktoberfest, there is an entrance fee for the Oide Wiesn. In 2023 an entrance ticket costs 4 euros for anyone older than 15.
This cost subsidizes the rides and attractions inside the old Oktoberfest, which only cost 1.50 euros in 2023. The rides in the main Oktoberfest are much more expensive (but also much more flashy and exhilarating).
While the Oide Wiesn is generally less crowded and busy than Oktoberfest, it can get crowded, especially on weekends, evenings, and busy days. Once they are at capacity, they may close or limit entrance.
Therefore, the best time to visit the Oide Wiesn is on weekdays or early weekends. It will be much easier to find a seat and enjoy the ambiance.
2023 Dates and Hours for Oide Wiesn
The 2023 Oide Wiesn will occur from September 16 to October 3, 2023. Yes, these are the same dates as the regular Oktoberfest since they are part of the same event.
The 2023 Oide Wiesn opening hours are from 10:00 am to 11:30 pm. Live music and performances usually start around noon. Beer is not served past 10:30 p.m. when the music typically stops.
2023 Beer Prices for the Oide Wiesn
The beer prices have once again increased. For the 2023 Oktoberfest season, Oide Wiesn beer prices are between 13.20 and 14.20 euros, depending on the tent.
You should have cash, as they do not accept credit or debit cards for the beer. Most tents, such as Festzelt Tradition, have ATMs on site, but you might get better rates for withdrawing cash ahead of time. Considering the beer is strong at the Oide Wiesn, and I typically only drink about 2 maß, I suggest carrying enough cash for 3-4 maß, plus food. Most meals cost about 20 euros per person, with snacks such as pretzels being cheaper. I rarely enter Oktoberfest with less than 200 euros to ensure I can get a beer at various tents, a full meal (or 2 if I am there all day), snacks, water, and anything else that catches my attention as I wander about.
Since the regular occurrence of Oktoberfest, there has been an agricultural element to the event. There were cattle markets and prizes as part of Oktoberfest dating back more than 200 years ago. Over the years, this agricultural element has transformed and resembles something close to the 4-H or FFA exhibits at U.S. state fairs. Since 1996, this agricultural special only takes place every four years and replaces the Oide Wiesn in those years.
During the Central Bavarian Agricultural Festival or Bayerisches Landwirtschaftsfest, you’ll find regional products similar to a farmers market, prizes for crops and livestock, discussions, exhibits, and traditional dance, music, and demonstrations.
The next event happens in 2024, and there will be no Oide Wiesn that year.
Where to Stay for Oide Wiesn
Accommodation can be booked months in advance, but don’t worry, there are always last-minute rooms. I always suggest staying in the 25hours for a lavish experience, the Living Hotels for a sustainable experience, or a hostel for budget-ish (nothing is budget during Oktoberfest) accommodation. I’ve stayed in all those locations during stay-cations while living in Munich or during my time traveling to Munich. But feel free to find a place that aligns with your taste and budget and still has rooms.