Where old collides with the new, few places on Earth match the culture and buzz of the Bavarian capital of Munich. From the period cobbled streets of the Altstadt (Old Town) with its centuries-old towers to high-tech sports stadiums and car plants, Munich takes its past and future and melts them together in surprising harmony.
Though a thoroughly modern city, Munich has never lost sight of its Bavarian tradition. You’ll see more tankards and lederhosen here than in any other corner of Germany. Beer also plays a massive role in the region’s culture and has ever since the city’s Hofbräuhaus began brewing its finest export in the 16th century.
Nowhere is this connection more on show than at the city’s annual Oktoberfest, the largest public yearly festival in the world. So significant is the event that it requires its own hosting ground, which lies just out to the west of central Munich and is known as the Theresienwiese.
This vast showground puts on a handful of events throughout the year outside of the famous Autumn festival. It features some fascinating landmarks that are well worth a visit even if you’re in the city when there’s no carnival on.
So without further ado, let’s discuss how best to get there.
How to get to Theresienwiese
Munich’s transport network is vast, fast, and reliable. Almost every corner of the city is connected some way through a combination of underground trains, suburban rail, trams, and buses.
If you’re staying in and around central Munich, it shouldn’t take you long at all to walk out to Theresienwiese. The ground is around a 25-minute stroll from the central Marienplatz. Going on foot is always a good idea. You never know what you might find in a city like Munich, with exciting bars, eateries, stores, and attractions hidden in its bustling web of streets.
But suppose you don’t want to waste time getting from A to B or you’re staying outside of the central area. In that case, you’ll be pleased to know that getting to Theresienwiese Munich via public transport is easy.
Which station is nearest to Theresienwiese?
The easiest way to reach Theresienwiese is by using the city’s underground metro system, known as the U-Bahn. The Theresienwiese Munchen U-Bahn station, as it’s conveniently named, is served by both the U4 (turquoise) and U5 (brown) lines. Surfacing here will bring you out little more than 200 metres from the northeastern edges of the showground.
Not much further is the Goetheplatz U-Bahn stop, which is 400 metres from the eastern entrances and called at by the U3 (orange) and U6 (blue) lines.
Travelling by tram is also an option. The Hermann-Lingg-Strasse stop is just 300 metres directly north of Theresienwiese and is called at by number 18, 19, 29, and N39 tram services.
Meanwhile, suppose you’re staying far outside the city and need to use the S-Bahn suburban rail network to get into town. In that case, your nearest station will be Hackerbrucke, served by S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S7, and S8 line trains. From here it’s a mere five-minute walk over the bridge at Grasserstrasse before you reach the northern tip of the showground.
If you are visiting Munich while an event is taking place at Theresienwiese, particularly during Oktoberfest, remember that services are likely to be extremely busy at peak times.
Which public transport ticket is best?
If you’re unlikely to use public transport much while you’re in Munich, you’re probably best getting around by buying tickets as and when you need them. These can include single, return, and day options. These are available by machine at every stop, station, and interchange.
One useful thing to know is that the same ticket can be used across each of the different networks, as the city’s transport is integrated. In practice, that means you could go from A to B by using any combination of trains, trams, and buses.
But for more extended stays in Munich or for visitors looking to pack more in, the Munich CityTourCard can be an excellent time and money saver. Available from one to six days at your choosing, it grants you unlimited use of Munich’s transport for the period, along with discounts at more than 80 of the Bavarian capital’s top attractions, bars, and eateries. Prices start at €13.90 and max out at €41.90 for the full six days.
Events at the Theresienwiese
While it’s known around the world as the home of Oktoberfest, this raucous celebration isn’t the only thing you can catch at Theresienwiese throughout the year. Other events you’ll find in the showgrounds annual calendar include:
- Frühlingsfest – known by many as the ‘little sister’ of Oktoberfest, the Spring Festival takes place during the two weeks covering the end of April and beginning of May. It boasts many of the same draws as its bigger sibling but without the more massive crowds
- Riesenflohmarkt – the city’s ‘Giant Flea Market’ is the perfect place to grab a secondhand bargain, and takes place in summer each year
- Winter Tollwood – the Theresienwiese’s answer to the festive period, with a more modern and artier vibe than your traditional German Christmas market. Expect delicious street food, live performances, and interactive exhibitions
- Bayerisches Zentral-Landwirtschaftsfest – The Bavarian Central Agricultural Festival takes place every four years. It is a major international event in the agricultural industry calendar
Theresienwiese - Things to See & Facts
Covering an incredible 42 hectares, the vast Theresienwiese is the Bavarian capital’s premier outdoor events space. It takes its name from Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the wife of King Ludwig I. He completed the site in her honour shortly before the first Oktoberfest took place on their wedding in 1810.
The second part of its name, “weise”, is the German word for meadow. Though it no longer resembles a lush green field and has been swallowed up by the rapid urban growth of Munich, this site holds as unique a place in the city’s heart today as it did back then.
Even when not in use to hold festivals and events, you’ll often find something going on at Theresienwiese. Local skaters use the vast, flat expanse to put their latest trick to the test, while groups of students can often be seen playing football and basketball. When the winds pick up, Theresienwiese is the go-to spot for kite fliers and hang gliders, who use this gap in the city’s urban fabric to enjoy some breathing space.
There are a couple of brilliant vantage points in the perimeter of Theresienwiese that really let you take in the sheer scale of the site:
- The Bavaria – this epic 18-metre-tall statue embodies the patron saint of Bavaria sitting atop a throne. Steps climb around either side of her leading up to the Ruhmeshalle (Hall of Fame). You can enter the sculpture before climbing a spiral staircase and emerging at its head
- St Paul’s Church – to the northern end of the Theresienwiese, this elegant church allows Oktoberfest visitors to climb its central tower while the festival is taking place. Once you reach its peak, you’ll be treated to spectacular views back over the site, with dazzling lights and the smell of hearty Bavarian food filling the air
Restaurants, Bars, and Stores at the Theresienwiese
Let’s be honest, if you’re heading over to the Theresienwiese to celebrate Oktoberfest, we need not make you any recommendations about where to drink, dine, and depart with your spends. Within the festival site, you’ll find quite literally hundreds of places to do all of those and then some.
If you’re calling at Theresienwiese during a quieter period of the year, there are plenty of permanent options in the surrounding area. Here are just some of our favourite picks.
The best restaurants near Theresienwiese
While Theresienwiese is slightly out towards Munich’s western suburbs, the network of streets that surround it remain lively and packed with plenty of great eateries to call in at. You’ll find fewer tourist traps and more local favourites here, which could prove an inspired choice. Our recommendations include:
- La Kaz – a modern eatery with a laid-back vibe, serving up fresh homecooked plates like schnitzels and salads
- Frau Li – a light and airy Asian fusion restaurant with a menu that offers all the usual favourites plus a few surprises
- King Loui – a small and friendly burger bar serving serious comfort food alongside incredible shakes
- Wirtshaus am Bavariapark – a proper Bavarian banqueting hall experience with all the region’s best dishes cooked to perfection
- Pizzeria Mimmo e Co – a family-run spot with proper Neapolitan pizza, homemade pasta, and Mediterranean salads
- Restaurant Irmi München – hearty German pub grub and an enormous selection of beers to sample, all set within a refreshingly modern interior
The best bars near Theresienwiese
If you haven’t managed to make it in time for Oktoberfest, you need not worry. Good beer is an all-year event here in Munich, and where better to sample it than at some of these brilliant bars:
- BnB - Banh Mi and Beer – a stylish and buzzy bar spot with Vietnamese snacks served up alongside a massive variety of draught and bottled beer
- Bar Gabanyi – an old-school cocktail bar with eclectic bar bites and a busy schedule of live jazz performers
- FLEX – a no-frills locals’ spot with a lively atmosphere, alongside pool tables, table football, and pinball machines
- Substanz Club – another haunt for locals with plenty of live music, screened sports and partying until late
- Karotte – a relaxing little spot with fresh décor and a pretty courtyard to kick back in
The best shops near the Theresienwiese
If you’re looking to part with your spends while in the Bavarian capital, you’ll be pleased to hear Munich is something of a shopping mecca. From the city’s world-famous Maximilianstrasse where you’ll find the global fashion houses, to the funky boutiques on offer in the Gartnerplatzviertel district, there really is something for everyone.
Your closest shopping area to the Theresienwiese is located back towards the old town, walking along Petternkoderstrasse until you reach Sendlinger Tor. Just east of here you’ll find some unassuming yet super cool boutiques such as Boulevard Fashion and Sebas Fashion Room. A little further on you’ll reach Munich’s central shopping district where all the big names can be found, including Adidas, Hollister, and Urban Outfitters.
Opening Times and Prices
When it’s not in the full throws of festival season, the Theresienwiese is simply left open for public use. There’s no entrance fee, and you can visit whenever you like. However, it’s always better to go at the peak of the day when you’re more likely to see something happening.
Even when events are on at Theresienwiese, many are free to attend. However, the area will be gated and subject to opening hours. Just remember to bring plenty of spending money for all that bratwurst and beer!
No matter the time of year, visit Theresienwiese to experience the scale and history of the home of the world’s largest annual public festival.
Getting to Munich by train
It's easy to take the train to Munich from the main destinations across Europe. Travel direct from Prague to Munich in just 4h 56m on a high-speed Deutsche Bahn service, or why not whizz from Berlin to Munich on another direct DB train in about 4h 49m. Frankfurt to Munich is also another well-connected route, taking just 3h 12m.
Ready for your next train journey to Munich? Check out our guide to trains in Germany to learn all about the German trains, timetables and popular routes.