The Munich Theresienwiese - where Oktoberfest takes place

Wiesn am Abend, Foto: muenchen.de/Katy Spichal 2018
Foto: muenchen.de/Katy Spichal 2018

The Bavaria statue watches over the Theresienwiese

The Theresienwiese in Munich’s Ludwigsvorstadt district is where the Oktoberfest takes place every year. Even though the area is no longer a “Wiese” (meadow) in the true sense of the word these days, the people of Munich affectionately call Oktoberfest “Wiesn.” And many other major events are also held on the space, roughly the size of 60 soccer fields. The Theresienwiese has always been watched over by the bronze statue of Bavaria, the symbolic patron saint of the region.

Munich’s largest public festival space for major events

Great events are held on the Theresienwiese all year round. The most important is, of course, the Oktoberfest , which begins in mid- to late September and lasts a little more than two weeks. Construction for the world's largest public festival begins as early as mid-July. But Munich's folk festival season starts even earlier - in April with the two week-long Frühlingsfest (Springfest), also known as the “little Wiesn.”

In its supporting program, the Riesenflohmarkt (Giant Flea Market) - the largest in Bavaria - invites you to take a stroll and browse the wares on offer. The spectacular Oldtimerfestival (Classic Car Festival), with more than 1,000 historic vehicles takes place on the first Sunday.In December, the numerous tents and colorful booths of Tollwood, a month-long alternative cultural festival, are set up.

That's not all! The year 2020 came with a great line up of programs under the umbrella of "Summer in the City", and Theresienwiese has quite a number to tickle your fancy. As you already know, there will be no Oktoberfest this year, but there is a wide range of sports holding. You can play basketball and tennis, learn skateboarding or climb a boulder wall. 

In the southern part of the area, a small music and arts festival is to be held. A few showmen will also set up their stalls and rides, with a palm tree garden providing that holiday home feeling. You can check out more details here!

Bavaria and St. Paul’s Church - two fantastic viewing points

Bavaria bei Nacht, Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann
Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann

Two elevated spots offer the best views of the hustle and bustle on the Theresienwiese. One is the Bavaria, a nearly 18 meter-tall statue embodying the female symbol and patron saint of Bavaria. She is enthroned, visible from afar, in front of the Ruhmeshalle (Hall of Fame) on the side of the slope. Inside the statue, a spiral staircase leads to the Bavaria’s head, where four small hatches offer a view of the Theresienwiese.

Even taller is the tower of St. Paul’s Church, north of the Theresienwiese. Oktoberfest attracts legions of visitors to the viewing platform at the main tower, up where the famous postcard view of the entire Wiesn opens up with the Alps in the background. However, the tower is only open during Oktoberfest.

The Theresienwiese at a Glance

  • Area: 42 hectares, roughly 60 soccer fields
  • District: Ludwigsvorstadt
  • Key events: Oktoberfest, Frühlingsfest, Riesenflohmarkt, Oldtimerfestival, Winter Tollwood, Bayerisches Zentral-Landwirtschaftsfest (Bavarian Central Agricultural Festival, every four years)
  • Things to see and do: Bavaria statue and Ruhmeshalle, St. Paul’s Church
    History: Named after Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the wife of King Ludwig I, since 1810 - the first Oktoberfest was held on the occasion of their wedding

Plenty of space for hobby sports on the Theresienwiese

Luftbild München: Theresienwiese, Foto: GeodatenService München
Foto: GeodatenService München

Despite its name, the Theresienwiese, with its huge open area of 42 hectares, has no significant greenery. But its sheer amount of free space in the middle of the city has plenty of advantages: A skatepark, basketball court, and a few sports fields can be found at the edge of the area. Many inline skaters and small children with bicycles make their first attempts on wheels on the wide, car-free roads. In fall especially, the unobstructed terrain entices legions of fans of kites and hang gliders, who can here indulge their hobby in relative safety and peace.

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