As an Oktoberfest expert and tour guide, one of the questions I get asked the most is whether or not you can bring a purse to Oktoberfest? And how big can it be? But does it need to be clear? Where on earth am I going to put my sweater?! And the list goes on and on. (Really, I should’ve written the post a long time ago. My apologies for the wait.)
The answers to these questions are pretty simple, but there are a few vital pieces of information you need first that will save you time, money, hassle, and frustration. My tips also focus on keeping you safe, keeping you having a great time, and keeping you focused on your fitness. Fitness… whole pretzel in your my mouth, I obviously mean.
Long story short, you’ve come to the right place ladies (and gents, there’s info for you in here too!). Here’s just about everything you could possibly want to know about bringing a purse to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
Bringing a purse to Oktoberfest: TL;DR
If you want to skip out on all the massively important details, here’s the TL; DR of bringing a purse to Oktoberfest:
- Yes, you can bring a purse to Oktoberfest.
- The size must be limited to 8 in x 6 in x 4 in.
- This is the perfect Oktoberfest purse. Seriously, just buy this one and call it a day.
Bringing a purse to Oktoberfest
If anyone understands the struggle of never going anywhere without a purse, it’s yours truly. It actually feels like a condition at this point that I should really see a professional about. That aside, I get your concerns–you need to bring a purse to Oktoberfest.
And the good news is, you can! *subject to terms and conditions.
The Oktoberfest powers that be do allow you to bring a purse to Oktoberfest. However, given the state of our global society coupled with some unfortunate incidents in years past, they’re also forced to regulate the sizes and types of bags we can bring into the festival.
But really, it’s for your own good, for a thousand reasons. You will NOT want to haul around a ton of crap in your big heavy bag all day while trying to dance on the benches.
And for your own safety. Drinking + purses = danger. You could easily get your bag stolen, or at least picked through. It could get spilled on, dropped in a crowded beer tent, sat on the floor of the bathroom, etc. You could lose it. Yeah, you’re most definitely going to lose it.
Definitely don’t miss my complete and honest guide to What to Wear for Oktoberfest. It covers everything from head to toe, for men and women.
What you need to bring in your purse to Oktoberfest
Among my many obsessive/compulsive behaviors is my need to always be prepared for any situation. Ergo, I tend to overpack and overcarry. Like, it’s pathological at this point. So, on the regular, my purse always has too much stuff in it. But for Oktoberfest, I’ve pretty much nailed down the stuff I actually need.
Here are the very few things you actually need to bring in your purse to Oktoberfest:
- Cash (Oktoberfest is a cash-only event.)
- An ATM card in case you wildly underestimated how many delicious Bavarian pretzels you were going to consume
- Chapstick because let’s be real here. In fact, I wouldn’t even fault you for bringing a backup of this. (See, I’m already going off the rails.)
- Your phone (to use sparingly… Don’t text your ex! Don’t Venmo strangers! Always photograph responsibly!)
- Your ID
- Your hotel room key
- And if you’re extra safety-conscious like me, a small personal alarm at the very least.
Now I know everyone has different needs so your list may vary. You may need to bring an Epipen with you (same!) or an inhaler or other meds. You may need any number of other critical items, so definitely bring those. The list above is minimalist, but still the gist of what you actually need in your purse at Oktoberfest. And if you have a husband who opted for cargo pants instead of lederhosen, maybe you don’t need to bring a purse at all.
And if you want to read more about my personal alarm, check out my post on the essential travel safety gear I always travel with.
A few pro tips
About the above, a few pro tips:
ID – You won’t use this to buy drinks or anything, but it’s always good to have on you. And please just bring your driver’s license. DO NOT bring your passport. In 2022, a total of 930 IDs were left behind at Oktoberfest. In 2019 it was 780. It would be far less shitty to lose your driver’s license at Oktoberfest than your passport.
Hotel key – Unless your hotel gives you a key card for your room, leave your hotel room key with the front desk so you don’t have to carry the bulky thing around and risk losing it too (an expensive oopsie BTW).
Can you bring a purse to Oktoberfest?
So can you bring a purse to Oktoberfest? The short answer is yes, but there are conditions. Mainly, it can only be so big. A small clutch or wristlet is the goal here. (I mean, it also can’t have weapons or illegal drugs in it, but I feel like that’s a given.)
Before entering the Wiesn (where Oktoberfest takes place) you’ll have to pass through a quick security check. As is standard, a security officer will quickly look inside your purse and wave you through. That is, unless your bag is too big.
Also check out: 26 Things You Didn’t Know About Oktoberfest (But Definitely Should!)
Oktoberfest purse sizes
Regarding what size purse you can bring into Oktoberfest, the official allowance is “up to 3 liters.” But since all we Americans can picture is someone carrying a 3-liter bottle of Coca-Cola into the festival, let me rephrase that.
In American terms, the purse you bring to Oktoberfest must be no bigger than about 8 inches x 6 inches x 4 inches. (Or 20 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm if you still prefer the metric system; I don’t blame you.) That’s about the size of a standard clutch purse.
You will get turned away
You will get turned away from Oktoberfest if your bag is too big.* They aren’t exactly measuring your bag with a ruler or anything, but even the most clueless of bros can tell a clutch from a massive handbag.
And, yes, it has happened to me. Thankfully, my hotel is just across the street from the entrance so returning it to my room was a non-issue. But many people take many trains to get to Oktoberfest. Imagine the wasted time of having to go all the way back to your hotel to change it. And all by yourself too (because your friends are gonna be like, “Byeeeeee” as they sashay into the nearest beer tent).
*That being said, in 2022 I saw people with all kinds and sizes of bags walking right into Oktoberfest, no questions asked. I’m not exactly sure why they were so lenient. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was the first Oktoberfest after two canceled years and attendance was way down? I have no idea, but that is not the norm and it won’t be like that in 2023.
I would definitely plan to follow the mandated guidelines instead of just hoping they’ll let your bag through. Besides, call me your “typical American,” but I find it extremely unnerving to see tons of people with backpacks on at a crowded festival. Really, what could you possibly have in there that you need at a beer festival?
What you can’t bring to Oktoberfest
With the above sizes in mind, it should be obvious that you cannot bring the following into Oktoberfest:
- No backpacks or other big bags (including diaper bags, more on that below)
- No shopping bags
- And no luggage/suitcases (I know you’re in a hurry to get a beer, but damn drop your bags off first.)
Related post: What NOT to do at Oktoberfest: 19 rookie mistakes to avoid
Do you have to bring a clear purse to Oktoberfest?
And on that note, do you have to have a clear purse at Oktoberfest? And the answer to that is no.
I know you readers outside the United States might be looking at your screens like, “What the…??” And yes, this actually is a totally bananas question to ask. But this is America, where guns are commonplace and one’s inherent expectation of safety is not. I don’t know how it works in other parts of the world, but here in the U.S. we’re only allowed to bring clear purses into our sports stadiums and concert venues. It’s called the American Dream; look it up.
So no, Oktoberfest does not follow “stadium rules” when it comes to our handbags. There is no “clear bag policy” here. As long as it measures in under the 8 in x 6 in x 4 in allowance, you can bring in any color or opacity of purse your gingerbread heart desires.
But this is why the perfect Oktoberfest purse I recommend is called “stadium compliant.”
What purse to bring to Oktoberfest
People are always asking me what purses I recommend for bringing to Oktoberfest. And yes, this is something I have researched extensively because I attend Oktoberfest every year myself and am always trying to size down. It’s a real not only the president, also a client situation here.
Here are some of the best examples for what purse to bring to Oktoberfest:
- Travelon Anti-Theft Stadium Mini Crossbody Bag – I’ve already said it like 3 times in this post, but this is the perfect purse for Oktoberfest. It’s small, with a crossbody design and anti-theft features. It checks all the boxes. My personal go-to for 2023.
- Travelon Anti-Theft Double Zip Crossbody Clutch – Simple, compact elegant-looking clutch you can use every day. Comes in 3 colors.
- Citysafe Anti-Theft Square Crossbody – Super cute, can hold everything you need, 3 colors including rose pink! (Also available on Amazon.)
- Travelon Classic Convertible Crossbody – Full of anti-theft features and can be worn as a crossbody bag or a waist pack.
- Travelon convertible crossbody/belt bag – Perfect mini purse that even include straps so you can loop your dirndl apron through it and wear it as a belt bag! Comes in 3 colors/patterns.
Also read: 12 most Instagrammable spots at Oktoberfest
The Rare Dirndl apron purse
If you want something a little more dirndl-y for an Oktoberfest purse, my favorite dirndl maker Erika also sells these cool suede dirndl apron purses. You simply run your apron straps through the purse and it becomes a cute and functional addition to your Oktoberfest outfit.
It fits the allowed size of Oktoberfest purses and comes in both black and brown. (And you can save 10% with promo code: MYWANDERLUSTYLIFE.) Shop here.
The perfect Oktoberfest purse
Here’s what to look for in a perfect Oktoberfest purse and the criteria from which I chose the above examples.
Get an anti-theft purse
I always opt into anti-theft bags whenever possible. All of my travel bags and purses are anti-theft bags, from either the Travelon or PacSafe brands. These bags are specially designed to prevent pickpocketing and other “petty” crimes.
They have locking zippers to keep your stuff secure, slash-proof straps and materials, RFID protection, straps that lock to your chair, etc. These are perfect for Oktoberfest, i.e. the world’s biggest festival where you’ll be surrounded by about tens of thousands of people every day and night. For the record, I feel totally safe at Oktoberfest, but I still wouldn’t show up without a purse that has a locking zipper.
Get a crossbody bag
Likewise, I would never show up to Oktoberfest with a purse I had to carry on one arm. Wearing a crossbody purse to Oktoberfest will help ensure that it won’t slip off unknowingly or get yanked off by some drunk hooligan.
Besides that, this is going to be the most comfortable and effortless way to carry a purse around Oktoberfest all day and night. Minimal effort. Carefree dancing. Low probability of loss.
Where do you keep your sweater?
Another common Oktoberfest purse question is… well, if you can’t bring a bag, what do you do with your sweater all day? And there are a few answers to this:
Bring the lightest sweater possible
You’ll really only need a sweater for the walk over to the Wiesn and back on a very very cold or rainy day. Inside the beer tents there’s all kinds of ways to stay warm, but mostly the body heat from 10,000 dancing people.
For that reason, you should only plan to bring a very light sweater. Something you wouldn’t mind getting a little dirty or even accidentally lose. Something you can easily wrap around your crossbody strap and forget about.
Do Not wear a big heavy coat. You will absolutely regret having to carry it around all day and, honestly, there will be nowhere to put it at your beer tent table. There’s barely enough room to put yourself.
The moral of this story: Only bring a very lightweight cardigan and only if it’s absolutely freezing. Otherwise, walk fast and put up with the cold/rain for the short distance you have to walk there. You’ll forget all about once you get that first beer in your hand.
Here are some light sweaters that are totally acceptable for Oktoberfest:
- Simple Button-down V-Neck Long Sleeve Knit Cardigan – Available in 22 colors, 1 for each dirndl!
- This similar Crew Neck Button-down Long Sleeve Cardigan – Available in 35 colors! (I’m gonna need more dirndls.)
- This cute snap cardigan – Available in 19 colors.
Visit the Schottenhamel tent
The oldest beer tent at Oktoberfest is actually way ahead of its time. It’s the only tent whose tables have nets underneath for holding your sweaters! If it’s going to be freezing out and you know you’ll want a jacket, plan to hit up the Schottenhamel Festhalle.
See also: Where to buy dirndls and lederhosen for Oktoberfest (in Munich and online)
Oktoberfest wallet for men
And since women aren’t the only ones concerned with how to carry their belongings to Oktoberfest, here’s the section for men. A common question is: What kind of wallet do men prefer at Oktoberfest? Just their regular wallet? A travel money wallet? Something else?
This answer definitely depends on personal preference and, not being a wallet-carrying man myself, I can only relay what I’ve been told on this front.
Regular men’s wallet
When my husband joins me at Oktoberfest, he just brings his regular everyday wallet and keeps it in the front pocket of his lederhosen (or jeans). And I believe most other men probably do the same.
I’m sure it’s possible, but I feel like picking someone’s lederhosen pockets would be a lot more difficult given the tight-leatherness of them. But who knows, I haven’t tried. I’m guessing your chance of getting your wallet jacked probably go up if you wear jeans.
Travel money belt
If a money belt (like this one) is what you feel safe using, then use it! Really, it’s about your peace of mind here as much as it is your dollars. You aren’t fooling anyone by using a money belt—taking your money in and out is anything but subtle—but there’s no doubt it will cut down your chances of losing your money or getting it stolen.
Regular wallet with chain
Another way to keep your money safe is to use a regular wallet, but one attached to your pants with a chain. Even the Oktoberfest servers use these religiously! Men and women! Something like this simple bi-fold chain wallet is all you need.
Fun fact: In 2022, 570 wallets were left behind at Oktoberfest. Don’t be a statistic, get a wallet with a chain!
Oktoberfest wallet pro tips
Here are a few things you need to know if you plan to bring a wallet to Oktoberfest:
- Never keep your wallet in your back pocket (aka, the easiest place from which to steal someone’s wallet). Always keep it in your front pocket.
- Only bring the essentials—as much cash as you think you’ll need for the day, an ATM card in case you need more, a driver’s license. Take everything else out of your everyday wallet and leave it in your hotel room.
- Don’t flash your money—when paying for stuff, just pull out the little bit you need at the moment. Don’t pull out the full wad of cash and start rifling through it where everyone can see.
Diaper bags at Oktoberfest
I know, this seems like an oxymoron (and it should). But yes, Oktoberfest is a family event. (If you go in the mornings, you’ll even see elementary school kids on field trips to the beer tents!) During the day, families bring their small children and even babies to the Wiesn. So if this is you, you’re probably wondering if you can bring a diaper bag to Oktoberfest.
Interestingly, Oktoberfest official rules state that: “The maximum dimensions of the bags you can take to Oktoberfest also apply to diaper bags.” So, even your diaper bag has to satisfy the “3-liter” rule or 8 in. x 6 in. x 4 in. (I don’t have children myself but ummm, pretty sure that’s smaller than an actual single diaper.) All the places you can change a diaper are in my post on Oktoberfest bathrooms.
What about strollers?
Stollers are allowed at Oktoberfest until 6:00pm “as long as it’s not crowded.” They’re not allowed at all at night, on Saturdays, or on October 3 (the public holiday). They even have stroller parking at Oktoberfest near all the entrances.
For more on bringing children to Oktoberfest, check out this official page.
Related post: Oktoberfest for non-beer drinkers: 15 things you need to know (that most people don’t!)
Oktoberfest luggage storage and lockers
Well what if you do arrive to Oktoberfest with bags too big or, bless your heart, suitcases? You’ll be happy to know that there is a way to store your stuff at/near Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest luggage storage
There are 4 luggage storage areas around Oktoberfest near the entrances. You can find them outside the main entrance and entrances P5, P8, and P10. They’re pretty well signposted and security personnel can point you in the right direction as well. The signs you’re looking for will say “Gepäckaufbewahrung.”
At the luggage storage booths they’ll have signs with the operating hours and the current price on them. (Typically just a few euros per bag.) And, whatever you do, put your claim ticket in a secure pocket in the purse you’ll bring to Oktoberfest.
There are no self-serve lockers at Oktoberfest, only the luggage storage mentioned above. You won’t find any storage lockers at the nearby Theresienwiese train station either.
There are luggage lockers at the main train station though, München Hauptbahnhof, which is just a 15-minute walk from Oktoberfest. You can rent lockers here for just a few euros with a maximum rental period of 3 days. Get more information here. There are also luggage lockers at the Munich airport (Flughafen München). Get that info here.
More info for your Oktoberfest trip
- Heading to Oktoberfest? Check out my post on where to stay for Oktoberfest and book your room here!
- Need a rental car? Check out the best Munich deals on rentalcars.com.
- Visiting more of Germany? Pick up a Germany guidebook for all your sightseeing. And be sure to pick up this Germany customs and culture guide too!
- Keep yourself and your belongings safe with these must-pack travel safety items.
- Read all my Oktoberfest posts here.
As always, comment below with any other questions you have on bringing a purse to Oktoberfest and I’ll be happy to help. Have a great time in Oktoberfest! Prost!
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