Concierge.com's insider take:
The unavoidable Oktoberfest was invented in 1810 to celebrate the nuptials of Crown Prince Ludwig (later Ludwig I) and Therese von Saxe-Hildburghausen. It occurs every year for 16 days from the second-to-last Saturday in September till the first Sunday in October—a huge fair with rides and stalls and sideshows, carousels and cotton candy and just a little beer, dispensed from marquees erected by the Munich breweries, of which there are now a mere six major players: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrä, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten-Franziskaner (49-89-233-965-00; www.oktoberfest.de/en). Even if you miss Oktoberfest, you still have to do the beer thing here. This is easily accomplished in any number of beer gardens, but best achieved at the 1589 Hofbräuhaus at the Platzl in the Old Town's heart (9 Platzl; Altstadt; 49-89-290-136-0; www.hofbraeuhaus.de). Because beer does remain in the old town's heart.