Best Things To Do in Munich
Although Oktoberfest and biergartens are a big part of Munich life, they aren't the only things going for this cosmopolitan city. You'll also find several interesting museums, the Residenz Royal Palace, the Bavarian State Opera and even BMW World among its varied attractions. And nightlife — plus the sleek stores to dress you for the partying — should not be missed.
Updated October 3, 2017
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This large public park, which reaches from the city center to the northeastern city limits, is one of Munich's must-dos. Named for the informal English style of rolling hills and open landscaping, the Englischer Garten contains several popular biergartens, a handful of eclectic monuments and a boating lake, among lots of jogging and biking paths.
Recent travelers mightily enjoyed their time here and recommend renting a bike or a rowboat to explore it. Many also commented on what a retreat it was from an otherwise city vacation. To spend a sunny day in the English Garden, hop off Tram 18 at one of the parkside stops. Admission is free.
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The gothic-period Frauenkirche, or Church of our Lady, is a unique part of the Munich skyline with its two dome-topped towers, which residents say resembles a pair of beer steins bubbling over. The main part of the church was finished in the late 1400s, but Allied bombing during World War II necessitated restoration in the mid-1900s. Today, you can tour the church for free and recent travelers say the small fee to reach the observation platform at the top is definitely worth it. Find it off the Marienplatz U-bahn or S-bahn stop.
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Open daily, Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church) is Munich's oldest and smallest place of worship. Jump off the U-bahn or S-bahn at Marienplatz to tour for free, but expect to pay a small fee to climb its tower for a sweeping view of Bavaria. Recent travelers were impressed by the church's glittering altar, not to mention the gold, jewel-bedecked skeleton of St. Munditia, a revered Christian martyr. They also say the view at the top is a must-see.
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A science and technology museum like no other (according to travelers), the Deutsches Museum brims with exhibits on everything from transportation to mining, bridge building and musical instruments. But across the six floors and almost 12 miles of halls, you'll also find an Internet cafe, an expansive planetarium and the Kinderreich, a section geared toward children that teaches them about science and technology through interactive exhibits. You'll also find the Center for Transportation, the Verkehrszentrum, which for an additional admission fee you can view an array of transportation-related exhibits.
Recent travelers praised the diversity and careful display of the exhibits, saying visitors of all ages will be sure to enjoy. Located in an imposing building along the Isar River, you can find the Deutsches Museum off the Isartor S-bahn stop. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost 11 euros ($13) for adults and 4 euros (less than $5) for children ages 6 to 15. Kids 5 and younger get in for free. For additional information on exhibits, events and more, visit the museum's website.
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The Marienplatz square, accessible by a U-bahn station of the same name, is Munich's heart just as it used to be back in 1158 when it was established. Back then, it hosted spectator events, such as jousts and executions (yikes!). Today this Alstadt (Old Town) square is alive with street performers, from mimes to musicians, and restaurants, selling bratwursts and beer, plus lots of surrounding shops. At Christmastime, Marienplatz fills with vendors selling holiday gifts at the popular Christkindlmarkt.
Recent travelers say spending some time in this city square is a must-do, noting the distinctly Bavarian feel. Visitors also recommend timing your visit for the daily glockenspiel shows at the Neues Rathaus (Town Hall).
- #6View all PhotosfreeViktualienmarkt#6 in MunichShopping, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDShopping, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
The Viktualienmarkt, located in Alstadt off the Marienplatz U-bahn and S-bahn stops, is the city's oldest farmer's market (dating back to 1807). Open six days a week, it contains around 140 booths with merchants selling everything from fresh baked bread to sausages and honey to fresh flowers. You can also enjoy a beer under chestnut shade trees at the Viktualienmarkt biergarten.
Travelers say this market is perfect for an afternoon stroll, noting visitors should stop to buy and sample some of the goods available, and finish their day with a stein of beer.
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The Alte Pinakothek — translated as the Old Picture Gallery — is regarded by experts as one of the great galleries of the world. With walls lined by works from Titian, Rembrandt and Rubens, the art museum impresses travelers, too. Visitors appreciated the Rubens collection (one of the world's largest) and the fairly inexpensive admission price. The art gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. Admission is €4, with discounts available for children and students. You can find the museum off the Königsplatz U-bahn stop.
- #8View all Photos#8 in MunichCafes, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDCafes, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
Located in the English Garden near the Chinesischen Turm (Chinese Tower), this biergarten is one of Munich's most famous. The sylvan park provides a fantastic backdrop to the lively chatting of biergarten patrons and the jolly notes of oompah musicians. Recent visitors enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere and the chance to people-watch. Jump off Tram 19 at the Tivolistraße stop to join in on the fun.
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BMW Welt (BMW World) is a space dedicated to one of Germany's most famous exports. Many travelers said it was worth visiting — if not for the cars then for the building's contemporary architecture. You can view the company's latest concept cars, motorcycles and more here. The main attraction is a large vending machine that new owners can use to pick out their cars. After you've decided on a new set of wheels, head over to the nearby BMW Museum to learn a bit more. Both sites are located on the east side of the Olympiapark and are accessible by U-bahn at the Olympiazentrum stop.
Hours vary, depending on what part of BMW World or the museum you are visiting. BMW World is free to visit, but the BMW Museum charges €10 for adults and €7 for children, students, seniors and military. For more information on hours and exhibits, visit the website.
- #10View all Photos#10 in MunichCafes, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDCafes, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
Augustiner-Keller, one of few remaining traditional beer gardens left in the city center, serves big glasses of refreshing beer. Although you can cut down on costs by bringing a picnic of your own food, you can also order your traditional German fare here. Visitors recommend staking your claim to a shaded seat outside, as the indoor beer hall is nothing to write home about.
Keep in mind that the beers here cost the equivalent of a stateside, doctored-up Starbucks drink, but visitors seem to think the steins are worth it. You'll find Augustiner-Keller off Tram 16 or 17's Hopfenstraße stop or off the München Hackerbrücke S-bahn stop.
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In the late 1300s, when the royal Wittelsbach family decided their palace was too small, they commissioned the building of the Residenz Royal Palace. Inside, you'll find the Crown Jewels, the State Collection of Egyptian Art, the Residenz/Cuvilles Theatre and the Herkulessaal concert hall. Outside are courtyards, fountains, grottoes, a medicine room, a chapel and more.
Many travelers call the lavish Residenz Royal Palace a must-see, and they recommend purchasing the combined ticket for the Residenz, the Treasury and the Cuvilles Theatre. You can find the building off the Odeonsplatz U-bahn station. Hours vary by season, so be sure to check the website before you visit.
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The Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera) enjoys recognition worldwide, and many experts and travelers alike endorse splurging for tickets. Recent travelers strongly recommend booking your opera tickets months in advance; they also say not to be dissuaded from attending by the (sometimes) high ticket prices as the experience is worth the money.
To learn more about the opera house and upcoming performances, and to book tickets, visit its website.
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The summer home of the royal Wittelsbach family, the Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace) sprawls to the west of the city — its grounds covering nearly 500 acres. The palace isn't as elaborate as some, but it does boast some interesting aspects, like King Ludwig I's "Gallery of Beauties," a portrait gallery of 36 beautiful women of the day. Travelers suggest visiting the Marstallmuseum (Museum of Royal Carriages), the Amalienburg hunting lodge and the Pagodenburg (for royal tea parties).
Recent visitors recommend a trip in spring or summer when the palace's grounds are in full bloom; the forest walks are particularly nice in the warm weather. The palace is open daily, although there are abbreviated hours in the wintertime. Check the website for specifics on hours and admission, as opening times and prices vary.
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Usually Renaissance churches have towers, but you won't find one at Michaelskirche (St. Michael's Church). During its construction, the tower fell. Patron Duke Wilhelm V took it as an act of God that the church was too small, and so he ordered the church be made bigger — and with barrel vaulting that today rivals St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The church is free to tour, but you'll have to pay a small fee to view the crypt (where the patron duke, King Ludwig II and others from the royal family are buried). The church is open daily (except during services), and you can access it from the Karlsplatz U-bahn and S-bahn stations.
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With the old comes the new, and so Munich added the Pinakothek der Moderne (Modern Picture Gallery) to the older museums centered in the Museum district. The sleek glass and concrete museum, finished in 2002, holds a number of exhibits related to modern art, architecture and design, including the Bavarian State collection of graphic art and the Technical University's architectural museum. Most travelers said they appreciated the wide variety of modern art, though some commented the entry fee was a little steep.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Admission costs 10 euros (less than $12) for adults and is free for children 17 and younger. You'll find the Pinakothek der Moderne by hopping off the U-bahn at Königsplatz. The Nos. 27 and 28 trams also stop nearby. For additional information, visit the museum's website.
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