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Free Things To Do in Munich
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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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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 Munich2.2 miles to city centerFree, ShoppingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND2.2 miles to city centerFree, ShoppingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
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.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Munich0.4 miles to city centerFree, Cafes, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.4 miles to city centerFree, Cafes, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
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.
- #9View all PhotosfreeEisbachwelle#9 in MunichFree, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
While strolling through a park in landlocked Munich, the last thing you would expect to see are surfers. However, at the base of the Eisbach River flowing through the English Garden, anyone can hang loose and catch some waves.
The spot, known as the Eisbachwelle, first became popular in the 1970s after an engineering effort to soften the river's flow instead created large waves perfect for surfing. The surfers at the Eisbachwelle invented the concept of river surfing, and it's now become a worldwide phenomenon. Munich went on to host the European River Surfing championship in 2012, and the winner was a surfer who got his start on the Eisbach. Famous surfers can often be spotted at the Eisbachwelle, which is considered the world's largest urban surfing location.
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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.
- #11View all Photos#11 in Munich2.8 miles to city centerFree, CafesTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND2.8 miles to city centerFree, CafesTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
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.
- #12View all PhotosfreeOdeonsplatz#12 in MunichFree, Churches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Churches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Despite its location in the heart of Bavaria, Munich has been called "Italy's most northerly city" because of its architecture and laid-back atmosphere. Its Italian influence is most apparent in Odeonsplatz – a historic square near the city center designed by a king who had an affinity for the Mediterranean country.
The Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshalls' Hall) – a three-arch monument built in the 1840s – stands at the south end of the Odeonsplatz square and is almost identical to Florence's Loggia dei Lanzi. Deeply embedded in pre-World War II history, many know the monument as the place where Hitler and his followers were once arrested. Nowadays, the Feldherrnhalle's steps provide an ideal spot for Munich residents and visitors to lounge.
- #13View all PhotosfreeOlympiapark#13 in MunichMuseums, Free, Sports, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseums, Free, Sports, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics, Munich's Olympiapark has become a popular tourist attraction. It's now a massive recreation center complete with skating rinks, mini golf courses, tennis courts and, of course, the nearly 60,000-seat Olympic Stadium. The stadium hosts concerts and other large ticketed events throughout the year, but many visitors come to the park to explore the plethora of outdoor activities in and around the stadium.
One of the best ways to see the nearly 3 million square feet of Olympiapark is through a guided tour. Sports fans enjoy the stadium tours where they can learn about the inner workings of the stadium, explore the VIP areas and get the chance to score a goal on the goal wall. This hourlong tour costs 8 euros (about $9) for adults and is available in German or English. If you prefer to explore the stadium independently, the entrance fee is only 3.50 euros (around $4).
- #14View all PhotosfreeAsam Church#14 in MunichFree, Churches/Religious SitesTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDFree, Churches/Religious SitesTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
Munich is full of hidden gems, and the Asam Church is no exception. Nestled between stores on the city's popular shopping street Sendlinger Strasse, this 18th-century church is an unexpected masterpiece.
Previous visitors said they were intrigued by the building's unique exterior while they were strolling by, so they decided to peek inside. What they found inside was a tiny church with enormous detail.
- #18View all PhotosfreeWestpark#18 in MunichFree, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Westpark sits in the southwest region of Munich and offers pleasant running, biking and walking paths as well as rivers and lakes. Although it's smaller than the famous English Garden, visitors appreciate that Westpark seems to attract more locals and less tourists than its larger counterpart.
A road divides Westpark into two separate sides, which are connected by a footbridge. The west side of the park is also home to Lake Westsee, which is surrounded by meadows and has an outdoor stage. The stage and seating area often play host to outdoor concerts and movie screenings in the summer months.
- #19View all Photos#19 in Munich2.3 miles to city centerFree, SightseeingTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND2.3 miles to city centerFree, SightseeingTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
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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