Munich, a city famed for its Oktoberfest, is a hub of culture, history, and lively beer gardens. But there’s much more to this Bavarian capital than just steins of beer and lederhosen. It’s a place where you can spend your morning wandering through the centuries-old Gothic buildings of Marienplatz, the city’s central square, and your afternoons in the vast English Garden, one of the world’s largest urban parks.
Whether you’re here to dive into the art world with visits to the Pinakothek museums, which showcase an impressive range of artwork from the Old Masters to contemporary pieces, or to indulge in the rich Bavarian cuisine at the vibrant Viktualienmarkt, Munich offers a mix of experiences that cater to all tastes.
For the football fans, the Allianz Arena is a modern-day coliseum, home to the storied FC Bayern Munich, Germany. And if history is your thing, you can’t miss out on the historic Nymphenburg Palace, once the summer residence of Bavarian rulers.
In this guide, I’ll take you through the top things to do in Munich, giving you a local’s perspective on where to go, what to see, and how to make the most of your visit to this dynamic city. To help you make the most out of your next trip, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Munich, Germany.
Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Munich, Germany? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this charming vacation spot in Germany. So keep reading to discover all these unique Munich places to visit.
Are you looking to explore world-class museums, enjoy classical music concerts, and savor traditional Bavarian cuisine? Or would you prefer to go biking through scenic parks, hike in nearby mountains, and experience the lively beer gardens? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Munich can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Munich that you should know about.
Marienplatz is Munich’s vibrant central square and a historical hub since the 12th century. The New Town Hall boasts an intricate Glockenspiel that captivates audiences. Its mechanical dance and chimes at 11 a.m. and noon are a long-standing tradition that continues to charm onlookers. Adjacent to it, the Old Town Hall contributes to the square’s historical ambiance, standing as a testament to Munich’s rich past.
Strolling through Marienplatz is like walking through a live museum of Munich’s history and culture. The surrounding shops and cafes offer a warm invitation to taste local flavors or purchase unique souvenirs. For a bird’s-eye view of the city, climbing St. Peter’s Church tower is essential. It offers a sprawling panorama of Munich’s urban landscape.
Marienplatz serves as more than just a sightseeing spot. It’s a venue for various events year-round, with the Christkindlmarkt as the highlight of the holiday season. Here, you can immerse yourself in the festive spirit, admire the intricate architecture, savor a warm drink, or enjoy the performances of street artists. Marienplatz is an essential stop for anyone wanting to experience the authentic heart of Munich, Germany.
The English Garden, known as Englischer Garten, is one of the largest urban parks in the world and a testament to the natural beauty within Munich’s city limits. This sprawling park invites locals and tourists alike to escape the bustle of the city and enjoy a slice of tranquility.
The English Garden boasts well-kept lawns, meandering paths, and tranquil waterways. It’s a popular spot for strolls, runs, or picnics beneath its towering trees.
In the park’s heart stands the Chinese Tower, a 25-meter high wooden structure. This landmark is often encircled by vibrant beer gardens and the sounds of Bavarian music. The Eisbach, a small artificial river, attracts spectators to watch surfers. They ride a standing wave at its mouth, an unexpected sight far from any ocean.
For those interested in a more relaxed visit, paddle boats are available for rent on the Kleinhesseloher Lake. The park also features several beer gardens and eateries where you can indulge in local snacks and a cold beer.
A visit to the English Garden is a top Munich activity. It’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts or those seeking a calm respite from the city’s bustle. It’s a green oasis where the city’s love for nature and social life blends seamlessly.
The Deutsches Museum stands on an island in the Isar River and is a beacon for science and technology enthusiasts. The Deutsches Museum is among the world’s largest and oldest science museums. It boasts a vast collection that covers a range of disciplines, including physics, chemistry, aviation, and space exploration. Interactive exhibits across its many floors make it a place where curiosity comes to life, appealing to all ages.
Visitors can explore the complexities of scientific progress and admire original artifacts. These include the first automobile and the U1 submarine. The museum’s dedication to education is evident in its live demonstrations and workshops, which explain complex concepts in an accessible manner.
A visit to the Deutsches Museum is one of the coolest activities in Munich, Germany. It provides an immersive look at the brilliance of technological advancements. It’s a place where you can easily spend a whole day without seeing the same thing twice. The museum’s planetarium and observatory add another layer of wonder, providing a glimpse into the cosmos.
The Deutsches Museum is a testament to Munich’s rich intellectual heritage and a must-visit for anyone looking to engage with the scientific marvels that shape our world.
Ready for another top spot to check out in Munich, Germany? Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s daily outdoor farmers market and a foodie’s paradise, located just a stone’s throw from Marienplatz. Viktualienmarkt is a vibrant marketplace with over 140 stalls. Here, the scents of fresh bread, cheese, and seasonal fruits permeate the air. Since 1807, this market has been a cornerstone for Munich’s residents. It has transformed from a simple farmers’ market to a beloved spot for shopping and tasting Bavarian delights.
As you wander through the market, you can taste your way through Munich’s culinary scene. Sample the traditional Weisswurst, a Bavarian sausage that’s a treat with a pretzel and sweet mustard. Or, enjoy a cold beer at the Biergarten situated at the market’s heart. The market also offers international foods, from Italian pastas to Asian spices, reflecting the city’s cosmopolitan palate.
Viktualienmarkt offers a taste of local life beyond just a marketplace. It’s a place of community where you can converse with vendors about their offerings or mingle with locals on their lunch break. Viktualienmarkt is an essential stop to truly understand the daily life of Munich residents.
Whether you’re picking up ingredients for a picnic or just enjoying the lively atmosphere, Viktualienmarkt is a vibrant slice of Munich life that shouldn’t be missed.
Nymphenburg Palace, with its grand baroque facade stretching over 600 meters, is one of Munich’s most splendid historical landmarks. This former summer residence of Bavarian rulers is set against the backdrop of meticulously landscaped gardens and reflective waterways. Visitors are invited to explore the lavish rooms within the palace. Notable areas include the Stone Hall, adorned with elaborate ceiling frescoes, and the Gallery of Beauties, commissioned by King Ludwig I.
The palace grounds match the interior’s grandeur. They feature the Amalienburg, a hunting lodge celebrated for its rococo interiors, and the Badenburg, where royals once bathed. The gardens are ideal for strolls, with ornate fountains and paths lined with statues and rare plants. The expansive gardens are perfect for a leisurely walk, taking you past ornate fountains and along peaceful paths lined with statues and rare plant species.
Among the unique things to do in Munich, a visit to Nymphenburg Palace offers a peek into the city’s regal past. It’s a place where history is displayed in lavish style, and the beauty of 17th-century architecture is on full display. The Marstallmuseum adds to the palace’s allure. Located in the former royal stables, it displays a collection of historic carriages and sleighs.
Nymphenburg Palace is a must-see for anyone interested in the grandeur of Bavarian royalty and the history that shaped Munich, Germany.
The BMW Museum and BMW Welt near the Olympiapark offer a high-octane experience for car enthusiasts and technology buffs. The museum’s sleek, futuristic architecture is a fitting shell for the array of classic and modern vehicles on display. Inside, the evolution of BMW is presented through engaging exhibits that showcase the brand’s history, design, and engineering prowess.
Visitors can get up close to iconic models, from vintage roadsters to the latest electric vehicles. The museum’s layout guides you through a chronological journey of automotive milestones, highlighting BMW’s contributions to the industry. Interactive stations and multimedia displays provide a deeper understanding of the technology under the hood.
Adjacent to the museum, BMW Welt operates as a showroom, event venue, and delivery center for the brand’s latest models. It’s a place where you can witness the cutting-edge of automotive technology and design. The venue is a hub for various exhibitions and events year-round. This makes it a dynamic destination that extends beyond its appeal to automotive enthusiasts.
Exploring the BMW Museum and BMW Welt ranks as a top experience in Munich, Germany. It provides insight into the future of mobility and celebrates the legacy of an iconic German brand.
Olympiapark, constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics, is a marvel of modern engineering and design. Today, it serves as a venue for cultural, social, and religious events, as well as a recreational area for locals and tourists alike. The park’s iconic tent-like stadium roof stretches over a vast area, creating a distinctive silhouette against the Munich skyline.
The park offers a variety of activities. You can opt for a guided tour that delves into the park’s history and architecture. Alternatively, embark on a thrilling roof climb for a unique city view. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the Olympiasee lake is perfect for a leisurely paddle boat ride.
In the winter, the Olympic Hill provides a snowy playground for sledding with views of the frosty cityscape. The Olympiaturm serves as the park’s observation deck, providing sweeping views of Munich, Germany. On clear days, the vista extends all the way to the Alps.
For those compiling a list of Munich things to do, Olympiapark is a standout destination. The park is a nexus of sports history and leisure activities. It caters to history enthusiasts, adrenaline seekers, and those looking for a relaxing day alike.
Asam Church, officially known as St. Johann Nepomuk, is a baroque architectural gem tucked away in a quiet street of Munich, Germany. This church may be small in size, but it’s incredibly rich in detail and history. Built in the 18th century, the Asam Church was the creation of the Asam brothers, celebrated figures of the German baroque period. Initially, it served as their private chapel.
The interior of Asam Church is a visual feast. Every inch is adorned with elaborate stucco work, gilded carvings, and frescoes that depict scenes from the life of Saint Nepomuk. The main altar, with its dramatic presentation of the saint’s ascent to heaven, is particularly striking. The church’s compact space enhances the intensity of the artwork, creating an immersive experience.
Visitors often find Asam Church to be a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a place for quiet contemplation amidst the grandeur of baroque artistry. Despite its central location, the church remains a hidden treasure, often missed by tourists.
Exploring Asam Church is a highlight for those interested in art, history, and architecture. The church is now a public testament to Munich’s artistic spirit. It’s an essential visit for those eager to explore the city’s deep cultural heritage.
The Hofbräuhaus München is a cornerstone of Munich’s social scene, dishing out Bavarian culture with every pint. Since its founding in 1589, it’s been a bustling meeting spot for everyone from locals to far-flung travelers. Step inside, and you’re immediately part of the action, with the clatter of beer steins and lively chatter setting the scene.
Communal tables invite mixing with new faces, all united by the love of a good brew. The food menu is a hearty affair, with classics like pretzels, sausages, and schnitzel that go down a treat with the famous Hofbräu beer. Live oompah bands ramp up the fun, their folk tunes sparking impromptu sing-alongs and the occasional dance.
More than just a beer hall, the Hofbräuhaus is a slice of Munich life, where every visit is a festive foray into tradition. It’s a place steeped in history, yet pulsing with contemporary camaraderie. Beer lovers and culture seekers alike will find themselves swept up in the vibrant atmosphere.
As an emblem of Munich’s hearty hospitality, the Hofbräuhaus is a venue where every night is a celebration of Bavarian life. It’s not just a stop on the tourist trail; it’s an experience that captures the lively spirit of Munich in every stein.
Munich’s Pinakothek museums are a cultural trifecta where art lovers can spend days immersed in masterpieces from the Middle Ages to contemporary times. The Alte Pinakothek is one of the world’s oldest galleries, boasting a remarkable collection. It features European paintings that span from the 14th to the 18th centuries. Here, you can admire works by Old Masters like Rubens, Rembrandt, and Leonardo da Vinci.
A brief stroll leads to the Neue Pinakothek, which showcases art from the 18th and 19th centuries. Here, you’ll find impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces by artists like Van Gogh and Manet. The modern and airy Pinakothek der Moderne completes the trio, showcasing a diverse array of 20th-century art, design, and architecture.
Each museum creates a unique ambiance, highlighting different art periods. They offer a sweeping view of art’s progression through time. These museums serve as educational centers, not just exhibition spaces. They enrich visitors’ experiences with lectures, workshops, and guided tours.
For anyone interested in the arts, the Pinakothek museums are a cornerstone among Munich’s cultural offerings. They provide a window into the rich artistic legacy of Europe. These institutions celebrate the continent’s cultural contributions, extending beyond Munich and Germany.
Exploring Tierpark Hellabrunn, also known as Munich Zoo, ranks among the best things to do in Munich for animal lovers and families. This expansive zoo is cleverly designed to mimic natural habitats, providing a home to over 750 species. The zoo is renowned as the first Geo-zoo worldwide, organizing animals by their native regions. This approach provides an immersive experience of global wildlife.
From the African savannah to the Arctic polar sea, each section of the zoo provides an immersive experience. You can watch the playful antics of monkeys in the Jungle House, marvel at the majesty of lions and tigers, or observe the underwater grace of sea lions through the glass walls of their aquatic homes.
The zoo’s commitment to conservation and education is evident through its breeding programs and interactive exhibits. Children can learn about endangered species and the importance of biodiversity through hands-on activities and informative displays.
Tierpark Hellabrunn is not just a place to see animals; it’s an educational journey that highlights the delicate balance of ecosystems. It’s a perfect day out for those who want to combine learning with leisure, making it a valuable addition to any Munich itinerary.
For sports fans, a visit to the Allianz Arena is a non-negotiable part of the Munich experience. The Allianz Arena is the proud home of FC Bayern Munich, a team celebrated for its football triumphs. The stadium’s exterior is a modern wonder, featuring a skin of inflatable ETFE plastic panels that glow in various colors.
Stadium tours provide an exclusive peek into the players’ world. You can explore the dressing rooms and the tunnel to the pitch, feeling the excitement of game day. With a seating capacity for 75,000 spectators, it’s Germany’s second-largest stadium. The thrill of being in the stands is palpable, even without the roar of a matchday crowd.
The FC Bayern Museum, located within the arena, is Germany’s largest club museum and is a treasure trove of memorabilia. It chronicles the club’s storied history through interactive exhibits and a vast collection of trophies and artifacts.
A visit to the Allianz Arena is a must for football enthusiasts. It’s an opportunity to engage with Munich’s deep love for the sport and its cultural impact. The arena is a modern temple of football where fans can connect with the heart and soul of the beautiful game.
Looking for more content on the top things to do in Munich? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Munich:
Munich shines from May to September when the weather is warm and the city’s parks are perfect for picnics. For beer enthusiasts, Oktoberfest, which runs from late September to the first weekend in October, is a must-visit. Winter also has its charm, especially around Christmas with festive markets.
Yes, Munich is quite accommodating for English speakers, particularly in tourist-centric areas, restaurants, and hotels. While most locals have a good grasp of English, they often appreciate it when visitors try to speak some basic German phrases.
Munich’s public transport system is top-notch, with U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams, and buses providing comprehensive coverage. It’s reliable, punctual, and the most convenient way to navigate the city. For scenic routes, consider renting a bike to explore Munich’s bike-friendly streets.
Munich is wonderfully family-friendly, offering a variety of attractions for all ages. The city boasts interactive museums, the expansive English Garden, and the engaging Munich Zoo. There’s no shortage of activities to keep children entertained and curious.
To fully savor Munich’s vibrant culture, a stay of 3 to 4 days is recommended. This allows you to visit major landmarks, enjoy the local cuisine, and perhaps catch a football game or a concert without feeling rushed.
Munich serves as a gateway to several notable destinations. The fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle, the sobering Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, and the picturesque towns of the Romantic Road are all within a day’s reach.
Munich’s culinary scene is a delight. Indulge in Weisswurst for breakfast, savor a crispy Schnitzel for lunch, and enjoy a hearty Bavarian roast for dinner. Round off your meals with a visit to a traditional beer garden for a local brew.
Plan ahead for Oktoberfest by booking accommodations well in advance and securing tent reservations. Wear comfortable attire and be prepared for any weather. Pace yourself with the beer, stay hydrated, and don’t forget to enjoy the variety of amusement rides and games.
Munich is renowned for its rich history, vibrant beer culture, and the world-famous Oktoberfest. Architectural marvels like the Neuschwanstein Castle nearby, the bustling Marienplatz, and the historic Hofbräuhaus beer hall showcase its tradition and charm. Munich is also a gateway to Bavarian culture, with its lederhosen, hearty cuisine, and the picturesque English Garden.
Absolutely, Munich is a treasure trove of cultural experiences, from its storied beer halls and annual Oktoberfest to its impressive museums and elegant architecture. It offers a unique blend of traditional Bavarian heritage and a cosmopolitan lifestyle, set against the backdrop of the stunning Alps. Munich’s warm hospitality makes it a worthy destination for any traveler.
Exploring Munich is to dive into a city where tradition and modernity meet. It’s a place where you can spend your morning browsing through centuries-old artworks and your evening in a high-tech museum. Munich’s heart beats in its beer gardens and bustling markets, inviting travelers to sit, sip, and savor the local way of life—and it all begins when you fly to Germany.
The city’s efficient public transport whisks you from one adventure to the next, making it easy to pack a lot into a visit. Yet, it’s the unexpected moments—like stumbling upon a street festival or a local football match—that truly endear Munich to its visitors. This Bavarian capital is a city that deserves a spot on any itinerary, promising the best things to do in Germany—a mix of enriching history, lively culture, and genuine hospitality.”