If you’re looking for things to do in Munich, Germany, you’ve come to the right place. The city has an almost overwhelming amount of options for entertainment and we’ve narrowed it down to some of the best of the best. We’ll start right at the center of the city:
Marienplatz is one of the most popular things to do in Munich. It’s the central square in Munich. It’s an easy walk from most hotels downtown, or a quick side stop if you’re downtown shopping or eating. It’s also easily reachable with the U-Bahn train system. The square hosts the Neues Rathaus, or new town hall, which was reconstructed after WWII. The tower of the Rathaus features the famous Glockenspiel, a clock which plays music and turns through a wheel of interesting Munich characters spinning their own tale.
BONUS: Free! Marienplatz is one of the easiest things to do in Munich as you can slip it into a day of sightseeing or shopping around downtown Munich The people watching here is fantastic and the photo of the Rathaus is a must-have.
BE AWARE: Most people are underwhelmed by the Glockenspiel performance. The area is constantly bustling with tourists, and can be a bit crushing during high season. Where there are tourists en masse there are also would-be pickpockets. It’s still incredibly safe, but don’t stare up at the Glockenspiel too long without checking your purse.
Just north and a short walk from Marienplatz is the the Residenz. The Residenz was the Munich residence of the Wittelsbach family. They were the monarchs who ruled Bavaria from 1180 until the end of World War I – over 700 years! Originally built in the late 1300s, it’s also the largest palace in Germany with hundreds of rooms. 130 to be exact (see a layout of the palace here)! In addition to the rooms of the king and queen, the palace also has its own church and ornate theater.
BONUS: The Residenz also holds the crown jewels of Bavaria including crowns, cups, chalices and ornate “drinking games” .
BE AWARE: There is no food or drink in the museum and no cafe. You’ll want to get a bite to eat before or after you begin your odyssey through the history of Bavarian royalty.
ADMISSION INFORMATION: http://www.residenz-muenchen.de/englisch/tourist/admiss.htm
On an island in the middle of the Isar River, the Deutsches Museum has something for everyone – history or science, large or small. It has everything from a replica of the Altamira cave in spain, to an actual Wright Brothers plane (one of the few originals on display in the world) to displays on mines, ships and exploring space. One day is definitely not enough to cover this museum, and you’d probably need several if you wanted to completely explore every corner. It’s open daily, though you should check the information on the website for holidays or adjusted hours: http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/information/visitor-information/opening-hours/ The museum is also one of the best things to do in Munich if you find yourself with a rainy day.
BONUS: It’s hard to go wrong here if you have a big group, as you can stick together or split up as your interest and time allows. Text is offered in both German AND English.
BE AWARE: Tours and programs are in German. Museum fatigue is real, and it can definitely happen even in a museum this big. You should go prepared with a game plan by looking at the map first: http://www.deutsches-museum.de/fileadmin/Content/010_DM/010_Information/010_Allgemein/010_Infoflyer/Infoflyer_Deutsches_Museum_Engl.2017.pdf (PDF)
ADMISSION INFORMATION: http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/information/visitor-information/admission/
The English Garden is a massive park just north of the Residenz and downtown Munich. The Isar River stretches alongside and through the park, creating a quiet retreat in the middle of the otherwise buzzing city. There are several restaurants dotting the park in addition to a massive beer garden. The park is as popular with locals as it is with tourists, and many come to spend their lunch break or an afternoon in the park. If you’re looking for a place to relax or sneak in a vacation workout, the trails in the park are perfect.
BONUS: Surfers. Yes, in the middle of downtown Munich. (Maybe if you’re feeling adventurous you can add this to your list of things to do in Munich?) You can watch the surfers catching the waves on the Isar River. There are performances in the park in the summer as well as pedal boats that can be rented at the Seehaus on the lake.
BE AWARE: Sunbathing in the park is clothing optional.
Home to FC Bayern, the stadium is a pilgrimage site for fans of the team, and for the fans of the sport. Opened in 2005, the stadium seats 75,000 people and is the site of a must-experience atmosphere during home games. The stadium has hosts matches for the National team as well as local team TSV 1860 Munich. World Cup matches were hosted at Allianz in 2006.. You can schedule tours of the stadium, see the FC Bayern Museum and shop at the massive fan shop inside.
BONUS: The stadium changes color depending on which team is hosting a match: Red for FC Bayern, Blue for TSV 1860 Munich and White for the National Team.
BE AWARE: Tours sell out well ahead of time and getting a reservation in advance is advised. The closest train station is still a bit of a walk, so come prepared with walking shoes.
ADMISSION INFORMATION: https://allianz-arena.com/en/tours-and-fcb-erlebniswelt/arena-tour
Tour the Churches and Cathedrals Downtown
Munich has a number of gorgeous churches downtown including the Frauenkirche, the towering Gothic cathedral that is symbolic of the Munich skyline. The Frauenkirche is also the resting place of many of the Bavarian princes, going all the way back to Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian who died in 1347. Alte Peter, or The Church of St. Peter is also downtown. The bell tower can be climbed for sweeping views of downtown Munich and the surrounding area – if you’re willing to climb the 299 steps to the top.
A few suggestions:
Peterskirche or Alter Peter (Church of St. Peter)
BONUS: Legend has it that the devil challenged the church architect at the Frauenkirche to build a church with no windows.When he entered the church to see that there were none (or rather there were but they were obscured by columns) he stamped his foot and left a permanent imprint which you can still see in the floor to this day.
BE AWARE: Getting into the main part of most of the churches is free, but donations are encouraged. Getting into the tower of St. Peter, down to see tombs at Frauenkirche and other parts of the churches may require a fee. Most Catholic churches in Germany have a more conservative dress code that requires shoulders to be covered and sometimes does not allow for shorts either. You may want to bring a shawl along if you’re visiting in summer.
Visit a Beer Hall
If you’re looking for the German beer hall experience – with massive liter-sized single serving beers, gregarious chatter and the sounds of an oompah band rolling through the background, Munich has a host of options to choose from. The famous Hofbrauhaus hosts more tourists than locals, but has the kind of reputation that’s hard to resist. If you prefer something a little more authentic but still tourist friendly, the Augustinerkeller or Lowenbraukeller are your best bets. Either way – have a massive beer, a pretzel, and if you’re there early enough in the day – get yourself the famous Munich Weisswurst!
BONUS: The Hofbrauhaus isn’t just famous for beers and oompah bands, but was also the site of nearly 400 years of history – Mozart visited the beer hall when he lived around the block and Hitler was also known to be a patron.
BE AWARE: Seating at beer halls is often not private, and many parties can be seated at one long table.
Nymphenburg castle was the summertime residence of the Wittelsbach dynasty. When it was built in the late 1600s the castle was still part of the countryside outside of Munich and considered a retreat from the Munich Residenz. The palace
BONUS: The castle is also home to five museums including the Museum of Man and Nature, a porcelain museum and a carriage museum. If the massive castle isn’t enough to lure you out, the interesting exhibits in these museums might be.
BE AWARE: The pavilions are closed from mid October through March and the palace has reduced hours as well. Check the latest on the website. Also be aware that there are no guided tours, but audio tours in English are available.
ADMISSION INFORMATION: http://www.schloss-nymphenburg.de/englisch/tourist/admiss.htm
Pinakothek (Alte, Neue, and Moderne)
Munich has a museum quarter full of options for almost every period of art. The three main museums are the Alte, Neue and Moderne Pinakotheks – or the Old, New and Modern Art Museums. Each one is home to a wealth of interesting and noteworthy art – Leonardo da Vinci, Matisse, Rembrandt… if you’ve heard the name in one of your art history classes, you will probably find at least one example in these museums. You can find more information on the collection, entry prices and more at: https://www.pinakothek.de/en
BONUS: Albrecht Durer’s self portrait is featured in the Alte Pinakothek, Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is featured in the Neue Museum and the Moderne features a number of Piccaso’s works. These are truly some of the best art museums in the world, and you can see the breadth of art history by visiting each of them.
BE AWARE: The museums are closed on Mondays.
ADMISSION INFORMATION: https://www.pinakothek.de/en
We’ve all heard of BMW, but do you know what BMW stands for? Bayerische Motor Werks. Munich is headquarters for the famous automobile company and hosts a massive factory and museum. You can take tours of both, and the museum has a wide array of the car companies past models in addition to unique cars that you won’t see anywhere else. This place is perfect for car lovers and those just interested in the brand’s history.
BONUS: English guided tours are available seasonally on Tuesdays and Fridays at the museum.
BE AWARE: The museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
ADMISSION INFORMATION: http://www.bmw-welt.com/en/visitor_information/guided_tours/museum.html
Want even more to do? We have some day trips in the suburbs and surrounding towns here: