Things you should see in Munich

by Heidi Obermeyer

(Last updated April 23th 2013)

Hey everyone! Since it’s finally warm out (hooray for spring!) and school is wrapping up at home, lots of ya’ll have planned trips over to Munich! And with that, have a slew of questions that I’m going to try and answer here for the benefit of anyone else who wants to come to this fair city and see some of the fun stuff that’s available to do around town. This isn’t by any means comprehensive, but it will give you a good overview of the options I consider when planning what to take people to do and can give you a headstart on what might be fun to do around München. I’ll continue to update as necessary. Let’s get started!

München, Deutschland

Munich:

Munich is extremely walkable, and I like it because it’s one of very few cities that I feel you can a comprehensive taste of in just one day. But, like an accordion in a polka band, Munich can also be stretched out over the course of a week with equally fun-filled results. To get directions on public transportation from wherever you are, use MVG’s extremely useful trip planner.

If you’re here for the day:

Walk from Sendlinger Tor (U-3/U6 Sendlinger Tor) to the Chinesischer Turm in the Englischer Garten (U-6/U-3 Universität), on the way passing the well-known Rathaus and Marienplatz, climbing Alter Peter (for beautiful views of Munich and the Alps on a clear day, 1-2 euro), visiting Viktualienmarkt (a large food market open every day except Sundays), seeing Odeonsplatz (where Hitler first tried to overthrow the German government), the royal family of Bavaria’s Residenz (residence), the impressive Theatinerkirche, and the Hofgarten (a lovely little public park that used to be the royal gardens for the Residenz). From there you can go see people surfing on the Eisenbach, take a little walk through the Englischer Garten, and end up at Munich’s largest beer garden under the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese tower) for a classic Bavarian lunch (beer included of course!) in the sunshine. Finish up by walking back to the U-bahn at Universität, where you can also visit the building where the Scholl siblings distributed the anti-Nazi leaflets that led to their murders.

If you’re here for longer than a day, add:

Schloß Nymphenburg:I think Nymphenburg castle is a severely underrated Ludwig creation- this is where the famous Neuschwanstein King grew up near the city, and both the palace and grounds are beautiful and interesting. There’s even a whole chunk of the museum space dedicated to the carriages and horse equipment of the royal family. Reached by tram in about 20 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof.

BMW Welt (U3 Olympiapark) BMW World is awesome for car fanatics and uninterested parties alike. The building alone is worth a visit for the architecture and the museum is worth the entrance fee and has lots of interactive exhibits.

A Pinakothek (Painting Museum) There are three in Munich- Alte (old), Neue (new), and Moderne (modern). My favorite Pinakothek is the Neue, which is mostly work circa the 1800’s and includes a fairly good amount of impressionism. Entrance is discounted on Sundays to 1-2 euros.

Museum Brandhorst Another art museum that’s my style- modern art (with a weird amount of Andy Warhol) in a good way- you’re not going to see any plain white canvases here. This is my favorite of all the art museums in Munich.

Munich Botanical Garden Almost never crowded and a beautiful break from the city. Read my post about it here.

Dachau Concentration Camp The concentration camp that was near Munich. You can get there easily with the S-bahn and a bus in ~45 minutes each way. Plan on spending at least an hour at the camp. Entrance is free but audio guides are not.

Salzburg The quaint and picturesque town in Austria where Mozart was born and the Sound of Music took place. You can get there with German trains only on the Bayern ticket.

Garmisch Partenkirchen A premier ski location and some of the most beautiful hiking I’ve ever done. Read posts about it here and here.

A picnic in the Englischer Garten Pack yourself some fresh bread and cheese (maybe from Viktualienmarkt?) and some prosecco and enjoy a beautiful day in the park like a Münchner- I wrote about doing this here.

Anywhere else in Bavaria: The Bayern ticket lets you go anywhere in Bavaria (Nürnburg, Bamburg, Neuschwanstein, etc.) for 21 euros single and 32 euros for up to 5 people. It’s a sweet deal and a great way to see the countryside! You can buy a bayern ticket from any ticket machine in the U-bahn or at the main train station (Hauptbahnhof).

Reccomended Restaurants:

Bavarian

Weisse Brauhaus (Marienplatz or Isartor) Classic Bavarian food for a reasonable price.

Alter Simpl (U3/U6 Universität) More Bavarian food, a little more casual than Weisse Brauhaus.

Augustiner Keller (Hauptbahnhof) This is the Hofbräu experience with fewer tourists. Augustiner is the “best” beer in Munich and the one that all the Germans I know drink.

Max Emanuel Brauerei (U3/U6 Universität) Frequented by students and faculty, this is another place to get good Bavarian food for reasonable prices. I really like their Käsespätzle (German-style Mac’n’cheese, but better).

Not Bavarian

Café Luitpold (Odeonsplatz) This is my absolute FAVORITE café in Munich. The cakes, coffee, tea and food are amazing, it’s open on Sundays, and the decor is gorgeous. It’s a little expensive, but a plain coffee and a slice of Luitpold Torte (my favorite cake) will cost you about 7 euro, which isn’t really much more than other places.

Café Münchener Freiheit (U3/U6 Münchener Freiheit) This is where I take people to get Eiskaffee. Ice coffee in Germany isn’t cold- it’s with ice cream. Yummmmm!

Ballabeni (U3/U6 Universität) Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had, in all kinds of great flavors like ginger chocolate and rosewater.

Victoria House (Marienplatz) This is a great little British restaurant that has yummy scones and a huge tea selection. A little on the pricier side.

Dean and David (Multiple Locations) A good place to grab a quick and tasty lunch. They have multiple locations around town and the chicken oriental salad is super tasty.

Pommes Boutique (U3/U6 Universität) This restaurant is french fry themed. They have over 20 different sauces and what I would call “modern Bavarian decor,” which makes for a fun atmosphere. It’s a good student hang out and their gourmet fries and sauce selection are worth the 4 euro price tag.

Soda (U3/U6 Universität) Soda is my go-to place for a cheap lunch, dinner, drink, breakfast, whatever. They have an extensive pasta menu, the drinks are reasonably priced, and the decor is a cute mix of old wood and subway tiles.

Viktualienmarkt Cheese Stand (Marienplatz) The cheese stand to the southwest of the market (the “other” side if you’re coming from Marienplatz) has paninis for 3-5 Euro. They press ’em right there in front of you and the flavors are AMAZING.

The ice cream stand in the Englischer Garten as you come over the bridge from the direction of the Universität U-bahn stop.

Shopping

Fünf Hoffe Shopping Center (U3/U6, U4/U5 Odeonsplatz) Very cool architecture and worth a walk through when walking between Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz.