Things to do in Munich

Travel guide of things to do in Munich, Germany

Last Updated on 8th January 2019 by Sarah and Justin

When people think of Munich, the capital of Bavaria in Germany, they usually think of Oktoberfest. We haven’t actually been to this king of all beer celebrations. Sure we love beer, and (as we’ve previously discussed), we love German celebrations like Christmas Markets. But we’re less in love with massive crowds. And we’re too old now. Seriously, it wouldn’t be pretty.

Despite this, we have been to Munich twice. And we found a whole bunch of cool things to do in Munich, some of which are more appropriate for an upcoming Winter holiday, but many of which you can do anytime (even during Oktoberfest).

Visiting Munich in Winter and Spring

Our first trip to Munich was in Winter 2014. We went during Christmas Market season (our favorite season in Germany, as you may have previously read). Most recently, we visited in Spring 2017 after our weekend in Salzburg. Since it was pretty frigid on our first visit, it was great to see the city in a whole new light (cause, you know, the sun was actually shining!). There are specific things to do in Munich during Winter and Spring, so we’ve called them out first.

Go to the Christmas Markets

As mentioned above, Munich is a great place to visit for Christmas Markets, which run from the end of November through Christmas Eve. There are many throughout the city. The biggest, most popular Christmas Market is the one in the center of the city in Marienplatz.

Christmas Market, Marienplatz, Munich, Germany

There are also a few more in the immediate area surrounding the center, including the Mittelaltermarkt where everyone is dressed up in Middle Ages attire.

Mittelaltermarkt Christmas Market, Munich, Germany

Mittelaltermarkt Christmas Market, Munich, Germany

Our favorite Christmas Market in Munich was a smaller one close to where we were staying, the Haidhauser Christmas Market. It was located in a small park in the middle of the neighborhood and just had a more local feel.

Haidhauser Christmas Market, Munich, Germany

Christmas Market, Munich, Germany

Drink Glühwein

Yes, this goes hand-in-hand with Christmas Markets, but deserves its own mention because Glühwein (hot mulled wine) is the best, and when it’s absolutely freezing in Munich (or really any city in Germany), it’s also a necessity. We especially enjoyed the flaming variety, apparently known as Drachenglut in the Middle Ages.

Drachenglut, Mittelaltermarkt Christmas Market, Munich, Germany

Drachenglut, Mittelaltermarkt Christmas Market, Munich, Germany
Sarah watching as the Drachenglut is set alight.

Go to a Red Bull München hockey game

Hockey season in Germany is from August to April, but going to a Red Bull München game in the Winter is much more season-appropriate. We had a lot of fun at this hockey game. The crowd was incredible (not atypical of German hockey games). And we were celebrated as honored guests! That’s right, we were introduced to the arena on the big screen and gifted with a scarf because we were the people who had traveled the furthest to attend the game. Yeah, everyone around us thought we were pretty cool.

Red Bull München hockey game, Munich, Germany


Red Bull München hockey game, Munich, Germany

Eat Spargel

If you visit Germany (or Austria, as we found out in Salzburg) during the Spring, you may be lucky enough to find yourself in Spargel (asparagus) season. The delicacy is the white asparagus, which only grows during Spargelzeit (of course the Germans have a specific name for this). In Germany, it’s typically from late April through late June. Green asparagus are everywhere as well. We went to many restaurants that had special Spargel menus, when you could eat asparagus for all courses. We had a lot of asparagus soup that week.

White Spargel (asparagus), Germany

Spargel (asparagus), Germany

More things to do in Munich

Of course there are a gazillion other things to do in Munich, and most are season-agnostic. So here are more ideas – perhaps when you’re there for Oktoberfest but need a break from all that drinking, singing, and general German merriment.

Check out Marienplatz

Marienplatz, the main square of the center of Munich is quite beautiful. Specifically, the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) is a gorgeous, ornate building. There’s a whole big todo at noon when the glockenspiel in the middle of the tower plays comes to life.

Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), Munich, Germany

Marienplatz, Munich, Germany

St. Michael’s Church, Munich, Germany

Visit the Englischer Garten

It was way too cold for us to visit the Englischer Garten (the biggest park in Munich) on our first trip so we made it a priority to go there this Spring. We took the U-Bahn up to a northern stop in the park and walked all the way down to where it meets Marienplatz. It is a beautiful place and would be great for bike riding too.

Englischer Garten, Munich, Germany

Englischer Garten, Munich, Germany

Chinesischer Turm, Munich, Germany
There’s also a beer garden in the middle of the park at this spot, called the Chinesischer Turm (tower).

Walk through the Hofgarten

Just out of the Englischer Garten and near Marienplatz is the smaller Hofgarten. And the area right in front of the Bayerische Staatskanzlei (Bavarian State Chancellery) is a lovely, peaceful spot.

Bayerische Staatskanzlei, Hofgarten, Munich, Germany

Bayerische Staatskanzlei, Hofgarten, Munich, Germany

Go to the Deutsches Museum

The Deutsches Museum is the biggest science and technology museum in the world! It’s an incredibly fun and informative place to visit. It’s definitely a great place to take kids, but we truly enjoyed it ourselves, looking at planes and submarines and interacting with the science exhibits.

Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany

Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany

Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany

Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
Ja! Das Deutsches Museum war gut!

Go to an art museum

As Sarah is prone to do, we visited a modern art museum in Munch, the Pinakothek der Moderne. It was a great one! The building itself is gorgeous and it has a great collection. It’s in the Kunstareal – or Museum Quarter – so you could easily make a day of checking out Munich’s art museums if that’s your thing.

Go to BMW Welt

BMW Welt (World) is awesome, even if you’re not that into cars (Sarah doesn’t even drive). You can check out all the cars and motorcycles (by literally sitting in them) and there was even a live demonstration where a guy rode up and down the escalator. It was pretty cool and a fun way to spend a couple hours.

BMW Welt, Munich, Germany

BMW Welt, Munich, Germany

FC Bayern München

The most famous and most successful sports team in Germany is their football team, FC Bayern München. If you have the opportunity to attend a match (we haven’t), we’d recommend it. The crowd is sure to be amazing.

Check out the city gates

There are three medieval city gates still remaining in Munich. They are pretty close to the touristic center of Marienplatz and easy to get to. We visited two of them – Sendlinger Tor and Isartor – but missed the Karlstor.

Sendlinger Tor, Munich, Germany
Sendlinger Tor.
Isartor, Munich, Germany

Eating and drinking in Munich

Munich is an easy place to both eat and drink well. Very well. Over the course of two visits to the city, we enjoyed more than our fair share of great German food and drinks (ie, beer). Here are our recommendations.

  • Eat Spätzle and/or Schupfnudeln (different types of hand-rolled dumplings). We enjoyed a Spätzle/Schupfnudeln sampler at an outdoor market during our last visit. The former is easy to find at pretty much any restaurant. The latter is easy to find at any Christmas Market. They’re both delicious.

Spätzle and Schupfnudeln, Munich, Germany

  • Eat Kaiserschmarrn. True, it’s actually an Austrian dessert, but we’ve only ever had it in Munich. It’s basically like a pancake that’s been baked and cut up into little pieces, but it’s way better than that sounds.

Kaiserschmarrn, Giesinger Bräu, Munich, Germany

  • Go to Hofbräuhaus. Yes, it’s touristy, but you’re in Munich so you have to go. Suck it up and order a liter of beer and drink it like the good German tourist that you are.

Hofbräuhaus, Munich, Germany

Hofbräuhaus, Munich, Germany

Hofbräuhaus, Munich, Germany

  • Eat Döner Kebab. This is not unique to Munich, but you’re in a big German city, so the Döner is of high quality and should be eaten. We found a really unique and delicious spot during our last visit called Türkitch. It’s a little hipster, but very very good. Be prepared to wait in line.

Türkitch Döner shop, Munich, Germany

Türkitch Döner shop, Munich, Germany

  • Eat Knödeln – bread dumplings. There is an entire restaurant dedicated to these called Wirsthaus in der Au. It was good, but be prepared for a heavy meal. They’re bread dumplings after all.

Knödel Trio, Wirtshaus in der Au, Munich, Germany

  • Go to a place with great, traditional German Bräuhaus food. Our favorite was Hofbräukeller, which we went to for Thanksgiving dinner three years ago. The food was outstanding.

Hofbräukeller, Munich, Germany

  • If you find yourself in the Giesing neighborhood (a little outside the center), check out Giesinger Bräustüberl. It’s a local brewery with a cool (less touristy) vibe and good food too. Note, the gorgeous Kaisershmarrn pictured above is from this place.
Giesinger beer, Munich, Germany
You can find Giesinger beer at establishments throughout the Giesing neighborhood.

Schnitzel, Giesinger Bräustüberl, Munich, Germany

  • Another great restaurant in the Giesing neighborhood is Schinken-Peter. It was such a local spot. This ham platter was amazing.

Schinken-Peter, Munich, Germany

Where to stay in Munich

We stayed in two different hotels in two different neighborhoods during our two visits to Munich. First, we stayed at the Design Hotel Stadt Rosenheim right near Ostbahnhof. It’s a small, boutique hotel with lovely rooms. Most recently, we stayed at the Leonardo Hotel & Residenz in the Giesing neighborhood. It was much less expensive, which was important given we were traveling the world for a year vs. taking a short vacation. What we learned from both stays is that, like all other German cities we’ve visited, Munich has fantastic, easy to use public transportation. It’s really not necessary to stay in the (usually quite expensive) city center. It’s also cool to check out neighborhoods you may not get to otherwise.

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Things to do in Munich, Germany in all seasons including Christmas Markets

Things to do in Munich, Germany


29 thoughts on “Things to do in Munich

  1. Kay Rodriguez says:

    So much to see and do in Munich! I’ve never actually been to Germany, so I’ll have to save this for when I make it over there. That food looks incredible 🙂

  2. Leigh says:

    Oktoberfest is so not my thing, but Munich definitely looks interesting. Especially the Christmas Markets – I’ve only been to the one in Chicago, so I bet the “real” ones are super cool!

  3. Kasey says:

    Great post! We were also just in Munich (for Oktoberfest) and went to some of these places, but it feels crazy that I never even heard about the old City gates! We’ll have to add that to our list for next time. And DonnerKitch because I love me some kebab! Lol

  4. JetsettingJade says:

    This is such a handy post as my partner is taking his nephew to Munich in a couple of months. I think they will enjoy the Deutsches Museum and BMW Museum. If you have any other suggestions of places that a teenage boy might enjoy then please let me know.

    • Sarah and Justin says:

      A hockey game for sure. There’s also a Hunting and Fishing Museum, called Deutsches Jagd- und Fischereimuseum. I wanted to go the first time we visited, but we didn’t get to it.

  5. Jac says:

    I loved Munich in Christmas, it was so wonderfully festive with all the Xmas markets!

    I preferred Augustiner to Hofbrauhaus when it came to beer hauses though, now that’s something I miss as well.

    Looks like I have to go back there’s still a lot that I haven’t seen based on your post 🙂

  6. Sarah says:

    Ugh! This made me miss Germany so much. Seriously been debating going there for Christmas andddd now I may have to. Christmas markets and spatzle are my weaknesses 🙂 Great post!

  7. Cory says:

    So many pictures! We are heading to Munich in the winter so I am going to bookmark this. We heard amazing things about this city, especially because we are outdoorsy people!

  8. Christie Sultemeier says:

    So glad I stumbled upon this because I’m thinking of heading back to Munich end of Oct or end of Nov! I’ve always wanted to go to the Christmas markets there and omg that food is making me hungry. Definitely pinning this for when I go!

  9. Toni says:

    Munich has so much to see and do, it makes me sad I was only there for 1 night on a tour. At least I made it there I guess. So much to eat there clearly! Looks like I will need to return now and enjoy all of these things whilst I am there!

  10. countdowntofridayblog says:

    I love Munich! I live in Bavaria so I have been several times but I’m ashamed to say I’ve missed most of the museums and BMW Welt. Christmas season is just around the corner though so I will be all over that gluhwein!

  11. Ticket to Adventures says:

    So many great things to do in Munich! I love Christmas markets, last year I went to Copenhagen for a long weekend to explore the christmas markets and now about to book flights either to Munich or Berlin for early December. Thank you for this post, after reding this I am leaning more towards Munich now.

  12. Ania says:

    I visited Munich last February and I absolutely loved the city! I didn’t get to spend more than 2 days there though, so I really hope to go back soon and experience more of the city, like Englischer Garten. It looks so lovely!

  13. Sherri says:

    I love Munich! We were only there for 2 days and one of them was a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. The other day was All Saints Day and nothing was open but coffee shops and restaurants so we window shopped. I definitely need to go back and explore more of what you’ve suggested. 🙂

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