Things to Do in Munich
Looking for things to do in Munich? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We spent three nights in the Bavarian capital, sipping on German beer and scoffing pretzels…plus a few other things. Read on to find out what! By the way, our list of things to do in Munich is in no particular order, apart from number 1.
Where Is Munich?
Munich is located in southern Germany and is the beating heart and capital of the state of Bavaria. Bavaria is the largest state in Germany and about as close to what you might consider ‘traditional Germany’ as you will get – think lederhosen, German beer, cows with bells and fairytale castles. Munich is also Germany’s third-largest city with a population of almost 1.5 million people.
Things to Do in Munich, the Bavarian capital
1 | Walk the City
Number 1 of our things to do in Munich is to walk. To be honest, it’s our number 1 thing to do anywhere! We don’t often recommend catching public transport other than to and from the airport and that’s because you often miss the details of the place you are visiting. Details which make the place – the things that add character to a place, you know? Thankfully, a lot of the things to do in Munich and what it has to offer is fairly central. Having said that, we walked over 30 miles from Friday evening to Monday afternoon!
If you like music, Munich had tons of street performers, from individuals playing the accordion to full-on bands with pianos and cellos! But they aren’t all in the most obvious of places, so get those feet moving and you might find them in the most random of places.
One of the most random things we saw while wandering the streets of Munich was the kidnapping of a pigeon in Max-Joseph Platz, right by the Residenzmuseum. A hooded woman lured the pigeons in with some seed them proceeded to pick one up and take it away. So, there is either a pigeon killer loose on the streets of Munich or a pigeon hero who rescued it because the pigeon was ill…let’s go with that one, ay?
2 | Play an Escape Room
Another highly rated thing to do in Munich and almost everywhere we travel is to play an escape room. We first discovered them when we travelled to Budapest and fell in love with the challenge they present. In Munich, we opted for the Fox in a Box escape room. There wasn’t much rhyme or reason other than we found it quickly on Google and it had availability when we wanted to play.
Without a doubt, it was the hardest escape room we have done. It was so difficult, we didn’t make it out in time and the whole world was obliterated! Thankfully, not in reality! We opted to play Bunker 17 escape room. So, if you fancy a strong challenge or you’re good at escape rooms, give it a go! Despite the difficulty, it’s hard to be disappointed when so much effort goes into the room design – Bunker 17 at Fox in a Box was one of the best-themed rooms we’ve attempted. You can find out more about Fox in a Box here.
3 | Climb the Spire at St. Peter’s Church
If walking around the city and getting the miles down wasn’t enough, head to St Peter’s Church. You’ll find 14 flights of stairs to get you to the top. It’s a fair way up and it’s worth the effort. You are rewarded with stunning panoramic views over Munich and the iconic view down into Marienplatz. Be aware, there is no disabled access to the top – access is via the stairs only.
On your way down, you’ll find yourself inside the church itself where you can have a little wander around and enjoy another of Munich’s huge array of churches.
To get to the tower, head from Marienplatz and take the turning immediately after St. Peter’s Church and you’ll find a little hut at the entrance where you can buy your tickets. We paid 5 Euros per adult.
4 | Drink German Beer at Hofbraühaus
Would a trip to Germany be complete without drinking some German beer? 🍻 There is no better place to get a flavour for German beer than in the heart of Bavaria and that’s why it’s a must-do in Munich. You can get beer almost anywhere because it’s a large part of German culture, but to get the best experience you need to visit Hofbraühaus.
Brauhaus translates to English as brewery or brewhouse… you get no prizes for guessing that! In Hofbraühaus you will find not only fresh, tasty German beer but also an experience. There’s what you might describe as a brass band playing traditional German music that fills Hofbraühaus with atmosphere, traditional German food, including pretzels, and some tasteful wall art. You will notice people walking around selling pretzels and we recommend you buy one. They are massive, so you might want to share!
Hofbraühaus itself is also massive. We don’t think we’ve been into a larger drinking establishment than this, which is also echoed in the men’s toilets. There are no fewer than 20 urinals in there! Haha!
Did you know?
Adolf Hitler announced the official program of the Nazi Party to a meeting of around 2,000 people at the Hofbräuhaus on 24 February 1920?
5 | Explore the Englischer Garten
Located right next to the city is a wonderful green space called Englischer Garten. There are no prizes for guessing what the translation is though! In Englischer Garten, you’ll find beer gardens, a Chinese restaurant, a Chinese tower, waterfalls and rivers and a replica Greek temple built for Ludwig 1.
So, if you’re after a bit of a change from the city and fancy some green space and a long walk, this is the place to go. You might even spot some surfers on the River Isar at Eisbach. That’s right…surfers! The wave at Eisbach has been surfed since 1972 but wasn’t officially permitted until 2010.
6 | Visit Residentzmuseum
Residentzmuseum is quite frankly a work of art. If you have done any research on things to do in Munich before you appeared here, we’re sure this place will have popped up. It has a classic Instagram shot that is the ridiculously ornate Antiquarium.
Residentzmuseum, or Munich Residence, was home to the rulers from the House of Wittelsbach who governed Bavaria as dukes and then electors from the 17th century and then as kings from 1806 to 1918. It opened as a museum in 1920 and you can see some of the surviving artefacts from some of the Bavarian rulers. Although you can’t access everywhere through the building, it’s still pretty large, so consider allowing an hour or two to get around it. You should also make the effort to walk around it to fully appreciate the architecture. There’s also a free audio tour guide which is worth collecting.
7 | Viktualingmarket
You may not be familiar with the word ‘victual’ because it’s not commonly used these days. The only reason I (Joel) know what it is is that it’s still used occasionally in the navy. But if you do know what it means, you get no prizes for guessing what Viktualingmarket is. The German to English translation is often too easy! I digress. The Viktualingmarket is a food market, located right next to Marienplatz. It’s full of food & drink and atmosphere. There is a lot on offer, from gifts to fresh fruit and vegetables, to honey and everything in between.
8 | Marienplatz
Marienplatz is a must on your things to do in Munich. To be honest, it’s probably unavoidable! It’s the very heart of Munich and somewhere you will no doubt find yourself returning to again and again. Like any great town square, Marienplatz is a hotspot for eateries, cafes and bars and is also home to Munich New Town Hall. Munich New Town Hall is an architectural dream to look at, which is modelled on Brussels’ Town Hall.
New Town Hall is home to the mayor of Munich, the city council, Ratskeller restaurant, legal library and Rathaus-Glockenspiel, which chimes at 11 am and 12 pm.
9 | Enjoy the Churches
There are over 25 churches in Munich, of which a considerable amount are located in the city centre. As you wander the streets you will see them but they aren’t all so obvious. We’ve already mentioned St. Peter’s Church as a thing to do in Munich, so it’s not on the list below but these churches are definitely worth a visit and they are all centrally located within easy reach of Marienplatz.
St. Michael’s Church
10 | Walk the River Isar
The River Isar is a bit more than just a river to Munich. It’s a bit of a recreational hotspot. The River Isar flows for 14 km through Munich and offers the ability to swim, surf, kayak and canoe and even fish. But if you’re not interested in getting in or on the water, you can relax on a beach, get your grill on and barbecue some of those frankfurters, or run, cycle or walk along the river if you fancy a bit of exercise or another way to navigate and see this incredible city.
11 | Eat Frankfurters and drink Gluhwein
So, the Frankfurter didn’t originate in Munich, but Frankfurt, if you didn’t guess. Nonetheless, if you fancy a bit of street food, you’ll find these fairly easy to find and they usually come smoked or unsmoked. Traditionally, they are made of a mix of pork and beef and heavily seasoned. And if you happen to be there are the right time of year (or the wrong time, if you don’t like the cold!), you can get yourself a gluhwein to accompany it. An odd mix, you may think, but the gluhwein will help to warm you up on those chilly Munich winter evenings.
12 | Wonder at the Endless Staircase
Last on our list of things to do in Munich is to visit the endless staircase. Its real name is ‘Umschreibung’ which is the German word for ‘circumscription’ or ‘periphrasis’. I bet you didn’t get that one, did you? Ha. The endless staircase is located in a rather random spot, in the courtyard of an office block, which happens to be the headquarters of KPMG Trust. It was completed in 2004 and is the work of Olafur Eliasson. If you’re a bit of a photographer or architecture geek, this is somewhere you can’t miss.
And that’s a wrap for our things to do in Munich, but we have a couple of extra bits for you below. Please let us know your thoughts on our things to do in Munich in the comments below!
Get some cash out! Despite being the European powerhouse that Germany is, it seems a little behind other places we have visited with its approach to contactless technology and credit & debit cards. There were numerous places we visited that only accepted cash. We tend to avoid drawing cash out
Where to Eat in Munich
Below is a list of places we recommend you visit. You will notice McDonald’s is on there. Let us explain. Ha. We were out and about in good time to wander the streets while they were empty. It’s the best time to get clean shots. If you’d like more travel photography tips, click HERE. Anyway, we needed to waste a bit of time and it was freezing, so we decided to head to McDonald’s for some coffee and ended up having breakfast.
We’ve added them all to the map so you can find them. Scroll down to see it.
McDonald’s always gets a bit of grief from the coffee snobs but frankly, it does decent coffee and it’s cheap. But beyond that, they do the most amazing breakfast bagels. We don’t know enough about McDonald’s breakfasts to determine if they are a German speciality, but they were bloody lovely. They came with what you might consider burger sauce and…onions. Onions for breakfast? Don’t knock it until you have tried it!
Kennedy’s Irish Bar
It seems that no city in the world is complete without an Irish bar. In Munich, this is the one to visit. It’s a cellar bar, which instantly makes it cool, and it sells Guinness and Murphy’s. If you order food, the baskets are big enough for two people…you have been warned!
This was our very first stop for coffee and pastries the morning after we arrived in Munich. The coffee is lovely and the range of pastries and bakery items is to die for! It’s small and relaxed and worth a visit.
We’ve already told you about Horbraühaus, but there is a couple of other notable Brauhaus, which are noted below. You will find they serve traditional German food, so if you’re after a taste of Germany, a Brauhaus is the place to go.
Schneider Bräuhaus München
How to get to Munich
If you’re travelling by air to Munich, you’ll likely fly into Munich International Airport. When you arrive, head for the train station and look for a green logo with an ‘S’ in it. That’s the S-Bhan, which is the German city rapid railway. You’re looking for S-8 or S-1. S-8 is about ten minutes quicker and skirts to the east of the city, where the S-1 skirts to the west. Both trains will take you to Munich Central Station, known as Munich Hbf (Munich Hauptbahnhof). From there you can either walk to your destination or catch the metro. Both S-1 & S-8 also pass through Marienplatz, if your accommodation is very central.
You can buy tickets from the machines located in the stations. Select Munich Hbf if you want to go all the way to Munich Central Station. On the way back, you’re looking for tickets to Flughafen, which is German for ‘airport’.
Some Basic German Lingo to Get By
While you’re out and about finding your things to do in Munich, you might want to speak a bit of the lingo. Most, but not all of the people we communicated with spoke good English, but you shouldn’t take this for granted. Below are a few phrases that might help you along the way.
Hello – hallo
Please – bitte
Thank you – danke
Two beers, please – zwei Bier bitte
A table for two, please – einen Tisch für zwei Personen, bitte
The check, please – die Rechnung, bitte
Two tickets, please – zwei karten bitte
Things to Do in Munich Map
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