Munich's City Center (Altstadt, or "Old City") is easily navigable with all the major "must see" sights easy to find by travellers. It is in Munich's center where eyes gaze upon architectural masterpieces from the Neues Rathaus, Frauenkirche, and taste the wonderous Hofbräu beer all the while listening to "Take Me Home Country Roads" in the Hofbräuhaus. Since all subway trains and trams intersect at either the main station or any of the underground stations in the vicinity of Munich's center, it is a great place to start any day of sightseeing. End your day here with a beer at the Hofbräuhaus and dedicate a few minutes to Pachebel's "Canon" or Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" performed by street musician group Tal Consort, under the arches of the Altes Rathaus or under the store fronts between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz.
Marienplatz station, immediately under the Neues Rathaus in the heart of the city center, is served by all S-Bahn lines as well as U-Bahn lines U3 and U6.
Map of Munich's City Center
Neues Rathaus/Glockenspiel— During the summer, a curious sight appears every morning in Marienplatz. Hundreds of tourists begin craning their necks skyward (and it's obvious they are tourists, because the locals are all darting back and forth between the halted masses trying to cross the square and get their errands done!) to see the Glockenspiel work its magic on the front facade of the Neues Rathaus (New City Hall). As the automated clockwork figures come out to dance, the bells play and the tourists gape. But the Glockenspiel is truly a piece of art, it was built of handmade parts long before automation was the buzzword of the day, and it's still entrancing. There is also a view point in one of its towers (entrance fee €4).
Mariensäule— Is a golden statue located in the middle of Marienplatz. The statue was built in honor of the Virgin Mary to celebrate the sparing of the city from the Swedes.
Feldherrenhalle (Field Marshal's Hall) . At Odeonsplatz. Built between 1841 and 1844 by Friedrich von Gärtner at the behest of King Ludwig I of Bavaria after the example of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. The Feldherrnhalle was a symbol of the honours of the Bavarian Army.
Altes Rathaus— Built in 1474 and rebuilt after World War II to its original state. Today it houses a toy museum (Spielzeugmuseum). Outside you will find a statue of Juliet (Romeo's Juliet) which is a present by Munich's twin town Verona.
Asamkirche— Rococo architect and sculptor Egid Quirin Asam built this amazingly ornate church right next door to his own house. His brother, Cosmas Damian, did all the frescoes. The church is dedicated to St John Nepomuk, a Bohemian monk was thrown into the river Vltava from Charles Bridge in Prague at the behest of Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia. The Asamkirche, completed in 1746, glitters like a row of diamonds and is best seen by candlelight, especially at the yearly Christmas Eve service, replete with Bavarian singers in the choir stall.
Inside the Frauenkirche
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) — The Frauenkirche is topped by two copper onion-domed towers recognizable from a distance. Instead of adding sculptural ornamentation in carved stone to the exterior like other typical Gothic churches, the Frauenkirche differs from all contemporary churches in its plain brick simplicity. The church was completed in 1488. The legendary Teufelstritt, or devil's footstep, stems from the large amount of light inside the Frauenkirche that seems to come from nowhere thanks to the large columns that block the view of the windows. According to legend, Jörg of Halspach made a deal with the devil that he could build a church that had a spot where not a single window could be seen from. From the vestibule, looking down the center aisle (as long as the high Baroque altar covered the windows at the very back of the church) there appeared to be no windows at all. The devil stamped his foot in a fit of pique, leaving his "footprint" on a paving stone immediately inside the entrance. The stone is readily visible because it is mustard yellow rather than red and grey like the other tiles. Right to the entrance is a monumental tomb of Emperor Ludwig IV of Bavaria, the work of Hans Krumpper.
Michaelskirche— The largest Renaissance church north of the Alps was built between 1583-1599 thanks to Duke Wilhelm V, called The Pious. Despite nearly bankrupting Bavaria, Munich was left with an amazingly beautiful structure that houses an extremely unified iconographic program. "Iconographic program" is just an art term for the overall organized progression of religious images that corresponds to a theme. In the church crypt are the tombs of many members of Wittelsbach dynasty, including that of the "mad king" Ludwig II.
Peterskirche. Munich's first parish church was started in the twelfth century, but ongoing additions and renovations have kept artists busy for centuries. During a city fire in 1327, the church was damaged and in 1607, the tower (called Alter Peter) was struck by lightning. The side altars, which have already been renovated, are accessible, as is the immense, multi-columned gilded marble main altar. At the back of the church is a Lourdes grotto tucked under the choir loft stairs, as well as an educational display which shows step by step how a fresco is made (paint is applied to wet plasterwork, which dries as an integrated unit of base and color). Climb up the 306 steps inside the tower to have a nice view over the city center (€1,50/€1,00).
Theatinerkirche on Odeonsplatz
Theatinerkirche— Located to the north of the city center on Odeonsplatz. The church is beautifully ornate and is probably the most eye catching building, because its architecture departs dramatically from the rest of Munich's buildings. The church was built as a thanks to God for the birth of Maximilian II Emanuel, the son of Wittelsbach ruler, Ferdinand Maria.
Museums and galleries
Residenz, Residenzstraße 1, ☎ +49 (089) 2 90 67-1 (ResidenzMuenchen@bsv.bayern.de, fax: +49 (089) 2 90 67-2 25), . Apr - 15 Oct: Daily: 9AM-6PM, 16 Oct - Mar: Daily 10AM-4PM. The Schatzkammer (Treasury) within the Residenz has one of the best collections of ecclesiastical treasures in Europe, not to mention the royal insignia of Bavaria (crowns, orb, scepter, etc). The Antiquarium has the largest Renaissance room north of the Alps, and the Ahnengalerie (Ancestral Portrait Gallery) has a Wittelsbach family portrait collection. There is also a series of Rococo rooms by Cuvilliés. Combined admission for treasury and museum: Adults: € 9, Reduced: € 8.
Residenz Museum, Residenzstraße 1, ☎ +49 (089) 2 90 67-1 (ResidenzMuenchen@bsv.bayern.de, fax: +49 (089) 2 90 67-2 25), . Apr - 15 Oct: Daily: 9AM-6PM, 16 Oct - Mar: Daily: 10AM-4PM. Step in to the life of royalty in this museum dedicated to showing off the furniture and housewares of the royal family of many generations ago.Adults: € 6, Reduced: € 5.
Schatzkammer (Treasury), Residenzstraße 1, ☎ +49 (089) 2 90 67-1 (ResidenzMuenchen@bsv.bayern.de, fax: +49 (089) 2 90 67-2 25), . Apr - 15 Oct: Daily: 9AM-6PM, 16 Oct - Mar: Daily: 10AM-4PM. The crown jewels, golden works of art and much more.Adults: € 6, Reduced: € 5.
Deutsches Museum, Museumsinsel 1 (''Subway station Isartor, then follow signs''), ☎ +49 (089) 2179-1 (email@example.com, fax: +49 (089) 2179-324), . Daily: 10AM-5PM (except public holidays). One of the greatest scientific and technical museums in the world, and one of the absolute "must see's" of Munich; if science and technology interest you at all you should not leave it out. Topics range from aviation to breweries, from computer sciences to bridge building. There are many guided tours on specific themes and different languages inside the museum. Plan to spend plenty of time. There's a planetarium and two branch offices in different locations which show vehicles that found no place in downtown Munich. Wheelchair friendly.€ 7.50 for an adult, € 3 for students (Planetarium and branch museums not included).
Münchner Stadtmuseum, St.-Jakobs-Platz 1, ☎ +49 (089) 233 22370 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 (089) 233 25033), . The historical arsenal (Zeughaus) was reopened in June 2008 showing a new and exciting permanent exhibition on the history of Munich: "Typically Munich!"
National Socialism in Munich— Exhibits pertaining to the emergence, development, and consequences of National Socialism in Munich from 1918 – 1945. Munich as the point of origin and headquarters of the NSDAP, ‘Capital of the Movement’ and ‘Capital of German Art’: a documentation of contributors, supporters, resistance and victims.
Photography Museum— Contains three galleries of contemporary German photography, featuring a large monographic or thematic special exhibition.
Puppetry and Fairground Art— The history of puppet theatre in Munich and a large selection of international puppets are on display. One of the greatest collections of fairground art with highlights of the traditional Oktoberfest.
Musical Instruments— Contains over 1,600 instruments from Africa, Asia, America and Europe and a special section showing a dozen automatic musical instruments including the important and famous "Stern-Orchestrion". Evening concerts and free Sunday matinées at 11 o’clock transform the showrooms into a sound museum. Special tours available. Check out the special monthly programme of musical events.
Film Museum— Important international films dating from the earliest era of cinema up to contemporary works are presented in the newly renovated film theatre. The complete oeuvre of important German film makers (from F.W. Murnau to Wim Wenders, from Fritz Lang to Herbert Achternbusch) as well as motion picture classics can be found in the collections. With projects such as the reconstruction of the estate of Orson Welles, the Film Museum has earned an outstanding international reputation.
Toy Museum, Marienplatz 15 (Located inside the old city hall's tower), ☎ +49 (089) 294001, . 10AM-5:30PM (Closed on Fasching Tuesday and Dec 24th.).
Oktoberfest. The first Oktoberfest took place on the 12 October 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. All citizens of Munich were invited to a meadow (Wies'n) situated in front of the city tower, subsequently renamed the Theresienwiese in honor of the bride. In the early years of the fair, horse races were held, then as the event grew, agricultural conventions, which still take place every third year. But what about beer? After all, the Bavarian hops crop has to go somewhere! In 1896 businessmen working with the breweries in Munich built the first giant beer tents at Oktoberfest, and drinking has been the primary focus since. Each of the major breweries presides over its own large tent filled with traditional musicians leading the crowd in well-known drinking chants, incredibly strong barmaids hoisting ten or more huge Maß (1-liter glass beer mugs that are heavy even when empty!), and a spate of drunken people all trying to get into the bathroom at once. In 2003, Oktoberfest hosted 6.3 million visitors who drank 6.1 million liters of beer and ate the equivalent of 91 oxen, 383,000 sausages and 630,000 chickens.
Marienplatz. A large market that stretches across the shopping street, so you can mix Christmas market shopping (and eating) with "normal" shopping. The market offers some delicious treats and some great souvenirs/gifts.
Viktualienmarkt— This large open-air market sells everything from soup to nuts. Just off Marienplatz, generations of market families continue to hawk their wares from the same location. There are open air fruit and vegetable stands similar to those scattered around the city, as well as closed stands and little year-round trinket shops. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon on the way to and from work, Munich women stop by the market to pick up something from dinner - during midday it's a bit slower and therefore better for browsing.
Kaufingerstr/Neuhauser Str— Located between Marienplatz and Stachus, it is one of the main shopping streets of Munich. This is the place to go for medium range to high end clothing retail, however, there are plenty more stores than just clothing stores like the large retailers Karstadt and Kaufhof.
Roecklplatz, Isartalstr. 26, ☎ +49 (0)89-45217129, . Disadvantaged young people are enabled to make an appreanticeship in this restaurant guided by a chef and a social worker. They do traditional food with a modern flair and it's successful. Their beergarden is popular with local and so far only few tourists!
Viktualienmarkt. On Viktualienmarkt you will find everything you need to eat. Take a Leberkaessemmel (€1.50) at one of the butcher shops, a huge bowl of soup at Münchner Suppenküche (€3-5) or go to Nordsee, a fish restaurant chain. After getting your lunch together have a seat at the beer garden, where you can have a beer with your food. (You can bring your own food to the beer garden too).
Faun, Hans-Sachs-Str. 17, ☎ +49 (089) 263798, . M-F 10AM-1AM; Sa Su 9AM-1AM. Wonderful art nouveau ceiling from 1906. Bavarian and international cuisine at affordable prices.
Gasthaus Fraunhofer, Fraunhoferstr. 9, ☎ +49 (089) 266460. One of the most traditional restaurants in Munich. Splendid location; they also have a pocket theatre and studio cinema in the backyard. Bavarian brunch with live music on Sundays. Located on Fraunhoferstr, close to the metro station with the same name. This was Munich film director's Rainer Werner Fassbinder favorite restaurant.
Sasou, Marienplatz 28, ☎ +49 (089) 263701, . 11AM-10PM. This pan-Asian fast food on the Southern side of Marienplatz (same entrance than Cafe Glockenspiel) serves excellent Asian noodle soups for an affordable price.
Sax, Hans-Sachs-Str. 5, ☎ +49 (089) 268835. Nothing special, but good ambiance and (as said) affordable prices. And there are many other interesting venues on Hans-Sachs-Str, if ever you need an alternative.
Pizzeria Monaco, Reichenbachstr. 10, ☎ +49 (089) 268141. The usual Italian fare at a very good price.
Subway on Viktualienmarkt, Viktualienmarkt 7, ☎ +49 (089) 25 54 69 00, . Both the owner and his staff speak excellent English and can help English speaking customers. The restaurant has a small patio, on the market square.
Bräustüberl, Address, ☎ +49 (0)89 290136-10, . The Bräustüberl restaurant is located on the first floor of the Hofbräuhaus . Both the ambiance and food are traditional Bavarian. There is live music most evenings. Reservations are recommended during high season and major festivals.
Paulaner im Tal, Tal 12 (Walk 200m past the McDonalds and Burger King. ''Paulaner im Tal'' is on your right hand side.), ☎ +49 (089) 21 99 400 (email@example.com, fax: +49 (089) 21 99 4022), . Great Bavarian food in a cosy atmosphere.
Weißes Bräuhaus, Tal 7, ☎ +49 (089) 290138-0 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 (089) 290138-15), . 11AM - until the last guest (approx. 2AM), Sa 11AM - until the last guest (approx. 3AM). Very rustic ambiance. Maybe the only typical Bavarian restaurant left in the city center. Leave Marienplatz on the east. The street is called Tal (meaning valley). Walk 100m, Weißes Bräuhaus is on your left hand side.
Zum Spöckmeier, Rosenstrasse 9 (On Marienplatz), ☎ +49 (089) 26 80 88 (email@example.com, fax: +49 (089) 26 05 50 9), . Modern Bavarian cuisine, at an affordable price.
Kilians Irish Pub, Frauenplatz 11 (Located directly behind the Frauenkirche), ☎ +49 (089) 2421 9899, . Kilians is located behind the Frauenkirche and offers the usual Irish beers. Occasionally it hosts live music and is a popular place among expats, tourists, and Germans alike. The staff is friendly and vigilant about protecting their customers - a string of pickpocket thefts in 2004 caused them to post warnings to customers.
Haxnbauer, Sparkassenstrasse 6, ☎ +49 (089) 216 654 0 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 (089) 228 301 5), . Haxnbauer is a restaurant where you can taste Schweinhaxe. While ordering the waiter brings several knuckles with prices on them so that you could choose which you like best.
Bratwurst Glöckl, Frauenplatz 9, ☎ +49 (089) 291945-0 (email@example.com, fax: +49 (089) 290 47 36), . An authentic restaurant with a good variety of sausages. Great place to sit and relax outside.
Natraj, Nymphenburgerstrasse, . Authentic indian food, wide range of veg and non-veg dishes and thalis. Located 100m from U-station Stiglmaierplatz.
Ratskeller, Marienplatz 8, ☎ +49 (089) 219989-0 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 (089) 219989-30), . Offers real Bavarian food and is easy to find. Find the Neues Rathaus (The Gothic city hall) and descend into the the basement. The entire basement is a restaurant. Great for experiencing Bavarian customs.
Hofbräuhaus, am Platzl 9, ☎ +49 (089) 290136-10 (fax: +49 (089) 22 75 86), . Touristy, but fun, with good beer and "oom-pah" bands. The Hofbräuhaus, Munich's (and maybe the world's) most famous brewpub, moved to its current location in 1644. It opened to the public after 1830. Nowadays, the embodiment of Bavarian beer culture is visited only by tourists. More likely than not you will hear the famous "eins, zwei, g'suffa!" song at least once if you spend any time there at all. Basically it means "one, two, drink up!" Bring your passport, because you're likely to be asked for ID, and without your passport bouncers will not let you in.
Augustiner Keller, Arnulfstrasse 52, ☎ +49 (089) 59 43 93 (email@example.com, fax: +49 (089) 5 50 44 15), . Locals and many beer aficionados say the beer here is Bavaria's best. The Augustiner's indoor beer garden is comfortable even in rotten weather, with its high ceilings and good lighting. But ultimately the most satisfying beer garden is the one at which one is a regular. Tables marked Stammtisch, perhaps with a day or time afterward, are reserved for regular gangs of beer buddies who meet same time, same place each week.
Augustiner Großgaststätte, Neuhauser Straße 27, ☎ (49) 89 23 183-257, . History has it that beer has been brewed and drank on this site since the 14th century and upon entering you may be inclined to agree with that assertion. Augustiner brews great beers and this place has them all. There are smoking and non-smoking sections of the cavernous hall, but don't expect to find much difference. If the weather is nice, order a Weißbier and sit outside at one of the tables set up to watch pedestrian traffic along Neuhauser.
Andechser Am Dom, Weinstraße 7a, ☎ (49) 089 29 84 81, . This is a good place to stop off if you are going to visit the Frauenkirche. Andechs beers are all brewed at the Klosterbraueri which is a fun side trip in itself and all the beers are world-class. The place is much smaller than most places and seating is limited, but they have tables with a view of the Kirche outside in the summer time and a nice outdoor patio that is heated during the winter. The food is also quite good and quite varied. This place gets pretty packed at around 3:30PM or 4PM so get there early if you want a table. Otherwise order a beer and strike up a conversation.
Clubs and Discos
Bars in the Gaertnerplatzviertel: In this very trendy area between Viktualienmarkt and the Isar, you will find several good bars and clubs, like K.U.K. Klub, Red Star, Trachtenvogel, Holy Home (all on Reichenbachstr.), Lizard Lounge (Corneliusstr.), Cafe am Hochhaus (Blumenstr. opposite the firestation) or Buena Vista (Cuban bar opposite Schrannenhalle in a street called "Am Einlass").
8 Seasons, Maximilianstr. 2, . Opened on the 1st of April 2004 it should be closed now (more than 8 seasons later), but it still is open. Exclusive club with a very nice roof-deck with a great view to the Frauenkirche.
Atomic Cafe, . The Atomic Café is not the typical Munich disco, it has a comfortable sofa area, nostalgic lava lamps and a cosy flair. The stylish 60s design fits perfectly to the varied choice of music. The organisers don't just rely on techno and trance, everything is played here from "easy listening" over "rare groove" to beat and electronic sounds and is also known as Munich's HQ for Britpop. It is also possible to see top international bands live on stage without paying excessive prices for "standing room only".
Crown's Club, Maximilianstrasse Am Kosttor, ☎ +49 (089) 25 54 67 00, . Opened by the former bouncer of the P1 club. It has capacity for 500 guests and should be extremely exclusive. But as there are three clubs in Munich trying to be "extremely exclusive" (P1, 8 Seasons being the others) you may have a chance to get in (if you are well dressed, of course).
Ampere im Muffathalle, Zellstr. 4, ☎ +49 (089) 45 875 010, . This "arts factory" in the heart of Munich has a truly inspired concert hall with café. From the classic "Into Something Friday" or an "Exclusive Line-Up", the Muffathalle always has something "great" on offer...and you can treat yourself to some well earned rest in the nearby café/bistro.
Madam Cabaret, Ledererstr. 19, ☎ +49 (089) 295938, . This is Munich's oldest gentleman's club which offers a variety of dancers. Quite small and offers an intimate atmosphere.
P1 Club, Prinzregentenstraße 1, ☎ +49 (089) 211 114 0 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 (089) 211 114 14), . This club lives from its reputation it build up many years ago. Management had made a mistake by getting greedy and doubling its size. Thus it has been a problem staying exclusive and simultaneously having enough guests to guarantee a good atmosphere. The bouncers are eventually understanding that P1 is just one of many discos nowadays. Prices are ok.
Wombat's, Senefelderstraße 1, ☎ +49 (089) 5998 918-0 (fax: +49 (089) 5998 918-10), . Clean hostel with good bar, cheap food and breakfast (for a fee).
YMCA Youth Hotel, Landwehrstraße 13 (Between Karlstor and Central Station), ☎ +49 (089) 55 21 41 -0 (fax: +49 (089) 55 04 28 2), . Clean hostel with good breakfast and friendly service.
KING's Hotel Center, Marsstr. 15 (In walking distance to Central Main Station Hauptbahnhof Muenchen), ☎ +49 (089) 51 55 30 (fax: +49 (089) 51 55 33 00), . Cheap when online booking, with or without breakfast, internet access in every room, friendly service.
Hotel Royal, Schillerstraße 11a, ☎ +49 (089) 59 10 21 (fax: +49 (089) 550 36 57), . Affordable 3 star accommodation close to Central Station (Hauptbahnhof). Complimentary wi fi access for customers, with the hostel at a good price.
InterCityHotel Munich, Bayerstrasse 10 (Connected to the Hauptbahnhof), ☎ +49 (089) 44 44 4-0 (fax: +49 (089) 44 44 4-599), . Good value for money at a great location. Rooms are small but simple, but the easy access to the train station is convenient.€77 - €265 per night.
Hotel Savoy, Amalienstrasse 25, ☎ +49 (089) 28 78 70 (email@example.com), . The hotel is situated on a quiet street. 10 minutes walking to the Marienplatz. Everything is not always new, but in good condition. Good buffet breakfast consisting of good variety of meat, bread, fruit etc.€79 and over.
Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Promenadeplatz 2-6, ☎ +49 (089) 21 20-0 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 (089) 21 20-906), . One of the grand old dames in Munich, the hotel's splendor and facilities reflect the personal management of the Volkhardt family who have owned the hotel for four generations. A luxury hotel, it boasts an admired location, a pool well positioned on the top floor alongside a gym and spa bar. Rooms are calm and spacious with big double beds, flatscreen TV's and a sitting area. The large bathrooms have a private phone and plenty of shelf space, with a shower-tub combination. Rooms are furnished in both modern and traditional pieces, with marble, antiques and art decorated plentifully, and you can dine at any one of the three fabulous restaurants. Rates include a champagne breakfast.
Le Meridien Munich, Bayerstrasse 41 (The hotel is located across the street from the main train station.), ☎ +49 (089) 24220 (fax: +49 (089) 2422 2025), . Le Meridien has all of the old-world flair one expects from a charming European hotel, combined with modern amenities. High speed internet access and sleek conference rooms for business meetings provide an elegant atmosphere for corporate events.€150 - €615.
Hilton Munich Park, Am Tucherpark 7, ☎ +49 (089) 38450 (fax: +49 (089) 38452588), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. This five star hotel has floor-to-ceiling picture windows showcasing a distant view of the Alps. The hotel also comprises of 3 restaurants, a bar, an indoor pool with fitness center and 24-hr room service.
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