While Munich may conjure images of lederhosen, sausages, and humungous bier steins, you must know that this wonderful city has much more than Oktoberfest to offer a visitor. A city of green parks and incredible architecture that’s rooted in the Middle Ages, there is no shortage of interesting sights to peek your interest. Here are seven awesome things to do in Munich, aside from Oktoberfest.
The “Old Pinakothek” houses one of the largest collections of the Old Master paintings anywhere. This collection features famous European painters from the 14th to 18th centuries, and holds works by artists from Rembrandt and Raphael. “Pinakothek” refers to the period of art that the museum specializes in, specifically referring to the “old-world” painters. While, the “Neue Pinakothek” covers the 19th century, and the newly opened Pinakothek der Moderne houses modern art exhibitions. All of these influential and elegant art museums are located in Kunstareal, Munich’s famous art district, which houses multiple art exhibitions and museums.
A little out of the way and completely worth the extra 10 minutes it’ll take to get here, this beer hall is German to the core. Come hungry, because the pretzels you’ll get before dinner are amazing and the large portions may leave you with a slight food coma. The braustuben is the current home of Augustiner beer, the favorite brew of Münchners, so don’t forget to order a couple pints with your chow, too. This is one of Munich’s best kept secrets (though good reviews online may be changing this), so enjoy every bite.
The 910 acre Englischer Garten (English Garden) is one of the largest urban parks in the world. You can lie in the grass or take a relaxing walk in almost any park, but in the Englischer Garten there are things you can’t find anywhere else. There is an area on the river where you can surf if you’re missing the California waves; a Japanese teahouse if you’re missing Tokyo traditions; or stop at the Monopteros if you’re missing Roman architecture. Or, if you want to stay focused on Germany, visit the second largest beer garden in Munich under the Chinese Tower. Englischer Garten is where Munich locals go to escape the city, within the city, and where travelers can go for unforgettable sights and experiences.
The Frauenkirche, or “Cathedral of Our Dear Lady,” is an iconic church for two reasons: height and history. Due to the local height limits, the church towers are widely visible from any direction. As for the history, the Frauenkirche dates back over 500 years, and he crypts below date back even further—and holds many of the leaders from Munich’s past. The “Devil’s Footprint” floor tile, which was supposedly left by the Devil as he scoffed at the church’s atypical design, is a must-see while here. Be sure to climb the South Tower for a truly unique view of Munich.
So, maybe it’s a little over-the-top. But you’re in Munich, and if you ask us, over-the-top sounds pretty spectacular, especially when it’s about a beerhaus. If you’re looking for a quintessential beerhaus experience to tack on your Munich trip plan, then Hofbräuhaus should fit itself nicely into your itinerary. With liters of beer, classic Bavarian cuisine, and oompah-fueled boisterousness, you may find it tough to not have a good time. Just a heads up: there’s a good chance it’ll be packed, but that just means there’s more friends for the making.
Although the 1972 Summer Olympics is most (in)famous for the horrific acts of terrorism that took place during its span, Olympiapark has persevered through the years and remains a beautiful and well-loved site. The design of architects Frei Otto and Günther Behnisch was revolutionary back then, and their structure is still impressive. The stadium’s giant glass canopies held up by metal ropes and the massive green park complemented by the Olympic Mountain and Lake make for a great juxtaposition of manmade monuments and nature. There’s always something going on here, be it a carnival, concert, or exhibition. For those looking to stretch out their legs, Olympiapark also holds regular sporting events. You can swim and bike, or even climb the Stadium and bungee jump in from the outside. See below for our favorite suggestions.
This splendid building, which dates all the way back to the 16th century, is the former palace and residence of Munich’s ruling Wittelsbach family. Over the duration of their reign, the Wittlesbachs acquired a massive collection of paintings, sculptures, jewelry, furniture, tapestries, and porcelain. Their collection is on display at the Residenz, which still exhibits the decadent lifestyle of the powerful family. Visitors can search through room after room of treasures collected by generations of Wittelsbachs, who used art and material possessions to demonstrate their power. Though the palace was heavily damaged during the war, the rooms have been recreated to be as authentic as possible, giving visitors an insight into what life was like for Bavaria’s royal family.
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