Top Things to Do in Munich

You might know Munich for being home to the legendary Octoberfest celebration. But the city also houses dozens of artistic and historical landmarks worth visiting—whatever month you're visiting the city.

Scattered through Munich's city center are beer gardens, museums and galleries, in addition to public squares and manicured parks that are free—or mostly free. The city, and the nation's history, can be traced through the art found through these locations in Munich during an afternoon stroll.

For the adventure-driven, there are sporting events at Olympiapark, outings and drinking to be done. For a day trip, don't miss one of the dramatic castles which stand triumphantly, with history tucked into each stone and turret on the grounds.

Start your visit with these essential stops in Munich:

Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace)

Northwest of the city centre is the summer residence of the Wittelsbachs, built in Italianate style from 1664. The main building includes the Schönheitsgallery (Gallery of Beauties) collected by Ludwig I, which is filled with portraits of many of the women that he considered beautiful.

Marienplatz

The small piazza is surrounded by historic buildings, and always seems to be a hub of activity, from its famous Christmas Markets in December to Christopher Street Day.

Olympiapark

This 300 hectare site was venue of the 1972 Olympic Games, consisting of park, lakes, and its own railway station. The Olympic Stadium is topped by the largest roof in the world; the swimming pool is where locals head to leisure and training, plus a lift with panoramic views. Adult €5.50, child €3.50.

Viktualienmarkt

This immense food market was built 1807. Over the years it has evolved from a farmers’ market one with fresh food and deli goods, popular with locals. Its 140 stalls sell fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, sausages, cheese and plants. Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sun 10am-3pm.

Botanischer Garten (Botanic Garden)

52 hectares of land contains many thousands of varieties of flora. Don’t miss the Alpine garden, looking its best during summer, plus the hot, humid regions in the glasshouse complex. Open May-Aug 9am-7pm, Apr & Sep 9am-6pm, Feb, Mar, Oct 9am-5pm, Nov-Jan 9am-4.30pm. Adult €4, child €2.50.

Englischer Garten

Wedged between the Altstadt and Schwabing is the Englischer Garten (English Garden) is one of the world’s largest parks. Its informal landscaped lawns and lakes were created by Sir Benjamin Thompson in the late 18th century.

Neue Pinakothek

The gallery opened in 1981 to replace the original building destroyed in World War II, commissioned by Ludwig I to house his collection of contemporary painting.

Augustiner Keller

This 5,000-seat beer garden under 100 chestnut trees is one of Munich’s most popular spots for a drink, especially its Augustiner Edelstoff, poured straight from the barrel. There are also cellars, plus a menu of local delicacies.

Deutsches Museum

One of the world’s largest science and technology museums, this gargantuan collection covers everything from seafaring and space probes to the car industry and chemistry. The 55,000 sq m museum can be exhausting, but it is a sure-fire hit with children especially the interactive Kids’ Kingdom. Daily 9am-5pm.

Schloss (Castle) Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein Castle is called "the fairytale castle for the fairytale king," by many Germans and visitors to the towering castle. This giant palace retreat was built for King Ludwig II in 1869 as a place to escape the throne-room of Munich.