Welcome to Munich!
Munich, Germany, is the capital of Bavaria. Many things people typically associate with Germany and German culture comes from Bavaria. By contrast to the rest of the country, Bavarians are a little more on the conservative side and like to uphold their traditions, but the locals know that if you look hard enough, Munich is full of surprises, from beautiful views and delicious food to unexpected pastimes.
Tourists know the popular attractions; a worldwide local, however, knows how to take in those experiences best. Here’s an insider’s guide to experiencing the best Munich has to offer.
Start at the City Center
Munich has a lot of things to see and do. The most popular area in the city is, arguably, the Marienplatz. The bustling square is full of people, mostly tourists, but it is worth checking out. While here, be sure to get a few pictures of the massive Neo-Gothic city hall sitting on the north side. The famous Glockenspiel is here, as well as other famous landmarks, such as the Frauenkirche. If you’re looking to explore some of the essential sightseeing, this area is the place. The area is, generally, full of tourists, and locals know this. So if you’re planning on doing any kind of shopping, be prepared to pay high prices.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re looking to buy some quick food that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, head around the corner to the Viktualienmarkt. It is a farmers market in the heart of the old city where you can pick up food for cheap. Local butchers and delis typically serve freshly prepared sausage sandwiches for a couple of Euro.
Beer (Of Course!)
Locals know that beer is sort of symbolic to Munich. Interestingly, there are only six breweries in the city that are allowed to serve beer at Oktoberfest, Munich’s legendary beer festival. Each brewery is located in the city limits. Oktoberfest runs from the end of September to about early-mid October. If you’re planning on attending, be aware that the beer tents fill up very fast. Reserving a spot at a table requires preparation at least a year in advance, as this is perhaps the most popular thing to do in Munich. Also, the beer is only allowed to be served in one of the six designated beer tents. That means that walking around the grounds with glass is frowned upon.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you want to attend Oktoberfest, avoid going on a weekend. It’s full of thousands of people, including tourists, so there is a chance you won’t even get a seat. Instead, go on a weekday afternoon or evening. This is when the locals go, and it is significantly less busy. Throw back a brew and get into a debate about the strengths and weaknesses of Bayern Munich, the popular local soccer team.
Outdoors in Munich
Locals know the best way to spend a day in the sunny summer Munich weather is to enjoy the outdoors. The Englischer Garten is the place that both locals and tourists enjoy. It is one of the largest parks in the world, and the perfect place to spend an afternoon. The Eisbach river runs through it, and locals tend to sunbathe near its banks. Nudity and topless sunbathing are normal here, so don’t be surprised if you see more than you expect around this area of the park--or, as a worldwide local, don’t be afraid to join in. Afterwards, hop in the river to cool off!
Worldwide Local Tip: For an adventurous time in Munich, try one of the city’s most unlikely pastimes--surfing. Water from the river flows out from a bridge, and people take to the giant wave to surf. If you’re a surfer, or if you just want to watch, there’s a small spot in the park. It is a little hard to find, but just follow the crowd and you should be able to find it. Even in the bitter cold of winter, people are out here surfing in the Englischer Garten.
History and Architecture
Munich has a lot of old buildings and churches which are certainly an interesting part of the fabric of the city. The famous Munich landmark, St. Peter’s Church, is a beautiful part of the old city. Towering above the Marienplatz, guests can climb up 183 feet of stairs to experience an amazing view of the city.
Worldwide Local Tip: Check out the lesser-known Assam Church on Sendlingerstraße. It may not provide the same views of the city, but the little church is so ornate and intricately designed that it will dazzle anyone. It is also free to walk in and look around.
Enjoy Your Visit!
Munich’s Bavarian traditions are a small part of what makes the city a unique and fun place to visit. Any worldwide local knows that to get the most out of any city, you have to look around and explore for the best experience. Luckily, Munich is full of amazing things to find.