Much like the incredible Town Hall at Grote Markt in Brussels, the Neue Rathaus absolutely dominates the main square in Munich, Marienplatz. Within its walls sit the offices of the Mayor and the city council, where they’ve been since leaving the old town hall in the 1800s.
While the history may not fascinate you, you cannot help but to be taken in by the architecture. The neo-gothic behemoth features a tower which is nearly 90m tall, and every part of the building is striking - go check it out, and bask in how tiny it makes you feel! Even better, climb to the top of the tower and enjoy the best view in town.
This might well be the most famous brewery in the world. It’s a great place to learn all about beer, and its history and influence in Germany. It’s also a great place to enjoy a pint or two of the stuff yourself! There are cosy, tavern-like rooms, as well as a number of dining areas where you can have a good meal.
For those rare, sunny summer days, there’s a beer garden which would enjoy your company, I’m quite sure!
If you’re a fan of football (yes it’s football in Europe, not soccer!) then you are probably already familiar with the stunning home of European giants FC Bayern Munich - the Allianz Arena. Just shy of 70,000 supporters are packed into the stadium, and the fans are much closer to the action than you’d expect from most modern stadia, since there isn’t a running track surrounding the pitch.
The facilities are pretty good overall, with a nice bar and plenty of food vendors. Even if you can’t make it on a matchday, it’s a stunning venue where you can go for lunch or take part in a guided tour, learning about the history of Germany’s most successful football team.
Did you know there was a statue in Munich which is meant to be a female personification of "the Bavarian homeland". It stands at 18 meters tall, is made of bronze and actually has a stairwell built into its rear, which allows you to climb up and look through its eyes onto the city below.
During Oktoberfest, the view is over all the multicolored market stalls, tents and visitors - it’s a cracking view, and worth the small detour away from the beers!
The Hellabrunn Zoo is more of a nature reserve than an old-fashioned, tight-caged zoo. Animals are given plenty of room to roam, and there are over 750 exotic and fascinating species of animal to gaze upon. It sits on the bank of the Isar River, and you can really make a day of it by bringing a picnic lunch. I would plan for a whole day, so you can see everything - if you get bored, it’s only a quick journey back into the middle of town!
Maybe a little more romantic than a trip to the zoo (not that you couldn’t enjoy it with a couple of mates if you wanted to) is a rafting trip along the Isar River, which runs right through Bavaria and isn’t too far from the city centre. You depart from a small town just 30km south of the city, and head right through the Isar Valley - a stunning, tranquil location.
The Victuals Market (or Viktualienmarkt) is a farmer’s market right in the middle of the city, and it has everything. From seafood that’s barely out of the water, to fresh meats, fruit and vegetables, there are staples for your entire weekly shop. Beyond that there is cheese, honey, spices, fruit juice and a thousand other items are freshly prepared and fairly priced. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s a really fun way to pass an hour in the afternoon, just gazing at all the produce. Plus, it’s a great environment to practice your bartering German!
Want a place to chill out with your mates? English Garden. Maybe somewhere to chuck a frisbee, sit alone with your book or just lie down with earphones in, getting a tan on a sunny day?
It’s enormous, with loads of green space and even entertainment: where the bridge crosses the Eisbach river there are often surfers (in wetsuits) honing their craft against the strong currents. Best thing, it’s right next to the Ludwig Maximilian University, so you can relax there in-between (or instead of…) lectures.
While few people hold any modern Germans to account over the appalling actions of Adolf Hitler in the first half of the 20th century, there’s no escaping Munich’s darker, more morbid history. The Hitler and the 3rd Reich Walking Tour lasts 2.5 hours and is led by an exceptionally knowledgeable guide, and will give you a considerable working understanding of what went on, and why, back in those days. If you’re going to live in Germany, it couldn’t hurt to get to know its history.
There was never any question as to which event would top this list - Oktoberfest, the largest folk (read: beer?) festival in the world, is probably about as famous as the city itself! If you’ve never been, Oktoberfest is essentially a coming-together of the finest and oldest breweries in the country; visitors gorge themselves on fine beer and traditional German food, and later on there’s all sorts of upbeat music to dance to. It’s a massive party, and it’s one of the best in Europe.
Every year, the people of Munich take the time to celebrate both its founding and its rich history since that day, June 14th, 1158. Marienplatz will be alight with performance artists and musicians for two whole days - sadly these aren’t public holidays, but they’re some of the most fun days of the calendar year, so try to hang around until mid-July!
Ever heard of the Bavarian State Ballet? They are a phenomenally talented dance organization who perform some of the world’s finest ballet shows - for a week in April, every year, both they and other companies put on a plethora of enchanting performances. People travel from around Europe to witness these shows - it’s in your back garden, so you should 100% be checking them out!
Ah, the Christmas markets. These are famous all across Germany, and Munich put in at least as much effort as anywhere else! With enchanting choirs, stalls selling goods of every shape, size and type - in fact, there are over twenty separate Christmas markets in Munich, so you can spend days getting enveloped in their Christmas cheer and building excitement for December 25th.
As with many major European cities, Munich hosts its very own International Film Festival, which aims to celebrate the incomparable art of cinema in all its glory. What that means for you is the opportunity to go see any of the 50 (or so) brand new films which are released every year, exclusively at this festival. Film festivals are often centered around the famous or industry-specialists, but the Munich team strongly encourage locals to get involved and see as many movies as possible! June-July 2017.
Enjoy live entertainment and hand-crafted cocktails? These are proper cocktails, not the 4 for €3 cocktails you might get in a nightclub. Whether it’s dancing, spoken word poetry or some emerging musical talent, there’s always something extra going on at Bar Gabanyi. It’s just a stone’s through from the Oktoberfest grounds, so very accessible.
With a rich history and room for thousands of punters, there’s nowhere quite like Hofbrauhaus for a noisy, beery Bavarian night. Get huge steins of beer, enjoy the live music and don’t get pissy if someone spills a bit of drink on your shoes - Hofbrauhaus is about having fun and stripping away any of the pretension you get at other bars.
There are plenty of bars which produce good cocktails in Munich (like Bar Gabanyi), but cocktails are in the Martini Club’s blood - it’s what they do. There’s a bit of a wait for drinks (hopefully testament to the dedication and personal love put into each drink…), the decor is pretty nice and the food is decent. However, you go to the Martini Club for exceptional cocktails - definitely the place to go for a celebration!
You weren’t expecting a bunch of boring, traditional recommendations here, were you? Not on our watch. Not while there are garden bars to talk about! The floors are wooden, there’s a bunch of plants and large stones, a subtle green lighting - it really does have an "outside inside" sort of feel. The drinks are great though, and the club nights at the weekend are some of the best.
Augustinerkeller is one of the nicest, most highly-praised bars in the whole city of Munich. Surrounded by lush greenery and bathed in sunshine (whenever the sun chooses to visit Munich..) there’s probably nowhere nicer to relax with your mates and a heavy mug of fresh, cold beer. On a summer’s day, it’s a paradise.
Located at Fünf Höfe, a popular shopping mall in Munich, Dead & David is fast food, but it’s nothing like McDonald’s. It’s healthy, organic and inexpensive. They do tasty curries and handmade salads, as well as staples like soup and sandwiches. On a warm day, you can sit outside on their terrace to enjoy your food as well!
Want some traditional German food for lunch or dinner? Then turn away, as we’re taking a trip to Mexico! It’s a pretty simple taco and burrito place, but unless times have changed, most students love nothing more than a tasty, cheap(ish) Mexican meal. The decor, music and staff make you feel like you’ve been transported out of Munich and into Mexico City!
Okay, so it’s a cafe rather than a restaurant, but it’s open for breakfast and lunch and is one of the smartest places to eat in Munich. Not much better on a weekend morning than brunch, a good book and strong coffee served by a friendly waiter! They prepare tasty new specials every day in addition to their staples: sandwiches, salads, and of course, cakes and snacks.
Sometimes you’re itching for greasy, cheesy fast-food no matter how it affects your cholesterol - if that’s the case, visit Daddy Longlegs and fill up on super healthy, super tasty superfoods. Super! From quesadillas to pastries and smoothies, they have a pretty diverse menu. The best part is that because the food is so nice, it doesn’t feel like you’re just eating leaves to be healthy!
It might be cheeky to suggest this is one of the best "restaurants" in the city, but you’re a student. And when students ask “Where to eat in Munich?” they really mean “Where to eat at 4am in Munich?” - Bergwolf is your answer! Open until 2am midweek and 4am on the weekends, Bergwolf sell simple, good food to sate the hunger of the exhausted masses on their way home from a night out. Trust me, you’ll learn to love it more than the supermarket!