30 Must-See Attractions in Munich

The dynamic, cosmopolitan city of Munich was recently named the worlds most liveable city by travel and lifestyle publication Monocle.
The dynamic, cosmopolitan city of Munich was recently named the world's most liveable city by travel and lifestyle publication 'Monocle'. | © Querbeet / iStock
Roanna Mottershead

Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend or planning to make Munich your new home, there’s plenty to see and do in Germany’s third biggest city. This green city is known for its beautiful parks, many museums, and beautiful palaces. To make the most of your trip, we’ve put together a list of attractions you can’t leave Munich without seeing, from the best museums to stunning city views.

1. Marienplatz


Panorama view of Munich city center showing the City Hall and the Frauenkirche
© Mapics / Shutterstock

This square has been the heart of the city since 1158 when it was used for markets and even tournaments. Today, it’s best known for the Christmas markets, which start three weeks before Christmas. Marienplatz is dominated by the Neues Rathaus, which covers 9,159 m² (3.5 sq mi) and has over 400 rooms. It was designed by Georg Hauberrisser, who won a competition to design the city’s new town hall. One of its most famous features is the elaborate Glockenspiel cuckoo clock with a carousel of figures dancing at 11am, noon, and 5pm.

2. Theatinerkirche

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Theatinerkirche in Munich on sunny afternoon
Kurt Liebhaeuser / Unsplash

Next to the Feldherrnhalle are the distinctive towers of the yellow Theatinerkirche (Theatine Church) standing at 66m (216.5ft) tall. This 17th-century Catholic church was built by a Bavarian nobleman to give thanks for the birth of a long-awaited heir to the throne. Its Italian architect, Agostino Barelli, brought a touch of the Mediterranean to Munich with its High Baroque style. Step past the yellow Rococo exterior into its incredibly beautiful, ornate interior, stare up at the dome 71 metres (233 feet) above, and admire the stucco and sculptures.

3. Eisbachwelle


The world-famous artificial standing wave in the Eisbach of the English Garden, which invites you to surf all year round.
Markus Spiske / Unsplash
The edge of the Englischer Garten opposite Bruderstrasse is home to one of Munich’s favourite and most unlikely pastimes – surfing. As water thunders out from beneath a small bridge, surfers line both sides of the bank waiting patiently for their turn. Surfers need to jump off the bank and onto their board as well as make sharp turns to avoid the river walls – that’s why Munich surf shops sell small boards with kevlar-protected edges. People tackle the waves year round, even during Munich’s bitter winters, and Eisbachwelle is strangely mesmerising.

4. Hofbräuhaus

Bar, Restaurant, German

Monica with a beer
monica di loxley / Unsplash
You know beer’s important to a city when there’s a state-run beer hall! The famous Hofbräuhaus dates back to the 16th century and offers the quintessential German beer hall experience complete with live brass band. Oktoberfest rules apply: no service without a seat, so expect to charm your way onto the end of a table and share space. If possible, avoid Friday and Saturday nights; as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Munich, it can take over 45 minutes to find a table and get a beer. For speedier service and a less stressful experience, go on a Sunday evening instead.

5. Glyptothek Museum


Glyptothek, Konigsplatz, Munich, Germany
Anna / Unsplash
One of the most impressive Neoclassical buildings of Königsplatz is the Glyptothek. This beautiful building claims to be the only museum in the world dedicated solely to ancient sculpture. Visitors are free to wander the exhibits and get up close with the art, which is openly laid out rather than hidden away behind glass. Far from a stuffy traditional museum, it feels like an art gallery and prides itself on interesting, modern twists – they currently have modern replicas of famous statues carved from wood with a chainsaw. An entry ticket will also grant access into the State Collection of Antiques in the opposite building, and it’s just €1 on Sundays.

6. Residenz

Memorial, Park

Right at the exit of Odeonsplatz U-Bahn station is the prestigious Residenz. Though it started as a modest castle in 1385, subsequent rulers renovated and expanded it, eventually turning it into a grand palace and gardens. Today, it’s a vast complex of museum and exhibitions about Bavaria’s history and also plays host to classical concerts and music competitions. Except for a handful of public holidays, it’s open daily until 5pm or 6pm, depending on the season. Make sure to leave luggage at home or the hotel – there are strict rules about bringing large bags into the Residenz.

7. Bavaria Statue


Munich’s answer to the Statue of Liberty stands guard over the Oktoberfest grounds each year. The 18.5-metre-tall (60.75 ft) statue erected in 1850 by King Ludwig I personifies Bavaria. Cast entirely in bronze and weighing almost 90 tons, it’s so big it had to be produced in several parts. Hidden inside the statue is a spiral staircase that leads to an observation deck, where the entire Oktoberfest area and downtown Munich are visible through four slits in her helmet.

8. St Peter's Church

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Munich, Germany
ian kelsall / Unsplash

A famous Munich landmark, St Peter’s Church (Peterskirche) towers above the city on a hill between Rindermarkt and Marienplatz, making it the perfect spot for an incredible view. From 56 metres (183.7 feet) up, look right down onto the rooftops of Aldstadt and Frauenkirche, the symbol of Munich. On a clear day, visitors can see over 100 kilometres (62 miles) into the distance, all the way to the Alps! Such a great view takes some legwork; there’s a winding spiral staircase with 306 steps to the top.

9. Nymphenburg Palace

Memorial, Park, Building

Schloss Nymphenburg, München, Deutschland
Sandra Grünewald / Unsplash
Nymphenburg Palace was built to celebrate the birth of the Bavarian heir Max Emanuel to the throne. With its beautiful gardens and grand rooms, it soon became a favorite of Bavarian rulers, several of whom were born or died here. Not as many rooms of the palace are open to tourists as might be expected; after seeing everything inside, get some fresh air in the extensive formal gardens.

10. Frauenkirche

Cathedral, Church

Dom zu Unserer Lieben Frau, Munich, Germany
Joshua Kettle / Unsplash
Frauenkirche’s two iconic onion domes are the most distinctive part of the Munich skyline. It was built in the late 15th century but was badly damaged by airstrikes in World War II and has been gradually restored. Look round the small inner chapels, and also find the grave of Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian inside. Climb the south tower for views across Munich – see right across to the Alps a clear day.

11. Viktualienmarkt


Viktualienmarkt, Munich, Germany
Sarah Donovan / Unsplash
Food market is a bit of an understatement for the sprawling stalls of Viktualienmarkt. The grandfather of Munich food markets, it moved to the square between Frauenstrasse and Heiliggeist-Kirche after outgrowing its original home at the heart of the city in Marienplatz. Today, the market offers everything from fresh vegetables and spices to butchers. It’s a great place to go for lunch – choose between homemade soup and a pretzel to fresh falafel. It’s also expanded beyond just food, and you can pick up homemade toiletries and fresh flowers.

12. Ammersee

Natural Feature

So close to the Alps, hikers are spoiled for choice in Munich. For a great blend of scenery, walking, and relaxation, head to Ammersee. You can get the S-Bahn directly from Marienplatz to Herrsching. From there, a popular hike is up to the Benedictine Andechs Monastery. It’s about a four-kilometre (2.5-mile) walk, including some hilly paths. The best bit? The monastery is also a brewery; therefore, you can reward your efforts with a beer in the sun!

13. Allianz Arena


FC Bayerns Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Saurav Rastogi / Unsplash
FC Bayern has a very dedicated fan base and the large, shiny Allianz Arena is its home turf. Going to one of the team’s matches is as much of a cultural experience as a sporting one. Look out for the bratwurst signs as you walk in, fans clad in lederhosen or dirndls (the traditional clothing that many people wear to Oktoberfest), and for the hardcore-fan section on the ground once you’re at your seat; with their drums, flags and singing, they will be hard to miss. Recommended by Valeriya Safronova.

14. Haus der Kunst

Art Gallery, Museum

Over the last few decades, the museum – founded during the Third Reich as the House of German Art – has developed into a truly global art institution. According to Dander, the thriving contemporary art exhibitions by artists from all around the globe, and site-specific installations in its middle hall – impressive both in size and ambition – make Haus der Kunst a must-see. She also recommends grabbing a drink at the museum’s Goldene Bar, whose innovative creations have won them several international bar prizes in recent years.

15. Deutsches Museum


Deutsches Museum, München, Deutschland
Wolfgang Tröscher / Unsplash
At 50,000 square metres, the Deutsches Museum is said to be the world’s biggest science and technology museum. Here you will find collections of windmills, locomotives, robots and ships, as well as numerous “firsts”: the first program-controlled computer, the first motorised plane built by the Wright brothers and Diesel’s first engine. Whether you’re interested in astronomy, clocks, musical instruments, transportation, machines or anything else, you’re likely to find something that excites your mind among the 100,000 objects at the museum. Recommended by Valeriya Safronova.

West Park

This park in the southwest of the city, about 10 minutes on the U-Bahn from Marienplatz, is often overlooked by tourists, yet it has so much to offer. As well as a BBQ area by the lake, it has a Japanese garden, a Thai temple and even an outdoor cinema in summer. Many families and friends bring picnics or have a BBQ, but there’s also a beer garden and a tiny wooden hut selling spit-roasted fish (steckerlfisch) for those who don’t fancy cleaning the BBQ!


This museum is a reminder of a past that Munich all too often tries to sweep under the rug. More than a collection of Nazi documents, its focuses on the history of antisemitism and racism, and the many different forms they can take. Its blank white walls and hushed, library-like atmosphere mirror the seriousness of its content. The exhibits are almost entirely text based, so reading stools are even provided for relief – make sure to take one as you’re bound to spend more time here than intended.

Müllersches Volksbad

A swimming pool might not sound like much of a destination, but this beautiful Art Nouveau building on the banks of the Isar shouldn’t be missed. Müllersches Volksbad Volksbad has been a public pool since it opened in 1901, and taking a dip today still costs only €5.50 (£4.64/$5.89). Inside is also a Roman steam bath and a Finnish-style sauna with colourful lighting. You’ll need to make like a Münchener, though, and leave the bathing suit at the door – saunas are an important part of German culture, and in most saunas, swimwear is actually banned.

State Collection of Egyptian Art

Despite covering over 5,000 years with its collection, this museum prides itself on presenting its ancient relics in an easily digestible way – quality over quantity. The building itself is worth seeing; set below ground with bare concrete walls, large halls, and custom neon lights, it manages to be modern and interesting yet match its contents perfectly. Good German-speakers can also attend one of their regular lectures on ancient Egyptian culture.

The Botanical Gardens

Right next door to Nymphenburg Palace are Munich’s Botanical Gardens, covering over 50 acres. The greenhouse complex is home to everything from palm trees to terrapins inside its beautifully tropical environment – keep an eye out for the lawn-mowing robot. There’s also a café in the centre of the gardens serving full meals, alcoholic drinks, and excellent ice cream. Open almost everyday until early evening, the gardens are strangely good for a rainy day, and at only €5.50 a ticket for adults, visiting is a bargain.

The Monopteros, Englisch Garten

While the garden is better known for river surfing and naked sunbathing than it is for its views, there’s also a Grecian-style bandstand called the Monopteros, hidden in this sprawling 900-acre park. Munich is a pretty flat city, so King Ludwig I decided a Greek temple was just what his Englisch Garten needed, and the hill was constructed 15 metres (49 feet) high from bricks then covered with earth. Today, it offers views back down to central Munich including the distinctive onion domes of Frauenkirche.


Though this park is best known as the place to go tobogganing in Munich in winter, it also offers great views of the city from its hill, made from World War II rubble. On a clear day, even the Alps are visible. Rather than a traditional beer garden, Luitpoldpark has a Mexican cantina at its centre. Ready to work off those spicy tacos? Join one of the free “Fit im Park” sessions run by the city, or just get lost in the hedge maze.

Asam Church

Tucked in between the buildings on Sendlingerstrasse is one of the most important late baroque buildings in southern Germany. This tiny chapel measures just 22 by 8 metres (72 by 26 feet), but it’s full of ornate marble work and statues. It was built from 1733 to 1746 by the Asam brothers as their personal chapel, hoping to secure their salvation in building it – they could even see the altar from their house next door. The interior of the church conveys their goal quite clearly: the lightest part of the church is the top, symbolising the salvation of heaven, while the pews representing the earth are mostly in darkness.

Museum Brandhorst

Museum Brandhorst only opened its doors in 2009 but has already become an established part of the Munich art museum trail. Rather than packing the hyper-modern building full of exhibits, the museum has wide-open galleries and vast white walls. Its permanent exhibitions include works by modern art icons such as Damien Hirst, Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol (including his Marilyn portrait). Make the most of €1 entry on Sundays and avoid Mondays when the Brandhorst is closed.

Lake Starnberg

If you have more than a couple of days in the city, make like a Münchner and spend the afternoon relaxing by a lake. Just 36 minutes on the S-Bahn from Marienplatz will take you to Lake Starnberg – Germany’s fifth largest freshwater lake. Only 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the center, it feels like another world. Starnberg even gets a mention in T. S. Elliot’s poem The Waste Land. If you’re not inspired to pen a poem, stroll around the lakeside, stop for a beer and admire the view. In summer you can also rent boats, pedalos, or even take a dip.

Bellevue di Monaco

A cultural and community centre, Bellevue di Monaco is run as a social cooperative by locals and refugees; every member has an equal share and vote in the way the organisation operates. Stop by Bellevue di Monaco to taste one of the dishes on their menu, which changes daily and includes options such as moussaka, tagine and mezze plates. As well as providing housing for young refugees who’ve aged out of the youth care system, the centre, which opened in 2018, offers recurring events to the public including poetry and rap workshops, open art studios, boxing classes, concerts, language courses, migration counselling and film screenings. Check the centre’s online calendar to see what’s coming up. Recommended by Valeriya Safronova.

The parabolic slide at The Technical University of Munich

Located in the maths department of The Technical University of Munich, the parabolic slide is a work of art, a way for students to get around and a fun attraction for visitors. The slide extends from the fourth floor of the building’s atrium down to the ground and is in the shape of a parabola, which looks like a wide U. Anyone is welcome to zip down, and many have, including a former prime minister of Bavaria. Though technically located in Garching, the maths department’s building is easy to get to on the U-bahn, or the underground, from Munich. Recommended by Valeriya Safronova.

Alte Utting

Once a pleasure boat that sailed around the Ammersee – a lake in Bavaria – the Alte Utting was decommissioned several years ago after a six-decade run. A group of friends decided to buy the boat; they cut it in half, shut down the autobahn, and brought it to Munich, where it has become a combination of a bar, food market and events space. Alte Utting’s decks are a great place to watch the sunset, and its indoor areas are a welcoming place to warm up in the colder months. Nearby, the same group of friends runs a popular club in a previously abandoned lot, called Bahnwärter Thiel. Here, you can party inside of a subway car or the main building, or come during daylight and early evening hours for flea markets, dance lessons and exhibitions. Recommended by Valeriya Safronova.

The Long Night of Music

The aptly named ‘Die Lange Nacht de Musik’ – long night of music – sees the city of Munich turned into a huge network of concert venues. From cultural embassies to cosy wine bars, you can see many different types of artists perform at over 100 venues with just one ticket. The best bit is that the organisers have partnered with the city’s transport networks to provide four different routes around the city to shuttle music lovers from venue to venue, all included in your €20 ticket.


If you’re not in Munich for Oktoberfest, no problem – April is the time for Frühlingsfest, also affectionately known as ‘little Wiesn’, the little Oktoberfest. Like its big brother, there are plenty of rides and two large beer tents selling the special ‘festbier’. A maß will set you back €12.60, a slight price increase on recent years. If you like vintage vehicles, make sure to check out the collection of vintage cars, buses, and tractors at the Oldtimertreffen. It’s a great excuse to dust off your dirndl and start enjoying the weather.

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