Best known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration, hosting the 1972 Summer Olympics (marred by the Israeli hostage crisis), and home to major multinational companies like BMW, Munich is also the capital of the German state of Bavaria and a top tourist destination. There are a myriad of things to see and do in Munich which features numerous museums, theaters, world class restaurants, biergartens, architectural landmarks and more.
With so much to see and do in Munich, where do you start? Here are our top 10 things to see and do in Munich, Germany.
Marienplatz is the central square for Munich and has been since 1158. The square was originally known as Schrannen but was changed to Marienplatz (i.e. St. Mary’s Square) after the erection of large column in the center of the square called the Marian column dedicated to St. Mary to celebrate the end of the Swedish occupation.
The Alstadt (Old Town) square is a must see as it is home to other attractions on this list as well as featuring a bustling, high energy environment with street performers, musicians, restaurants beer halls and more. If you want a true taste of old Bavaria, this is where you need to go.
2. Church of Our Lady
One of the most photographed landmarks associated with the Munich skyline, the Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady is a short walk from the Marienplatz. It’s distinct gothic architecture features two domed towers. The church was finished in the 1400s, was demolished by allied bombs during World War II and rebuilt shortly after the war.
When visiting the church, be sure to go to the top of south tower for spectacular views of Munich and the Bavarian Alps.
3. Neues Rathaus
The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) is located within the Marienplatz along its north side. Built in 1867, New Town Hall’s neo-gothic structure features a main façade that includes almost the entire line of the house of Wittelsbach in Bavaria.
The real treat though is the Glockenspiel in the tower balcony. Time your visits to Marienplatz so you can the Glockenspiel in action. The two levels of the Glockenspiel represent stories from Munich’s past and run daily at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.
4. St. Peter’s Church
Another landmark located in Marienplatz, St. Peter’s Church, or Alter Peter (“Old Peter”) as the locals refer to the church, was build in the 11th century and is a must see for its history and architecture. There are more than a few attractions at the church but be sure to check out the bejeweled skeleton of St. Munditia and climb the 299 steps to the top of the church’s tower for a breathtaking view of Munich’s center.
5. English Garden
To describe the expansive public park in Munich known as “The Englische Garten”, you would have to equate to any of the world’s famous public parks such as Central Park in New York. Built in 1789, the English Garden park is of the largest public parks in the world, stretching from the center of Munich to its northeastern city limits.
Along its 48.5 miles of paths, fields, garden areas and monuments, you’ll find soccer fields, a boating lake and numerous beer gardens. To see most of the park, get their early, rent a bike and travel around the park.