Aside from Oktoberfest and biergartens, what else does Munich have to offer? My friends and I (a small group of twenty-something year olds) are seriously considering going next year and need a little kick start!
My husband and I ventured up to Olympiapark for an afternoon. They had activities at the stadium-we watched a wall climbing competition-food carts, the memorial to the Isreali athletes, the SEA LIFE München aquarium and a sort of sports walk of fame with athletes shoe prints cast in bronze. You can also climb the stadiums roof and go up in the Olympic Tower.
We also spent some time in the English Garden. There are 4 beer gardens within the park and a Japanese tea house. It's a gorgeous park and worth it to visit for a picnic or to watch the pick-up soccer games.
On the more "sight-seeing" category, we both really enjoyed the Munich Residenz, which had to be mostly rebuilt after the war (enjoyed seeing the before the war, after the war pics), Nymphenburg Palace (amazing palace, very well preserved, great tour), and if you are in the mood-do not miss Dachau concentration camp just outside Munich. It's worth the visit, by far, but is a very difficult experience.
And if you are in to cars, the BMW Museum is a must!
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My trip to Munich last year centered around Oktoberfest, so we didn't really see much outside of that and the standard city sightseeing, but I wanted to throw out a few things BMW Welt, the BMW plant and museum in Munich, is very cool. I'm not a car person at all but it was a really gorgeous museum and a good option for a rainy day. The Deutsches Museum is another really great museum option in Munich.
Church of Saint Johann Nepomuk is a beautiful church to see and you can get great views of Munich if you walk up to the top of St. Peter's Church. From their you'll have the perfect view of the Neues Rathaus and Marienplatz.
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Oktoberfest is the worldwide draw, but for people who live next to the fairgrounds like me, it can be a bit of a drag. Many years ago, it was a Bavarian Festival, and while its still fun, these days its heaving with American and Australian tourists in knock-off traditional clothing they buy as soon as they get off the plane. Oh - and they are all roaring drunk. Contrary to popular legend, this is not the way the Bavarians used to do it.
so i totally get wanting to do something else. If you are into beer festivals generally, a good alternative would be the Frühlingsfest, which generally happens at the end of April, is on the same fairground as the Oktoberfest, and has all the same stuff, just much smaller. Up until i posted this, very few tourists as well. You get the beer and the outfits, with better weather and no barfing college boys.
additionally, there are local events like Tollwood, which happens twice a year, once in the summer and once at Christmas, with lots of food, but also concerts, some free,and cocktails. No tourists at all but very full....so a great chance to meet locals.
there is also the street life festival, sometime in The summer, which brings street performers from all over europe to the city and they perform in one place....nice with locals in flip flops and a good summer feeling.
these are events - but living here, i can tell you that any summer weekend is basically an event on its own. Munich is beautiful, green, and the weather even at the height of summer is pleasant, not hot. There is always something to do, even if that just means grabbing a case of beer and going down to the riverbank (down near the zoo is a good spot for this).
OK, this is maybe not what you're looking for, but honestly, it wasn't what I thought I was looking for when I visited Munich, either!
When my friend and I were there, we literally stumbled upon a free walking tour of the city offered by SANDEMANs NEW Munich Tours. I am, by nature, always leery of doing the "tourist" thing and doing a tour, but it was free, the guide was in her mid- to late-twenties and was hilarious and engaging, so we thought, "Eh, we'll follow along for awhile."
It wound up being probably one of my most favorite experiences of my 10-day trip to Germany.
The tour was filled with fascinating bits of history and architecture I totally would have missed had I not had someone point it out to me. The city is filled with tiny details that you might otherwise see and dismiss, but their stories are rich in meaning and history (and I am NOT a history person), and the guide helps you see and learn about them.
*Bonus: It really gives you a good feel of the city, so you'll know where else you might like to go after the 2-3 hour tour is over.
After the awesome walking tour, we found out there was another walking tour offered later that evening for all the famous breweries in Munich, so we'd be getting another fascinating history tour, but with great beer :D. We wound up taking that tour, drinking some of the best beer I've ever had, and meeting 25 new drinking friends from all over the world. Also one of my most favorite experiences, although the people we were surrounded by probably "made" the experience.
If I ever get to go back to Munich and spend more than a day, I'd love to explore the surrounding Bavarian region, so I'd recommend checking around to see what's out there, too.
Enjoy Munich! It's one of my favorite cities!
Dachau is definitely a must see, such an indescribable experience, especially if you've never been to a concentration camp before. The town itself is also quite cute and enjoyable to stroll through.
Nymphenburg Palace is beautiful, the grounds more so than the actual palace -- allow for time to wander, so worthwhile. The carriage museum is also really neat, you don't generally get to see such a grand collection of royal carriages at other palaces.
(Nymphenburg Palace Park)
Also if you hang around the river long enough on a weekend you'll notice a bunch of youth like to go down there with beers and hang out. We witnessed a very strange impromptu rap battle on a Friday night.