12 Must-Do Experiences in Munich

This list of 12 must-do experiences in Munich helps you make the most of your time here in the Bavarian capital. Without a doubt the #1 thing to do in Munich is to visit Marienplatz. From there, continue on to medieval courtyards and historical buildings. Then visit the sprawling English Garden to see Munich’s most unique attraction—surfers on a standing wave on the Eisbach River!

Marienplatz 1, 80331 München, Germany
I would compare Marienplatz to the Grand Place in Brussels, but with a Bavarian twist. The square in Munich is almost as large, and its town hall just as impressive. A beautiful destination for lovers of architecture. While the square itself is a beautiful and lively hub, be sure to checkout the market nearby for authentic goods!
Olympiapark, Spiridon-Louis-Ring 7, 80992 München, Germany
Take a quick, ear-popping elevator ride to the observation deck of the Olympiaturm (190 meters or 623 feet), in the center of Olympic Park, and see across the whole city—as far as the Alps, in clear weather. The last elevator goes up at 11:30pm, making it a good way to see the city lights. And if standing on the observation deck isn’t your thing, make a reservation in the revolving restaurant and watch the city views roll by.
7 Bavariafilmplatz
Bavaria Film Studios is to Bavaria what Universal Studios is to California. The 90-minute guided “Filmstadt Complete” tour starts off with movie magic by way of a 4D motion simulation cinema. Your guide then leads you into studios where movies and television series were filmed. Many of the sets are from German movies, which not everyone will be familiar with, but it’s still interesting to see how movies are made. The standout of the tour, and a movie that most people will be familiar with, is a visit to part of the Never Ending Story set. If you’re lucky, you’ll even have a chance to ride Falkor and watch yourself fly over mountains on the screen while listening to the theme song “The Never Ending Stoooooorrrry.”
Prinzregentenstraße, 80538 München, Germany
It takes some German engineering to surf in land-locked Bavaria. But endless rides are possible on the Eisbach wave, a man-made, standing curl in the middle of a narrow artificial stream that runs through the English Garden. It has drawn both international river surfers—even in winter—and gawking crowds since soon after the wave was created in 2000. The Eisbach wave is located at the southern edge of the English Garden park, near the Haus der Kunst art museum. This appeared in the November/December 2011 issue.
Platzl 3, 80331 München, Germany
Hidden away just to the left of Starbucks is a corridor that leads you to a medieval courtyard. Numerous artists, craftsmen, and civil servants have lived here since medieval times, and the residences are still in use today. So much of life in medieval times took place in courtyards like this one, away from the prying eyes of the street. Stepping into Platzl Gassen feels a little bit like slipping back in time a few hundred years. Of particular interest are the houses at Platzl 2 and 3 with their “Ohrwascheln"—asymmetrical roofs.
Theatinerstraße 22, 80333 München, Germany
Theatine Church (Theatinerkirche in German) towers over Odeonsplatz. The inside is mostly white marble, a contrast to the bright yellow facade. It’s much more formal inside than many other churches in Munich and is the burial place for many Bavarian royalty, including King Maximilian II. The Catholic Church was built from 1663 to 1690. It was severely damaged during WWII. Look for a newspaper clipping on the right side of the church, about halfway down to see it in its destructive state. Thankfully it was carefully restored.
18 Maximiliansplatz
Much of Munich was bombed in WWII, but here and there you can see glimpses of what it looked like before the war. One such example is the remains of the historic gate sandwiched in between two more modern buildings (pictured above) on Maximilianplatz. While you’re in the area, the Wittelsbach Fountain is also worthy of a photo.
7 Lenbachplatz
The Palace of Justice (“Justizpalast” in German) is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Munich. It was constructed from 1890-1897 by the architect Friedrich von Thiersch in neo-baroque style. The highlight of the building is the 67m glass dome. It houses the Bavarian Department of Justice and the District Court of Munich.
1 Residenzstraße
The Feldherrenhallewas was modelled after the “Loggia dei Lanzi " in Florence. It was commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria and constructed between 1841 to 1844. It was built as a monument to celebrate the Bavarian army and its victorious generals. Unfortunately it’s also the place of a tragic incident. On November 9, 1923, a confrontation between the Bavarian State Police and an illegally organized march by the followers of Adolf Hitler took place here. When the police issued the stop of the march, the protestors continued. The State Police tried to regain control of the crowd and opened fire. Four policemen and sixteen marchers were killed and many more were injured as a result. Consequently, Hitler was arrested and sentenced to prison.
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