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What Is Munich, Germany Known For?
Located just off the banks of the Isar River in Bavaria, Munich is a city brimming with impressive landmarks and enjoyable attractions. Whether visiting or settling down as a permanent resident, you’ll come across an abundance of opportunities to engage in Munich’s vibrant culture.
Munich, Germany, is known for being Germany’s most productive urban city. Bavaria’s capital is also famed for its beer gardens, festivals, architecture, food, public parks, shopping opportunities, and historical museums.
There are dozens of things to do and try in Munich, making it a hub for tourists from all around the world. It’s such an incredible city that British magazine Monocle listed it as the “most liveable city in the world.” Read on to learn more about the world-famous Munich, Germany.
Munich Is Home to Dozens of Beer Gardens
Home to the world’s most famous beer tavern in the world, Munich is renowned for this frothy alcoholic beverage. The city boasts the self-proclaimed “world’s best beer,” and its people take pride in their many breweries, festivals, and gardens dedicated to the hoppy drink.
Hofbräuhaus is considered Munich’s most well-known brewery and the most famous beer tavern in the world. The brewery exports its spicy Hofbräu Dunkel beer worldwide, and the historic beer hall is centuries old and attracts over a million visitors every year. What makes the beer extra special is that the hops are sourced locally from the Hallertau in Bavaria.
Beer festivals are also popular in Munich. The Nockherberg Starkbierfest is the most popular, held in March during Lenten. Like many of Munich’s taverns, the festival has been around for centuries—started by Paulaner monks in the seventeenth century. The festival was relatively small but began drawing in crowds after being publicly televised in the 1980s. Starkbierfest means “Strong Beer Festival.”
In addition to taverns, breweries, and beer festivals, Munich is home to dozens of beer gardens. Beer gardens, or “Biergarten” in German, are outdoor areas where people serve beer, food, and other refreshments.
Some of the beer gardens in Munich include:
- Chinesischer Turm – Located in Englischer Garten, Chinesischer Turm is Munich’s oldest beer garden. Because of the pagoda-style building’s close proximity to the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the garden attracts a more youthful crowd. Here, visitors indulge in both brew and classic Bavarian cuisine.
- Biergarten Muffatwerk – This is not your traditional beer garden. Opened in 2002, Biergarten Muffatwerk offers vegetarian meals and light dishes along with the classic Hofbräu and Bio-Lammsbräu on tap. In addition, they offer wine and coffee, and even have a nearby playground for children.
- Viktualienmarkt – In the heart of Munich, you’ll find Biergarten Viktualienmarkt, or the Viktualienmarkt Beer Garden. Visitors enjoy tasting beer from all of the most popular local breweries and indulge in self-serve Bavarian food. Viktualienmarkt is more than just a beer garden—it’s also a gourmet food market.
One of the most well known things about Munich has to be its annual beer festival, Oktoberfest.
This annual beer festival, held for two weeks in September/October, is known for being one of the largest festivals in the world with millions of people attending each and every year. 2019 saw 6.3 million visitors to the festival and 6.9 million liters of beer consumed.
If you’re planning a trip to Munich during this time you won’t want to miss this festival! Be sure to dress to impress with the proper attire. Women wear a traditional Dirndl and men wear the original Bavarian Lederhosen pants.
Munich Has a Globally-Significant Economy
Globally, Munich is among the fifty most connected cities in the world. In 2020, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) listed Munich as an “alpha city.” GaWC considers alpha cities as significant regions that connect major economic areas of the world.
Munich’s economy benefits from its diversified sectors, including:
- Television Production
The city is home to dozens of multinational companies and corporations, including BMW, Allianz, Munich Re, and MTU Aero Engines.
Science plays an integral role in Munich’s economy, with two research universities, dozens of scientific research centers, and science and technology-based museums.
Munich also draws a lot of revenue from tourism. Estimations show that over 70 million people visit Bavaria’s capital every year. The multitude of architectural and cultural sites and attractions, captivate visitors, leading many to make Munich a permanent residence. In fact, foreign-born citizens make up nearly 40 percent of Munich’s population.
Munich Is Renowned for Its Stunning Architecture
The splendid architecture is one of the main reasons tourists flock to the historic city of Munich. Some of the architecture is massive and dramatic, whereas other buildings are humble yet equally impressive. No matter where you travel within the city, you’re guaranteed to come across remarkable architecture that makes you stop in your tracks.
Asam Church (Asamkirche)
The Baroque architecture and ornate marble work, statues, and gloriously detailed paintings are a sight to behold in this quaint church. Built in the mid-1700s, Asam Church is a tiny church—72 feet by 26 feet (22 m x 8 m)—with a big personality. Egid Quirin Asam and Cosmas Asam built the church and covered it in paintings depicting moral messages. Their goal was to draw the young children of Munich back to the church in the hopes that they would lead righteous lives.
Cathedral of Our Dear Lady (Frauenkirche)
A landmark in Munich, Frauenkirche’s spherical domes dominate part of the Munich skyline. The Gothic design features upward pillars. The cathedral is centuries old, like many buildings in Munich. Construction began in 1468, but the warfare of World War II destroyed much of it. Since then, restoration projects are slowly restoring the church to its former glory.
Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Herz-Jesu-Kirche)
Chances are, you’ve never seen a church quite like Herz-Jesu-Kirche. A Catholic church, Herz-Jesu-Kirche is uniquely impressive, recognized by its cube-shaped lined with glass. The interior is yet another cube made of wood. Designed by Allmann Sattler Wappner, the building fully opens up in the front, mainly for Catholic high feast days.
The New Town Hall (the Neues Rathaus)
At the heart of Marienplatz stands The Neues Rathaus, Munich’s town hall. The building is recognized as one of the most famous in the city, thanks to its massive size and stunning Neo-Gothic architecture. The building is so impressive, in fact, that the architect, Georg von Hauberrisser, won an award for its design.
Munich Features Some Delicious, Traditional Foods
People celebrate Munich for its beer gardens, but the city’s food is equally as delicious.
Bavarian cuisine features traditional foods that date back to the medieval period, and much of Munich’s cuisine is meat-based. Some of the most popular foods in Munich include:
- Weißwürste – This is a Bavarian sausage made from minced white veal and pork back. Chefs season the sausage with sweet, clean, and peppery herbs like lemon, onions, ginger, and parsley.
- Schweinshaxe – Sometimes referred to as “pork knuckle,” Schweinshaxe is an Oktoberfest staple. The Bavarian dish is juicy and tender with crisp, salty skin.
- Obazda – This is a cheese spread made from aged cheese and butter. It’s seasoned with spicy paprika, salt, and pepper and flavored with a small amount of beer. This Bavarian delicacy is most often served with brezen (pretzels).
- Dampfnudeln – These German dumplings are made from yeast dough and are savory or sweet. Savory dampfnudeln are often served with meat or gravy, whereas the sugary dumplings pair best with vanilla sauce, fruit, and a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Apfelstrudel – While Austrians invented apple strudels, Munich seems to be well-known for them. You can find them at nearly any shop throughout the city. Bakers fill this flaky, crispy pastry with a cinnamon-based apple filling and serve it hot with confectioner’s sugar. Some dining areas serve it with ice cream, sweet sauces, or custard.
Munich is also home to many restaurants, including Tantris, which boasts two Michelin stars. This extravagant, luxurious, architect-designed dining facility serves international dishes. Atelier Hotel Bayerischer Hof also has two Michelin stars and is a fine-dining restaurant located on the hotel’s ground floor.
For more casual joints, try Gastrobar Kopper, Mural, or Trumpf oder Kritisch. For vegetarians and vegans, Gratitude is the venue for you.
Munich Has Dozens of Beautiful Public Parks
Much of Munich is open space, so it’s no surprise that the city hosts numerous public parks, including The Englischer Garten and Marienplatz Square.
Created in the 18th century, The Englischer Garten is located within the center of Munich. It’s considered one of the world’s largest public parks within an urban setting. On warm days, you may come across a crowd of nudists in the naturist’s area of the park—it’s a common sight and regular across Germany.
The Englischer Garten boasts numerous jogging, cycling, and bridle paths. The southern end of the park has many hills, monuments, and stream “shorelines.” This area is typically more crowded than the northern end of The Englischer Garten, consisting of old trees and thick brush.
Marienplatz Square is even older than The Englischer Garten, dating back to the 12th century. It’s considered the busiest landmark within Munich. Photographers love Marienplatz, thanks to its gothic buildings and gargoyles. The area comes to life with the breathtaking Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) held in the square during the winter.
Other well-known parks across Munich include Ostpark, Olympiapark, Westpark, and Hofgarten.
The City Offers Extensive Shopping Opportunities
There is no shortage of shopping opportunities in Munich. Shoppers from all over Germany journey to the city to find bargains and high-end luxury items all in one city. One of the best bargain stores in Europe is Primark. Some of the more expensive shops include Louis Vuitton, Armani, Chanel, Hermès and Gucci.
Three of the best places to shop in Munich include:
- Maximilianstraße is the “royal avenue” and home to Munich’s wealthiest citizens. Not far from Marienplatz Square, the area features luxury shopping opportunities, including jewelry stores, art galleries, and elegant hotels. Restaurants and cafés line the streets, which offer impressive views of Neo-Gothic architecture.
- The Fünf Höfe is on Theatinerstraße and contains exclusive shops and galleries, with architecturally unique buildings. There are fashion shops, home décor stores, and cafés and bars. You’ll also find spas and hair salons, among other services.
- Gärtnerplatz is the “trendy” spot in Munich and hosts bars, pubs, and independently-owned shops that sell various items, from jewelry to clothes or furniture to art. If you’re looking for something that’s one-of-a-kind, this is the shopping district for you.
Munich Features Several Museums and Art Galleries
Munich is home to dozens of museums and art galleries, thanks to its centuries-old history. When visiting Munich, you won’t get the chance to see them all in a day or even a week, as there are over 80 museums located throughout Bavaria’s capital. The museums feature luxurious state-run facilities as well as smaller attractions with single themes.
Museums are such an essential part of Munich’s culture that in October, they celebrate Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of Museums). Art galleries, museums, and cultural centers stay open late and offer special exhibitions, concerts, and film screenings.
Some of Munich’s museums include:
- Deutsches Museum – Located on the Isar River, Deutsches Museum offers hours of fun for families. The museum is six stories tall and features interactive displays, live demonstrations, and hundreds of science and technology exhibits.
- BMW Museum – Built right next to BMW headquarters, the BMW Museum is housed in a unique, ultra-modern white bowl-like facility. One of the museum’s most famous exhibits includes “The Time Horizons,” which showcases the evolution of BMW’s engines, turbines, and vehicles, along with their many potential and realized variations.
- Residenzmuseum – Considered Munich’s top museum, the building is a former palace transformed into a museum and gardens. The Residenz is opulent and splendid, featuring room designs from the renaissance and neoclassical periods. Each room is exquisitely decorated, and the art and historical significance of each room make this a unique experience.
- Bayerisches Nationalmuseum – The Bavarian National Museum is one of the largest art museums in Germany. Its collections are divided into two subjects: historical art and folklore. Visitors tour dozens of rooms from different periods and feature different design types, from neoclassicism to Art Nouveau.
Bavaria’s capital city, Munich, is an active urban center, drawing in millions of people every year. The vibrant culture provides visitors with plenty of opportunities to take beautiful photos, try new beer and cuisine, cycle through well-kept parks, shop for unique items, and learn about the history of Munich through one of its many museums.
If you enjoy beer, food, medieval architecture, cycling, nature, shopping, or history, you will love Munich. Munich’s numerous attractions for various interests make it an irresistible place to visit and settle down.
If you’re planning a trip to Munich be sure to check out this guide with all the best things to do and see in the city!