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Best things to do in Munich

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Germany  /  Bavaria  /  Upper Bavaria  /  Munich
Things to do in Munich range from experiencing the local culture at Marienplatz, the city's main square, to inevitable yet pleasurable beer tastings. Lose yourself in the verdant beauty of English Garden, one of the largest public parks in the world. Science buffs can go to Deutsches Museum, the world's largest museum of science and technology, where they can explore interactive exhibits covering various scientific fields. Browse through the colorful selection of local products at Biergarten Viktualienmarkt, the cities biggest outdoor marketplace.

Munich is best known for its Landmarks, Specialty Museums, and Bodies of Water.

Top 15 things to do in Munich

1. Nymphenburg Palace

While millions of tourists flock to the city for its world-famous beer festival, few find their way to the tranquil Nymphenburg Palace. Renowned architect Agostino Barelli designed this sprawling, 200 hectare (490 acre) garden oasis, which was completed in 1675. The palace once served as the summer residence of Bavarian kings. The facade was redesigned in the French Baroque style in 1716, and now is about 700 m (2,300 ft) wide. You can visit both the gardens and their several museums. The most notable one, inside the former royal stables, contains one of the biggest horse carriage collections in Europe. Regular guided tours aren't available, but you can pick up an informative audio guide at the site's entrance.
Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
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2. English Garden

English Garden is one of the largest public parks in the world. Covering an area of about 370 hectares (910 acres), it stretches from the city center all the way to the northeastern city limits. Originally created in 1789 by inventor and physicist Sir Benjamin Thompson, the park was massively extended and improved by a series of his successors. The park's name refers to a style of informal landscape gardening popular in Britain in the mid-18th century. Wander the area to see a number of eye-catching temples, teahouses, pavilions, and pagodas. The park's main features are its meadows and ponds, which spread over a gently rolling terrain. Relax under the shade of trees or take advantage of nearly 80 km (50 mi) of biking and hiking trails.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Marienplatz

Soak up the local culture at Marienplatz, the city's main public square since 1158. Today, the square is dominated by the Gothic city hall, which you'll find on the northern side. Ages ago, markets and tournaments were held in this square, which is named after a Marian column standing at its center. The column was built in 1638 in honor of the Virgin Mary, a sign of gratitude for the end of Swedish occupation. Note the city hall's clock tower, which was inspired by the medieval tournaments once held here. It features 43 bells and 32 life-size figures. The bells chime several times a day, and some of the figures dance, prompting passers-by to stop and check their watches. The 85 m (280 ft) tower is open for visitors.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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4. Deutsches Museum

Deutsches Museum, the world's largest museum of science and technology, welcomes about 1.5 million visitors each year. You can explore nearly 28,000 objects in 50 science and technology fields. Founded in 1903 on the initiative of engineer Oskar von Miller, the museum's main site is on Museum Island in the Isar river. (Two other spots in the city host additional exhibit spaces.) Explore the museum's interactive exhibits dedicated to natural sciences, telecommunications, tunnel construction, technical toys, astronautics, bridge building, marine navigation, aerospace, and much more. Photography is permitted, so don't forget your camera.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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5. Munich Residenz

Discover how Bavarian royalty lived and governed at Munich Residenz, the largest city palace in Germany. You'll be drawn in by its opulent architecture, elaborate room decorations, and displays from the former royal collections. The complex includes ten courtyards and 130 rooms. Built in 1385, the palace was originally a small, moated castle. The kings of Bavaria gradually expanded it to use as a private residence and an official seat of government. The renowned court theater here opened for public performances in 1795. The complex also houses the primary concert hall for Bavaria's famous symphony orchestra. Though you can't get a guided tour, you can pick free audio guides at the palace museum.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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6. Alte Pinakothek

Three museums, each highlighting a different period of art, are housed at Alte Pinakothek. The museums are within walking distance of each other, so you can easily explore all three on foot or by bicycle. First, stop by one of the oldest art galleries in the country. It houses a collection of at least 800 masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the end of the Rococo period. Look for works by Durer, Rubens, and da Vinci, among others. Next, visit the gallery that displays about 400 paintings and sculptures from the 19th century. Highlights include works by Monet, Degas, and Renoir. Finally, explore the gallery opened in 2002 to display a vast collection of modern art. Here, you'll find notable pieces by Picasso, Kandinsky, and Warhol. Purchase a day ticket for all three museums online.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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7. BMW Welt

See the famous carmaker's latest products at BMW Welt. Constructed between 2003 and 2007, the state-of-the-art showroom attracted more than 2 million visitors during its first year alone. The facility is designed to be a marketplace and meeting point for automotive industry professionals, amateur fans, and anyone curious about the finer points of automobile-making. Visit the adjacent museum to learn more about the country's automotive history. The website details the range of guided tours.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. BMW Museum

BMW Museum showcases the carmaker's technical developments during its history and the benefits of modern vehicle design. On this bowl-shaped site, you'll find engines, turbines, aircraft, motorcycles, and many of the company's most famous road vehicles. Also get a look at what the company's engineers have been dreaming up over the last two decades by viewing drawings of their concepts for new vehicles. Tour the museum on your own or take one of several behind-the-scenes tours. Audio guides are available. Consider stopping by the adjacent modern showroom to see the models currently for sale.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Walking tours

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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10. St. Peter's Church

For a spectacular view of the surrounding city and the distant Alps, climb to the top of St. Peter's Church. This is the oldest church in the inner city. It was built during the Romanesque period on the site of an ancient monastic settlement. The building suffered extensive fire damage in 1327 and was expanded and re-consecrated in 1368. In the early 17th century, the 92 m (302 ft) spire received its Renaissance steeple top. A new Baroque choir was also added. Inside, look at the high altar for the figure of Saint Peter, created by sculptor Erasmus Grasser. Among other masterpieces, you'll find five Gothic paintings by artist Jan Polack and ceiling frescos by painter Johan Baptist Zimmermann.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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11. Viktualienmarkt

Wander through the buzzing stalls of Viktualienmarkt, Munich's largest outdoor market. Originally started as a farmer's market in the early 19th century, the market has become a popular delicatessen. You can find gourmet goods and locally made products, as well as an array of fresh meats and produce. Pick up a loaf of fresh, oven-baked bread and a refreshing, fresh-squeezed juice. Walk around to admire the abundance of hand-made Bavarian goods. Stop by the beer garden if you'd like a typical meal of German sausages.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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12. Frauenkirche

The enormous, 15th-century Frauenkirche can hold about 20,000 people. It stands as a symbol of Bavaria's capital city and features a rich collection of artwork from the 14th to 18th centuries. In the nave, you'll find Gothic stained-glass windows and the tomb monument of Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV. Be sure to look for the curious black mark resembling a footprint near the church entrance. This "devil's footprint" survived World War II bombing. You can ask locals about the legends surrounding it. For views of Munich and the Alps, you can climb up the church's 99 m (325 ft) south tower.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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13. Restaurant und Biergarten am Chinesischen Turm

One of the finest restaurants in Munich, Restaurant und Biergarten am Chinesischen Turm was a gift to the city from Elector Karl Theodor in the 18th century. The Chinese Tower, inspired by Buddhist temples, makes a paradoxical backdrop to the restaurant's more casual beer garden. The beer garden's tables sprawl out under the tower beneath the trees. Hofbraeuhaus is accompanied by sausages, bratwursts, sauerkraut, and beans. You can make reservations at the fine-dining restaurant inside the building, but at the beer garden, just plop down and order up the local brew.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, Dachau

A moving reminder of a dark time in Europe's history, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany. Set on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, the camp was intended to hold only political prisoners. However, it eventually detained Jews, ordinary German and Austrian criminals, and foreign nationals from countries occupied or invaded by Germany. Today, the camp serves as a memorial to the many prisoners who suffered and lost their lives here between 1933 and 1945. The displays guide you over the path that would have been taken by new prisoners, leading straight through the main entry gate. The memorial includes the camp prison and the maintenance buildings, which once housed kitchens, workshops, and baths. They now serve as a museum. You can book guided tours in advance.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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15. New Town Hall (Neus Rathaus)

Discover the magnificent Gothic Revival architecture of New Town Hall (Neus Rathaus), one of Munich's most iconic landmarks. Constructed in the mid-19th century, the hall features more than 400 rooms. It now houses the city's government administration. Stand in Marienplatz square to admire the intricate detailing and regal decoration of the 100 m (328 ft) long main facade. Then ride the elevator to the top of the spire to enjoy skyline views. Don't miss one of the three daily performances of the famous, life-size figurine glockenspiel.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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