We stayed in Munich for a month. Of course, we visited Marienplatz, the main square of Munich since the 1100s. Back then, it held a market as well as tournaments and celebrations. This is also where a very ornate clock tower (Glockenspiel) that puts on a show two to three times a day. Just around the corner is Frauenkirche, a city cathedral dating back to the 12th century. Down the street from Marienplatz is Viktualienmarkt, where the Marienplatz market was moved to in the early 1800s. There is also a beer garden in Viktualienmarkt, under chestnut trees, but no children’s playground. It is a good place to sample the brats that Munich has to offer. Also in downtown, the Residenz, the center of government and the royal palace of Bavarian dukes and electors from the 1500s to the 1900s. The Antiquarium is a must see! Admission here is covered by the Castles Pass. See Castles section for more information. For car enthusiasts, Mercedes offers a free car gallery to visit. It is a small gallery but you can sit in most of the cars present.
Munich City Gates
Munich's Medieval City Gate - Karlstor (reconstructed), Munich Germany
Just down the street from Marienplatz, in three directions, are the remains (some restored, some rebuilt) of the Munich medieval city gates, some dating back to the 1300s. To the west is Karlstor. In front of Karlstor, there is a fountain, which helped cool the kids down on a hot day. The walk to Karlstor will take you on wide pedestrian streets, past St. Michael’s, the church that contains the remains of King Ludwig II, the young king who built the castle that inspired the Disney Castle (Neuschwanstein Castle). For a nominal fee, you can visit the crypt of the deceased kings underneath the church.
To the east of Marienplatz is Isartor, the city gate that faces the River Isar. This one is the most beautiful, in my opinion, with paintings adorning it.
Munich's Medieval City Gate - Isartor (reconstructed), Munich, Germany
To the south is Sendlinger Tor, the oldest of the three gates is partially covered by ivy. On the way to Sendlinger Tor, stop by Asamkirche, the church designed and built by the two famous architect Asam brothers. The interior is covered with gold, lots of it. The house they lived in is beside the church. It contains office and retail spaces now; we walked into their courtyard.
Munich's Medieval City Gate - Sendlinger Tor, Munich Germany
City walls connected these gates and stood until the late 1700s when the ruler of the time tore it down because it impeded the growth of the city. These were the outer city walls. Inner city walls were replaced by the outer city walls in the 1200s. Try to walk to all the gates, it will give you an idea of the size of the Medieval Munich city center. All are walkable from Marienplatz, even on the same day, if the kids are up for it. All roads to the gates from Marienplatz are lined with restaurants and shops; gelatos and other treats abound for motivational purposes.
Beer Gardens (Biergarten)
In the time we were in Munich, we visited 3 beer gardens. Not much a beer connoisseur, I tended to pass on beer. My husband, however, was happy to oblige. The beer gardens we visited were Englischer Garten (Pagoda), Viktualienmarkt and Kleinhesseloher Seehaus Beer Gardens. Food in beer gardens were okay (not gourmet, more street food quality) sold individually, I.e. 1 sausage 2 EU, fries 2 EU. Beer was sold in half liter and one liter mugs, ranging in price from 3 EU to 5 EU per half liter. There are non-alcoholic beverages as well. There was usually a playground closeby that parents can send their kids to while they kicked back and relaxed. We really liked that seating was outdoors. Chestnut trees form an almost perfect canopy over top, even when it rained. That is one thing we hope to see back at home, outdoor food courts close to playgrounds. Adult drinks wouldn't be bad, but not mandatory. Exception: Viktualienmarkt Biergarten did Not have a playground closeby.
Dusk at Pagoda, Englisch Garten Biergarten, Munich
Englischer Garten and other Munich Strolls
Englischer Garten is a huge park area starting near the center of Munich and extending to its north end. It contains at least 2 biergartens, a few playgrounds, many miles of trails and the River Isar runs along its border. We did not see all of it in our 3 visits there. We enjoyed dipping our toes to cool down in one of the Isar River’s tributaries on an unusually hot and humid summer day.
Englischer Garten, Munich, Germany
Munich has many miles of hiking and biking trails interspersed throughout the city. We enjoyed stopping a little short of our destination by train, and walking to it. One such stroll we took was to stop at the university district and walking to the Englisch Garten. (Stop anywhere on U3/U6 line at stops Universtät, Giselastrasse, Muchner Freiheit and walk east towards English garden.) Many cafes and shops line the roads to the Englisch Garten from the University District. A walk (or bike ride) along the River Isar will show you a mellow way of seeing the city. It was often hard to believe that we were in the middle of a city of 2 million people along the teal blue river shores and beautiful green flora.
Walking along the teal blue River Isar, Munich, Germany
Olympic Park is the site of the 1972 Olympics. There is a biergarten there as well, which we never found, since we spent our time enjoying exploring the park. We visited the Olympic Swimhalle and enjoyed a picnic dinner alongside the man-made lake. In the summer, there are also other festivities happening at the park, one which we walked into and enjoyed.
On an island on the River Isar sits the Deutsches Museum. It is said to be the biggest Science Museum in the world. There was a cool replica of the 17,000 year old cave paintings found in France and a neat lightning bolt show. My pictures didn't turn the way I had hoped. The museum itself was situated on an island on the Isar River. For car enthusiasts, BMW Welt is across the road from Olympic Park. Here you can sit in most of the cars present. If you go on Family Day, the last Sunday of the month and complete their passport program, you can win a free rickshaw ride in a BMW rickshaw. BMW also offers factory tours on weekdays. A few stops from Olympic Park stop, is the Allianz Stadium, where the Bayern Munich play, for soccer/football fans out there. If you can't catch a game, try to go by at night, when it is beautifully lit up.
BMW Welt, Munich, Germany