A guide to Munich, Germany’s boisterous beer capital, beyond the bars

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Exploring Munich

Exploring Munich: Beyond the Beer Bars

Welcome to Munich, Germany’s spirited beer capital, where the allure goes far beyond its renowned beer halls and Oktoberfest festivities. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the lesser-explored facets of this vibrant city. Whether you’re a tech-savvy geek or a cinephile, Munich has something for everyone.

Buzzy Neighborhoods and Creative Energy

Munich’s charm stretches well beyond its ornate historic center. Modern Munich showcases its creativity in neighborhoods like Schlachthofviertel, where you’ll find a buzzing atmosphere. Start your day with brunch at Café Faber, a delightful spot along the Isar River. This former pop-up has now found a permanent home, and its ever-changing menu features delights like kimchi, hummus, and fresh sourdough.

After a satisfying brunch, head to the old town, where Sweet Spot Kaffee, the speciality-coffee haven, awaits to fuel your caffeine cravings.

Exploring Local Treasures

One of the joys of Munich is discovering homegrown businesses alongside the usual high street names. Sport Schuster, founded by a mountain enthusiast in 1913, spans seven floors, offering outdoor gear and even an indoor climbing wall for adventure seekers. For a different kind of ascent, visit Frauenkirche, the city’s largest church, which has recently undergone a decade-long restoration. Ascend one of its gothic towers for breathtaking panoramic views.

Art enthusiasts will find their fix at the Kunsthalle München, hosting three annual exhibitions covering diverse subjects, from samurai art to the works of Jean Paul Gaultier. Further north, Museum Brandhorst houses an impressive collection of works by American painter Cy Twombly, making it a vital address for contemporary art aficionados.

Satisfying Your Appetite

If you’re feeling peckish, Julius Brantner is a big name in Munich’s bread scene. Their pretzels filled with butter are a local favorite, but there are plenty of sweet options too.

For a heartier meal, make your way to Augustiner Bräustuben for traditional German cuisine. Nearby, Bodhi offers excellent vegan options, making it the city’s first and best vegan pub. Both are located in Westend, a neighborhood that’s transformed with the arrival of hip spots like speciality roasters Stray Coffee.

Outdoor Adventures and Green Escapes

Theresienwiese is a must-visit year-round. When it’s not hosting the world-famous Munich Oktoberfest, this 100-acre site is a local hub for recreation. You might even spot windskaters gliding across the open spaces. For more expansive greenery, head to Englischer Garten, where sun-dappled beer gardens beckon, offering the perfect setting to sample Munich’s renowned brews.

Schlachthofviertel: Where Culture Meets Creativity

Beyond the regal architecture of the city center, Schlachthofviertel, also known as the Meatpacking District, is a continuously evolving area. Here, traditional butcher shops and classic watering holes coexist with a burgeoning craft beer scene and innovative cultural spaces. Don’t miss Bierkiste, a kiosk-style gem run by one of Munich’s young brewers, offering a variety of regional bottles for on-site enjoyment or takeaway. A few streets away, Bahnwärter Thiel boasts graffiti-covered train carriages and shipping containers that house artist studios, workshops, and events. On weekends, techno DJs take over, making it a hotspot for music lovers.

Culinary Delights

As the day winds down, immerse yourself in Bavarian-Japanese fusion cuisine at Ciao Chang. Their standout dishes, such as local trout with teriyaki sauce and duck ramen with red cabbage, offer a unique culinary experience.

For something truly special, make a reservation at JAN in the museum district. This Michelin three-star restaurant, led by chef Jan Hartwig, offers art-like tasting menus that have earned it a well-deserved reputation as one of Munich’s culinary gems.

Nightlife and Restful Retreats

Wrap up your day with a cocktail and tropical vibes at The High bar before retiring to your accommodations. You can choose the stylish aparthotel Schwan Locke or the minimalist yet cozy Haus im Tal hotel, located in the heart of the city.

Munich, with its rich tapestry of culture, cuisine, and creativity, offers a myriad of experiences beyond its beer-soaked reputation. So, whether you’re a tech enthusiast, cinema lover, or simply looking for new adventures, Munich has a delightful surprise waiting for you.

Published in the October 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

To subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine, click here (available in select countries only).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Exploring Munich

Q: What is the best time to explore Munich beyond the beer scene?

A: Munich offers delightful experiences year-round, but for milder weather and outdoor activities, consider visiting during spring or summer. Fall also brings pleasant temperatures and vibrant foliage.

Q: Are there vegan dining options in Munich’s lesser-known neighborhoods?

A: Yes, Westend, one of Munich’s evolving neighborhoods, is home to Bodhi, the city’s first and best vegan pub. You can savor meat-free options while exploring the area’s unique atmosphere.

Q: Is there a specific neighborhood for art enthusiasts in Munich?

A: Absolutely! The Museum Brandhorst in Munich houses an impressive collection of works by American painter Cy Twombly, making it a must-visit for contemporary art lovers.

Q: Are there family-friendly activities beyond the beer halls in Munich?

A: Munich offers family-friendly experiences like Theresienwiese, a 100-acre site for recreation when it’s not hosting Oktoberfest. You can enjoy outdoor activities, and there are even occasional windskaters to spot.

Q: Can you recommend accommodation options in the heart of Munich?

A: Certainly! Consider staying at the stylish aparthotel Schwan Locke or the cozy yet minimalist Haus im Tal hotel, both located in the heart of Munich for easy access to the city’s attractions.

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OutdoorEnthusiast September 12, 2023 - 6:27 pm

100 acres for recreation, sign me up, gonna find dose windskaters!

TravelExplorer22 September 12, 2023 - 9:26 pm

wow, munich sounds amazin, wanna go der in spring, seems like lot of fun, beer gardens and stuff!

ArtLover33 September 13, 2023 - 10:30 am

i luv art, brandhorst museum is cool, need to see them twombly works!

FoodieAdventures September 13, 2023 - 10:48 am

vegan pub in westend, gotta try dat, sounds yum!

NightLifeAddict September 13, 2023 - 2:45 pm

high bar for cocktails, sounds like da place to be, munich nightlife rocks!


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