An extensive shopping spree is a mandatory part of an enjoyable city trip. Munich offers heavenly conditions to relish in a divine shopping frenzy – while being enveloped in an architectural ambience which is out of this world.
The first port of call for most shoppers is the central pedestrian zone in the Altstadt (Old Town) district (Kaufingerstraße, Neuhauser Straße, Marienplatz). Here, you can explore the many major department stores, saunter through branches of the top fashion and footwear chains and pop into a few souvenir shops on the way.
From its beginnings as a brave experiment in 1972, the pedestrian area – the first of its kind in Germany – has become an integral part of Munich. These days almost the entire Altstadt has been pedestrianised as a shopping area. It's hard to believe that at one time, lines of long-distance traffic wound their way through the gates of the city across the Marienplatz!
As early as the Middle Ages, passages known as "Durchhäuser" were used to link different streets through open alleys. Some of these passages later became popular shopping arcades and courtyards:
in the Fünf Höfe shopping arcade in Theatinerstrasse, hanging gardens, beautifully designed inner courtyards and an immense, suspended sphere created by sculptor Ólafur Elíasson invite shoppers to enjoy a truly sensory experience. The arcade houses elegant designer stores as well as a number of cafés and offices.
If you’ve still got time to spare after your shopping trip, why not visit one of the renowned international touring exhibitions at the Kunsthalle art museum. The complex was designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.
The Schäfflerhof complex showcases the brick cladding style that is so typical of the architecture in Munich. Swiss architect Ivano Gianola intentionally selected this same material to build a bridge to the neighbouring Gothic Frauenkirche. From international fashion and elegant accessories to creative interior design ideas, all your wildest shopping dreams are sure to come true here.
The Hofstatt, which opened in 2013, quickly became the heart and soul of the surrounding district. On the former site of the offices of the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Swiss architect Marcel Meili created a stylish shopping arcade with peaceful courtyards, combining protected historic structures with modern elements. Here, too, you will find a range of sophisticated fashion, furnishing and lifestyle shops.
In the 19th century, King Maximilian II commissioned his architect Georg Friedrich Bürklein to create what is now Maximilianstrasse in the unique “Maximilian style”. Today, it is primarily international luxury fashion and jewellery labels that line this magnificent shopping street.
The Brienner Quartier in Brienner Strasse also reflects the elegance of a high-class shopping culture in its classical buildings. During the Regency period, a number of exquisite shops were established directly beside the Residenz palace, some of which are still family-owned today. Why not take a gentle stroll through the area and experience the unique blend of the traditional and the modern for yourself?