Even without Oktoberfest, Munich has lots to offer visitors this autumn. In addition to new cultural offerings and restaurants, autumn also presents an opportunity to gain insight into city icons such as the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), which visitors often only admire from the outside. And if you don’t want to entirely miss out on that Oktoberfest feeling, you can soak up the festive atmosphere by day and in the evening by checking out the WirtshausWiesn pub festival; alternatively, take part in the virtual tours on offer between 16 September and 3 October, which are set to give guests a glimpse behind the scenes at the Wiesn and also enable innkeepers and entertainers to share their insider knowledge.
From 15 October, fantasy and reality come together in the Kunsthalle München in an exhibition entitled Fantastically Real: Belgian Modern Art from Ensor to Magritte. It includes approximately 130 paintings, graphic works and sculptures by Belgian modern artists, and illustrates how the art of the period constantly re-explores the boundaries between fantasy and reality. Highlights include masterpieces by well-known Belgian artists James Ensor, Paul Delvaux and René Magritte. The exhibition will continue until 6 March 2022.
The Münchner Volkstheater is also set to reopen on 15 October in the Schlachthofviertel district, in a newly-constructed building that boasts one of the largest and most advanced stages in Germany. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Christian Stückl, the theatre’s repertoire includes both traditional folk plays and a range of critical and modern pieces by young producers.
With its famous Glockenspiel mechanical clock, the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) on Marienplatz is one of Munich’s best-known landmarks – but most visitors have only seen it from the outside. If you’ve always fancied a peek inside the neo-Gothic building, you can now book a guided tour of the Rathaus. As well as giving you the chance to discover its most prestigious spaces and the Rathaus balcony where FC Bayern celebrated its championship win, on the tour you can also view the impressive reading room of the Law Library, which has been used as a setting in a number of films. Visitors are also likely to get that movie-set feeling in the meeting rooms, which feature long tables, canopied leather sofas, magnificent bronze chandeliers and wall panelling, making them reminiscent of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
One of the most exciting discoveries you’ll make this autumn is the Werneckhof Sigi Schelling restaurant. After 14 years as a sous chef at Tantris, new owner and chef de cuisine Sigi Schelling is rewriting the history of the tradition-steeped restaurant with her classic, produce-focused cooking style. Meanwhile Tantris itself, one of the city’s best-known gourmet restaurants, is set to reopen in October with a new concept that will see haute cuisine set menus created by chef Benjamin Chmura in Restaurant Tantris; the Tantris DNA à la carte operation serving classic French cuisine under the leadership of Virginie Protat; and Bar Tantris.
To explore the pub scene of a popular city district without sticking to the same old drinks, visitors should join a WHATTHETASTE tour, on which they sample unique creations in three different bars. There are two tours to choose from, covering either Lehel and Glockenbachviertel, or the Schwabing and Maxvorstadt neighbourhoods.
Munich’s new hotels include the Schwan Locke Hotel near the Theresienwiese (Oktoberfest fairground), which stands out with eye-catching mid-century industrial design and encompasses 151 modern studio apartments, an art collection featuring local works and a co-working lounge. The FC Bayern fans among you are sure to enjoy the DO & CO Hotel, which offers direct access to the new FC Bayern World flagship fan store and restaurants close to Munich’s Marienplatz. The hotel has 30 rooms and a penthouse loft suite – reflecting the 31 national championship titles the club holds – which blend international flair with Bavarian charm.
Visitors can savour a taste of Oktoberfest at the WirtshausWiesn festival, as part of which more than 50 participating traditional pubs, beer gardens and eateries are offering a special menu between 18 September and 3 October. You’ll find popular Oktoberfest treats such as Hendl (roast chicken), Haxn (pork knuckle), Ochs vom Spieß (ox on a spit) and Steckerlfisch (fish on a stick), but also some more unusual options such as Kaiserschmarrn (chopped up pancakes) and bread dumpling carpaccio. In addition to cosy Oktoberfest-inspired décor, visitors can also look forward to enjoying appropriate live music at the festival venues.
And for those who aren’t prepared to skip Oktoberfest entirely this year – or who want a headstart on getting ready for its return next year – there are also virtual Oktoberfest tours taking place this autumn, on eight dates during the Wiesn season. Official Munich tour guides will take participants on a virtual tour of the Theresienwiese (Oktoberfest fairground), and each tour will also feature a Wiesn expert such as an entertainer, innkeeper, bandmaster or the Head of the Oktoberfest, who will share insider information and offer a glimpse behind the scenes of the famous folk festival. The series of Wiesn tours will kick off with the “Aufbaut is!” (It’s set up!) tour on 16 September, while the last tour will take place on 3 October with the traditional “Zapfenstreich” Tattoo Ceremony on the last night of Oktoberfest. The 75-minute tours can be booked here. Oktoberfest lovers will find great souvenirs, including the official Wiesn poster for 2021, in the online shop.