Finally visiting the Christkindlmarkt again, discovering new street and urban art at Kunstlabor2 or experiencing the New Town Hall at night - winter in Munich has a wide range of familiar and new attractions to offer.
In 2022, the christmas markets reach a whole new level in terms of diversity and uniqueness in Munich and they are a great opportunity to discover Munichs‘ neighbourhoods: from Pink Christmas in Glockenbachviertel, which remains the "place to be" for the LGBTIQ* community and the arts and crafts focused Schwabing Christmas Market to the “Starfleet” on the disused pleasure boat Alte Utting in Schlachthofviertel and the family-friendly Haidhausen Christmas Market on Weißenburger Platz – the latter being the favourite among Munich residents. Other highly worthwhile winter gatherings include Winterrausch at the Witches’ House Gans Woanders in Giesing – a real insider tip – and the alternative Tollwood Winter Festival with its focus on sustainability.
When the snow falls in Munich, it’s time for a winter walk. The nicest routes in and around Munich can be found here and here - including recommendations for refreshment stops to warm up and enjoy Munichs‘ culinary treats.
Whenever the locals talk about a walk along the Isar river, they usually go from Gasteig (cultural centre) to the Wittelsbacher Brücke (bridge). And there’s lots to see along the way, including the Rosengarten (rose garden), Kabelsteg and other historic bridges along the river, from the Corneliusbrücke to the Reichenbachbrücke, all of which were built around the turn of the century. Last but not least one passes the newly renovated Deutsche Museum. In keeping with the winter scenery, you can get delicious Nordic coffee and cake at the Icelandic Café Blá at Au. Café Hüller, Henry hat Hunger and Rosi Kaffeehaus are also just around the corner.
Many former Royal Bavarian Purveyors to the Court are still at work in Munich today. What’s remarkable is that most of them are in prime locations in the Altstadt area of the city and, even centuries later, these traditional brands are still synonymous with quality and luxury, like Ed Meier. All members of the Bavarian court wore shoes made by master shoemaker Eduard Meier, all the way up to Empress Hermine. Today the company is run by Brigitte and Peter Eduard Meier, the thirteenth generation of the family to take on the mantle.
To experience the Royal Purveyors of the Court simply visits their shops or join a private city tour. With a bit of luck, you might even run into a king while you’re there.
The almost 100-metre high South Tower of Munich's Frauenkirche (‘Cathedral of Our Dear
Lady’) is open to visitors again after ten years. The starting point of the climb is the cathedral’s South Chapel. From the 16 windows of the tower dome visitors can look out in all directions and get a close-up view of the North Tower, which is not open to the public. The windows can’t be opened, but visitors can step directly up to them. Eight touchscreens in the window cavities provide detailed information about the most important buildings in the surrounding area. The South Tower is open to the public from 10 am (11.30 am on Sundays and public holidays) to 5 pm from Monday to Sunday. The last admission is always at 4.30 pm.
The tower of the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) on Marienplatz (main square) recently opened for visits, too. A lift takes visitors up in just a few moments to a height of 85 metres. here you can step right up to the railing and feel the wind in your hair as you watch the hustle and bustle of Marienplatz below. Lift runs daily from 10 am to 8 pm, until December 23rd even until 9 pm. Tickets are available online and at the tourist information office at the Town Hall.
The aim of the Werksviertel district is to create a neighbourhood of the future. The area covers a total of 40 hectares. Occupying a total surface area of some ten hectares, Werksviertel-Mitte offers visitors all sorts of things to see and do, welcoming them with a pop-up city consisting of a stack of converted shipping containers. This industrial estate at Ostbahnhof (Munich East) was once the place where potatoes were turned into dumplings and mashed potatoes. Now a contemporary-style urban quarter, it owes its distinctive aura to the fact that numerous former industrial buildings which previously belonged to the food manufacturing company Pfanni were not demolished but renovated and repurposed. The former production lines at WERK3 are now home to loft offices, artists’ studios, bars and clubs, as well as restaurants and shops.
Only a few metres away at WERK4, the 30-metre-high silos where potato flakes were once stored have been converted into a climbing and bouldering hall. And because the silos are so stable, the city’s tallest hotel – at a height of 86 metres – was built on top of them. What used to be the Pfanni staff canteen is now used as a live performance venue complete with catering. A former potato warehouse has become a theatre, while WERK1 has been transformed into one of Germany’s most innovative start-up centres.
It’s not just the old repurposed buildings that are impressive here, however. Werksviertel-Mitte is now also being enhanced with spectacular new buildings such as WERK12 – which was voted “Germany's Best Building” by the German Architecture Museum in 2021. All this results in a highly distinctive blend. The Umadum Observation Wheel offers a superb view of the district and you can even see as far as the Alps.
What do the Isarphilharmonie and the Elbphilharmonie have in common? Except for the fact that their names both contain the name of the river that flows through the city? Internationally renowned sound expert Yasuhisa Toyota and his company Nagata Acoustics were consulted for both building projects, ensuring excellent acoustics.
The Isarphilharmonie saw its premiere in mid-October 2021. At the same time, the orchestra officially opened Kulturquartier Gasteig (cultural centre) HP8 (Hans-Preissinger-Strasse 8) in the district of Sendling: this was built during the renovation of the original Gasteig building for interim use as a substitute for Europe’s largest cultural centre. Both the then chief conductor Valery Gergiev and the premiere guests were delighted with the acoustics in the new hall. The new Isarphilharmonie, a modern building with space for 1,900 guests, was designed by the architectural firm gmp (von Gerkan, Marg und Partner).
July 2022 has seen the public opening of the first part of the new Deutsches Museum, the world’s biggest museum of science and technology. After seven years of intense construction work, the first phase of renovation is complete. The Deutsches Museum now has 19 new permanent exhibitions covering a surface area of 20,000 square metres. The thematic spectrum is diverse, ranging from atomic physics to robotics. The Agriculture and Nutrition exhibition is an example of how contemporary the display concepts are: not only are objects presented, there are also explanations of technical progress and its impact – both positive and negative – including lots of hands-on activities. There are numerous media stations and interactive elements, whether food shelf or plant cinema, cow brush or tactile tractor model – making it easier for visitors to grasp the complexity of the themes. Renovation of the second half of the building has now begun. Modernisation is scheduled to be completed in time for 2028, the building’s 125th anniversary.
The New Town Hall on Marienplatz with its famous Glockenspiel (Carillion) is something visitors to Munich usually only know from the outside: guided tours are now available which provide a fascinating glimpse of the interior of this neo-Gothic building. In addition to the state rooms and the Town Hall balcony – where the Bayern Munich soccer team title celebrations are traditionally held – the tour also visits the impressive reading room in the law library, which has served as a film set on several occasions.
Believe it or not: Munich was the pioneer of the German graffiti scene. In the years 1985 to 1988, graffiti boomed so much in Munich that sprayers would come from all over the world to get the chance to paint in the city. Today Munich is home to Germany’s first Museum for Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA) – housed in a former substation of the public utility company. The extension of the museum in a former air-raid shelter dating back to the Second World War also shows high-profile artists. Guided tours of the Bunker and the art exhibition it houses are offered once a month.
A new facility is KUNSTLABOR 2. This MUCA interim use project occupies a surface area of just under 10,000 square metres spread over six floors and offers spaces for experiments of all sorts. One thing of particular interest to fans of street and urban art: two of the six floors are being transformed into a walk-in work of art by more than 100 artists. The latter include well-known names such as Loomit and rapper Samy Deluxe as well as newcomers like Pepe (aka Jose Luis Villanueva Contreras).
The latest addition in town regarding Street Art is Amuseum of Contemporary Art which opened in November 2022. It is showing Shepard Fairey's first Germany-wide solo exhibition, "New Clear Power", until 30 April 2023. Alongside Keith Haring, Shepard Fairey is one of the pioneers of the street art movement and is already regarded as the Andy Warhol of the present day.
Munich’s museums invite visitors to encounter the Old Masters and young artists. Almost all genres and epochs are represented. It is amazing what art can do: it brings colour to our lives, amuses us, irritates and rebels, relaxes and is sometimes simply beautiful. Here are some exhibitions that you’ll definitely want to catch.
One special highlight this winter is the large-scale monographic exhibition Max Beckmann – Departure at Pinakothek der Moderne (until March 12th 23). It is dedicated to the theme of travel, which was of existential importance to Max Beckmann (1884 – 1950). His life was marked by tragic experiences of war and uprooting, transit and exile, but also by glamorous vacations, the urge for freedom and the longing to travel. Around 100 loans from important private and public Beckmann collections in Europe and the USA, such as the first triptych “Departure” from the MoMA , show the enormous range of travel-oriented pictorial motifs and concepts and complement the largest European collection of Beckmann paintings from the Modern Art Collection at the Pinakothek der Moderne art gallery.
Celebrating nature in the city: this is the motto of the Flower Power Festival Munich from February 3rd to October 7th 2023, jointly initiated by Gasteig cultural centre, Kunsthalle München, Botanischer Garten (botanical gardens) and BIOTOPIA museum. Large institutions, small associations, renowned cultural institutions and private initiatives offer an extensive thematically coordinated programme for eight months. The starting point is the exhibition "Flowers Forever. Flowers in Art and Culture", which will be on show at the Kunsthalle München from February 3rd to July 9th 2023.
If you're looking for a guided tour of the old town with a little twist, a tour with the Münchner Kindl is just the ticket: In the quiet evening hours the Munich original welcomes guests at the imposing town hall and shows them the most beautiful corners of the city centre. The Münchner Kindl is closely connected with the city's history and has many stories and anecdotes to tell.
The tour is offered regularly in German and in other languages as private tour upon request.
Freddie Mercury lived in Munich for six years and actually celebrated his 39th birthday here at the former discotheque Mrs. Henderson. It was on this occasion that he filmed his legendary birthday video “Living On My Own” – one of the most frequently watched music video clips ever, with over 100 million views. Queen recorded several albums at Musicland Studios in Arabella Park, and the band regularly stayed at the nearby Hilton Munich Park Hotel. Freddie is said to have written “Crazy Little Thing Called love” in the bathtub of the presidential suite there. MucTours offers a three-hour Freddie Mercury Walking Tour. The tour is offered in German language on a regular basis and in English upon request.
Thanks to mobile VR headsets, anyone opting for a 90-minute TimeRide Go! Tour can now immerse themselves in virtual scenes from over 850 years of Munich’s history – and compare them directly to the city’s present-day urban landscape.
The emotion-packed journey starts with the founding of the city and goes on to the magnificent Baroque period and King Ludwig II – probably Munich’s most famous king. And the city’s darker periods are not left out either: guests are transported back to both the political upheavals of the 1920s and the war-torn Munich of 1945. The emotional climax: a “live” visit to the legendary 1974 World Cup at the Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium)!
When it comes to sustainable fashion, Munich is a hot spot. Green Fashion Tours give you a peek behind the scenes of Munich’s sustainable fashion sector all year round, giving you the opportunity to talk to designers and shop owners in person.
The programme includes three to four stores and studios. Green Fashion Tours has a total of more than 20 sustainable Munich fashion hot spots on its Green Fashion Tours Map. English tours are available on request.
Julius Brantner opened two new organic bakeries in 2022, one in Schwabing (Norddendstr. 24) and one in the Old town (Kreuzstr. 1). At his previous premises on Türkenstrasse he was already something of a pop-star celebrity. One key element to his success: the dough is freshly prepared and baked on site and you can watch the bakers performing their craft.
Julius Brantner is now the third generation of his family to carry on the baking tradition.. He gets his flour from Drax-Mühle a mill located about fifty kilometres east of Munich. Here, too, great emphasis is placed on craftsmanship and tradition. Monika Drax is one of the few female millers in Germany. One thing you must be sure to try: the rye bread with fermented apple pieces.
Gourmets will find everything they could ever wish for on Viktualienmarkt – from typical Bavarian specialties through to exotic delicacies. In addition to family businesses being run in the third generation, there are also new young faces such as 31-year-old pastry chef Lea Zapf, who opened her market patisserie in the middle of the pandemic. Her “Luftikus” cream puffs are a particularly outstanding specialty.
Max and Moritz are two industrial engineers who discovered their love of South African wines on a trip and have now been awarded the contract for a hip, young wine bar on the market. München Tourismus offers regular tasting tours on Viktualienmarkt.
In October 22, the restaurant "Alois - Dallmayr Fine Dining" reopened. The biggest change is Max Natmessnig as the new kitchen manager. The 34-year-old is the reigning Chef of the Year 22, awarded by the gourmet guide Gault Millau. Guests can expect a completely new menu that combines local, international and Japanese components. “Alois” has a very intimate atmosphere - a maximum of 30 guests can be seated at a total of 13 tables.
A new stylish restaurant within walking distance of the Käfer flagship store in Bogenhausen: Green Beetle offers vegetarian and vegan food – and in surprising combinations, too. The restaurant has been awarded a Green Star. Head chef Felix Adebahr previously worked at more than one Michelin-starred Munich restaurant – including Tantris and Esszimmer.
The place is pleasantly unobtrusive and sustainably styled. The 40-year-old parquet floor was recycled from an old gymnasium, the lights are made of tobacco, hemp and wine leftovers, and there are 63 porcelain beetles hanging on the walls – hence the restaurant’s name.
Paulaner im Tal has now been transformed into Herrschaftszeiten – Das Paulaner im Tal, with a young team of hosts consisting of Nadja van Mark, Constantin Mede, Mitja Lafere and Sebastian Erlenmaier. All of them have previous experience in Munich’s restaurant scene.
The traditional dishes are still available but often in new variations, such as the 57-degree ox and onion roast in the Surf & Turf version, or the Bavarian cream cheesecake. Chef Rob Valls is American by birth and previously worked in the upmarket hotel sector.
The Giorgia Trattoria in Haidhausen welcomes you with a slightly kitschy good-mood mix with pop-coloured floral wallpaper, marble bar counter, mirrored ceiling and disco toilets. The menu changes each season and features traditional dishes from all corners of Italy, including truffle pasta, burrata pizza and carbonara from the pecorino loaf.
Dog lovers feel at home, at least as far as the design is concerned: oversized dog heads look at you from the back of the XXL menus and the wine glasses are emblazoned with the pictures of the late Munich fashion star Rudolph Moshammer and his Yorkshire terrier lady Daisy. The Big Mamma Group, which is responsible for this restaurant, is known for its funky gastronomic concepts. Giorgia Trattoria is the group's first restaurant in Germany.
Since October, the Scandic München Macherei hotel has been welcoming guests to the new Macherei district in the heart of Munich's up-and-coming east. Inspired by former brickworks in Berg am Laim, the hotel presents itself with an appealing clinker brick façade. 234 rooms on nine floors in a Scandinavian reduced style welcome guests.
The hotel group, which originates from Sweden, lays particularly stress on sustainability: for example, electricity is generated from 100 per cent renewable energy with organic waste from the food waste plant and reusable packaging is used for the lunch pick-up. Furthermore, there is a mobility concept consisting of various sharing options, a very good connection to public transport in Munich as well as
e-charging stations in the underground car park and in front of the door.
The Cocoon Hotel Sendlinger Tor has been renovated and an additional building has been added. Guest cherish the very central location between the trendy Glockenbach neighbourhood and the old town and also the hotel design with its unusual elements such as hanging chairs and the like. 101 rooms are available, as well as rental bikes for exploring the city.
Those who want to help protect the planet can book the Green Rate (from 2 nights) and do without daily room cleaning. In return, there is a 10% discount on the daily rate, a 5 Euro voucher for the hotel bar per night and a bar of fair trade chocolade.
The family-run Design Hotel Stadt Rosenheim has been renovated and has now reopened under the name of Moma1890 Boutique Hotel. It is located directly on Orleansplatz in the charming district of Haidhausen. Each of the 51 rooms is unique, making creative use of accessories, colours and materials.
Anyone who likes colourful wallpaper is definitely well catered-for here: One nice detail: instead of minibars in the rooms, there is a lounge on the first floor. All non-alcoholic drinks and snacks here are free of charge for guests.
The WDREI Hotel has opened as a pop-up hotel in a prime location on Maximilianstraße in the middle of the old town. WDREI stands for "We Three" and refers to the three artists Tanja Leithe, Theodora Spassova and Daniela Viveros Barrera, who have designed the 20 rooms with works of art. Art is not the only special feature. There is hardly any service offered at the hotel, neither restaurant nor bar. This is part of the concept which wants to give guests - also with VIP partnerships - as much opportunity as possible to immerse themselves in the city. At the "Design KIOSK" and the "Honesty Refrigerators", however, there are drinks available, including ice, glasses and coolers. Large windows with deep window sills and the balconies facing the inner courtyard invite you to a relaxed sundowner, or a warm-up for the evening.
Located directly at the central station, Ruby Rosi has 101 rooms, a public roof terrace and a 24/7 bar that is open to everyone. It is used as a venue for readings and events involving local artists. The hotel was inspired by a Munich original: folk singer Bally Prell is well-known to this day for songs such as Die Schönheitskönigin von Schneizlreuth and Isarmärchen. The public areas combine a stately palace style with rustic village ambience that creates a fairy-tale atmosphere: luxurious materials and vintage furnishings appear alongside timber framework and medieval workshop flair.
Schwan Locke in Munich is the first European location of lifestyle aparthotel brand Locke. Just a few minutes’ walk from Theresienwiese (Oktoberfest fairground) and the central station, the hotel offers 151 modern studio flats in mid-century industrial design, an art collection with local works and a co-working lounge. The food at the hotel bar Bambule! is taken care of by the Mural gastronomy team, which is also responsible for the Michelin-starred restaurant Mural in the Old town. Apart from an excellent wine list Bambule! offers international cuisine with regional products, e.g. fish & chips with fish from the Schliersee (lake).
The group’s second European outlet WunderLocke is located in the district of Sendling. It offers 360 studio flats, a co-working space, meeting and event rooms, a fitness room and a small heated outdoor pool. Again, the Mural gastronomy team is responsible for the four restaurants and bars. One highlight is the Mural Farmhouse restaurant with its urban farm on top of the hotel building where herbs and vegetables for the restaurant are grown, another one is the cocktail bar with panoramic views of the Bavarian Alps.
Set among bars, restaurants, concept stores and offices, no fewer than four new hotels and a hostel are available to Werksviertel visitors. The latest addition is Wombat’s City Hostel Munich Werksviertel. It is located on the lower floors of a former potato silo, Werk4 in Werksviertel-Mitte.
In the same building, on floors 9 to 24, is the 4-star Adina Apartment Hotel Munich. At a height of 86 metres, the Adina is currently the highest hotel in the city. From some of the 234 studios and flats you can even see sheep and chickens: right next to the hotel is the Stadtalm – an urban nature project on the roof of Werk 3. One particularly attractive detail: room numbers with pictograms indicate what the view is through the floor-to-ceiling windows inside the room.
In the direct vicinity is the gambino Hotel Werksviertel with 303 rooms and the best view of the Umadum Observation Wheel. The decision was deliberately made not to have a restaurant here so as to give visitors the opportunity to use all the services in the area and become part of the Werksviertel community, at least temporarily.
The lifestyle hotel Moxy opened in autumn 2019. It is positioned as a young, innovative boutique hotel that offers fair prices. The design concept is based on Zündapp, which produced motorbikes in the Werksviertiel district for decades.
The Residence Inn next door with its 75 studios, focuses primarily on those staying in town for longer. Larger-sized rooms, a wardrobe and a kitchenette including dishwasher are combined with a clear-cut design and soothing colours: the idea is to create a cosy retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.