Astor Cinema Lounge at the Bayerischer Hof in Munich.

Unique cinemas in Munich

Charm or glamour: watch films in every style

Prosecco or popcorn: Munich has magnificent cinemas for every taste. If you love the charm of times gone by, you can go to cute, old-fashioned cinemas that are reminiscent of little theatres and often have unreserved seating. If you like to sit back and relax like you’re at home, you can watch independent films in cuddly armchairs and beanbags. And if you need a bit of luxury, you can put your footrest up and have food and drink brought to your seat.

The first film screenings in Munich were shown in 1896 at the Panoptikum on Kaufingerstrasse. These were soon followed by the first cinemas. Some of the first real cinemas in Munich still exist - like the Arena Filmtheater (Hans-Sachs-Straße 7) in the Glockenbachviertel since 1912. And while there are always rumours of closures in times of Netflix, Munich is still the perfect place to watch films on the big screen in a huge variety of ways while secretly smooching and rustling popcorn at the back of the room.

 

Small cinemas with retro charm

 

Independent films and Spanish cinema at Studio Isabella

Studio Isabella is like a time machine. The art house cinema in Schwabing was established in 1919, and it’s never lost its original charm. Unlike at major cinemas, the man on the till does everything here: He sells cinema tickets, peanuts and drinks – and even puts the film on a little later. The cinema only shows selected films in its 165-seater room. Studio Isabella is known for its Spanish-language films, or “Cine Español”. Independent films are shown in the original every Wednesday – sometimes with subtitles and sometimes without.

Studio Isabella, Neureutherstraße 29

 

Cult status and disguises in the Museum Lichtspiele

If you like Studio Isabella, you’ll love the Museum Lichtspiele near the Isartor. This cinema has absolute cult status in Munich: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has been shown once a week for the past 40 years in the Rokokosaal – a cult film from the 1970s that often attracts audiences in fancy dress. But the cinema also shows sophisticated blockbusters and indie films in the original or with subtitles. It’s worth getting there early, as all seats are unreserved and anarchy often ensues.

Museum Lichtspiele, Lilienstraße 2

Art house cinema and famous visitors at the ABC

“If you love the ABC, you have to start with the ABC”, said the French director Claude Chabrol. He was referring to the ABC-Kino right by the Münchner Freiheit square. It’s a typical art house cinema with a little viewing room on the ground floor, and you leave through the side exits after the screening. The cinema was opened in 1914, showing the best art house and independent films. All of Munich’s most important filmmakers have been in attendance: Fassbinder, Eichinger, Wenders, Valentin, Polt… The ABC got its name in the 1950s, so that it would be mentioned in newspapers ahead of all the other cinemas in Munich.

ABC Kino, Herzogstraße 1A

 

Hand-painted posters and royal box at the Filmtheater am Sendlinger Tor

The Filmtheater Sendlinger Tor is very special indeed, as you can tell by the hand-painted posters at the front of the building. People have been watching films in red plush armchairs here for over 100 years – even on the balcony and in the royal box. Current films are shown, and “Klassik am Sonntag” takes place every Sunday, where recordings of live ballet and opera premières are shown from the Royal Opera House in London.

Filmtheater at Sendlinger Tor, Sendlinger-Tor-Platz 11

 

Glitz and glamour: cinema de luxe

 

Leather armchairs and bar in the ARRI cinema

A nice contrast to this can be found at Neues Arri in Schwabing. The fully refurbished cinema now has three screens and a bar in its large foyer. Guests sit in wide leather armchairs with electrically extendible footrests and lots of space. The film selection may be sophisticated mainstream – not the flicks with the loudest effects – but lots of Hollywood movies are shown as well. There’s also room for German and European productions, as well as film series, matinees, and opera and ballet broadcasts.

ARRI Kino, Türkenstraße 91

 

Sparkling wine and seating comfort in the Gloria Palast

You can find a bit of glamour at the Gloria Palast. The cinema by Stachus not only offers a champagne reception, but also culinary delights that are brought to your comfy seat during the advert-free prelude. There’s plenty of legroom – and even footrests. The film selection ranges from the latest movies and special classics to matinees and live broadcasts of classical concerts and operas from around the world.

Gloria Palast, Karlspl. 5

Chic with a cosy couch at the Astor im Bayerischen Hof

The Astor Cinema Lounge at Hotel Bayerischer Hof only has 38 seats, making it very intimate – and, as the name suggests, it’s perfect for smart film lovers who’d like a little treat. The waiters come right to your comfy couch. The cinema shows selected Hollywood flicks and old classics from the 1950s and 60s.

Astor@Cinema Lounge, Promenadepl. 2-6

 

Make yourself at home – at independent cinemas

 

Beanbags and talks at Neues Maxim New Maxim

The lovingly renovated Neues Maxim on Landshuter Allee in Neuhausen holds its own little curiosity: The naturally lit cinema hall on the ground floor is also used for cultural events. There’s also a smaller room with beanbags and a cosy living room feel. The latest blockbusters aren’t shown here; this is a place to enjoy non-mainstream films – often in the original. There are also frequent debates held with actors and filmmakers.

Neues Maxim, Landshuter Allee 33

 

Historical Programme at the Film Museum

The Filmmuseum on Sankt-Jakobs-Platz between Marienplatz and the Viktualienmarkt food market is one of seven non-commercial film museums in Germany that are funded by cities and municipalities. The term “museum” might be a bit confusing for some visitors, as there are no cinema exhibitions here; instead, you can enjoy new films every day in the 165-seater auditorium, including retrospectives, topical film series with German and international productions, and selected premières – all in the original with subtitles. Directors, actors and other filmmakers are regularly in attendance to discuss the films with the audience. If you’re in the mood for a big dose of culture, you can firstly visit the Stadtmuseum (City Museum) upstairs and learn more about Munich. It’s always worth stopping off at the Stadtcafé on the ground floor as well. You can spend a really nice full day there.

Filmmuseum, Sankt-Jakobs-Platz 1

Backyard Romance at the City Kino

The City-Kinos on Sonnenstrasse are also dedicated to the best art house films – but not only that. The programme is carefully chosen by the people in charge: Whether indie or mainstream, the films just have to be good. The appropriate cinema hall is chosen to match the genre. Films are either shown in the large room with around 350 seals or in a more intimate hall. All the cinema visitors then meet outside afterwards in the secluded courtyard.

City-Atelier-Kinos, Sonnenstraße 12a

 

Unique films in the cosy Werkstattkino

A unique cinema experience can be found at the Werkstattkino near Gärtnerplatz. A staircase leads from the tiny backyard to the screening room below. The films shown here aren’t shown anywhere else in Munich: sex films, biker movies and highly specialised documentaries – a fascinating mixture of poetry and trash right next to the Fraunhofer-Wirtshaus restaurant.

Werkstattkino, Fraunhoferstraße 9

 

Gin and tonic instead of popcorn at the Monopol

Monopol on Schleissheimer Strasse is sometimes almost forgotten, as it looks so inconspicuous from the outside. On the inside, there’s a wide selection of films and no infinitely long adverts. The cinema advertises “No popcorn and no nachos!”. It might sound strange, but it makes sure nobody’s disturbed by rustling and crumbs. But guests can order a gin and tonic or other drinks at a bar in the hall. Anyone who feels attached to Monopol can “sponsor a chair” to offer the cinema a little financial support. The name of the donor will then be forever displayed on a cinema seat in Munich.

Monopol Kino, Schleißheimer Str. 127

 

 

Photo: Bayerischer Hof, Deniz Ispaylar, Frank Stolle, Martina Dobrusky

Covid-19: current regulations

Hotels and accommodation establishments, shops, indoor and outdoor catering, and also clubs and discos are open. However, restrictions apply. All other important information on the coronavirus and your stay in Munich can be found here.

Tao Schirrmacher surfs the Eisbach wave in his wetsuit

“For me, the Eisbach is a cultural asset”

Nobody knows the Eisbach river quite as well as Tao Schirrmacher; the triple European surfing champion has been riding the river’s standing wave for 15 years.

Nobody knows the Eisbach river quite as well as Tao Schirrmacher; the triple European surfing champion has been riding the river’s standing wave for 15 years.

Young woman stands between two trees and looks at a sun-drenched meadow in Munich.

A local safari

Beavers, tawny owls, kingfishers: with a bit of luck, you can see many wild animals in Nymphenburg Castle Park. A visit.

Deer, beavers, adders, kingfishers, tawny owls, Canada geese: with a little luck, you can see all sorts of wildlife in Nymphenburger Schlosspark – in the heart of the city!

Two women on wheels cycle in the green into the evening sun in Munich.

A touch of wildnerness

A talk about the great outdoors, the magic of the woods and the love of the Northern English Garden.

A talk about the great outdoors, the magic of the woods and the love of the Northern English Garden.

Close-up of a forest and two people in Munich.

My friend, the tree

Waldbaden in Munich: Our columnist visits a nature reserve together with a forester.

Waldbaden in Munich: Our columnist visits a nature reserve together with a forester.

Three tourists on the Olympia Mountain viewing platform overlooking the park.

The north-south passage: hiking across Munich

A hiking tour through Munich – always towards the sun.

A hiking tour through Munich – always towards the sun: from BMW Welt in the north to the lake at Hinterbrühl in the south. In just one day!

Monopteros in the Englischer Garten in Munich.

The east-west passage: hiking across Munich

Munich is a village. Right?

Munich is a village, you can do everything by foot here. That is what they say. But is that true? We gave it a try - and went on a hike!

A man on a bicycle in the evening sun in the Maxvorstadt in Munich

Grand city tour

Discover the beauty of Munich outside of the city center at the grand city tour by bike.

From the centre of the old town to the Kunstareal art district, and on to the former summer residence of the Wittelsbach family, to the Olympic Park and back across Leopoldstraße. 

Two women with a bicycle on a pier by a lake in Bavaria.

Bathe, banter, bike

Whether „Hopfen and Bier-Schleife“, „Salz-Schleife“ or „Kunst- and Kulturschleife“, Munich is the hub for all routes of the water cycle paths.

Whether „Hopfen and Bier-Schleife“, „Salz-Schleife“ or „Kunst- and Kulturschleife“, Munich is the hub for all routes of the water cycle paths.

Cyclist in Munich.

Munich is beautiful – and even more so by bike!

Discover urban life, Munich's green lungs and the surrounding area by bike. An overview of the different routes and guided tours by bike.

Discover urban life, Munich's green lungs and the surrounding area by bike. An overview of the different routes and guided tours by bike.

Munich Card & City Pass

Discover Munich in a relaxed and uncomplicated way: discounts for the diverse range of art, culture and leisure activities with our guest cards.

Public transport is included

Many discounts with the Card, many things for free with the Pass.

Online or at the tourist information offices

Small meeting room of the Neues Rathaus in Munich

Exclusive tour through the town hall

Explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official City of Munich tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Book now from 18 €

Magistrates, Monachia and magnificent celebrations: explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official City of Munich tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Stage and audience of the Passionsspiel in Oberammergau.

The game of suffering, death and resurrection

The inhabitants of Oberammergau staging probably the world's most successful and largest amateur play. Buy your Tickets here.

The inhabitants of Oberammergau have staged what is today probably the world's most successful and largest amateur play. Buy your Tickets here.

Merchant with dried fruit on the Viktualienmarkt in Munich.

Viktualienmarkt Tasting Tour

Discover the most delicious delicacies of the city and learn all kinds of interesting facts about Munich's most famous food market.

Book now for 32 €!

Discover the most delicious delicacies of the city and learn all kinds of interesting historical facts about Munich's most famous food market.

Panoramic view of the Neues Rathaus in Munich with the Frauenkirche in the background.

Visit to the Town Hall Balcony

Join us on the famous balcony of the New Town Hall, where FC Bayern has celebrated a triumph many times - and enjoy the beautiful view over Marienplatz.

Book now for only 6 €!

Join us on the famous balcony of the New Town Hall, where FC Bayern has celebrated a triumph many times - and enjoy the beautiful view over Marienplatz.