Sunshine-yellow flags all over the city centre, light projections at the entrance gate of the pedestrian zone at Karlsplatz and the enchanting smile of the Münchner Kindl beaming from every billboard: these were the cheerful heralds of the Summer in the City campaign, which in 2021 brought again an outstanding programme of cultural activities, games, sport and entertainment to Munich. These were the best locations:
That’s a surprising sight! From 28 July, you’ll see a Ferris wheel turning on Königsplatz in the Maxvorstadt district, against the backdrop of the city gate known as the “Munich Acropolis”. Ride in one of its 24 gondolas for a panoramic vista that opens up completely new perspectives; from your vantage point 45 metres up in the air you can enjoy a view that takes in the museums of the Kunstareal art district, the Olympiaturm tower in the north of the city and the distinctive onion-shaped domes of the Frauenkirche. Some days you can even see as far as the mountains. After dark, the multi-coloured lights of the Ferris wheel are a joyful sight in their own right.
Children from the age of six will love the exciting ups, downs and hairpin bends of the Kinzlers Pirateninsel pirate-themed roller coaster, while smaller kids can enjoy a gentle flight on the jumbo jet ride. The nostalgic chair swing ride is sure to attract traditionalist funfair enthusiasts, who can take a spin through the air and then enjoy roasted almonds, bratwurst, crêpes, chocolate-dipped fruit and even a little glass of Prosecco from one of the kiosks and stands dotted around the area.
Summer in the City is also taking over the historic Olympic Stadium building. Almost 50 years after its construction for the 1972 Olympic Games, observers still wonder at how the roof structure of this landmark can appear so light and airy. Though the stage under the southern curve of that roof is usually reserved for international music greats, from 23 July to 22 August the venue will play host to pop, jazz and classical performances by various musicians.
Concert-goers can buy moderately priced tickets for all events, with proceeds going directly to the artists involved. The programme will be available online soon. The Theatron summer music festival will also take place at the Olympic Stadium from 13 to 15 August. This festival traditionally offers newcomers to Munich’s music scene the opportunity to perform in front of an audience – for whom entry is free.
The sprawling parkland of Olympiapark – or “Olipark”, as it is affectionately dubbed by Munich residents – has a landscape inspired by the rolling terrain of the alpine foothills, and it has become a much-loved feature of the city since the Olympic Games it was created for. It is perfect for enjoying on foot or by bike; explorers can discover a tiny Alpine pasture as well as the Olympiasee (Olympic Lake). You can also head up the more than 290-metre Olympiaturm (Olympic Tower) to enjoy a panoramic view of Munich and its environs – alternatively, you could raise your perspective while taking the opportunity to ride the Ferris wheel that will be at Hans-Jochen-Vogel-Platz (formerly known as Coubertinplatz) over the summer, starting from 29 July.
The festival grounds extend from Olympiahalle and through the square with the Ferris wheel; further along the lake you’ll also find a familiar Oktoberfest classic, namely the family-friendly Wilde Maus roller coaster. Every Munich infant waits impatiently to turn six, as that’s when they are finally allowed to ride the Wilde Maus with Mum or Dad for the first time. The "Alpenrausch" amusement park is Bavarian in style, where the stag roars and the brook rushes and the visitors are glad to have solid ground under their feet again after the laser tunnel and toboggan slide. In addition, a whole series of nostalgic throwing and shooting booths invite you to try your luck.
The Theresienwiese site – which will unfortunately miss out on hosting Oktoberfest, the world’s largest folk festival, again this year – is an oval, largely undeveloped area in the city centre, which is mostly paved but for a few small chamomile beds; and that is exactly what makes it appealing. As well as offering an unimpeded view that is enjoyed by city dwellers, the open and unbuilt area of Theresienwiese is also ideal for a wide range of sports that need a lot of space, such as parkour, bouldering, skateboarding and streetball – all of which you can try out on the site when the Bavarian summer holidays begin. The Palmengarten (palm garden) is there too: a small sandy beach with deckchairs under real palm trees and a number of kiosks selling drinks and snacks.
After enjoying huge success last year, the Kunst im Quadrat event will be returning to Theresienwiese this year from 31 July to 15 August, with free concerts, performances, a tea dance, bingo and various workshops. The organisers have focussed on the importance of being together and awakening the creativity that lies within us all!
From 28 July, Theresienwiese will get a little more raucous – that’s when the fairground rides arrive! Expect to hear piercing shrieks from riders plunging down the Rio Rapidos water ride or flying around the Bayern Tower Kettenflieger – chain flyer – which looks innocuously like an oversized maypole, but whirls riders around at speeds of up to 65 kilometres per hour. In the immediate vicinity, the "Lach+Freu-Haus" fun barn wobbles and flashes with its skills course,
You’ll also find Heidi – the Coaster, a spectacular roller coaster that hits top speeds of around 58 kilometres per hour along its 430-metre-long track. What else is an unmissable part of proceedings at any self-respecting Munich folk festival? Children’s carousels, bumper cars, chocolate-dipped fruit, bratwurst, coconut shies, shooting galleries and beer gardens, of course – all of which will be in plentiful supply.
Everyone knows that Munich can do culture. But being able to enjoy music, theatre and a wealth of other cultural events in the inner courtyards of many museums and public squares as part of this summer of culture is truly something special.
Science Summer is returning to the Deutsches Museum this year and will continue until the end of September: the event will include a series of outdoor talks, science shows, concerts, workshops and much more every day from 12 noon. Visitors can look forward to a spectacular nitrogen demonstration, exciting tales about shipping, aviation and the Cave of Altamira, and getting stuck into one of the many hands-on activities – in keeping with the museum’s motto, “Wissen Erleben” (experience knowledge). Access to events is included in the museum entry fee.
The Münchner Stadtmuseum will also be offering its own open-air cultural programme under the banner of “Sommer im Hof” (Summer in the Courtyard) from 9 July until 12 September. You should also know that the Stadtmuseum boasts a stunning inner courtyard – it’s a little oasis in the middle of Altstadt, just a few minutes from Marienplatz. From 9 July, the courtyard will host a series of concerts featuring classical music, jazz, reggae, electronic music, modern folk and even children’s concerts. Meanwhile, the KUCKUCK theatre festival which begins on the same day promises wonderful entertainment for toddlers and very young kids. A range of bands playing various genres of music will also take to the stage every evening from 24 July to 1 August, in association with the “Here Comes the Night. Club Culture in Munich” exhibition. The Münchner Stadtmuseum will also be screening silent movies between 4 and 22 August as part of the Summer of Culture.
The Deutsches Theater has launched a programme of summer events on the stages in its inner courtyard and large auditorium. As well as cabaret and concerts, visitors can also look forward to the Musical Salon, which will feature star performers from musicals, while children are bound to be delighted by the little tiger and bear in the Janosch musical “The Trip to Panama”.
Munich’s Werksviertel area, near the Ostbahnhof train station, has been in continuous development for several years now. Formerly the site of a dumpling factory, it is now home to various residential, office and retail spaces, as well as opportunities for creativity, music, art, social engagement, sports, entertainment, dining, drinking and dancing. The new Munich concert hall is being built in the area too, with construction expected to be complete by 2025.
Summer in the City is the kick-off to an entire season of events in Werksviertel-Mitte, which will see concerts, musicals, plays and stand-up comedy come to the open-air stage on Knödelplatz between 15 July and 1 August. The programme creators are delighted to be able to help support art, culture and artists, and to bring the joy of live events to audiences once more.
Programmed events are scheduled from Thursday to Sunday every week, with doors opening half an hour before the beginning of each event. One further highlight for visitors to the Werksviertel is the Umadum (a Bavarian word meaning “all around”) – the largest Ferris wheel in the world, as confirmed in the Guinness Book of Records.
How wonderful that the Summer in the City festival means we can enjoy Jakobidult – the summer version of the traditional Auer Dult fair – at Maria-Hilf-Platz! This folk festival, which includes a bustling market, takes place in the charming Munich district of Au, where atmospheric little streets make you feel as though you’re in a village – in the heart of the city.
Between 24 July and 1 August, visitors to the fair will be able to buy crockery and household goods, spices, knitwear, socks, traditional dress and much more. It’s not all about shopping either: don’t miss out on enjoying a regional delicacy such as Steckerlfisch (fish grilled on a stick) or Bratwurstsemmeln (bratwurst in a bread roll), perhaps followed by a sweet treat of chocolate-covered fruit, roasted almonds or ice cream. And of course you must also make time to try the coconut shy, games booths and carousels, not to mention the Russenrad historic ride, considered to be the oldest Ferris wheel in Bavaria. Because of restrictions in place due to the pandemic, a visitor counting system will regulate access to the Jakobidult, and no more than 1,500 visitors will be permitted on the grounds at any one time.
Sometime during the long, slow pandemic hours and days, when nothing was happening, the operators of the legendary Harry Klein club made a pledge: “If the people can’t come to us in the club any more, we’ll come to the people instead.” And so Kollektivgärten was born. DJs are lined up to play great open-air sets in a wonderful beer garden atmosphere throughout the summer, in full compliance with coronavirus guidelines.
It is a great place to meet up with friends, go dancing or simply relax. And don’t worry if you’re thinking that techno isn’t for you: the venue will offer a varied, daily changing programme of music, art and culture elements. There is a Kollektivgarten site on Theresienwiese until 22 July, then it will move on to the festival grounds in Weissenseepark and to “Sugar Mountain”, an old concrete plant in Obersendling that is currently being used as a temporary events venue.
Launching for the first time this year, Monocorona is a series of pop-up concerts which will take place in various public spaces all over Munich. The concerts will be held every Thursday and Friday, from 6.30pm to 10.00pm until 1 October, apart from during the first three weeks of August. You can find out more here about the venues, the programme and how to reserve tickets.