The southern German city of Munich is the political and cultural capital of Bavaria. An ideal destination for experiencing the finer things in life – no matter how humbly or extravagantly – Munich shines brightest as a beacon for travelers interested in history and art. And of course beer.

You probably know this city for its famous Oktoberfest celebrations. Running roughly from mid-September into the first week of October, the traditional Volksfest sees six million people descend upon the city to drink beer from giant steins while cheering on parades and a range of events. For locals and Bavarians-at-heart, it’s a time to don lederhosen and alpine hats and revel in the good-natured fun of the occasion.

Beyond the best excuse to drink a lot of beer that perhaps ever has been dreamed up, a visit during the Munich Oktoberfest (or any time of year for that matter) offers the chance to discover one of Europes’ my beautiful cities.

For those of you looking for a break from the boozing, here’s a look at what to do during the Munich Oktoberfest (or anytime)!

Experience the City’s Rich History

The surest way to begin taking in the immense history of Munich is to head to Marienplatz, the city’s central square since 1158 and home to the world-famous Rathaus (town hall) and its Glockenspiel. The top tourist attraction in the city, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel juts out from the top of a town hall tower balcony. At scheduled times of the day, figures come out of the clock and dance to the chimes of the Glockenspiel in a delightfully charming automated performance. Nearby Marienplatz, you’ll find some of Europe’s most beautiful and best-preserved churches including Frauenkirche, Bürgersaalkirche, and St. Peter’s. Other significant historical buildings, such as the 600-year-old royal palace simply referred to as the Residenz, are all within manageable walk times from Marienplatz. By the way, if you’re visiting a little later in the year, this central square is at the heart of all of Munich’s Christmas market action.

See Lots of Amazing Art and Visit Awe Inspiring Museums

Flights to Germany that land you in this bustling Bavarian city, will land you much more than its fair share of quality museums, cultural institutions and places to view art. Among the most cherished are the Alte Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek, the Sammlung Schack, and the Brandhorts Museum — all located close to each other in the City’s Kunstareal (museum quarter). Aficionados of European art history will be most inspired by the Alte Pinakothek which a permanent collection highlighting all of the continent’s major art movements from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. Stop here for major works by Durer, Raphael, Titian, Canaletto, Rembrandt, Rubens, El Greco, Velasquez and more!

Car Culture

Love being behind the wheel of a Beemer? You do know that the B in BMW stands for Bavarian, right? Driving enthusiasts will adore a chance to visit the nearby BMW Welt–the combined museum and event venue close to the car manufacturer’s factory and the historic Olympic Park. The most visited tourist attraction in Bavaria, BMW Welt is an all-things-BMW wonderland offering exhibitions, events, and driving experiences.

The Great Outdoors

Folks who enjoy spending time in die freie Natur (the great outdoors) will find plenty of opportunities to play outside in and around Munich. Top choice for open-air city adventures is the Englischer Garten (English Garden). One of the largest urban parks in the world, the English Garden is where locals and visitors alike stretch out with miles and miles of paths and bike trails and ascend hills to admire city views. The authentic Japanese teahouse is a popular spot to relax. The Isar River runs through the English Garden. At one spot along with it, the tide flows so strongly people surf it.

Fantastisch Food and Drink

A world-class dining destination, Munich has something to eat and drink for everyone. Food market fans and street photographers will do wisely to head for the Victuals Market to have a look (and a taste) For those wishing to eat as in days gone by, Haxnbauer is the place to go. The specialty here is marinated and slow-roasted pork knuckle. Near to Haxnbauer is Hofbrauhaus. Opened in the late 16th century, this tavern has been serving a packed house ever since. Come for the live oompah pa music .. and, of course, the beer!

How do you celebrate the Munich Oktoberfest? With a trip to Germany or a fun place to drink closer to home?


About The Author

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.