The appeal of the Bavarian capital extends well outside its ornate historic centre — and beyond Oktoberfest season. Buzzy neighbourhoods like Schlachthofviertel put modern Munich’s creativity on show, stylish coffee shops and bakeries set you up for the day, and sprawling parks have helped to build the city’s liveable reputation.
Start with brunch at Café Faber, a former pop-up that found a permanent home along the Isar River earlier this year. The menu changes with the seasons, but you can always expect to see plenty of kimchi, hummus and fresh sourdough. From here, make your way to the old town, where speciality-coffee gurus Sweet Spot Kaffee will sort you out with another caffeine hit.
In this neighbourhood, you’ll find homegrown businesses among the usual high street names. Founded by a mountain enthusiast in 1913, Sport Schuster has outdoor gear spread across seven floors as well as an indoor climbing wall. For loftier heights, head to Frauenkirche, the city’s largest church. Following a decade of restoration, you can now ascend one of its gothic towers; after making your way up a narrow spiral staircase, a lift will take you to some of the most spectacular views in the city.
You shouldn’t leave this part of town without seeing what’s on at the Kunsthalle München, an exhibition space whose three annual shows tackle subjects as diverse as the art of the samurai and the work of Jean Paul Gaultier. Further north, Museum Brandhorst has a collection of works by American painter Cy Twombly that have made it an important address for contemporary art.
Starting to get peckish? A big name on the bread scene, Julius Brantner supplies several top restaurants and has two uber-stylish bakeries, one in the Altstadt (Old Town) and another to the north in Schwabing. Pretzels filled with butter are a popular choice but you’ll find plenty of sweet options, too.
For a bigger meal, Augustiner Bräustuben serves hearty German grub, while meat-free options can be found at nearby Bodhi, the city’s first and best vegan pub. Both establishments are in Westend, a neighbourhood that has changed significantly in recent years with the arrival of hip hangouts such as speciality roasters Stray Coffee.
Nearby Theresienwiese is worth a visit year round. When not hosting the annual Munich Oktoberfest, the 100-acre site is used by locals for recreation — you might even spot the occasional windskater. More expansive greenery can be found at Englischer Garten; its sun-dappled beer gardens are perfect places to sample the city’s celebrated brews.
Away from the regal architecture of the city centre, the Schlachthofviertel (Meatpacking District) is another area that’s constantly evolving. As well as traditional butcher shops and old-school watering holes, it’s home to a thriving local craft beer scene and new cultural spaces. Run by one of Munich’s young brewers, kiosk-style Bierkiste has fridges full of regional bottles to drink in or take away. A few streets down, the graffiti-covered train carriages and shipping containers of Bahnwärter Thiel host artist studios, workshops and events. At the weekend, techno DJs move in.
Come dinnertime, try a Bavarian take on the Japanese izakaya (pub) at Ciao Chang. Standout dishes include local trout with teriyaki sauce and ramen with duck and red cabbage. For something extra special, there’s JAN in the museum district — it became Munich’s only Michelin three-star restaurant just a year after opening in 2022, thanks to chef Jan Hartwig’s art-like tasting menus.
Round off the evening with a cocktail and tropical vibes at The High bar before resting up at aparthotel Schwan Locke. Otherwise, opt for the minimalist yet cosy Haus im Tal hotel in the heart of town.
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