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Cultural and Traditional

Munich is varied and exciting, yet relaxing and cozy at the same time – depending on what you
feel like doing at the time. Culture vultures will be delighted by the many theaters and opera
houses, while art lovers will enjoy visiting the many exhibitions and collections. But you’ll also find
what you’re looking for if unwinding, being entertained, and discovering the more traditional side of
Munich are top of your list: relaxation and sport in the English Garden and along the Isar River, a
visit to one of the many beer gardens in the summer, or shopping and drinking mulled wine at the
Christmas market during the festive season. And soccer fans won’t want to miss out on a match
with premier league teams FC Bayern Munich or TSV 1860 Munich in the famous Allianz Arena.
What are you waiting for?

 
 
Bavarian State Opera (Bayerische Staatsoper)

Bavarian State Opera (Bayerische Staatsoper)

In the 17th century, Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria, had a theater built in the Hercules Hall of the Munich Residence (the palace of Bavarian monarchs), where the first Italian operas were performed. In 1750, Elector Max III. Joseph commissioned architect Francois Cuvilliés with the building of the magnificent Rococo Residence Theater (“Cuvilliés Theater”). In 1818, with the Nationaltheater, the opera ensemble was given a new home: Germany’s biggest opera house to date. It was the venue of world premieres of four masterpieces by Richard Wagner: Tristan and Isolde, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie. The Bavarian State Opera is a broad-based artistic and musical venue – one of the biggest worldwide. In previous seasons it reported over half a million visitors at 350 performances. Photograph: Florentine/PIXELIO

 
 
German Theater (Deutsches Theater)

German Theater (Deutsches Theater)

The Deutsches Theater, with 1,600 seats, often plays host to successful shows and musicals from Broadway and London, thereby bringing an international flair to Munich. Many new productions have their German or European premieres here: Stars like André Heller and David Copperfield have previously captivated audiences here. In the adjoining restaurant, Lorenz Stiftl will round off your evening with culinary delights. Photograph: Ramgeis, Wikipedia

 
 
Theater at Gärtnerplatz (Gärtnerplatztheater)

Theater at Gärtnerplatz (Gärtnerplatztheater)

The Gärtnerplatztheater – or to be precise: the “State Theater at Gärtnerplatz” designed by Michael Reiffenstuel, who opted for a Classicist building style – was opened in 1865 in Munich. Back then it was still called the “Actien-Volkstheater” and entertained audiences with operettas, musical comedies, and folk plays. Today’s line-up also includes operas and musicals. The prime location, right on Gärtnerplatz, makes the theater attractive for everyone, not just culture vultures. In the summer you can relax with a beer or an ice cream on the building’s inviting steps and enjoy the balmy summer’s evenings. Photograph: Hoheit, Wikipedia

 
 
House of Art (Haus der Kunst)

House of Art (Haus der Kunst)

The Pinakothek der Moderne houses four museums under one roof (art, graphics, architecture, design) and is regarded worldwide as one of the biggest museums of 20th and 21st century art. The Old Pinakothek is one of the most significant and time-honored painting galleries in the world and exhibits paintings from the Middle Ages to the mid-18th century. The building itself is regarded as an architectural masterpiece. The New Pinakothek offers an overview of the époques of European art, from the Enlightenment to the dawn of Modernism. Visitors can admire works from the Classicist, Romantic, Art Nouveau and Impressionist periods.

 
 
Munich Kammerspiele

Munich Kammerspiele

The listed Art Nouveau building of the Munich Kammerspiele theater on Maximilianstraße was extensively restored to commemorate its centenary and offers seating for approx. 700 people. Around 12 performances are shown at the theater annually. Further venues that also belong to the Kammerspiele are the Werkraum on Hildegardstraße and the Neue Haus on Falckenbergstraße. Young people aged between 15 and 21 can even use the Kammerspiele for their own theater projects. Photograph: Andreas-Praefcke, Wikipedia

 
 
Lenbach House (Lenbachhaus)

Lenbach House (Lenbachhaus)

The Städtische Galerie (Municipal Gallery) is housed in the national heritage villa which belonged to the aristocratic artist Franz von Lenbach. The Lenbachhaus has established itself as an internationally significant museum due to its unique collection of works by the “Blaue Reiter” group of artists. It also gives an insight into Munich’s art scene in the 19th century, thanks to the countless paintings from this period. Several rooms have been preserved in their original condition. Photograph: Usien, Wikipedia

 
 
Munich People’s Theater (Münchner Volkstheater)

Munich People’s Theater (Münchner Volkstheater)

The theater, which was built in 1955, on Brienner Straße was originally a multi-purpose hall in the Haus des Sports (House of Sport), but was converted into the People’s Theater we know today in 1983. The program includes classics from southern German dialect literature, as well as works from the international people’s theater tradition, including plays by Goethe, Schiller, Shakespeare, Molière, and Brecht. You can enjoy a bite to eat or a drink before the performance in the adjoining Volksgarten (People’s Garden) – which, even without tickets for the theater, is a popular meeting point in the summer with its large lounge terrace. Photograph: Maximilian Dörrbecker, Wikipedia

 
 
Pinakothek der Moderne, Old and New Pinakothek

Pinakothek der Moderne, Old and New Pinakothek

The Pinakothek der Moderne houses four museums under one roof (art, graphics, architecture, design) and is regarded worldwide as one of the biggest museums of 20th and 21st century art. The Old Pinakothek is one of the most significant and time-honored painting galleries in the world and exhibits paintings from the Middle Ages to the mid-18th century. The building itself is regarded as an architectural masterpiece. The New Pinakothek offers an overview of the époques of European art, from the Enlightenment to the dawn of Modernism. Visitors can admire works from the Classicist, Romantic, Art Nouveau and Impressionist periods.

 
 
Residenz Theater (Residenztheater)

Residenz Theater (Residenztheater)

The Residenztheater not only includes the actual theater itself (affectionately known by locals as the “Resi”), but also the Marstall and Cuvilliés Theaters. The Resi is one of the leading theaters in Germany, whose performances of classics like Shakespeare and Schiller have been shaping the German theater scene for decades. With the new director Martin Kušej, an Austrian of Slovenian descent, the theater has been given an international focus, which is being reflected in the ensemble, the program, and the networking with theaters throughout Europe. With its own children’s theater program, the theater is also encouraging the younger Munich generation to visit theaters. Photograph: Florentine/PIXELIO

 
 
Allianz Arena / FC Bayern and TSV 1860 Munich

Allianz Arena / FC Bayern and TSV 1860 Munich

Soccer is to Bavaria what eggs are to Easter. Until 2005 “the Bavarians” (“the reds”) and “the Lions” (“the blues”) were still celebrating their victories and defeats in the Munich’s venerable Olympic Stadium – and then a new era began. With the Soccer World Cup in 2006 in Germany, the Allianz Arena attained world fame beyond Munich’s borders. The stadium can be seen for miles around when darkness falls, and, according to which team is currently playing, it is illuminated red or blue. And if Bayern and 1860 happen to be playing against one another, the city turns into one big party: It’s all about becoming city champion, about fame and glory. Photograph: Richard Bartz, Wikipedia

 
 
Auer Dulten Market

Auer Dulten Market

This is where you will experience the real Munich – at the Maidult from the end of April, the Jakobidult in July, and the Kirchweihdult in October. Every year, around 300,000 visitors, young and old alike, enjoy the hustle and bustle and fairground flair of the three Auer Dulten markets on Maria-Hilf-Platz in the district of Au. For nine days, life is all about strolling, browsing, eating and drinking, having fun, and shopping. Photograph: Amrei-Marie, Wikipedia

 
 
Beer Gardens

Beer Gardens

If you hear the word Bavaria, you think of beer gardens, the quintessence of Bavarian coziness. You can sit in the shade of the chestnut trees on simple wooden benches, with a “Maß” of chilled beer and a hearty, typical Bavarian snack, which usually consists of a Brezn (a pretzel), a portion of “Obatzdn” (Obatzda – a savory cheese spread), and Radi (radish). Almost all beer gardens allow you to bring your own food. The story behind this is that the brewing of beer used to be prohibited during summer, so the winter beer was stored in deep cellars, and chestnut trees were planted over them to provide shade. So it was a natural development to offer food and drinks in the summer. But when restaurant owners protested against the catering being offered in the brewery gardens, it was ruled that only drinks were allowed, so from then on guests had to provide their own snacks. Some of the most popular beer gardens in Munich are: The Augustiner-Keller close to the central train station is one of the largest and most traditional beer gardens in Munich – you’ll meet native Munich locals and also the older generation wearing their lederhosen and hats. The Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) is located right in the heart of the English Garden – typical Bavarian snacks and beer are often rounded off with Bavarian brass band music. With a mixed crowd, good atmosphere, and plenty of space, this is a real cult beer garden. The Hirschgarten is Munich’s largest beer garden with an open-air enclosure for deer and stags. It is near the Nymphenburg Palace and in the center of a park. Directly by the Kleinhesseloher Lake in the English Garden in an idyllic setting is the Seehaus (Lake House). Pedalos and rowing boats, ducks and swans – all right next to the beer benches on the banks of the lake. Photograph: ©Christian Evertsbusch/PIXELIO

 
 
English Garden and the Isarauen (the meadows on the banks of the Isar River)

English Garden and the Isarauen (the meadows on the banks of the Isar River)

The English Garden was one of the first large parks in continental Europe that was open to the general public. Its designer, Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, based the garden on the landscaped gardens in England. As one of the most spacious inner-city parks in the world (3.75 square kilometers), the English Garden enjoys great popularity. Here you will also find the “Chinesischer Turm” (Chinese Tower) and “Seehaus” (Lake House) beer gardens, a large number of jogging and walking trails, grassy fields for playing football or volleyball, and the Eisbach stream with its famous surfers. In the winter months you can ice-skate on the frozen lakes, try your hand at curling, or enjoy a mulled wine and warm chestnuts.

 
 
Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

At the beginning of December traditional Christmas markets open throughout the city and ensure a festive mood, or shopping fever, in the run up to the holiday period. As well as the traditional large Christmas market on the Marienplatz, also enticing locals and tourists to venture out is the Christmas market in Schwabing (art and handicrafts), the cozy little market at Sendlinger Tor (the perfect place to see and be seen), and the Tollwood Winterfestival on the Theresienwiese, with a varied offer of shopping and events. And there is also a summer version of the Tollwood event, which takes place in the Olympiapark grounds. Photograph: Ramessos, Wikipedia

 
 
Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

The Oktoberfest in Munich (known by the locals as the “Wiesn”, from the word “Wiese” meaning meadow) is one of the biggest public festivals in the world. It has taken place on the Theresienwiese since 1810 and is visited by around 6 million people year after year. The festival tents of Munich’s breweries, carousels, roller coasters, and other spectacular fairground rides set up camp on the huge site for 16 days to entertain the festival crowds. The supporting program of events also includes the parade of the beer tent landlords, the traditional costume and marksmen’s parade, and the concert with all of the Wiesn brass bands.

 
 

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