Tourists crowd the busy city center of Munich. You hear the sound of hundreds of suitcases rolling on cobblestone and people speaking a variety of languages.
But, with only a few days to spend in Munich and hundreds of years of rich history and culture, tourists may lack confidence in where to start.
“There is so much to do, and we are feeling like there is no way to see it all. We will definitely need to be coming back,” says Maria Belen Alvarez, a 22-year-old visiting from Argentina. “We are only in Munich for three days, but I already love it here so much that I wish we could stay longer.”Why It’s Newsworthy: If you visit Munich for a short time and feel overwhelmed with options, check out this list of sights, delicious food and activities—all recommended by Munich locals.
From the Marienplatz and the Residenz to the English Gardens and the BWM Museum, Munich is home to some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, both architectural and natural.
You might have to pick and choose which sights you want to see most during your brief stay, but a local mother and her daughter suggest that the place to go for the best survey of the entire city is the top of the Church of St. Peter, sometimes called Alter Peter by the locals. “Old Peter” is the oldest parish church in Munich and offers a view of the entire city center, according to muenchen.de, the official website for the city of Munich.
After learning about the history and architectural beauty of Munich’s Old Town, take a walk over to the English Gardens, one of the world’s largest urban parks. The walk will take you north from the Marienplatz through Odeonsplatz, home to the Theatine Church and the Feldherrnhalle.
“While I am here, I want to go to the English Gardens, I have never been but have heard it is so beautiful,” says Alvarez.
Locals and tourists can agree that the English Gardens are a must-see. Helen Fladerer, a 34-year-old Munich native says that she goes to the English Gardens often. “It is a good place to go every time. I am never disappointed,” she says.
The Isar River flows through the English Gardens, and Flanderer says it is one of her favorite parts of living in Munich. “It is a perfect place for swimming in the summer or to just walk around,” she says.
The Eisbach, one particular part of the Isar, is home to the Eisbachwelle, a man-made wave that brings in surfers from all over the world year-round.
A staple in Munich since the 1800s, the Viktualeinmarket, or Victuals Market, is a daily food market that offers everything from fruits and vegetables to wine and tea. The market is renowned for its history as well as its diversity and size, according to muenchen.de.
Istrid, a local mother and market-shopper says, “you can find here what you never get in normal stores, like herbs and other specialty items.”
“It offers exotic ingredients that are not available anywhere else in the area,” states the muenchen.de webpage. The market has evolved over the years to become less of a farmer’s market and more a destination for fresh, prepared foods.
If an upscale dining experience is more your taste, Enter the Dragon and Pescheria are the two restaurants in Munich that Fladerer suggests to visitors. She says that these places have everything you could want and keep you away from the traditional tourist-laden restaurants.
For those with a sweet tooth, Sebastian, a student at the Technical University of Munich, recommends heading somewhere outside of the city to find the best (and least-touristy) establishments.
Café Winklstüberl, located in Fischbachau, is the first place he suggests. “You must go there before you leave, they have the best cakes you will ever eat. Very good,” he says.
To make the most of your short time, consider taking a walking or biking tour to quickly see the city.
“We took a walking tour when we first arrived in Munich. It was four hours, so I was very tired, but it was recommended to us as the best way to see the city. After taking it, I do agree,” says Alvarez.
To relax after a long day of sightseeing, Fladerer suggests heading over to the Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant.
“It is a great place for just hanging out and having a drink. I meet my friends there after work to relax from the day.” Kennedy’s offers food and drink in a lively environment with daily live music and sports coverage from around the world.
If you are in the mood to party, Fladerer says the best place to go is Blitz–a new dance club in the Deutsches Museum. “This place is the most fun, you must go if you can,” she says.
From the hustle and bustle of the Vikualienmarkt to the tranquility of the English Gardens, Munich has something for the adventurer and the carefree traveler. Avoid falling prey to the many touristenfalle, or tourist traps, in the city by living like the locals do.
Sarah Hawkins is a senior majoring in public relations in the Grady College of Journalism of Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.