Munich is a city of art and culture, with innumerable monuments and more museums than` any other German city. In quality, its collections surpass those of Berlin. The Wittelsbachs (the ruling family of Europe from approximately the 13th to early 20th c.) were great collectors -- some say pillagers -- and left behind a city full of treasures.
Go to Munich to have fun and to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle, friendly ambience, and wealth of activities, sightseeing, and cultural events. Munich is stocked with so many treasures that any visitor who plans to "do" the city in a day or two will not only miss out on many major sights, but also fail to grasp the city's spirit and absorb its special flavor.
Exploring the City Center
The best show on Marienplatz takes place at 11am and 9pm daily (also at noon and 5pm during the holiday seasons) when the 43-bell Glockenspiel on the 280-foot central spire of the Neues Rathaus goes through its paces. Brightly painted mechanical figures reenact two famous events from Munich’s history: the knights’ tournament during the 1586 wedding feast of Wilhelm V and Renate of Lorraine, and, one level below, the Schäfflertanz (Coopers’ Dance), first performed in 1683 to express gratitude for the end of the plague.
Visiting the viktualienmarkt (Produce Market)
Located on the square of the same name, close to Marienplatz, the Viktualienmarkt has been serving Munich residents for nearly 200 years and is a wonderful place to stroll and sniff and take in the local scene. In an area the size of a city block, you find butcher shops, cheese sellers, a whole section of bakeries stocked with dozens of different kinds of Bavarian breads and rolls, fish sellers, wine merchants, dozens of produce stalls, and a beer garden. Most of the permanent stands open at 6am. and stay open until 6pm on weekdays, or until 1pm on Saturday. You can buy food at the market stalls and eat it in the beer garden if you buy a beer, a soda, water, or other beverage at the beer-garden drink stand. You can easily find the market from Marienplatz; it’s bounded by Prälat-Zistl-Strasse on the west, Frauen Strasse to the south, Heiliggeiststrasse on the east, and Tal on the north.
Museumsviertel (Museum Quarter)
You could spend days exploring the four art museums that make up the Museum Quarter, also called the Kunstareal. All four are worth visiting, but the enormous Alte Pinakothek, with its world-class collection of Old Masters is a must-see. The smaller Neue Pinakothek, featuring gems from the 19th century, and the Pinakothek der Moderne and Museum Brandhorst, both in new buildings and dedicated to 20th-century art, round out this rather amazing collection of museums.
Museum Savings on Saturday & Sunday
On Saturday, you can enjoy the treasures in all three Pinakotheks (Alte, Neue, der Moderne), Museum Brandhorst, and Schack-Galerie for 1€. On Sunday, the Glyptothek, Antikensammlungen, and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum reduce their prices to 1€.
Ludwig I (reigned 1825–48) set out to make Munich a second Athens, an endeavor best embodied in the classically inspired architecture of Königsplatz, 2 blocks south of the Museumsviertel. Here, flanking the templelike Propyläen monument, stand the Antikensammlungen and Glyptothek, housing the king's former collections of Greek and Roman artifacts. If antiquities don’t interest you, the Lenbachhaus with its outstanding collection of late-19th- and early-20th-century German art is definitely worth the trip.