Visitors should be sure to bring their appetites along when visiting Munich. Eating and drinking are extremely popular activities in this city and travellers will be hard-pressed not to pack on a few pounds with a seemingly endless stream of culinary delights.
Munich is celebrated for its hearty Bavarian fare, with bustling Gaststatten (bistros) the best places to enjoy traditional Bavarian food. Of course, the famous beer halls are great fun and also frequented by locals in droves. Munich has 11 Michelin-starred restaurants, providing sophisticated and creative menus in the city for discerning foodies looking for something a little more high-brow than the grub served in beer halls.
Specialties include Leberkassemmel, a spicy meatloaf; Weisswurst, a veal sausage usually served for breakfast; and Knodels (dumplings). Eating out in Munich is generally quite pricey but that doesn't mean there aren't cheaper alternatives. Visitors also won't struggle to find restaurants in Munich that are open late at night, with some pubs and eateries only closing at 4am.
Promising places to sniff out great local food include the Schwabing district, which overflows with good dining establishments, and the Viktualienmarkt, a square adjoining Marienplatz which hosts a large food market.
From trendy local and international designers to traditional Bavarian handicrafts, shopaholics enjoy plenty of variety in Munich. Typical Bavarian gifts include trachten (traditional clothing) such as Lederhosen, while the most popular souvenirs are still bierkrug (beer steins) and pewterware.
The two main shopping districts are Neuhauserstraße and Kaufingerstraße in Munich's historic city centre. Department and chain stores abound in these pedestrian-only shopping areas selling everything from clothing and accessories to electrical goods and sports equipment. Head to Maximilianstraße, Theatinerstraße or Leopoldstraße in Schwabing for independent shops and trendy boutiques selling all the latest local designer clothing. Second-hand stores are also found in Schwabing, with real gems hidden among their wares.
The modern Fünf Höfe shopping mall is a great place to find everything under one roof, while the Sunday flea market at Kunstpark Ost provides more alternative buys with second-hand goods, antiques and old bric-a-brac lining the stall fronts. For great food markets, the vibrant Viktualienmarkt behind Marienplatz sells everything from cheese and spices to poultry and game, with the senses coming alive to the fragrances of spices and aromas of delicious produce. The market is open Monday to Friday and features a beer garden where weary shoppers can take a load off, rest their legs and enjoy an ice-cold refreshment.
Most stores are open from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, and on Saturday until 4pm. Munich is a comparatively expensive city but a rewarding one for shoppers.
From bustling traditional beer halls to vibrant dance clubs, the nightlife in Munich has it all, and the mix of foreigners and locals gives this city a welcoming cosmopolitan feel. Unlike Frankfurt and Berlin, Munich is more known for its bars and beer halls than its nightclubs.
Still, those in search of some serious parties won't struggle to find them in Munich. Sendlinger Tor, Karlsplatz and Odeonsplatz are where many of the city's favourite clubs are concentrated. Other popular nightlife districts in Munich include Schwabing, boasting numerous traditional Bavarian options and lots of live music; Maxvorstand, near the university and frequented by students; the Glockenbachviertel, adored by the most trendy denizens of the city and home to a number of gay and lesbian venues; and the dingy but cheap area around the Munich East Station.
Travellers should note that the friendly, welcoming attitude of the beer halls is not always matched by the more upmarket and fashionable clubs in Munich, where would-be partiers should dress appropriately and anticipate some selectivity from bouncers.