BMW Welt and Museum
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Where to Stay in Munich for the First Time: Best Areas for Tourists

Munich, with a population of over 1.5 million people is the 3rd largest city in Germany. If you are visiting this beautiful city for the first time, it might be overwhelming to choose where to stay in Munich as a tourist. In this article, I am going to describe all the best and safest areas in Munich worth staying. I will also give some insider tips on how to get around the city, things to do in the mentioned areas, and other useful tips.

I have lived in Munich for over 10 years and know the city pretty well. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of insider knowledge and am ready to share with you all the locals‚Äô best-kept secrets, so keep reading  ūüėČ

Overview of the Best Areas for Tourists

First of all, unlike other large cities, Munich doesn‚Äôt have distinct safe and not safe areas. Over the years of living in Munich, I have never experienced any unsafe situations in the city. Munich is one of the safest cities in the world and in Germany. That being said, some areas are more pleasant to stay in as a first-time visitor than others due to the growing number of homeless people. Minor crimes such as pickpocketing and scams are common like in any large city, so you should always be cautious and mind your surroundings. 

Altstadt is the heart of Munich located in the historic center. All the main attractions of Munich can be found here within walking distance. Here you will find the main square ( Marienplatz), the City Hall, Frauenkirche, and the Hofbr√§uhaus (the most famous beer hall in the world). This area is also the most tourist and crowded. My 2-day itinerary in Munich provides a detailed list of things you can do in Munich’s old town.

Maxvorstadt is the cultural hotspot of Munich hosting over 18 museums and galleries. It is pretty central located next to the Altstadt, the old town. Here you will find Munich’s largest Museums such as the Alte and Neue Pinakothek, Lenbachhaus, Königsplatz, and the old botanical garden.

Glockenbachviertel and Gärtnerplatz are home to Munich’s most trendy cafes and popular bars. Glockenbachviertel is Munich’s LGBTQ+ neighborhood full of vibrant and distinctive atmosphere.

Schwabing is an area in the north of Munich popular among young people and students. It is home to many trendy bars and cafes, as well as the largest park in Munich, the English Garden. This large green space is locals‚Äô favorite recreational area. 

Au-Haidhausen is locals’ favorite neighborhood, known for its local vibe and great atmosphere. It is known for the charming Wiener Platz with its local market, trendy Werksviertel, and the Ferris wheel offering great panoramic views over the city.

Milbertshofen in the north of Munich is home to BMW Welt and the Museum, as well as the Olympiapark with its Olympic Stadium and the TV Tower, the tallest building in the city.

Getting Around Munich: First-Timers Guide

Munich is covered by a wide network of public transportation which includes S Bahn (suburban rapid rail), U Bahn (underground), buses, and trams. When you buy a train ticket in Munich, it will cover all kinds of transportation in the city which makes it very practical. You can choose between a single ticket, a day ticket, and weekly and monthly tickets. You can buy your tickets online on the MVV App or on vending machines.  The S-Bahn and U-Bahn are the fastest forms of public transportation in Munich. When you look for accommodation, it is important to choose one located close to the U-Bahn or S-Bahn station to be able to get around Munich easily. 

6 Best Areas to Stay in Munich for First-Time Visitors 

Altstadt: Munich Old Town

Altstadt is the heart of Munich and its historic center. Here you will find Munich‚Äôs central square Marienplatz with its famous Glockenspiel, St. Peter‚Äôs church offering great panoramic views over the city and symbolic Frauenkirche. A few meters away from the main square you will find Viktualienmarkt, a local food market where you can try delicious local specialties and yummy street food. If you are into shopping and souvenirs, then Munich‚Äôs old town is the best place for that. It is home to the largest shopping streets in Munich, Kaufingerstrasse and Maximilianstra√üe. This area of Munich is also the best to see the famous Munich Christmas Markets in winter.

Munich is not famous for its nightlife and it is mostly quite boring during the week. If you want to enjoy some karaoke and live music during the week, you can opt to visit numerous Irish pubs in the city center of Munich. On weekends you have more choices. Read further to find out which areas are the best for it.

Munich Old Town Altstadt

Where to Eat in Altstadt

Hofbräushausthe most famous Beer Hall in the world
Brenner OpengrillMediterranean fine dining 

Where to Stay in Altstadt

Mandarin Oriental – this luxury 5-star hotel is conveniently located in Munich’s old town a short walk away from Marienplatz U-Bahn station and main attractions. It has spacious rooms and suites that combine Oriental style and German charm. Guests can use the terrace with its 360-degree panoramic city view.

Mercure Hotel Altstadt – this 3-star hotel is located on a quiet street just a 3-minute walk from Marienplatz. It has all the key amenities such as delicious breakfast, free WiFi, TV, and parking. The closest U-Bahn Station is only 450 meters away. The Marienplatz Station provides direct links to Munich Central Train Station and Munich Airport.

Smart Stay Hotel Station – this budget accommodation is located 100m from the main train station, right on the way to Marienplatz, and all the other sights in Munich. English-speaking staff will give you all the important and up-to-date information. You will stay in spacious rooms with en suite shower/bathtub toilet, and TV. 

Maxvorstadt: Best for Art and Culture

Maxvorstadt is the cultural center of Munich and home to over 18 art galleries and museums. The most iconic square of this neighborhood is K√∂nigsplatz, the King’s Square. It was built in the 19th century for the Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and later during WWII used as a square for Nazi Party‚Äôs mass rallies. 

North-west of the Königsplatz square you will find the Lenbachhaus home to the Municipal Gallery. It contains a variety of works by Munich painters and contemporary artists. Other large art galleries worth visiting are the Alte and Neue Pinakothek.

Where to Eat in Maxvorstadt

Wirtshaus Maxvorstadt – local tavern with Bavarian food and drinks
Salzkruste – mediterranean cousine 

Where to Stay in Maxvorstadt

Rocco Forte The Charles Hotel – this luxury hotel is located only 500 meters away from Munich‚Äôs Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) making it a great base to explore Munich and take day trips to the Alps and nearby Castles. Overlooking the Old Botanical Garden, this 5-star design hotel offers a spacious spa area that includes a pool, sauna, steam room, and a modern gym. 

King’s Hotel Center Superior-this cozy 3-star hotel is located a 5-minute walk from Munich Main Station and K√∂nigsplatz Square offering excellent transport links. Its elegant rooms feature traditional wooden furniture and free WiFi access. King’s Hotel Center Superior is a 15-minute walk from Munich’s Old Town and the pedestrian shopping area. 

Euro Youth Hostel – this great hostel is located just 100m from the main train station and within easy walking distance of most of Munich’s main sights such as Marienplatz and Residenz.  The main station is also the local transport hub and therefore provides excellent access to suburban sights (BMW, Allianz arena, Nymphenburg) as well as regional sights (Neuschwanstein castle, Alps, Salzburg etc).

Glockenbachviertel and Gärtnerplatz: Best for LGBTQ+ and Trendy Cafes

Glockenbachviertel together with G√§rtnerplatz are Munich‚Äôs prettiest districts, brimming with chic boutiques, cozy cafes, and buzzing bars. G√§rtnerplatzviertel stretches to the east while Glockenbachviertel spans to the west. G√§rtnerplatz Square is home to the State Theatre, which is one of the city‚Äôs top spots for operettas and musicals. The square surrounded by colorful houses reflects the philosophy of the entire neighborhood: a colorful community.

Where to Eat in Glockenbachviertel

Cotidiano Gärtnerplatzbest for brunch and breakfast
FISHBOWL Pok√© G√§rtnerplatz – build your bowl from a healthy menu  (LGBTQ+ friendly)
Flushing Meadows – best for drinks in the evening and panoramic views over the city

Gärtnerplatz Glockenbachsviertel Munich

Where to Stay in Glockenbachviertel

Himmel und Himmel – this hotel is located only 400 meters from Sendlinger Tor U-bahn station away from busy streets. It offers comfortable rooms with a terrace, free WiFi, and luggage storage space. This accommodation is 1.4 km from Central Station Munich making it a great base for day trips.

Hotel Olympic -this charming 3-star hotel lies in the lively Glockenbachviertel district just 2 underground stops from Munich Central Station. A 5-minute walk takes you to Fraunhoferstra√üe Underground Station. M√ľllerstra√üe Tram Stop is a 2-minute walk away and connects you to the Isartor Gate and the Englischer Garten.

Schwabing: Best for Nightlife and Recreation

Schwabing is home to the largest park in Munich, the English Garden (germ. Englischer Garten). It is the ‚ÄúCentral Park‚ÄĚ of Munich. Here you will find the Chinese Tower hosting a beer garden with live music. On a hot summer day, you can swim and float on the Eisbach River with locals. Here you will also find numerous river surfers riding the man-made waves on Eisbach all year round.

Shwabing is hosting one of the most prestigious universities in Europe – the LMU. That‚Äôs why this part of Munich is very popular among young people and students. Here you will find numerous student cafes and bars open every day. 

English Garden Munich

Where to Eat in Schwabing

Cafe Königin 43 Рthe cozy cafe at the entrance to the English Garden
Blue Nile – small restaurant serving delicious Ethiopian cuisine 
Görreshof Wirtshaus Рlocal tavern serving Bavarian food and beer

Where to Stay in Schwabing

Andaz Munich Schwabinger Tor -this luxury hotel is situated at the Schwabinger Tor in Munich, between the Olympic Stadium and the English Garden. It features a spa, fitness center, and pool area with sundecks and a rooftop bar offering 360¬į views of the city and towards the Alps. Rental bikes are available at the 24-hour reception. Dietlindenstra√üe underground station is 10 minutes walk away providing a connection to the city center and other parts of Munich.

Hotel Biederstein am Englischen Garten – Located next to the English Garden, this hotel in the Schwabing district offers modern rooms with a balcony, free WiFi, and easy underground connections. M√ľnchner Freiheit Underground Station is a 10-minute walk from the Biederstein Hotel. Trains run to Marienplatz Square in just 5 minutes.

G√§stehaus der Katholischen Akademie – is located 1.8 km from English Garden in Schwabing. It features a beautiful garden, shared lounge, terrace, nd free WiFi, and yummy breakfast. M√ľnchner Freiheit underground station is located only a 5-minute walk away providing an easy connection to Marienplatz main square. 

Au-Haidhausen: Best for Local Vibe

Haidhausen is a cozy local neighborhood in the eastern part of Munich.  It hosts the best tapas and wine bars in the city as well as cozy cafes. two charming squares – Wiener Platz and Wei√üenburger Platz are integral parts of Haidhausen. Here you can find local markets and charming cafes. Cultural Center Gasteig often hosts music and art events. Mullersches Volksbad close to the Isar River, is one of the most unique swimming pools in Europe with royal decor. 

Walking in Munich in Winter

Right in the middle of Haidhausen is located Werksviertel, the new trendy quartier hosting a giant Ferris wheel offering great panoramic views over the city. It also hosts several rooftop bars and restaurants. A former industrial site, it was transformed into a trendy place for bars, discos, and arcades. This ‘futuristic’ district now elegantly combines modern living with event venues, gastronomy, sports, shopping in a spacious green setting, and excellent access to public transport. 

Werksviertel Haudhausen

Where to Eat in Haidhausen

Rosi coffee & barbest for breakfast and brunch
Tap Hause – large selection of craft beer and yummy food
Teatro Bar Tapas – Spanish cuisine and tapas

Where to Stay in Haidhausen

Hotel M√ľnchen Palace – this luxury 5-star hotel is situated on the quiet upper banks of the River Isar in Haidhausen. It is located on a quiet street and has a cozy private garden. Max-Weber-Platz Underground Station is a 5-minute walk from the M√ľnchen Palace and provides easy connections to Marienplatz and Munich Central Station. 

Moxy Munich Ostbahnhof -this charming 3-star hotel features a garden, shared lounge, bar, and free WiFi. It is situated less than 1 km from M√ľnchen Ost Train Station providing easy access to different parts of Munich and nearby lakes.

Wombat’s City Hostel this state-of-the-art modern hostel is located in trendy Werksviertel just a few minutes walk away from Munich‚Äôs East Station (Ostbahnhof).

Milbertshofen: Best for Families

Milbertshofen is located in the north of Munich further away from the city center. Here you will find the Olympiapark where the Olympic games in the 70s were held. Today it is a very beautiful green park offering a great atmosphere for families. Go up on one of the hills in the park to see the most beautiful sunsets in Munich. Alternatively, you can go to the top of the TV tower, the tallest building in Munich for breathtaking views or a romantic dinner with sunset.

Munich Olympic Park sunset view

Milbersthofen is also home to BMW Welt and the Museum located near the entrance to the Olympic Park. Entrance to BMW Welt is free. You can enjoy a nice walk inside this extraordinary modern building and check out new models from BMW.

In summer, usually in July, Olympiapark hosts the annual Tollwood Summer Festival. It hosts famous artists and singers from all over the world and offers delicious street food from all the continents. 

Where to Eat in Milbertshofen

M1 Restaurant – great restaurant close to BMW Welt
Restaurant 181  – restaurant on the upper floor of TV tower offering great views over Munich

Where to Stay in Milbertshofen

Holiday Inn Express Munich – situated within 1.6 km of Olympiapark and 1.8 km of BMW Welt, Holiday Inn offers comfortable rooms equipped with key amenities such as free WiFi and TV. Oberwiesenfeld underground station is a few minutes’ walk away offering an easy connection to the city center.

Studio Apartment near Olympiapark Рthis is a recently renovated apartment, 3 km from Olympic Stadium and 3.5 km from BMW Museum. The homestay is equipped with a kitchen featuring a microwave, a fridge, and a stovetop. There is a private bathroom with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Einkaufszentrum underground station is a 5-minute walk providing a great connection to Munich’s city center.

Best Place to Stay in Munich For Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world held every year in Munich. It lasts only two weeks and attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. During this time finding accommodation in Munich is very hard and almost impossible. The prices are getting very high, and you should book months in advance to find reasonably priced accommodation. 

Oktoberfest is held in a large field called Theresienwise in the south-west of Munich. It is located within walking distance of two U-Bahn stations: Theresienwise (U5) and Götheplatz (U3, U6). Ideally, you should try to find accommodation close to those stations or walking distance from Theresienwise. But this might be not possible if you don’t book your accommodation months in advance. Alternatively, you can book accommodation close to the main train station or any station along the U5 line for convenience.

Munich Oktoberfest largest beer festival

Bayer 89 Vi Vadi Hotel – this charming 3-star hotel Is located 360 meters from Theresienwiese underground station and 500 meters from Oktoberfest. Here you will find a 24-hour front desk, a terrace, and a bar. Other facilities offered at the property include a ticket service, luggage storage, and dry cleaning.

Wombat’s City Hostel – this is one of the most popular hostels in Munich, ‚Äč‚Äčlocated just 10 minutes walk from Oktoberfest and most sights in the city center. The rooms are equipped with private bathrooms, spacious terraces, and a winter garden with an inner courtyard where you can relax in a cozy atmosphere. Proximity to the central train station (Hauptbahnhof) makes it easy to access the city center as well as for day trips.

Best Day Trips from Munich

Munich to Salzburg Day Trip
How to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich
How to Visit Zugspitze and Eibsee Lake from Munich
Best Hikes near Munich Reachable by Train
Partnach Gorge
Most Beautiful Lakes Near Munich

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