Activities for free in Munich you don't want to miss out
Concerts, art, and special offers for children – we show you where great fun costs nothing in Munich. Because these tips from culture to sports are all free of charge.
flimmern & rauschen: Vorhang auf für Münchens Regie-Nachwuchs!
Von 30.3. bis 1.4.2023 könnt ihr beim Jugendfilmfestival "flimmern & rauschen" die Werke der Nachwuchs-Filmtalente aus München bewundern! Von Animations- und Spielfilmen über Dokumentationen bis zu provokanten Experimentalfilmen stehen alle Genres stehen auf dem Programm, das sich in mehrere Themenblöcke gliedert. Der Eintritt ist kostenlos, um eine Spende von 5 Euro wird gebeten.
Discover wildlife for free
In Munich's forests, you can observe the local flora and fauna: You'll soon realize that the community of Grünwald (in English: green wood) is rightly named when you visit the forest adventure center in the middle of Grünwalder Forst with your children. The adventure trail with twelve exciting learning stations is free of charge – and is open all year round at any time. The wild boars are fed there every day.
Don't get too close to the wild boars in Forstenrieder Park. The young boars look kind of cute and squeal nicely, but their teeth are dangerous. Therefore, you are not allowed to enter the designated rest areas. However, at the edge of these areas there are observation points with a nice overview of the wildlife of the park with deer and stags.
The really big game can be found in Munich’s Hirschgarten (in English: stag garden) right in the middle of the town. The animals in the deer enclosure are so used to people that they can even be (carefully) touched through the fence.
Art in public space: Temporary artworks and urban art
Free art for everyone! The city of Munich sponsors temporary works of art throughout the city. One fixed location is the two-sided billboard on Lenbachplatz, where artists can display their oversized photos or creative texts for about three months. Currently, Michaela Melián's wrapping of the Neptune Fountain can be seen in the Old Botanical Garden. And in front of the Palace of Justice there is a temporary car-swallowing marble object: the "Autoeater".
In addition to artistic interventions in public spaces, the Munich graffiti scene has also established itself as urban art in recent years. For example, the city of Munich generously provides areas in the former cattle yard (Viehhof), in the creative quarter (Kreativquartier) or on bridges that are designed by sprayers. It is worthwhile to stop by here more often.
Dive into the treasures of Munich's museums
But you can also marvel at art and culture indoors for free. If you're a museum buff, you'll run out of arguments against a visit by now.
Museums such as the Geological Museum, the Paleontological Museum or the Museum for Casts of Classical Works of Art are completely free of charge. A special feature is the Maximiliansforum: In a pedestrian underpass of Maximilianstraße, there is modern art behind two shop windows. Exhibition spaces of the city of Munich such as the Rathausgalerie, the Kunstarkaden or the Lothringer13 also offer contemporary art with free admission.
In other museums, adults have to pay, but at least children and young people under the age of 18 can enjoy free admission – for example, at the Staatliche Antikensammlungen (State Collection of Classical Antiquities) or the Schatzkammer der Residenz (Treasury of the Residence). Admission fees may be charged only for special exhibitions.
Quench your thirst for books for free
In Munich’s literary archive Monacensia in the Hildebrandhaus you can find a collection with more than 150,000 books – mainly written by authors from Munich. In the former artist’s villa in Bogenhausen you can take a look at literary works or explore the permanent exhibition about the local literary scene at the time of Thomas Mann.
All municipal libraries are also free of charge – for example, many of the most popular daily newspapers are available for reading, and you don't even need a chargeable ID card to visit. Children and young people up to the age of 18 years receive this card free of charge and are then allowed to borrow books for free (as long as they don't overstay, of course).
Good to know: There are also public bookcases at more than 30 locations in Munich. For example at the Nordbad swimming pool or in front of Pasing City Hall. Anybody can stock up on reading material free of charge at these public places.
Free offers in Munich' cultural centers
Up to 30 cultural centers in various parts of the city offer a wide range of free events such as exhibitions, discussions, workshops and even concerts.
- At the "open program" of the Münchner Volkshochschule in Gasteig HP8, you can take part in language trainings, hobby workshops, dance evenings or singing lessons free of charge. The only catch is that participation is limited and registration is not always possible.
- The Gasteig also organizes free events at HP8 or Motorama, such as language cafés for foreign language learners, movies, readings and concerts for children, lectures or a crochet and knitting meeting.
- At the Luise Cultural Center (Ruppertstr. 5), for example, you can learn to dance for free, watch short movies or sing and play along with the Royal Bavarian Karaoke Orchestra, depending on the program.
Doing sports: Fitness, bouldering, skating
- At bouldering walls such as the "Dicker Hans", under the Candidbrücke or "Lolliblock" at the cultural center Sugar Mountain you can climb for free. The last location is supervised by the "Kraxlkollektiv" of the German Alpine Club. Concrete walls for climbing can be found in the city's playgrounds, e.g. in Heckenstallerstraße in Sendling or in Pelkovenstraße in Moosach.
- How about a combination of running and outdoor gymnastics? "Trimm-Dich" trails are public fitness parcours with several exercising stations. Some can be found in the Isarauen, in the Ostpark or in Perlacher Forst. In the Olympiapark, the "Bewegungsinsel" at the Olympic Lake offers training equipment for a full-body workout.
- From May to September, Munich's "Fit in the Park" program is free of charge and offers a variety of sports and fitness exercises every day on several park lawns.
- Doing sports is the most fun in a group. During the Blade Night (Mondays from May 8th) you can roll along the streets of Munich with thousands of other skaters. The only requirement is good weather. If you want to try out new sports, check out the Munich Sports Festival at Königsplatz (July 9th) or the Outdoor Sports Festival in the Olympic Park (September 24th).
Eisbachwelle: The world famous tourist attraction
The surfers at Munich's Eisbach are now known all over the world. Whatever the weather, they face the "standing wave" next to the Haus der Kunst – and numerous people watch. Taking pictures is expressly permitted here. A visit is worthwhile, for example, during a walk through the English Garden. But this wave is not for beginners! If you want to venture into the channel yourself, you definitely need surfing experience. Those who want to do first exercises on the surfboard, look between May and September to the less dangerous surf wave at the Floßlände.
Take a trip to outer space for free
Sometimes outer space is not so far away. The 4.57-kilometer-long Planet Trail starts in the courtyard of the Deutsches Museum and leads along the banks of the Isar River to Hellabrunn Zoo, where it is a scale model of the solar system. At the individual planet stations made of triangular columns, you can learn more about Jupiter, Mars and more.
Music for free: Enjoy these concerts
You can get music without paying admission at some of the city's most popular street festivals like the Corso Leopold, at the Theatron in the Olympiapark, the AnderArt Festival or at the Tollwood. Additionally, there are also regular events throughout the year:
- Free classical music of the young talents of the State University of Music and Theatre in Munich. The students regularly perform rehearsal concerts at a high level.
- The #kulturlieferdienst of the association Isarlust e.V. brings music to the neighborhoods – local bands play one-hour concerts in the middle of squares and streets (donations appreciated).
- In the summer, the "Munich Organ Summer" (July 1st to September 10th) takes place in the protestant inner-city churches for several weeks (here, donations are also appreciated).