10 events in Munich you shouldn’t miss

Tollwood Sommerfestival 2017, Foto: muenchen.de / Mónica Garduño
Foto: muenchen.de / Mónica Garduño

It isn’t just the world-renowned Oktoberfest that proves that Munich locals know how to throw a party. Top events in the state capital feature plenty of artistic and musical enjoyment, too.


, Foto: Exithamster
Foto: Exithamster

Every year, in the middle of September, it is ‘O’ zapft is’ – time for the first barrel of the Oktoberfest to be tapped. On Munich’s Theresienweise, an unparalleled festival begins. Oktoberfest breaks every record: In 14 halls, with a total of approximately 98,000 seats, there is swaying and celebrating to brass-band music and Oktoberfest hits with Munich beer, specially brewed for the Oktoberfest. Next to the tents, there are beer gardens and hundreds of food stands. If that still isn’t enough fun for you, then countless fairground booths beckon. From high-tech rides to historical classics – there’s something for everyone there.

Tollwood Festival

Tollwood Sommerfestival 2017, Foto: muenchen.de / Mónica Garduño
Foto: muenchen.de / Mónica Garduño

The Tollwood takes place twice a year. In summer, the cultural festival casts a spell over the grounds of the Olympiapark, with its special mixture between hippie carnival, top-class live programme and fine cuisine from all over the world. Legends such as Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Patti Smith have graced the stage of the Music Arena. In contrast, during the ‘Markt der Ideen’ winter festival on the Theresienwiese, gift ideas and an excellent show and cabaret programme are the main focus.

Frühlingsfest (Spring Festival)

Impressionen vom Frühlingsfest 2016, Foto: Lukas Fleischmann
Foto: Lukas Fleischmann
In terms of the rides, the Spring Festival has everything – from ghost trains to giant slides and a striking Ferris wheel. The fringe events also attract numerous visitors every year. The Riesenflohmarkt, which is held right next to the festival grounds on the Theresienwiese, is the biggest of its kind in Bavaria; in good weather, up to 80,000 flea market aficionados stroll around the Theresienwiese. The vintage car rally with a motorcade is also a major spectator attraction. The Tag des Brauchtums (‘day of traditions’) also celebrates traditional Bavarian costumes and dances.


Munich Town Foundation Festival

Impressionen vom Stadtgründungsfest 2017, Foto: muenchen.de/Lukas Fleischmann
Foto: muenchen.de/Lukas Fleischmann

For the city’s birthday, the city centre transforms into an ‘adventure mile’ every year. From the knights’ camp in the Alter Hof to the Handwerkerdorf (craft village) on Odeonsplatz, where the numerous Munich guilds display their work in historic guild attire and work clothing, to the sound of rock and pop on Marienplatz: On the city’s birthday, half of Munich is out and about.

Christmas market on Marienplatz

Der Christkindlmarkt am Marienplatz 2015 ist eröffnet, Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann
Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann

The Christmas tree in front of the Town Hall is lit up with thousands of lights every year as a highly visible landmark. But it isn’t the only highlight at Munich’s oldest and largest Christmas market: Stalls and handicraft booths line up one after the other; there is of course food and drink available, too. Kripperlmarkt and Sternenplatz also offer a huge selection to fans of historical Christmas tree decorations and nativity figures.

Auer Dult

Auer Dult in der Sonne, Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann
Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann

The cosy, traditional Munich atmosphere is typical at the Auer Dult folk festival. You will not find any large beer tents here, but you will hear vendors loudly advertise their goods from hundreds of stalls. But there’s also plenty on offer in terms of cuisine, of course, and children will definitely get their money’s worth on the swing carousel. Dult takes place three times a year between April and October (Maidult, Jakobidult and Kirchweihdult).

Munich Fasching (Carnival)

München Narrisch 2017, Foto: muenchen.de / Mónica Garduño
Foto: muenchen.de / Mónica Garduño

At the end of the carnival season in Munich, one highlight is followed closely by another. On Carnival Sunday, there is the parade of the Damische Ritter; during ‘München narrisch’ (‘Munich Clowns Around’) on Monday and Tuesday, numerous carnival companies and organisers create a silly open-air atmosphere with music and dance performances. The ‘Tanz der Marktfrauen’ (‘dance of the market women’) at Viktualienmarkt on Shrove Tuesday marks the high point of the Munich carnival. The market dance tradition dates back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The celebrations continue afterwards in numerous pubs, bars and clubs until the traditional finale.

The Long Night of Music

Musiknacht im Bayerischen Hof, Foto: Stephan Rumpf
Foto: Stephan Rumpf

From blues, soul, rock and pop through to classical, indie and electronica – the Long Night of Music has something for just about every taste in music. You can’t experience this much music for a better price. Once you have paid your entrance fee, you are given free entrance to over 100 clubs, restaurants, pubs, live stages and church concerts. Shuttle buses cover four routes and connect the venues. Travel is included in the ticket price – a useful service with approximately 100 participating venues!

The Long Night of Munich Museums

Installation im MaximiliansForum, Foto: Immanuel Rahman
Foto: Immanuel Rahman

It isn’t just large institutions like the Deutsches Museum or the three Pinakothek galleries that take part in the long exhibition night – smaller museums are also represented. In addition to the exhibition programme, there are performances, concerts and activities. In the afternoon, there is also a program for children and young people. As with the Long Night of Music, MVG shuttle buses also provide connections between the participating establishments.

Strong beer festival

Starkbierfest im Augustinerkeller, Foto: muenchen.de/Maria Romanska
Foto: muenchen.de/Maria Romanska

Every Munich brewery brews its own strong beer and celebrates the season with its own tapping of the barrel and celebrations. The various bock beers are recognisable from their dark colour as well as their equally sonorous names such as Salvator, Triumphator, Innovator or even Aviator. The most well-known strong beer tapping is the tapping at Nockherberg, where the prominent Bavarian politicians are roasted – known as ‘Derblecken’ in Bavaria.

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