From Museums, and Markets to Parks and Beer Gardens, there is something for everyone in Munich.
Glockenspiel at Marienplatz
Bring your kids to Marienplatz, the central square in the heart of Munich’s Old Town. At 11 a.m. or noon, gather in front of the impressive City Hall, which houses a 100-year old Glockenspiel, a beautiful carillon. Every day, the Glockenspiel chimes twice and your kids will enjoy watching the 32 life-sized figures reenact historical Bavarian events. Tell your children to look out for the golden bird that chirps three times to mark the end of each “show”.
Munich’s German Museum (Deutsches Museum)
There is no better way for kids to spend a (rainy) day in Munich than to explore the German Museum, one of the oldest and largest science and technology museums in the world. The museum is home to a staggering array of nautical exhibitions dating back centuries. A full size U-boat from world war 2 is also one of the exhibits. there are many areas of the museum dedicated to the history of German aircraft. From the early days of manned flight through to Nazi fighter planes and helicopters. There is also a NASA and space exploration section to the museum. The KinderReich or “Kid’s Kingdom” at the museum is the jewel in the crown from a parenting point of view. This area covers an entire floor and has plenty of kid friendly activities and interactive exhibits. There is ample room for buggies and access to and from is up to the standard you can expect in the city.
Munich’s Toy Museum
Munich’s Toy Museums is housed in a narrow clock tower of Munich’s old Town Hall; spread over four floors (no elevator), the museum is filled with unique historical toys from Europe and the U.S.; there are dolls, teddies, toy trains, and vintage barbies. Please note that this is not an interactive exhibition, and the toys are only for viewing and unfortunately not for playing or touching.
Let your kids run free in Munich’s English Garden (Englischer Garten), which is even bigger than Central Park in New York. Munich’s green heart is a wonderful place to explore: Rent a paddleboat, stroll along wooded paths, visit a playground, feed the ducks, or watch the surfers on the currents of the river “Eisbach”.
Munich’s Best Beer Gardens
Can you take your little ones to a traditional beer garden? Definitely. Munich’s beer gardens are very family friendly and keep the kids happy while you enjoy your Bavarian beer; most beer gardens have a playground (the beer garden “Hirschgarten” even features a small deer park). Kids will love the beer garden food too: Sausages, potatoes salad, pretzels, and apple strudel.
Don’t be put out by traveling to Munich in late September to early October when the Oktoberfest is taking place. Many locals bring their own children to the festival as there are many activities for children there. There is a full fun fare at Theresienwiese, at the site of the Oktoberfest. Ferris wheels, merries, bumpers, hot dogs shooting galleries little lederhosen and dirndl will be more than enough to entertain the kids. Early in the week is the best time to go as the crowds are smaller. The weekend could really be mixed as there is an influx of tourists and it just gets too packed. Security at the event is top notch and the crowds are pretty much self regulating. Baby changing facilities are not particularly good at Oktoberfest.
Viktualienmarkt – Munich’s Farmers Market
The bustling Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s oldest and best open-air farmers market, dating back to 1807. There is a lot to see and sample: Kids can marvel at booths decorated with garlands of sausages, mountains of fresh vegetables, and pyramids of fruits. The market has everything from meat, and cheese, to bread, pastries, and fresh squeezed juices; buy some treats for the whole family and enjoy them right then and there, at the beer garden in the center of the market.
Munich’s Zoo “Hellabrunn”
A visit to Munich’s zoo, “Tierpark Hellabrun” is a fun outing for the whole family. Laid out on 89 acres, the park is more a nature preserve than a traditional zoo. Its 5,000 animals from all over the world are grouped according to their regions and are roaming the park in their natural habitat. There’s also a petting zoo, pony and camel rides in summer, and a penguin parade in winter.
Munich’s Best Toy Store
Take your kids on a shopping spree at Munich’s largest toy store “Obletter Spielwaren”, a treasure trove for kids of all ages. Spread over several levels, the store offers everything from stuffed animals, dolls, and wooden toys, to games, books, and music instruments. Obletter Spielwaren is located at the square “Karlsplatz” in the center of Munich’s Old Town and close to its bustling shopping streets.
During Christmas time, there are many of these Christkindl Märkte, or Christmas Markets , including the large Tollwood, but also smaller markets, where you can buy Christmas biscuits (Lebkuchen), souvenirs, and the typical Glühwein. Although pronounced glue-vine, it is mainly hot red wine with spices and different (secret) flavouring. See Europe’s Best Christmas Markets for more.