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Visiting Munich - Advice Requested

DoctorArchDoctorArch CurmudgeonRegistered User regular
I'm visiting Munich, Germany, for a couple of weeks in February and this will be my first time ever in Europe, let alone Munich. While I'll be busy during the day with business matters, the evenings and weekends are my time to have fun and explore.

Generally I'm looking for rule-of-thumb travel advice for visiting Germany/Europe, as well as suggestions for what I should do and/or see in Munich while I'm there.

Here's what I know so far:
  • My flights are booked and my passport is current.
  • My hotel is near the Karlsplatz, so I'm planning on taking the subway (S-Bahn) from the airport to Karlsplatz and taking the 10 minute walk to my hotel.
  • I'm not planning on renting a car, but I am going to be picking up a weekly pass for Munich public transportation, which will take me almost directly to where I need to go for work and back to my hotel, as well as for other non-on-foot travels around town.
  • I need to pick up some power adapters and/or a compatible power strip. I've already checked my laptop power cord and various other power cords to see if they can handle 220v.
  • I have credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, and I plan on withdrawing some Euros from a bank when I get there for pocket cash.
  • I should probably pick up a physical map of Munich and a German phrase book.
  • I'll bring plenty of warm clothes, seeing as how it is Germany in the winter. And having lived in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, I have honest-to-goodness warm clothes.
  • I have a work cell, so I won't have to worry about running up the bill on my personal cell phone via calls/sms/data, but I'll look into a foreign plan just in case.
  • Have a plan for Sundays (at least most restaurants are open).

Here is what I'm hoping to do:
  • See as much of Munich as I can.
  • Walk around as much of downtown/central Munich as I can.
  • Eat so much food.
  • Drink so much beer.
  • Take a train to Salzburg on the weekend.

So please, fill in the gaps of what I should know, what I should do, and what I should see while I'm there!

Posts

  • thatassemblyguythatassemblyguy City of Art and Music. RESIST.Registered User regular
    edited November 29
    Start in Marienplatz. The New Town Hall (building with the impressive Glockenspiel) has an information office where you can book walking tours (it's also a short walk from the Hoffbrauhaus)

    Most public restrooms require one or two euro fee.

    http://www.bier-und-oktoberfestmuseum.de/ is attached to http://www.museumsstueberl.de/aboutus

    Most beer places will only serve one brewer's brew. Do the Hoffbrau for the touristy side, but then drink all the Augustiner-Brau you can find.

    e: Also, if you go into the various beer halls, be aware that some of the tables are reserved for groups that represent old-school guilds, or private clubs that you need to be a member to sit at the table. There's a lot of tradition associated with these tables. I seem to remember not wanting to ring the bell because that can become very expensive.

    thatassemblyguy on
    DoctorArch
  • dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    Currywurst

    AAAAA!!! PLAAAYGUUU!!!!
    RMS Oceanic
  • GrobianGrobian What's on sale? Pliers!Registered User regular
    ringing any bell in any bar in Germany just means buying a round for everyone. So yes, never do that.

    I'm not living in Munich so I don't have specific advice, but for general Germany stuff:
    free refills for soda aren't a thing anywhere
    water isn't free anywhere (well, some coffee shops)
    most younger people and people in tourist-facing jobs speak English. Bavaria might be worse than other regions but you'll be fine anyway.
    credit cards aren't as widely accepted as in the US. it's definitely weird to pay small amounts with a card (anything below 10€, maybe even 20)
    it's only stores that are closed on sundays, it's not a big deal
    all prices include all taxes. tips are possibly a bit less than in the US, 10% is a good regular amount
    uber is illegal here, cabs are generally usable but expensive (don't know specifics about Munich)

    IBHz8.png1dUCx.png
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Communications expert for the millennial generation Registered User regular
    The S-bahn ticketing system is very confusing. It is set up into honeycombs and tarrif systems. Make sure that the ticket you buy is for the area you want to go to or you could get a big fine if you are stopped by the tram/train authorities.

    I recommend purchasing a week long tram pass so you don't have to worry. It is easy to carry with you and get scanned if necessary. If you are going to buy day tickets or one-trip tickets, make sure to validate the on the machine in the tram or bus. Otherwise you can also get a hefty fine.

    Zd4nBhf.jpg




    thatassemblyguy
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 30
    Start in Marienplatz. The New Town Hall (building with the impressive Glockenspiel) has an information office where you can book walking tours (it's also a short walk from the Hoffbrauhaus)

    Most public restrooms require one or two euro fee.

    http://www.bier-und-oktoberfestmuseum.de/ is attached to http://www.museumsstueberl.de/aboutus

    Most beer places will only serve one brewer's brew. Do the Hoffbrau for the touristy side, but then drink all the Augustiner-Brau you can find.

    e: Also, if you go into the various beer halls, be aware that some of the tables are reserved for groups that represent old-school guilds, or private clubs that you need to be a member to sit at the table. There's a lot of tradition associated with these tables. I seem to remember not wanting to ring the bell because that can become very expensive.

    Any place in Munich selling beer is required to offer a restroom free of charge to anyone, customer or not, as part of the ordinance they used to get rid of public restrooms. Many of the places will still try to make it seem like you have to pay, but you do not.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
    thatassemblyguy
  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    The S-bahn ticketing system is very confusing. It is set up into honeycombs and tarrif systems. Make sure that the ticket you buy is for the area you want to go to or you could get a big fine if you are stopped by the tram/train authorities.

    I recommend purchasing a week long tram pass so you don't have to worry. It is easy to carry with you and get scanned if necessary. If you are going to buy day tickets or one-trip tickets, make sure to validate the on the machine in the tram or bus. Otherwise you can also get a hefty fine.

    I should raise a point that for the actual trains, the ticket validation machines are on the platform, not the trains themselves, and you must validate before you board. It was a very nervous trip into town when I realised there were no machines on board, but I dodged the bullet.

    thatassemblyguyFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Communications expert for the millennial generation Registered User regular
    For DB train rides they typically validate your ticket while you are on it. At least for ICE. Not sure about Regiobahn.

    Zd4nBhf.jpg




  • thatassemblyguythatassemblyguy City of Art and Music. RESIST.Registered User regular
    For DB train rides they typically validate your ticket while you are on it. At least for ICE. Not sure about Regiobahn.

    I remember getting on the underground tram in Munich and having to validate the ticket before going down the stairs to the platform. It could have just been that station, however.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    Aside from the trip to and from the airport, I think a weekly pass for the four inner rings is all I need. For the airport jaunt I'll pick up a single ticket.

    Grobian
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    Be prepared to have a lovely time. Germany is a nice place to visit and Munich is a city with lots of history and culture = loads of great Museums. If you're even a bit into cars make sure and seek out the BMW museum.
    Transport wise it sounds like you're well informed already. Not sure what your experience level is with public transport, but I would expect you'll find the systems in Germany works well and are generally both safe and nice.

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    For DB train rides they typically validate your ticket while you are on it. At least for ICE. Not sure about Regiobahn.

    I remember getting on the underground tram in Munich and having to validate the ticket before going down the stairs to the platform. It could have just been that station, however.

    No, it's everywhere. You buy your ticket and there's these little stamping machines that look a bit like parking meters on the platforms. You need to stamp your ticket at them before getting on the train, that's what the inspectors check: do you have a ticket, was it recently stamped, if it's a one way ticket are you headed in the right direction.

    It's a really expensive fine and I've seen a few inspectors, so I would personally always play it safe.

    What is this I don't even.
  • evilthecatevilthecat Registered User regular
    Regarding the ticket:
    definitely get a weekly (or even monthly if you're staying that long) ticket. The stamping machines are for "pay as you ride" tickets, these work out waaay more expensive in the long run, particularly if you use public transportation daily.

    Regarding Germany itself, particularly Munich:
    Sooooo Munich is basically a very large village. It likes to pretend it's metropolitan and the best city on the planet but .. it isn't. It has very little in the way of nightlife when compared to big cities like New York, Kuala Lumpur or hell, Berlin. Depending on where you're from, you might get a little bored. Munich has a specialised native tongue cinema (http://www.cinema-muenchen.com), and other cinema outlets will show original language films for a week or two (the mathaesar cinema is right near the karlsplatz and one of the better ones). Lasertag is trendy right now, Munich currently has two venues. There are discos and nightclubs but those don't really vary that much from country to country and I'm too much of a pleb to be able to tell you where all the secret swinger/drug-fuelled/where'd-my-decency-go parties are at. Bowling's available, Bavarians even have their own version with this honey melon sized ball and pins that make no sense.

    Pickpocketting isn't a problem, beggar syndicates are (particularly those of middle-eastern appearance around the central train station).

    February is the coldest month for the south; winter here is weird, we get 2 weeks of snow and really cold weather, after that a thick coat is fine.

    Aside from the usual tourist traps, my only other piece of advice would be to visit other cities if you like buildings. The south didn't get bombed to shit in the war so there are still alot of "original" german buildings left, I like the inner cities of Nuremburg and Regensburg better than Munich's, however.

    Regarding beer:
    get someone that knows their way around the stuff to guide you. There are sooooo many different kinds (just bring up the subject of "Köllsch" around a Bavarian).

    Regarding fast/street food:
    Leberkäs!
    Take cows and pigs, throw them through a large blender, spice the mush and then bake it! Seriously though it tastes pretty great and is a staple of drunk people. It will be served with a condiment of your choice: ketchup, mustard (the hot kind) or sweet mustard (neither here nor there, tasty though).

    Döner!
    Turkish people serving Germans authentic turkish food except you can't get a döner in Turkey! It's a meat sandwich, basically. Thing is some vendors really put some effort into their spice selection and as a result, everyone has their own favorite döner stand. Ask someone for the best döner spot in Munich and take it from there.

    Currywurst!
    Another point of contention amongst Germans. It basically comes down to whether you want a Wiener-styled sausage or a Weisswurst. You should try the latter on its own anyway, then try both with a sauce of your choice. Generally served with either chips(fries) or bread.

    Glühwein!
    Err. It's spiced wine. You can usually still get bottles of the stuff in February despite it being a christmas thing.

    Urgh I can't think of anything else.
    This is everyday crap for me, if you have questions, shoot.

    tip.. tip.. TALLY.. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    DoctorArchthatassemblyguy
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    I doubt it'll be going in February, but find out, because my favorite thing in Munich is in the municipal park. There's a man made stream through the park, and it hits a rock in a perfect way to make an awesome surfing wave. During the summer there will be people there surfing all the time, in the middle of what's basically Munich's central park, and they're amazing. It's so bizarrely random just there, and they do some pretty good tricks. It's the one thing you might not think to check, and it may not be going in February, but if it is check it out.

    What is this I don't even.
  • HoA-playerHoA-player Registered User regular
    Since you are staying near Karlsplatz, if you fancy a really good steak, check out The Grill at Lehnbachplatz. It's about 5 minutes walk from Karlsplatz and one of the best Steak restaurants in the city. The Italian downstairs from it is also pretty good.

    Another good one near Karlsplatz is the Schnitzelwirt just past the gate down the Kaufingerstr. right next to the Saturn electronics shop.

    A trendy food thing in Munich right now is Burger shops. Hans im Glück is a chain with several locations all over the city. Their main thing is burgers and cocktails. Ruff's Burgers is another good one with several locations.

    All Bavarian beer is good except Löwenbräu. Avoid that one if at all possible. If you're in a bar or restaurant that sells it stick to Weißbier.

    For nightlife there are several smaller clubs near Karlsplatz along the Sonnenstr. For more of a bar scene you can go to the Glockenbachviertel or around the Leopoldstr.

    Good museums would be the Deutsche Museum, the various pinakotheks (old, new, modern art), Lehnbachhaus, Haus der Kunst, the Egytian museum, there are a lot.

    Check out the official city page for more info muenchen.de/sehenswuerdigkeiten/museen.html.

    Munich also has two world class symphonic orchestras with the Munich Philharmonics and the Bavarian Broadcast Orchestra. If you like classical music definitely look into that.

    Circus Krone, one of the oldest and largest travelling circuses, has their winter quarters in Munich and they do shows of their winter program. They are famous for their large shows with big cats. If you can tolerate that kind of thing.

    If you have any other questions feel free to pm me.

    DoctorArchCroakerBC
  • scherbchenscherbchen Asgard (it is dead)Registered User regular
    if you like very lang walks you can start at Hofgarten (near the Odeonsplatz U-Bahn station), pass the Staatsregierung and the US consulate and head on up through the Englische Garten all the way north. bring lots of time.

    in case of surprisingly mild weather for the time of year some beer gardens will spontaneously open so keep an eye out for that, like the Seehaus or the smaller ones that aren't really beer gardens like Kaisergarten.

    the old airport in Riem seems to have set a date in february for one of their Flohmärkte (flea market) if you are into that.

    february also sees the culmination of Fasching/carnival if that is something that interests you.

    I'll second anyone who warns against Löwenbräu and will add Paulaner as a brew to avoid to the list. Try to find Augustiner or Tegernseer if possible. Görreshof is a nice Augustiner restaurant run by mostly eastern europeans pretending to be bavarians, draws a nicely mixed crowd and is reasonably priced. My brother and I go there a lot. As far as price/value goes not much can beat the Spatenbräu in front of the opera and it is impressively organized.

    close to the town centre you can find one of Munich's prettiest churches, the Theatinerkirche, and one of the gaudiest, the Asamkirche.

    keep in mind that with a Schengen visa (which I suppose you'll have) you can do weekend trips anywhere within the EU without additional visa troubles. Paris, Prague, Rome, Vienna are not that far away.

    expat meetups are pretty frequent if you get homesick or want to look into maybe staying longer and getting some information/connections that way.

    the KZ Dachau Gedenkstätte isn't very far away. Bring a friend though. The Weiße Rose memorial at the LMU University is a lot closer and one of my favourite places to take visitors.

    if you like Mexican food La Condesa near Münchener Freiheit (where I live, whoohoo!) is surprisingly authentic and affordable.

  • Capt HowdyCapt Howdy Registered User regular
    If you see spaghetti eis, order it. Trust me on this one.

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  • The Black HunterThe Black Hunter Registered User regular
    The BMW museum is really good.

    Also, I lived there for six months and my favourite bar was Kafe Kosmos. Very very cheap drinks, often very busy

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