Oktoberfest is absolutely a reason to spend 3 days in Munich (or longer, if you’re like me) but there’s plenty more to do in Bavaria’s capital city while you’re here. Party at Oktoberfest, obviously, but also take a break now and then.
I always recommend spending at least 2 or 3 days in Munich outside of your time at Oktoberfest. Munich is beautiful, full of things to do, and is such an easy town to get around in. So to help you plan your 3 days in Munich during Oktoberfest, here are 38 of the most fun things you can see and do in Munich this fall (and then some).
Best places to eat & drink during your 3 days in Munich
I know eating and beer drinking are large parts of the whole Oktoberfest experience already, but there are more fun (and delicious) “culinary” experiences you should also make room for during your 3 days in Munich. I know you’re not looking to dry out completely, right?
1. Check out Europe’s only airport brewery
Upon landing at the airport, begin your 3 days in Munich at Airbräu, Europe’s only full-scale airport brewery and beer garden. This place makes a (super convenient) great first stop upon landing in Munich.
The food here is fantastic and especially welcome after a long flight. The beers are especially delicious too and all have adorable air-themed names. They have cool indoor seating areas as well as a huge outdoor beer garden. And they even offer brewery tours! Right there at the airport!
For everything you need to know about Airbräu, Munich’s airport brewery, check out my full post on it in that link!
2. Stop by the famous Hofbräuhaus
When in Munich, you must at least have a beer at the world famous Hofbräuhaus. It’s one of Munich’s oldest beer halls (opened in 1589) and it is such a great time.
Not to be confused with the Hofbräu Festzelt (the Hofbräu tent at Oktoberfest), the Hofbräuhaus is located in Munich’s old town near the city center. They have a full menu of amazing Bavarian favorites, live music, and a super fun atmosphere all year long.
3. Have a beer at the Chinese Tower
Over in Munich’s English Garden you’ll find the Chinesischer Turm, a giant wooden Chinese pagoda surrounded by a fun beer garden. This is a great place to hang out within the English Garden, enjoy a liter of Hofbräu and giant Bavarian pretzel, and people watch the day away.
4. Take a Munich beer and food tour
I’ll say it again – the food and beer in Munich is some of the best anywhere! And I’ve only scratched the surface of what there is to eat in Munich.
There are so many more options than what you might have room for, so I recommend taking one of the awesome Munich food and beer tours so you can get a good sampling. Start here with these options:
- Bavarian Beer and Food Evening Tour in Munich – Stellar reviews, 3.5 hours long, delicious food and beer included as well as an expert local guide.
- Paul’s Bavarian Beer and Food Event – Visitors love Paul’s tours and this one goes to some very cool places in Munich.
- Beer and Schnapps Evening Walking Tour in Munich – They call this 3-hour tour the ultimate Munich beer tour for beer lovers.
5. Enjoy a meal at the Augustiner Keller
If you’d rather have a great sit-down meal in one of Munich’s most delicious beer halls, stop by the Augustiner Keller. I can’t say enough great things about this place and I visit it on every trip to Munich. If you have one meal outside Oktoberfest during your 3 days in Munich, make it here.
Augustiner is Munich’s oldest brewery so they know exactly what they’re doing here. It has a bunch of cool indoor spaces as well as a big beautiful beer garden. (Underground in the lager keller is my favorite!) Walk-ins welcome, but you should probably go ahead and make a reservation.
6. Hang out in Munich’s best beer gardens
Besides the beer gardens at the Chinese tower and the Augustiner Keller, you actually have more beer gardens to choose from in your 3 days in Munich than you could ever imagine.
Check out these most popular Munich beer gardens if you’re blessed with good weather:
- Hirschgarten – 8,000 seats make this Bavaria’s largest beer garden!
- Seehaus – Also within the English Garden, the tables sit directly on the Kleinhesseloher See lake.
- Viktualienmarkt – A beer garden popular with locals and tourists alike.
- Paulaner am Nockherberg – The site of another of Munich’s popular beer festivals (Starkbierfest) but also with a beautiful beer garden.
7. Tour a Munich brewery*
I put an asterisk because, well, just read my post on how NOT to tour the Spaten brewery in Munich, then plan your brewery tours accordingly.
Munich has six historic breweries and some of them do offer guided tours and tastings, including Spaten, one you probably already know. Afraid to make the same mistakes as me though? Book this guided tour of Munich beer halls and breweries and let someone else handle the logistics for you. You’ll get to learn how delicious Munich beer is made and taste some of the freshest lager of your life.
8. Check out the Viktualienmarkt
If you’re a fan of visiting local markets when you travel, don’t miss the Viktualienmarkt. This large market right in the center of Munich is where you can find fresh produce and ready-to-eat food, souvenirs, and more at the market’s 140 vendors stalls.
Prefer a guide? Check out these guided Viktualienmarkt tours:
- Munich 2-Hour Food Power Tour – 5-star immersive foodie experience at the Viktualienmarkt where you get to taste great local foods right there.
- Viktualienmarkt and Beyond Small-Group Food Tasting Tour – Tons of great reviews of this 3-hour deep-dive into Munich cuisine.
- Lunch like a Local at the Viktualienmarkt – This guided tour of the Viktualienmarkt immerses you in the 200-year-old market’s history and includes a delicious lunch (obviously).
Cool Munich sites to see during your visit
Now that you’ve got your eating and drinking out of the way, you can concentrate on seeing some of the most popular sites in town during your 3 days in Munich (and some lesser-known ones as well).
9. Stroll the Marienplatz
Without a doubt the most well-known part of Munich is the Marienplatz and surrounding area. Munich’s main square and town hall are the most recognizable aspects of this city and definitely worth a visit.
Here you’ll find tons of restaurants and bars, shopping, cool architecture and history, gorgeous cathedrals, and lots of other ways to pass the time.
Also check out: 49+ Super Detailed Oktoberfest Tips from an Oktoberfest Tour Guide
10. Watch the glockenspiel show
On the front of Munich’s town hall tower you’ll see the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, a dancing clock that puts on a show 3x a day.
From March to October, the glockenspiel puts on a show at 11am, noon, and 5pm. The figures “dance,” the bells ring, the whole thing tells a story (which you can read more about here). Pro tip: these “shows” last way longer than you think. Just keep that in mind.
11. Take a walking tour of Munich
Munich is such a walkable city and many of its main sites are conveniently (for the purposes of squeezing as much into 3 days in Munich as possible) located near each other.
Take a walking tour of the city to get your bearings, learn about the city, and explore some of Munich’s parts you wouldn’t see otherwise. Try these:
- Munich Old Town Small-Group Walking Tour – This popular 2-hour guided tour stops by many of spots already listed in this post. Learn about Munich from your expert guide.
- Open Group Munich City Immersion Tour – If you want something a little more in depth (that also includes a mid-tour lunch break), this 4-hour tour digs deeper into Munich’s character and culture.
- I have more great Munich walking tours sprinkled throughout this post in spots where they fit better so keep your eyes peeled.
12. Head inside the Frauenkirche
I take back what I said earlier, the Frauenkirche is probably Munich’s most recognizable feature. The huge two-towered church that dominates Munich’s skyline is also a worthwhile stop during your 3 days in Munich.
You can pop in when you’re nearby, check out the interior, take a guided tour, and even visit the south tower. Pro tip: not for visitors with claustrophobia. Frauenkirche visitor information here.
Check out my free Oktoberfest playlist to listen to while you prepare for your upcoming Munich trip!
13. Book the Munich hop-on/hop-off bus tour
As “touristy” as they may seem, I do love the hop-on/hop-off bus tours, in Munich and beyond. The BigBus Munich tours are such a great way to learn about the city but also a unique way to actually see the city’s sites. Open-air is the way to go, I’m telling you.
PLUS, these buses also double as your transportation around town since you can literally just hop-on and off whenever and wherever you want. You don’t even have to take the “tour” if you don’t want to.
BigBus Munich is by far the best and I’ve had such great experiences with them. Highly recommend! You can choose from a one-time tour ticket, a 24-hour option, or a 48-hour option. This is such a great way to get around in Munich during Oktoberfest.
14. Check out the Umschreibung
The Umshreibung is a permanent piece of modern art that’s actually in the atrium of an office courtyard not too far from the Oktoberfest grounds. It was designed by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (2004).
“Umschreibung” translates to “circumscription” which essentially refers to a movement without a destination, a space defined by motion rather than walls, the restriction of something within limits. Hence, the staircase to nowhere.
Heavy as that description may have just been, the piece is actually very cool to see in person. (And worth that little extra bit of deep thought.)
15. Stop by Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory
Did you know the original movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) was actually filmed in Munich? Ja! It was! And though most of it was a set (you don’t say), the exterior shots of Wonka’s chocolate factory can still be seen in Munich today.
Though some of the fancy gates, the red carpet, and the fun signs are no longer there, you can still get the picture. Only in real life what you’re looking at is the Munich Gasworks, a municipal building. Womp, womppp. But still!
Fun outdoor activities for your 3 days in Munich
Weather in Munich during Oktoberfest is never 100% predictable, but given that it takes place in September, it’s mostly agreeable! (That is why they moved it up to September, you know.) If this is the case, check out these fun outdoor activities during your 3 days in Munich:
16. Hang out in the English Garden
Munich’s English Garden is one of the largest urban parks in the world. It holds a number of beautiful beer gardens (as I’ve mentioned), tons of walking and biking trails, lots of scenic hangouts, and much more. It’s quite the breath of fresh air away from all the chaos of Oktoberfest.
Pro tip: On a nice weather day, why not do as the locals do and try out some nude sunbathing? Nevermind, I know why.
If you don’t want to just wander, check out this Munich Half-Day City and English Garden Bike Tour. See Munich and the English Garden from a bike on this 3.5-hour guided tour.
17. Watch the river surfers
Within the English Garden you’ll find the Eisbachwelle on the Eisbach river. At this particular spot, the river creates a legit surfable wave. On any given day of the year, this is where you’ll find Munich’s famous river surfers.
There’s a bridge that goes over the surfing spot so you can watch them with ease as they take their turns surfing on this urban river.
18. Spend some time in Olympiapark
On the north side of the city you’ll find Olympiapark, a massive greenspace created for the 1972 summer Olympics. There’s the Olympic Tower (more on that in a minute), Olympic Stadium where they still host concerts and other major events, an aquarium (Munich Sea Life), and lots of recreational activities like rowing.
It’s a beautiful space to just walk around and hang out in (or get your adrenaline pumping on the Olympic Stadium roof climb). Again, a nice change of pace from Oktoberfest’s noise and crowds. You can get there easily on the Munich BigBus tour!
19. Munich’s most awesome zipline
Another thing you can do at Olympic Park is the Flying Fox zipline. If the roof climb wasn’t enough adrenaline for you, you can continue your adventure with a zipline across the stadium. On Munich’s Flying Fox, you’ll soar almost 700 feet over 115-feet high above the grounds of Olympic Stadium.
20. Attend a soccer game at Allianz Arena
Allianz Arena is home to FC Bayern, Munich’s hometown soccer team. And almost every year (if not every year) they play a home game in Munich during Oktoberfest. If you’ve got a sports/soccer lover in your travel group, seeing a game here is a serious bucket list item. Get the full FC Bayern schedule here.
21. Tour Allianz Arena
If FC Bayern isn’t playing at home during your 3 days in Munich, you can take awesome guided tours of Allianz Arena instead. (I think it might be just as cool to visit this enormous stadium when you have the whole thing to yourself!)
22. Take a bike tour of Munich
Munich is a great walking city… but you can see so much more on a bike tour (and have a lot more fun too). Check out these popular bike tours of Munich:
- Munich Sightseeing Bike Tour – This 3-4 hour bike tour of Munich has all 5-star reviews. You’ll visit the best spots and learn all about Munich’s beer, culture, and history. (Then take a break at the Chinese Tower beer garden.)
- Guided Night Bike Tour of Munich – On this small-group tour you’ll head away from the tourist trail for a more local experience at some cool spots.
- Classic Oktoberfest Bike Tour – If you ever wanted an Oktoberfest-themed bike tour, this is it! See and learn about Munich with a special angle toward the reason you’re here – Oktoberfest!
- All other Munich bike tours – There are a lot more options, so check here to see if there’s another that better fits your schedule/needs.
23. Take a Munich Segway tour
If you actually want the best of both worlds (those being walking and biking), book yourself a Segway tour of Munich! See the city’s best sites on one of the funnest modes of transportation around.
3 days in Munich for history lovers
Maybe Oktoberfest is what brought you to Munich, but if you’re a history lover, the city’s endless historical offerings are what’s going to keep you here. During your 3 days in Munich, don’t miss the many history-centered things to do in Munich.
Did you know I have another blog all about World War II destinations around the world? If you’re a WWII history geek like me, head over to Destination: WWII.
24. Pay your respects at Dachau
Just one-hour from the center of Munich is Dachau Concentration Camp, the first Nazi concentration camp. You can tour the remains of the camp and go inside many of the buildings like the crematorium, the prisoner barracks, and more.
They have excellent guided and audio tours as well as a huge museum exhibition center that explains what happened at Dachau on a daily basis. Basically, there’s too much to even summarize here. And look, I know your 3 days in Munich are centering around Oktoberfest and good times, but this is, without a doubt, a side trip you NEED to take.
If you’re a DIY’er, you can read this complete guide to visiting Dachau for how to get there via train + bus. If you’re planning to drink your brain cells away at Oktoberfest the day before, check out these easy Munich > Dachau tours:
- Guided Tour of Dachau from Munich by train – This 5-hour tour includes roundtrip transportation using the train and bus plus a guided tour of the Dachau Memorial Site.
- Private Dachau Tour by Car – If you wanted a more private option with direct transportation in a private car for your group and a private tour of Dachau, check this one out.
- See all Dachau day tours from Munich – There are a number of options that all vary slightly. Find the best one for your 3 days in Munich here.
25. Take the Third Reich Tour
Definitely the most popular guided walking tour in Munich is the Hitler & the Third Reich Walking Tour. This 2.5-hour walking tour visits some of Munich’s darkest sites while explaining the city’s haunting World War II past. (Munich was the birthplace of National Socialism and Nazi headquarters.)
You’ll visit a number of historically important sites with an expert guide in a small-group setting. This is always a visitor favorite. (Traveling with your kids? Read this post on visiting WW2 sites with children.)
In fact, you can actually combine a trip to Dachau Concentration Camp with the Third Reich tour. Check out this combination tour to see if it fits into your 3 days in Munich.
26. Dig deeper at the NS Documentation Center
If Munich’s Nazi history interests you, don’t miss a visit to the NS Documentation Center. This free museum opened in 2016 and tells the story of Munich’s descent into Nazism.
It’s located at the original Nazi headquarters. You can read all about visiting the NS Documentation Center here.
27. Explore Nymphenburg Palace
If opulent royal castles are more your historical thing, check out Nymphenburg Palace. This enormous palace was the birthplace and “summer home” to King Ludwig II (the guy who built Neuschwanstein Castle).
There are cool museums here, like the carriage museum, as well as fancy gardens, fancy bedrooms, fancy buildings galore actually. Lakes with swans, garden cottages with mirrored rooms, and so much more. You can visit on your own or book a private guided tour. Nymphenburg Palace is also a stop on the Munich BigBus tour.
Pro tip: Read this biography of King Ludwig before your visit to see what the man they call the “Mad King” was all about.
28. Tour the Munich Residenz
Right in the city center is the Munich Residenz, another former royal palace and currently the largest palace in Germany. You can also tour the rooms, gardens, and much more here.
29. Take the Munich Nightwatchman tour
This night tour through Munich is led by the medieval nightwatchman. He tells stories of the city’s dark and spooky past while taking you to some of Munich’s most notable locations.
Great Munich museums to visit
If immersing yourself in history isn’t exactly your idea of a great 3 days in Munich, there are other museums to check out (like if the weather isn’t great while you’re there). Try these on for size:
30. Tour the BMW Museum
Munich, Germany is the home of BMW and this museum “brings to life over 100 years of automotive fascination, innovation, dynamism and the joy of driving.” If you’re a car lover, that probably means something to you.
I personally haven’t visited the BMW Museum but I do hear from people on my Oktoberfest tours that it’s a great museum. Report back!
31. Geek out at the Deutsches Museum
Munich’s Deutches Museum is the largest science and technology museum in the world. Yes, you could totally spend all 3 days in Munich exploring this museum… but you can also focus on certain areas that may interest you. I spent just an afternoon here and felt I didn’t even scratch the surface.
32. Check out an art museum
Munich is home to some great art museums of all kinds. Start your planning with these:
- Alte Pinakothek – artwork by the old masters (Da Vinci, Rafael, El Grecco, Rembrandt, and more)
- Pinakothek der Moderne – artwork from the 20th century to the present (Picasso, Dali, etc.)
- Neue Pinakothek – artwork from the 19th century (Monet, Van Gogh, etc.)
- Bavarian National Museum – Bavarian art from all historical eras
- Glyptothek – ancient Greek and Roman sculptures
- Haus der Kunst – contemporary art, rotating exhibits
- Museum Brandhorst – contemporary and late modern art
Where to get the best views during your 3 days in Munich
One of my favorite things to do when I go to any new city is to get as high as I can and find the best views. And Munich was (and still is) no different. If you’re anything like me, here is where you can find the best views in Munich:
33. Climb the tower at St. Peter’s
For just 3€ you can climb the 299 steps up the tower at St. Peter’s Church to get the absolute best views in and of Munich. St. Peter’s is located just across the plaza from the Old Town Hall. You’ll get 360° views of downtown Munich, the residential suburbs, the faraway Alps, and even Oktoberfest!
34. Head up to the top of Olympic Tower
Back over in Olympiapark you’ll find the Olympic Tower. At almost 1,000 feet high, Olympic Tower is the tallest building in Munich. At the top is a panoramic viewing platform and a revolving restaurant.
35. Take in the best views of Oktoberfest
Some say the best views at Oktoberfest are the ones inside the beer tents from behind your glass. I mean, yeah, that’s not wrong. But you can actually find some great views of Oktoberfest as well.
When you’re ready to take a break from beer tent-ing, check these out:
- Ride the Oktoberfest Ferris wheel – my personal favorite views of Oktoberfest. You can see the main street with all the people, the tents, and the Alps on the other side. Pro tip: ride it on a Tuesday or Thursday for ½ price tickets.
- Climb the Bavaria statue – 60 feet tall, tight spiral staircase, but great views of Oktoberfest
- St. Paul’s Church – located near Oktoberfest, you can climb the 250 steps up the main tower for more great Wiesn views.
For a list of all the best views of Oktoberfest, check out my full post in that link! It includes the best views of Oktoberfest as well as the best places at Oktoberfest to take your Instagram photos.
Oktoberfest-y things to do in Munich
And since you have obviously based your 3 days in Munich around Oktoberfest, there are some Oktoberfest-related things you can do besides drink beer and eat your weight in schnitzel. For instance:
36. Shop for trachten
Despite whether or not you came to Germany with dirndls and lederhosen all ready to go, shopping for trachten in Munich is still a fun experience and a Munich-bought set makes a great souvenir.
You can find dirndls and lederhosen of all kinds and to fit all budgets here in Munich. You can find cheap stuff in the train station, and luxury items all around town. Check out my post on Where to Buy Lederhosen and Dirndls in Munich for a list of some of my favorite places to buy outfits for Oktoberfest around town.
37. Take a guided tour of Oktoberfest
Yes, you can take a guided tour of Oktoberfest (the Theresienwiese) with Munich locals and learn all about Munich’s beer history, Oktoberfest’s origins, and get to enjoy food and beer in one of the tents of course! Check out Paul’s Oktoberfest Unforgettable Tour here.
38. Visit the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum
Munich’s Bier und Oktoberfest Museum is located in a historic town house in the old town. Here, you’ll learn basically everything from Munich beer brewing to Oktoberfest beer drinking.
Maybe visit here first, then school all your friends when you get to the beer tents. Check out this winning combination: Tickets to Beer and Oktoberfest Museum + Beer Tasting.
Where to stay during your 3 days in Munich
Munich has so many great neighborhoods in which to base yourself during your 3 days in Munich. But, if you are only visiting for such a short time, some work better than others.
Hotels near Oktoberfest
If you’ll be spending your 3 days in Munich during Oktoberfest, I highly recommend staying as close to the festival as possible. Getting to and from the Wiesn is then one less pain you have to worry about, and you can still walk to many of Munich’s top sites.
Try these Munich hotels on for size (but remember that you’ll need to book them ASAP since Oktoberfest hotels sell out lightning fast!):
- Hotel Munich City – Just a 5-minute walk to Oktoberfest and close to train stops too.
- Bavaria Boutique Hotel – Beautiful hotel just 4 minutes from Oktoberfest with a “Wonderful” 9/10 rating.
- Roomers Munich, Autograph Collection – Super nice hotel just a 14-minute walk from Oktoberfest (outside the crazy sphere).
Hotels in Munich’s Old Town
Another great option for your 3 days in Munich is to stay closer to the city’s Old Town area where you have more options for food, drinks, and entertainment. If that’s the case, start your hotel search here:
- Hotel MIO by AMANO – Modern hotel in the Old Town and just a short walk to the Marienplatz and Hofbräuhaus.
- Hotel Bayerischer Hof – Luxurious hotel in the heart of Munich with amazing rooftop views.
- Platzl Hotel Superior – Comfortable hotel about as close to the Old Town sites as you could hope to be.
Of course, there are plenty more great hotels in Munich. If none of those work for you, you can check out all available Munich hotels here. (And don’t forget to check out my guide to picking the perfect hotel every time!)
Pro tip: If your 3 days in Munich are during Oktoberfest, I’d steer clear of Airbnb. They are notorious for ripping people off during the festival and/or canceling their reservations at the last minute to accept better offers, leaving people stranded during the city’s busiest time. It’s not worth it! Check out my guide to popular Oktoberfest scams for more info.
How to get around during your 3 days in Munich
Munich is a wonderfully walkable city if you stay in a centrally-located hotel (like the ones mentioned above). Beyond those areas, Munich’s S-bahn and U-bahn train systems and trams are also easy to use and can get you just about anywhere you want to go.
I have also rented cars in and around Munich and have also found this an easy way to get around the city as well as for day trips to places like Neuschwanstein and Salzburg, Austria. If you think you’d like to go this route, check out the best Munich rental car deals here.
And as I’ve already said, the Munich hop-on/hop-off bus is also a great way to see the city and get carted around to the most popular areas. Tourism + transportation = perfection!
Tips for your 3 days in Munich
To make the most of your 3 days in Munich, here are a few tips you might find helpful:
- Bring a Germany guidebook with you – I love guidebooks for restaurant suggestions, background information, and more. I’m personally a big fan of Fodor’s, Rough Guides, and Rick Steves.
- Get to know German customs and culture before you arrive. I get these pocket-sized guidebooks for every new country I visit!
- Keep yourself and your belongings safe in Germany with these must-pack travel safety items.
- Read all my Oktoberfest articles to learn all you need to know about attending the most fun festival in the world!
Which of these will you do during your 3 days in Munich?
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