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Munich comes alive in summer bursting with flowering trees, urban gardens, and annual festivals. Munich locals spend most of their summer taking advantage of the frequently sunny hot days and live life outside. The best things to do in Munich during the summer range from relaxing along the Isar with a beer in hand or taking off on an adventurous day trip to hike in the Alps. Whatever mood you are in these fun summer activities in Munich will help you beat the heat and make the most of summer.
Riding bikes through Munich is my all time favorite thing to do. Not only are there long bike trails along the Isar, winding paths through the Englischer Garten, and long 40k day trips out to some of Bavaria’s most beautiful lakes, but the city has wide bike paths that follow just about every road providing a safe way to get around the city. When visiting Munich in summer, I suggest you rent bikes for the entire time you are in the city, so you can quickly get around the city and take off on longer scenic rides.
As a local my favorite place to ride is along the Isar, there is a beautiful trail that will take you along the river with gorgeous views, colorful street art, and of course beer kiosks when you want to take a break. If you work your way north, you can eventually cross into the Englischer Garten for endless kilometers of trails. If you’re going to go for a longer ride, I suggest biking down to Starnbergersee. You can find 20 more trails or check out the Munich city trail map.
You can rent bikes for your entire stay at Radius Tours, which is located in the central train station, or you can make use of the MVG bike share program that is hosted by Munich’s public transportation. Donkey Republic bikes are also around the city.
I also suggest checking out a biking group or private tour with a local guide, so you can learn about Munich while getting some exercise. I’ve personally used and love Mike’s Bikes, but there are plenty of other options.
Explore Parks & Gardens
I am always blown away by how green of a city Munich is. I swear over half of the city is covered in sprawling green parks, which means one of the best ways to beat the heat is to head to one of Munich’s green parks and gardens and find a shady spot under a tree to keep cool.
The EG one of the largest urban parks in the world sprawling for kilometers cutting through central Munich and running up to our airport. You can enter the park near Odeonsplatz through the Hofgarten, a French-style garden. The garden has wide open fields for sunbathing, hidden nooks under trees for reading, beer gardens like the Chinese Tower or SeeHaus, walking trails, running trails, and sandy horse trails. This park is the largest and most central and a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
The rose garden is a hidden gem along the Isar river, which offers a wide variety of roses for smelling and quiet places to read or relax. The area is popular for mom yoga groups and other gatherings. It is also a great place to catch plant Pokemon.
West Park is popular among locals, but it is also an excellent place for tourists, and the park has lots of fun things to do and see. You can walk through the park to find Munich’s Japanese Garden, with an Asian style Pagoda that makes for fantastic photos
Munich technically has two botanical gardens, an old garden, and a new garden. The new Botanical Garden is your typical garden with lush exotic plants in greenhouses. It is open from 9 am – 7 pm and it costs 5.50 Euro. The old botanic garden is now just a park for leisure strolling.
Olympia Park is the old Olympic Stadium, and it is now a beautiful place to wander around for some great photo opportunities of the TV tower and the stadium itself. While you’re there explore the Olympia Dorf for some fun street art created by Munich’s university students.
Head out to Freising via the S1 to visit the Weltwald – or World Forest. The world forest has trees from Asia, Europe, N. America, and around the world. Think of it like a wild botanical forest. The whole family will love this forest with educational signs and easy walking trails.
Drink at a Beer Garden
A visit to Munich isn’t complete with experience one of the many beer gardens sprinkled throughout the city. You honestly can’t go far without hitting a beer garden. If you are looking for a quiet local experience, check out the Paulaner Braühaus, the Paulaner Brewery. This is my local beer garden, and I love sitting under the chestnut trees and enjoying the lovely shade. If you want a big touristy experience head over to the Chinese Tower in the middle of the Englischer Garten for HB beer. If you are short on time and need to stay close to the train station, head over to the Augustiner Kellner for tons of tables and a playground.
There are tons of annual summer festivals and events in Munich. You’ll want to check the calendar for any events happening during your stay.
Tollwood Summer Festival
If you like live music, local hand made crafts, street food, and pop up bars then this festival is for you. The Tollwood Summer Festival happens annually and typically runs from the end of June to the end of July. There are special events like headlining concert acts and permanent art installations. Tollwood is a sustainable festival with a yearly theme that changes to highlight a global climate issue. So make sure to pack your bamboo straws to sip your cocktails.
Summer Fest is a fair-like event held at Olympia Park with over 100 stands with carnival rides, games, and street food. With the Olympia Lake nearby you can even get wet with water sports and activities. This event usually runs from the end of July to the middle of August.
Sommer Nachts Traum
The Mid Summer’s Night Dream is a special event, in which you need tickets for that happens during Summer Fest at Olympia Park. The event is the largest open-air festival in Munich and features chart-topping musicians and a massive firework display – which is rare for the city of Munich. Make sure you plan and get your tickets for this event.
Street Life Festival
The Street Life Festival is a sustainable festival celebrating the green city of Munich. You’ll find lots of green city initiatives, including making your bamboo bikes, vegan street food, and responsible activities. One of Munich’s most grand roads shuts down and fills with vendors, food carts, DJ booths with random dance parties, and much more. The event is typically in September, so you can celebrate before summer leaves us.
The Munich Film Festival is the largest film festival in Germany and hosts international and regional film, stars, and film-related events. The event is held at the end of June through the beginning of July. Grab tickets to see movies at the Gasteig or other theaters throughout Munich.
Auer Dult is a festival that happens in Munich three times throughout the year. If you are in Munich during the Summer, check out the summer one that takes place the end of July to the start of August. Located at Mariahilfplatz Auer Dult has dozens of merchants selling handcrafted wares, carnival rides, treats for kids, craft beer, and lots of tasty local food. If you want to know how locals spend the summer, you will want to make sure you attend.
If you came to Munich to drink and drink you will, then this event is for you. The Kocherlball started as a way for the poor working class in Munich to celebrate and party after they got off work. Everyone in Munich now celebrates it on the 3rd Sunday in July. You better be an early bird, and this crazy event starts at 6 am at the Chinese Tower. You can bring a picnic breakfast and order beers at a kiosk. The highlight of the event is traditional folk dances. You should wear Lederhosen and Dirndl to the event.
The Isar River is the heart and soul of local living in Munich during the summer. If there is one thing every local does at least once in the summer it is to go down the Isar with friends, games, food, a portable BBQ, music, beer, wine, or a good book and enjoy basking in the summer sun. Bring your swimsuit as most people do get in the river at some point to cool off. If you don’t want to haul your beer down to the river, grab a few at any of the many kiosks along the river. If you prefer partying by moonlight parties, typically go on until well after the sun sets along the river.
Drink at Rooftop Bars
Munich doesn’t have a ton of rooftop bars, but they are out there with great views of the city. Most of them are located on top of posh hotels, so expect to pay out a bit of money for a cocktail with a view. My all-time favorite is Flushing Meadows, which serves up craft cocktails on a private terrace. If you are on a tighter budget head over to the top of our technical university TMU and drink at Café Vorhoelzer Forum. Other rooftop bars are the Blue Spa Rooftop Bar, The Terrace, MH5, or The Grill im Künstlerhaus.
Go for a Swim Outdoors
Munich has a ton of great outdoor swimming pools to help you keep cool throughout the long summer days. My favorite outdoor pool is the Naturbad Maria Einsiedel (isn’t that the most German name for a pool). The natural swimming pool uses green technology to clean without harmful chemicals. Ungererbad is another favorite of mine and has three pool areas featuring an adventure pool, diving boards, a waterslide, and a nude area. If you are not interested in swimming, then you can play beach volleyball, table tennis, lawn games and of course a place to sunbathe while drinking beer from a kiosk.
Watch the Sunset at Hackerbrücker
If you want to be a true Munich local this summer grab some beers, or wine and cheese and head to Hackerbrücker S-Bahn stop. Climb up to the bridge and watch the sunset fade into the horizon over the train tracks. This is a great thing to do for a summer date night in Munich.
Celebrate Munich Pride
Munich Pride, also called Christopher Street Day, is celebrated for a full week during pride month. If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally then you do not want to miss Munich’s Pride Parade on the last Saturday of pride week. In the parade, you’ll see big companies in Munich like BMW, Audi, Google, and more celebrating Pride along with the entire city of Munich. For more information on CSD or Pride, visit the CSD website for all the details.
If you are a fan of the lawn game Boules or Petanque, then head to Munich’s Hofgarten with a set and play among Munich locals. If you prefer to watch, the experts do it stop by the Hofgarten the second weekend in July for the Petanque tournament bringing hundreds of fans and players out to watch.
Swim at one of Munich Surrounding Lakes
If you are not a swimming pool fan head to one of Munich’s surrounding lakes. If you want to stay in Munich, head to Feldmochinger See via public transportation to swim in a small local human-made lake with a restaurant and park along its shores. For those that are feeling more adventurous pack a day bag and hop on the S-Bahn to Starnberger See or Ammer See for a day full of swimming and exploring the small towns around Munich.
See a Movie at an Open Air Kino
Have you ever been in the mood for a movie, but hate being inside during the summer months. Well, if you are in Munich in the Summer, then you are in luck! The most reliable and consistent open-air theater is at Westpark. Starting June and going until September, movies gradually begin earlier as the days get shorter. Tickets cost about 7 Euro for the theater. You’ll want to bring a blanket and some snacks. For more information, use the help of Google Translate to get the theater’s schedule.
Go Hiking in The Alps
If Munich seems quiet on the weekend during summer, it is because everyone is taking a day trip from Munich to hike in the Alps. There are so many options, but one of my favorites is to take the train out to Tegernsee where there are some easy hike trails up to a beer garden and some more challenging trails through mountains. There is a direct train that will get you there, making it the perfect way to see the gorgeous Alps. Another suggestion is to head to Garmisch and make an easy trail out to the Garmisch Gorge.
Ride the Munich Tram
If it is raining or you have mobility concerns (it is not wheelchair friendly though) and still want to see the best of Munich, hop on the Munich tourist tram which will take you around the city in 55 minutes. The tram runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday every hour on the hour from 11 am – 2 pm. The pick up is at Max-Weber Platz, and it costs about 10 Euro. For more information and to book your mandatory online tickets in advance, visit the Munich Tram’s website.
Have a Picnic
Shop at Munich’s open-air food market, the Viktualienmarkt and stop up on local meats, cheese, wines and more. Head to any of the markets I mentioned and enjoy a relaxing picnic with friends.
If you happened to arrive in Munich on one of our rainy days this summer, don’t despair. Munich has dozens of museums to keep you busy. If it is wet and on a Sunday, you’re in luck as most of our museums are 1 Euro on Sunday. My favorite the Deutsches Museum is the world’s largest science and technology museum, and it is big enough to spend three whole days exploring making it great if you have several days of rain ahead of you. Munich also has a museum district near Königsplatz and the Pinakothek area featuring fine art museums, Egyptian museums, geology museums, and more!
Watch the River Surfers
By now the Munich river surfers are a favorite tourist hot spot, but they deserve the fame. Head to the Eisbach on Google Maps and watch as Munich’s river surfers take turns riding the Isar channels. It is a great way to kill some time while exploring the Englischer Garten.
Visit Andechs Monastery – Easy Hike
If you enjoy light outdoor activity that ends in beer drinking, then this is the day trip for you this summer. Take the S8 out to Herrsching and continue with an easy hike up to Andechs Monastery and Brewery. Once you are there explore the monastery and finish the day with a traditional dark beer brewed by monks. If you get too drunk, you can take the bus back to the train station before heading back to Munich. Read more about this day trip to Andechs Monastery.
Go on a Walking Tour
Munich has lots of great walking tours that are perfect for exploring the city on your own 2 feet. You can do your traditional free walking tour, a Third Reich walking tour, or hand over a bit more money for an artisanal walking tour that includes beer and food. You’ll be in good hands with Munich locals sharing the highlights of Munich.
Zugspitze Mountain, Germany’s highest peak in the Alps is one of my favorite day trips from Munich. You can ride a gondola or a cogwheel train up the mountain and then spend time exploring the peak crossing the German/Austrian border as many times as you want. The stunning 360 views allow you to see German and Austrian Alps as far as the eye can see. This day trip is quite complicated, and I suggest you read my full post detailing how to get from Munich to Zugspitze there and back in one day from Munich Central Station.
Go for a Walk/Jog
Munich is a city full of active people who are usually always out for a job. If you’d like to stay fit while traveling in Munich during the summer hit up the Isar trail. There is a separate trail for runners and walkers that runs along the entire river through the city.
Explore Schloss Nymphenburg
Schloss Nyphemburger is a grand castle in the west of Munich. If you enjoy castles head inside for a history tour through history. If you enjoy a beautiful park with sunshine, then you are free to roam around the magnificent castle gardens.
Play Beach VolleyBall
If you are a beach person and spend your summer holiday in Munich complaining, we aren’t near the beach, have no fear. You can head to Beach 38 for fruity cocktails and sand beach games. Make sure you book the volleyball in advance if you want some court time.
Play Table Tennis
Munich has table tennis tables all around Munich. Grab your paddle, some friends and a few ping pong balls and head over to the Weisen or any of Munich’s parks for an intense game of table tennis. They are free to use and a great way to get outdoors this summer.
Party All Night
If the long summer days in Munich have you itching to party, then head out for a long night of partying and dancing. For all the details, check out my Nightlife Guide to Munich.
Find More Things to Do in Munich
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Susanna grew up in small-town Alaska where the changing climate was always on her mind. Through traveling, she gained an interest in the power of sustainable and regenerative travel. She now attends a Master's program for environmental sustainability and bridges sustainable travel with environmental science. When she's not outside playing, you'll find her drinking whiskey with her cat and partner while trying to get to level 99 in life.