As someone who called Munich home for many years and has seen the city through the eyes of both a local and a parent, I can confidently say that Munich is a great city to explore with kids, and its charm unfolds far beyond the well-trodden path of popular tourist attractions.

In this guide, we won’t just cover usual suspects like the Deutsche Museum or the enchanting Glockenspiel. Instead, we’ll uncover the best of what  Munich has to offer for kids and families.

We’ll delve into family-friendly fun in the English Garden, uncover educational opportunities in the form of art workshops, and explore some of Munich’s newest virtual reality and immersive attractions. Animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts won’t be left out either, with special attention to the city’s nature adventures and animal encounters. And if you are visiting during summertime, you will surely want to know the best places to cool off by taking a splash in the water.

So, let’s discover Munich – not through the lens of a typical visitor, but through the eyes of a family that has discovered this beautiful city. Make sure to also check us this blog post: 5 Days in Munich: list of best things to do and see

Munich City Sightseeing

Old Peter and New Town Hall: A Panoramic View of Munich

Kids love climbing towers for a good bird’s eye view of the city. Marienplatz in the old town (‘Altstadt’) offers two opportunities to do so. The bell tower of Old St. Peter’s Church, with its narrow, winding staircase of over 200 steps, has long been a favorite among visitors of all ages.

If the climb seems daunting, the New Town Hall (‘Neues Rathaus’) across the square provides a more accessible alternative. Its observation deck, reachable by elevator, offers equally impressive vistas. On clear days, you can see to the majestic Alps. Tickets for the observation deck are available at the tourist information center located within the town hall.

Time your visit to coincide with the ‘Glockenspiel‘ show in the clock tower of the New Town Hall. This daily event, occurring at 11 am and 12 pm (and also at 5 pm from March to October), is one of Munich’s major tourist attractions. Mechanical figures circling around, are captivating hundreds of onlookers at Marienplatz every day.

These attractions, combined with historical significance and visual appeal, make Old Peter and New Town Hall a must-visit Munich experience, especially for families seeking to connect with the city’s rich heritage and scenic beauty.

view of Marienplatz, Munich, Germany from above
Aerial view of Marienplatz, New Town Hall, and Frauenkirche from St. Peter’s church
View of Glockenspiel in New Town Hall, Munich, Germany
Glockenspiel in New Town Hall © München Tourismus Sigi Müller

Exploring Munich by Streetcar

For kids, hopping on a streetcar can be an adventure in itself, especially if they are from a car-centric city like my children are. I recommend taking a ride on the streetcar, or ‘tram‘ as the locals say, #19 or #21, which takes you through the heart of the city and offers some fantastic views along the way.

Start your journey at Munich’s central train station (German: ‘Hauptbahnhof’). All trams stop on the north side of the train station on Prielmayerstrasse. You want to take either #19 or #21, in the direction of ‘Berg am Laim’ or ‘St.-Veit-Strasse’ respectively.

As the tram glides along, you’ll pass the grand Palace of Justice, then Stachus, one of Munich’s bustling central squares, and on to Lenbachplatz, where you can glimpse the gateway to the Old Botanical Garden. The journey continues through Promenadeplatz and into the pedestrian zone, leading you to Max-Joseph-Platz (stop: National Theater). Here, you can see the Residence and the Opera nearby, not to mention the iconic Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz. From the National Theater, the tram takes you down one of Munich’s most prestigious streets: Maximilianstraße. Keep your eyes peeled – this is a spot where celebrities are often spotted shopping. The tram then makes a picturesque loop around the ‘Maximilianeum’, the seat of the Bavarian parliament. The journey continues to Max-Weber-Platz, where I recommend getting off the tram and riding back towards the central station.

This ride is more than just a way to get around; it’s a chance to see Munich from a different perspective, making it an exciting and educational experience for kids and adults alike.

Munich's blue tram in front of Maximilianeum, Bavaria's state captial building - a great way to start you 5 days in Munich
Munich’s blue tram in front of ‘Maximilianeum’, the seat of the Bavarian parliament

Family-Friendly Fun

Fairytale Garden: A Magical Experience for Toddlers

Nestled in the Munich suburb of Wolfratshausen, the ‘Freizeitpark Mӓrchenland‘ is a charming destination designed specifically for toddlers. This enchanting park is dotted with gentle rides and attractions, each inspired by the timeless tales of the Brothers Grimm.

The garden features over 20 fairytale scenes, each brought to life with animated figures and enchanting music. Children can marvel at classics like Cinderella, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel, each presented in beautifully crafted settings. Additionally, the park offers a miniature train ride that winds through a picturesque forest landscape. With its combination of storytelling and interactive play, the Fairytale Garden is sure to delight your little traveler. (Note: the park is closed in winter).

Gelato & Ice Cream: A Sweet Treat Anytime

Munich, and, quite frankly, Germany has a love affair with ice cream. This passion is largely thanks to the influence of Italy and the significant Italian community that settled in Germany during the 1950s and 1960s.

Munich is dotted with gelato spots, particularly vibrant during the summer when cafes swing open their doors and serve scoops right on the sidewalk. Step inside these cafes, and you’ll find an array of imaginative sundaes. A must-try is the ‘Spaghetti ice cream’, a playful creation where vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce mimic a plate of spaghetti.

For those with adventurous palates, ‘Der Verrückte Eismacher’ (the ‘Crazy Ice Cream Maker’) is a recent sensation in Munich. Here, you can sample some truly unique flavors – think ice cream with hints of cabbage, sausage, or even pizza. It’s a quirky, fun experience that’s sure to add an extra scoop of excitement to your family’s Munich adventure.

English Garden: A Family Adventure in Munich

Exploring the English Garden in Munich is a wonderful experience, especially for families and kids who need to burn off energy. In this vast park, larger than New York’s Central Park, you’ll find Munich’s residents stroll, picnic, or even swim in the stream, a tributary of the Isar River. In Germany, attitudes towards nudity are quite relaxed, so it’s not uncommon to spot sunbathers embracing the sun in minimal attire.

For a more dynamic exploration, consider renting bicycles. I recommend Mike’s Bikes for its convenient location in the old town and its variety of options, including child seats and tag-along or tandem bikes – a fun choice for younger children not yet confident in cycling alone.

view on to English Garden in Munich, Germany with Frauenkirche in the background
Englischer Garten Muenchen ©-Munchen-Tourismus-Tommy-Loesch

Begin your adventure at the park’s southern end, closest to Munich’s old town. Here, the Eisbachwelle offers an intriguing spectacle: a man-made wave where surfers skillfully navigate the swift currents, vying for a moment of surfing glory. As you venture northward, consider a stop at the “Spielplatz Englischer Garten,” especially with younger children.

Further along, the Monopteros awaits. This Greek-style temple, perched atop a small hill, provides a stunning panoramic view of Munich – a perfect spot for a memorable family photo.

By this point, hunger might beckon you towards the Chinese Tower Beer Garden. Named after its 25-meter-tall wooden pagoda, this beer garden, with 700 seats, is one of Munich’s largest. It serves Hofbrauhaus beer and welcomes visitors from 11 am on weekdays and 10 am on weekends, weather permitting. Munich’s beer gardens are family-friendly zones, often equipped with playgrounds and activities for children. The Chinese Tower Beer Garden, for instance, features a playground and a charming children’s carousel (pictured on the left), operational from April to October.

If you wish to extend your exploration of the English Garden, continue to Seehaus by the Kleinhesseloher See (‘Kleinhesseloher Lake’). Nestled on the lake’s shore, Seehaus invites you for a serene walk or a playful paddle boat ride.

4 surfers can be seen at the Eisbachwelle in the English Garden in Munich
Eisbachsurfers © München Tourismus Sigi Müller
Beergarden visitors sit at long tables in front of the pagoda at Chinese Tower Beer Garden in the English Garden in Munich
Beergarden Chinese Tower © München Tourismus -Tommy Lösch

Museums and Educational Attractions

Deutsches Museum: Top Destination for Young Scientists

The Deutsches Museum stands as one of Europe’s foremost science museums, making it an ideal destination for older kids (around 10 years and up) with a keen interest in science. The size of the museum and the breadth of its exhibits, which include physics, aviation, robotics, and musical instruments, to name just a few, are extensive. Therefore, planning your visit via the Museum’s website is key to ensuring you explore the sections that most captivate your interest. Note: The main building is located at the banks of the Isar River in Munich’s city center (Museumisel 1, 80538 Munich).

a boy is looking at a red motorbicycles, part of the exhibiton at transport museum munich

The museum has two branches: the Transport Museum is located at Bavariapark 5, 80339 Munich, and the Aviation Museum in the suburb of Oberschschleissheim (Effnerstrasse 18, 85764 Oberschleissheim). Both can be reached via public transportation, but plan accordingly.

For families with younger children, the ‘Kid’s Kingdom’ within the museum’s main building is a perfect spot. This special area blends the fun of a playground with interactive play structures, offering a delightful way to spend 1-2 hours. It’s especially appealing on a rainy day, providing an engaging and educational indoor activity for little ones.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MUCA): Inspiring Young Minds with Urban Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art, short MUCA, renowned for its focus on ‘urban art,’ holds the distinction of being the first museum of its kind in Germany. MUCA’s permanent exhibition features a diverse array of contemporary art pieces: paintings, sculptures, photographs, and objects from the realms of street and urban art, as well as pop art classics, such as works by Andy Warhol.

For children, MUCA can be a fascinating introduction to the art world. Many of the artists featured are popular on social media, making the artworks particularly relatable and engaging for younger audiences.

Additionally, MUCA’s ‘KUNSTLABOR 2’ campus offers excellent workshops for children aged 8 and above. The graffiti workshops, in particular, are a fantastic opportunity for kids to express themselves creatively and explore art in new and exciting ways. Workshops are offered at various times throughout the year, and bookings can be made through MUCA’s website.

Animal Lover Experiences

Wildpark Poing: Encounter Roaming Wildlife

Just on the outskirts of Munich lies Wildpark Poing, a remarkable destination that I consider a must-visit for any animal-loving family with a bit of time to spare. This expansive park features a 2.5-mile-long trail through forests and meadows, offering a chance to observe a diverse range of animals in their natural habitats.

What sets Wildpark Poing apart is its free-roaming deer. These graceful creatures wander through a spacious forest area, often approaching visitors in a friendly manner. It feels like you’re stepping into their world, a truly unique and respectful wildlife experience.

The park isn’t just about deer, though. You’ll encounter peacocks, sheep, goats, ponies, and more – many of which are friendly enough to be stroked or fed. The path also takes you past enclosures with wolves and lynx, as well as ponds, fish tanks, wetlands, and bird aviaries. There are also several birds of prey demonstrations throughout the day, showcasing these magnificent creatures in action.

The park is also home to a beautiful adventure and water playground – remember to pack a change of clothes for the kids ‘just in case’. The park is open year-round and can be reached via S-Bahn (line #2 towards Markt Schwaben/Erding). Be advised, though, that there is about a 20-30 minute walk from the S-Bahn stop “Poing” to the park. Also: bring cash, the park does not accept credit cards.

A girl is extending her hand to feed a deer at Wilpark Poing, a must-do when visiting Munich with Kids
Deer Encounter at Wildpark Poing

Tierpark Hellabrunn: Discovering Wildlife in Munich’s Premier Zoo

Tierpark Hellabrunn, more akin to a wildlife park than a traditional zoo, offers a unique experience for families. This park is home to over 500 animal species, grouped according to their natural habitats, ranging from the African savanna to the frigid polar regions.

But there’s more to Hellabrunn than just observing animals. For the younger set, there is a petting zoo where they can feed goats. A word of caution, though:  These spirited animals can sometimes be a bit nibbly! You’ll find track carousels and the Rhino playground in ‘Kinderland,’ or ‘Children’s World’.

For children in their elementary years, the park features an exceptional adventure playground, conveniently located next to the zoo’s main restaurant, which includes a beer garden. Adults can have something to eat and drink in the beer garden, while they watch their kids on the playground. The highlight here is undoubtedly the enormous slide, ingeniously designed to resemble an elephant’s trunk. I must confess that it initially took my breath away due to it’s hight, but my daughter was not intimiated, and it has since become a favorite.

Water Activities & Outdoor Adventures

Ungererbad – Relax and Cool Down on a Hot Summer Day

Ungererbad offers a refreshing escape on warm days. With its park-like design, the outdoor pool in the north of Munich is an idyllic, natural oasis thanks to its extensive lawns and old, shady trees. The pool features a large slide, a wading pool for smaller kids, and a playground. Bring your blanket, hang out for a few hours, and enjoy a quintessential Munich summer experience.

Naturbad Maria Einsiedel and Flaucher: Enjoy the Isar River’s Pristine Waters

Naturbad Maria Einsiedel’ is a different kind of public pool. With an offshoot canal of the Isar River running through it, swimming in  Maria Einsiedel’s pool is akin to swimming in a lake. The water is being cleaned in a biological way (no chlorine), and is safe and clean. The water is biologically purified and the water quality is excellent, just like in the other Munich pools.

The ‘Flaucher’ is a river section south of Brudermühlbrücke. With the river flowing gently, people take a dib in the water or picnic and BBQ on the river banks –often until late into the night. Stroll along the river bank and find a place to put down your blanket. The area next to the Flauchersteg pedestrian bridge is considered the best place for kids, where they can play safely in little pools and climb onto larger stones. Getting there: Take the U-Bahn to “Thalkirchen (Tierpark), and then head towards “Thakirchner Bruecke”. From there, make your way down to the river bank and then head north.

Flaucher and Tierpark Hellabrunn are located next to each other, so you could spend the first half of the day in the Tierpark and then head to the Flaucher for a cool-down.

Isar river in Munich, Germany, with view of bridge and church in the background and people sitting on the banks of the river
View from the south end of the Flaucher river bank

Rope Course Adventures at Kletterwald-München

One of the more unexpected joys of our Germany trips has been rope courses. They are very popular with Germans; you’ll find them in about every corner of the country. What makes them attractive is the fact that they are often located in beautiful and serene forests, making this a great outing for the entire family.

Kletterwald-München definitely fits this bill. After safety instructions, kids (and daring adults) will go through multiple parcours courses, each one becoming more challenging/difficult. Along the way, you can also rappel and use ziplines through the trees. Notably, you can do the course on your own, and on your own time, meaning you don’t have to be part of a group and/or follow a guide. Active kids will have a blast, expect to be there for 4-5 five hours. Minimum age is 8 years. The Kletterwald is closed during winter time. You can reach the Kletterwald by public transportation: Take S-Bahn S7 to stop ‘Höllriegelskreuth’, then take the bus 271 to Grünwald Friedhof. From there it’s about 10 minutes by foot, follow the signs. You can order tickets online or buy them there – note: only cash is accepted if you pay in person.

A boy climing across wooden letters in the tree tops.
Kletterwald Muenchen

Munich’s Legacy of Sports & Cars

Olympic Park: Sports History

The Olympic Park is a large green space originally constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics. It’s popular with locals who jog, walk, and bicycle through the park. In summer, have a picnic on Olympic Hill and you may even hear the sound of live music performances in the nearby Olympic stadium. Another place for a picnic is the shores of the Olympic Lake – or how about renting a paddle boat?

Olympic Park and Olympic Lake © Munchen-Tourismus-Tommy-Losch

Small children will enjoy a ride on the park railway: This 20-minute ride departs every 30 minutes in front of the Olympic Tower and from BMW World (note: only between April and November, and only on days with no events at the stadium). Tickets are available from the driver. Alternatively, you could hire a private pedicab, and discover the highlights of the park while comfortably seated. Up to two adults and one child (up to the age of 12), can share a pedicab. Tickets can be booked through the official Munich tourism office.

A group of people, with harnesses, climbing the roof of Olympic stadium.

If you have adventurous older kids in tow, consider a guided tour that allows them to climb the Olympic Stadium’s roof (required minimum age 10). During the 1.5-hour tour, guides will also tell the story of the stadium to life, and at the end of the tour,  participants have the choice to descent either via rappelling or via zip lining. Tickets through the Olympic Park website, minimum age is 10 years.

Note: The observation deck of the Olympic Tower offers a fantastic panoramic view, but be advised that the tower will be closed for approx. two years starting in June 2024.

BMW World and Museum: A Destination for Car Enthusiasts

Located next to Olympic Park, you’ll find BMW World. It’s a showplace for the iconic auto brand, which was founded in Munich and still partially manufactures its automobiles here. The building, a futuristic structure of glass and steel, is situated next to BMW Group’s headquarters.

Inside, the exhibition features an array of models from all BMW Group brands, allowing visitors to explore the evolution and diversity of these iconic vehicles. You can explore the exhibition at your own pace, or you can opt for a guided tour.

Not to be missed is the ‘Future Lab’ at the BMW Campus, where interactive displays allow children to engage with futuristic concepts. The drop-in coding workshop, conducted every Thursday at 3:30 p.m., is an excellent opportunity for kids aged 6 and above to learn about programming in a fun and interactive way. Instructions are offered in German and English. 

Right next to BMW World, the BMW Museum complements its neighbor with its own unique architectural style. Affectionately nicknamed the “Weißwurstkessel” or “sausage pot” due to its round shape, the museum presents a fascinating journey through the history of BMW. It showcases an impressive array of cars, motorbikes, and engines, each piece telling a part of the story of this century-old, iconic car brand.

Allianz Arena: A Must-Visit for Soccer Fans

For families with a soccer enthusiast, a visit to the Allianz Arena, the iconic home stadium of the legendary FC Bayern Munich, is an unforgettable experience. Embark on a guided tour of the arena to feel the electrifying atmosphere of a game day from a player’s perspective. Imagine the thrill as you walk out of the tunnel, just as the players do, and get an up-close view of the cabins and benches.

Adjacent to the arena, the museum offers a deep dive into the club’s storied 100-year history. Here, a Hall of Fame and various interactive stations bring the legacy of FC Bayern Munich to life. Fans young and old can immerse themselves in the rich history and achievements of the club, making it a perfect outing for anyone passionate about the beautiful game.

two men looking at trophies behind glass inside FC Bayern Munich Museum
FC Bayern Museum © München Tourismus Anna-Lena Zintel

Entertaining and Immersive Experiences

Magic Bavaria: An Upside-Down World of Wonder

Magic Bavaria, a novel attraction that opened in late 2023, introduces visitors to a fascinating “Upside Down House” concept. This 10,000-square-foot facility is a blend of art installation, immersive experience, and optical illusion, all themed around the rich culture of Bavaria.

The design of Magic Bavaria cleverly incorporates Bavarian traditions and landmarks into its upside-down rooms. From inverted beer halls to topsy-turvy bedrooms, the spaces are both familiar and unusual, offering a unique twist on the everyday. The attraction also features interactive elements, allowing visitors to engage with the exhibits in a fun and hands-on manner. Recommended for ages 6 and up, Magic Bavaria is an ideal destination for families seeking a whimsical and memorable adventure in Munich. Tickets can be ordered online through the Magic Bavaria website.

Time Ride: A Virtual Journey Through Bavarian History

Time Ride offers a captivating yet brief virtual reality experience. This 30-minute adventure offers a serene and visually stunning journey through 7,000 years of Bavarian history. Conveniently located in Munich’s old town, Time Ride is perfectly positioned for combining with other activities.

As you start your ride, you’ll first be led into a room portrayed as King Ludwig II’s ‘magic library’. After a few minutes, a hidden door opens and you’ll enter another room for the actual ride, which is quite gentle (you’ll only experience gentle swaying). King Ludwig is heavily featured at Time Ride, ostensibly because of the king’s rich imagination and innovative streak. The experience is offered in English and German. Tickets can be order online through the Time Ride website. Minimum age is 6 years.

Bavaria Filmstadt: A Cinematic Journey

Bavaria Filmstadt is a renowned working movie studio that shares its rich history with visitors on 90-minute guided tours. The most renowned film shot here is probably Wolfgang Petersen’s 1881 movie ‘Das Boot’, and you can explore the original submarine set during the tour. Another internationally known movie shot at Bavaria Film Studio is the 1984 movie ‘The Never Ending Story’, and the mechanical dragon Fuchur has been delighting movie studio visitors since.

Included in the tour are interactive elements allowing you to participate and experience a slice of movie-making magic. For those looking for even more excitement, Bavaria Filmstadt offers additional experiences like a 4D Motion Ride and a virtual reality adventure. Tickets can be ordered online through the Bavaria Filmstadt website.

A note for families: Among the many films produced here is the popular German movie trilogy ‘Fack ju Göhte.’ This title is referred to a few times during the tour. Despite its creative spelling, the title sounds similar to a certain English swear word. If your family prefers to avoid such language, this is something to be mindful of when planning your visit.

Getting around

Munich is an extremely walkable city, and the public transit system makes all of the attractions easily accessible. The four Munich transit networks are listed below:

  1. “U-Bahn,” which stands for “underground trains,” designates stations with a white “U” set against a blue background.
  2. The stations of suburban trains, referred to as “S-Bahn,” are identified by a white “S” set against a green backdrop.
  3. Street cars, or “trams.”
  4. Buses. Tram and bus stations are distinguished by a green “H” enclosed in a green circle set on a yellow backdrop.

Day tickets are generally the best deal and allow you to ride on all four types of transportation. If you stay for several days, then I recommend the Munich Card or The City Pass. Both are a good value because they provide free transportation and discounts on the main attractions.

Calling Munich a “bike-friendly” city would be an understatement. You’ll probably encounter more bicyclists than cars in the inner city as many locals choose to bike instead of drive. One excellent approach is to “do as the locals do” and rent a bicycle. The entire city is covered in a vast network of bike lanes, and if you follow the regulations and exercise common sense, riding a bicycle is usually safe. As a pedestrian, be cautious not to cross or walk on a bike line – bicyclists might loudly ring their bells (or, worse: yell at you) if you do so.

If you have rented a car for your Germany trip – leave it in the hotel garage. The inner city has few parking spaces, the often narrow streets can be difficult to navigate, and Munich drivers can be quiet aggressive.

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