[MÜNCHEN, GERMANY] — If you’re flying in/out of the ultra cool Munich airport — which looks more like an Apple store than airport — make sure you take a long overnight in Munich. Rated one of Europe’s most livable cities, you can see why when you walk around. Clean. Everything works. Nice Bavarian people. Gorgeous trees and parks all around. Here are some cool things to do if you have 36 hours in Munich.

The last time I was in Munich was waaaay back in the early 80s when I was a backpacker making the wet slog to Oktoberfest. I don’t remember much besides the massive beer tents, sleeping in a down sleeping bag in the rain without a tent and spending the night cuddled around a dirty toilet in a stall at a campground restroom. Woken up all night by pissed off people needing to piss. So irresponsible. We walked around a bit during the daytime, but mostly we spent 12 hours a day drinking in the Lowenbrau tent and throwing up after eating a charcoal fish-on-a-stick.

This time would be different.


Munich Marienplatz

After realizing I could get straight to the Italian Dolomites by taking a direct flight from Denver to Munich, then a simple 3 hour drive — I could save a half day waiting for another flight and then still having to drive — I made sure I could overnight in Munich on the way back. My trip was too short, I can’t wait to come back to Munich and discover it all over again.

I found a cool hotel on my favorite boutique hotel booking site Tablet Hotels and arrived mid-day to have a walk ’round. I don’t know about you, but I like to do a lot of research before arriving in a city, but then chuck it all and just go walk around and get lost. Munich was no exception. I just walked and walked from morning to dusk, moving from neighborhood to park to river to hotel.

Take a Walk in the Park

Unfortunately, I arrived on a Sunday and almost everything was closed, I mean EVERYTHING — shops, restaurants, many restaurants — so I opted for long walks around the city and especially the spectacular and giant Englischer Garten (English Garden) park in the heart of Berlin, just ten minute’s walk from my hotel. I spent half a day there, watching people Urban Surf™️ on the fast-flowing Eisbach, walked around the beautiful great lawns — much like London’s idyllic city parks — was tempted by a 10:30am beer in the picture-perfect biergarten and following the fast-flowing water from stream to pond to lake.

Englischer Garten Munich green textures
This was one of my favorite views. So simple. So elegant. All green. Count how many textures you see…

The landscape design is some of the best I’ve ever seen, very Olmsted-worthy and even better than New York’s Central Park, there were so many well-planned layers of colors and textures. It’s incredible that this was all conceived in the late 1700s. Just Go!

Englischer Garten Munich pond colors
I mean…. just look how beautiful this little corner is.
Eisbach Munich surfer
Definitely watch all the surfers riding this perpetual wave in the hearth of Munich. I’ve seen pictures of it for years, but even better in person.

Englischer Garten beer pagoda
The most perfect beer garden, ever.
Englischer Garten beer garden tables
There is the most perfect beer garden inside the park, you can only walk to it. Count all the tables, there’s seating for hundreds! Have to come back when the weather is nice.

The Perfect Boutique Hotel to Explore München

The Louis Hotel, a fabulous boutique hotel in the perfect Munich location, is my new favorite hotel. Understated and elegant, the insides are just as calming as a Japanese onsen.  Warm woods welcome you in the lobby, with brown-on-brown-on-brown colors covering almost everywhere except for the windows and a stunning painting of the sky.

Louis Hotel exterior
The Louis Hotel is about as perfectly located as you want. Right across from Munich’s biggest outdoor market, a block from Eataly and a block from the Marienplatz subway station. Everything in Munich is walkable. You can take a train straight from the airport and skip the taxi. 35 mins, as I remember.
Louis Hotel lobby
Accidentally Wes Anderson. Just loved the subdued colors all over the lobby and rooms of the Louis Hotel.
Louis Hotel Munich hallway
When I first got off the elevator, I thought something felt weird. I came and went throughout the day, but then it dawned on me: this was a trompe l’oeil… the hallway is 3 feet shorter on the other end, making the hallway look much longer than it actually is. Count the doors, there are only five rooms on either side.
Louis Hotel Munich room
The rooms are huge, calm and perfect in everyday, overlooking the Viktualienmarkt.
The Louis Munchen king room
Restaurant in Louis Hotel Munich
There is a fantastic steakhouse in the hotel, as serene as the rooms. I ate her both nights it was so good.
Munich City Hall

München City Hall


Take in Some Art at the Crazy Maximilians Forum

I read about this art gallery, Maximilians Forum hidden in a closed subway station. Took me a while to find it. Such a cool idea, open to the public. But I didn’t get what was showing. But they change it up all the time, so definitely stop by.

Deutsches Museum line
I was so excited to see the Deutsches Museum, one of the coolest museums I’ve ever seen. But this line was three blocks long, it wrapped around the inside and back around the courtyard. Make sure to plan in advance and see if you can buy tickets or reservations. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the museum this day.

Have Lunch at Kochspielhaus

Kochspielhaus is one of several Spielhaus-named restaurants that have been feed Munich healthy food since 1980.  It’s a bit Avocado Toast, but totally genuine, friendly and yummy.  A great reprieve from heavy German food. This location is just off Old Town.

Kochspielhaus Munich coffee bar
As soon as you walk in from a grey, rainy Munich day, this warm place is the perfect antidote.
Munich airport coffee plane
And make sure you stop by this cool airplane themed coffee shop right as you enter Munich airport from the train.

— Last Visited July 2019 —

More Information on 36 Hours in Munich

Here is the always awesome NY Times 36 Hours article on Munich from 2019. And TimeOut’s 48 hours guide on what to do in Munich. And What to Do in Munich from The Guardian. The Telegraph’s Weekend Guide to Munich. And a great Munich guide from Vogue.  Here’s a great video from Monocle on what makes Munich its #1 rated city in the world.

Here are some reviews on the Louis Hotel. A 9/10 review from The Telegraph.And The New York Times. And a review from Fodor’s. And AFAR.

Here’s how centrally located the Louis Hotel is:

Louis Hotel Munich location
Right beside the famous Viktualienmarkt, in the center of Munich, the Louis is within walking distance of most major sights and shopping districts. The Marienplatz U-bahn and S-bahn railway hub is just around the corner. You can take a train straight from the airport.
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