Germany is an incredibly easy place to travel with children. How could the country that gave us the Brothers Grimm and gummy bears not be? Bavaria is one the most laid back parts of Germany, making it a doubly great place to vacation with kids. Munich is an easy city to navigate with good public transit, plenty of parks, and good mixture of culture and fun for preschoolers, kids and teens. Here are our top things to do in Munich with kids, some on the well-worn tourist track and some a small detour from it.
The Best Things To Do in Munich With Kids
1. The MarienPlatz
This is the city’s central pedestrian zone with stores, cafes, beer halls and churches. At 11:00 and noon (and 5:00 pm May to October) stop in front of the Rathaus to see the Glockenspiel. More than 30 figures act out a wedding complete with dancing coopers and a joust (the Bavarian knight always wins). At 3YO Tiny Traveler was captivated, and after three visits to Munich it still impresses me.
2 Munich’s public pools
These swimming complexes are huge and amazing, and most will accomodate kids from toddlers to teens. Admission is a few dollars, lockers are available and facilities are ultra modern and clean. “bad” or “bade” indicates a pool and “freibad” is an outdoor pool. The outdoor Prinzregentenbad has a stone wading area with sprinklers and a playground for small children, pools with slides and whirlpools for bigger kids and adults and a lap pool. Bring lunch or buy it there and picnic on the large lawn.
Try the Cosimawellenbad on bad-weather days. Kids come running when the buzzer sounds signalling waves are about to start rolling in main pool. Pre-swimmers have a wading pool with a slide. Grown-ups have an indoor/outdoor heated pool with spa jets and whirlpools. There are saunas elsewhere in the building for the grown-ups, too.
Note: Some locker rooms are co-ed, but these will have comfortable changing rooms that lock. Discretion is expected. It’s usually BYO with towels.
Europe’s largest city park, offers playgrounds, beer gardens, an antique carousel and rambling wilderness. Pass by the entrance on Prinzregenten Strasse, near the Haus der Kunst (art museum) to watch wetsuit-clad surfers riding the waves in the chilly Eisbach River.
4. Deutsches Museum
Future engineers and their dads (primarily) will love every inch of the Deutches Museum, a science and technology museum. Take those under 8YO downstairs to the Kinderreich (kids’ kingdom), where they can play a giant guitar from the inside, run on a large hamster wheel and clamber around a fire truck.
The Best Places To Eat in Munich With Kids
Families are welcome in all the beer halls and beer gardens. Look for them in most parks, sometimes with playgrounds and other amusements in view of the tables. (Read about must-try Munich foods, too.)
On a nice day head to this sprawling biergarten in Englischer Garten, popular with tourists and Munchners alike. The cafeteria style café is budget friendly; kids and their parents will love the roast chicken and sausages. Made-to-order Palacinken (pancakes) are a sweet treat and Tiny Traveler liked watching them cook. The large coins you get with your beer represent the deposit you made on your glass, so be sure to return your glasses when you’re done.
At this large outdoor you can buy ready-made sausages and sandwiches from prepared-food stalls or put an impromptu picnic together with cold cuts, seafood, cheese, bread and fruit from local purveyors. Tiny Traveler was rewarded for finishing her lunch with neon-colored Turkish delight sold by the piece. She loved it.
7. Beer Halls
Beer halls come in all sizes from enormous to snug. For indoor dining try the cozy Glöckl Am Dom, known for tiny bratwurst served with fresh horseradish. Schneider Weisse, famous for its weisswurst with pretzels and weisse beer, is a Munich must. Kids find the mild white sausages and “bretzie” less intimidating than some other wurst.
8. Kaffee und Kuchen
Germans love their sweets and it’s usual for them to take time out for a baked treat in the afternoon to tide them over until a later dinner. There are plenty of places around the Marienplatz to indulge in Linzer tarts, marzipan-laden pastries and seasonal fruit-topped cakes the locals favor. My favorite has a rich-but-not sweet pastry cream and poppy seeds.