Downtown-Northern District

Downtown-Northern District, Munich, Germany (A)

Munich is a large, sprawling city with beautiful sights to see around every corner. The city is too spread out to see in just one tour, so this tour will walk you through the northern part of the famous downtown area, pointing out and describing the most astonishing attractions.
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Downtown-Northern District
Guide Location: Germany » Munich
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Author: Stefan Siewert
Author Bio: Dana Newman has a bachelor’s degree from the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. After receiving her degree she followed her dreams to Europe to live an adventure and collect experiences, which she now writes candidly about from her present home in Munich, Germany. She considers it an honor to be able to live the life she’s imagined.
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)
  • Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady)
  • Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshals' Hall)
  • Hofgarten (Court Garden)
  • Residenz
  • National Theater
  • Alter Hof (Old Court)
  • Hofbräuhaus am Platzl
Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

1) Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

The Gothic style Neues Rathaus in Marienplatz square has served as Munich’s town hall since 1874. The central, 260-foot tower is open to visitors; you can take an elevator up to the top for a splendid aerial view of the city. The Rathaus-Glockenspiel chimes every hour but only performs at 11am, 12pm and 5pm. The Glockenspiel characters represent different parts of Munich’s history. In the lower section, for example, the figures do a little dance. This dance, unique to Munich, is called the “Schäfflertanz.” It has been around since the early 1500’s but is, interestingly, only performed by the people once every seven years; nobody knows why.
Image Courtesy of Lukas Gerhold.
Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady)

2) Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady)

The tall, beautiful church looming before you is one of Munich’s most famous landmarks and considered a symbol of the city. Construction of the red, Gothic brick church began in 1468 on the site of a previous, smaller church, which the city had outgrown. The towers are both about 323 feet in height, with the north tower actually being a smidge higher than the south one. Originally, both towers were supposed to have pointed spiral tops, which, some people say, would match better with the rest of the building style, but due to a lack of funds the green domes seen today were used instead. Unfortunately, much of the church’s interior was destroyed by bombs in WWII, but has since been rebuilt from the rubble. Upon entering the church it may appear, at first glance, that there are very few windows. This is because most of them are hiding behind the large pillars that run from floor to ceiling. Legend has it that the builder made a deal with the devil not to have any windows in the church in exchange for his help building it. The builder then tricked the devil by hiding all the windows behind the pillars. When the devil found out that he had been duped, he stamped his footprint into the tile. Be sure to look for the “Teufelsschritt,“ or “devil’s step” in the entrance hall.
Image Courtesy of
Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshals' Hall)

3) Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshals' Hall)

Feldherrnhalle was built to honor the Bavarian army that fought in the Franco-Prussian War. Construction of the monument began in 1841 on the site of where one of Munich’s main city gates used to stand, and was modeled after the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. The Feldherrnhalle gained notoriety when a pre-WWII struggle broke out in its courtyard on November 9th, 1923. Hitler supporters had led an illegal march down Ludwigstrasse toward Feldnerrnhalle, and refused to stop when ordered to do so by the Bavarian State police. The police felt threatened and open fired on the dissenters. Four policemen and 16 marchers were killed. This Nazi attempt to take over the Bavarian government forced Hitler to do a short bit of jail time and is commonly referred to as the Beer Hall Putsch since the march had begun at the Bürgerbräu Keller, one of the largest beer halls in Munich.
Image Courtesy of Holger Weinandt.
Hofgarten (Court Garden)

4) Hofgarten (Court Garden)

The Hofgarten is a popular, green garden right smack-dab in the center of Munich. The garden took four years to finish once construction began in 1613. The serene centerpiece of the garden is a pavilion that was built for the goddess Diana by Heinrich Schön the elder in 1615. Eight arches adorn the pavilion, each one with a path leading out into the park. The bronze statue adorning the pavilion’s roof represents salt, water, grain, and game, the riches of the Bavarian land. In the northeast corner of the park is a granite memorial dedicated to the University of Munich students and the philosophy professor who were members of the non-violent White Rose group that died for campaigning against Hitler’s regime.
Image Courtesy of Hoheit.

5) Residenz

The Residenz was the royal palace of the Bavarian Monarch. The palace you see before you today is sprawling and great, in fact it is the largest city palace in all of Germany. But, it has not always been this way. This amazingly large palace started out as a robust castle surrounded by moats in 1385. Throughout the ages, up until 1918, the Wittelsbach dynasty lived here, adding to and expanding the palace and gardens more and more into the city. The palace is divided into three main sections, the “Königsbau” (King’s Building), near Max-Joseph-Platz, the “Alte Residenz” (Old Residence), near Residenzstrasse, and the “Festsaalbau” (Ballroom Building), near the Hofgarten. The palace contains ten courtyards and 130 extraordinary rooms, which are a part of the museum that is open to the public. You can already see from the outside that the building is quite impressive architecturally, but take a trip inside and get into the minds of the Wittelsbach dynasty. See not only the extremely lavish interior decoration of the palace, but also their many stunning collections of art that adorn the walls and hallways at every step.
Image Courtesy of Gryffindor.
National Theater

6) National Theater

The National Theater in Munich has had quiet an eventful life with not one, not two, but three “grand openings.” The first National Theater was designed by Karl von Fischer and was modeled after the Odéon in Paris. It opened in 1818 with Die Weihe by Ferdinand Fränzl. Just 5 years later a fire destroyed the National Theater, but reconstruction commenced immediately and the second opening occurred two years after the fire in 1825. The second theater, designed by Leo von Klenze remained until WWII when, like many things in Munich, it was destroyed by bombs. In 1963 the third opening of the National Theater that you see before you took place. Designed by Gerhard Moritz Graubner, this theater is based on the original design that Karl von Fischer created in 1818.
Image Courtesy of Andrew Bossi.
Alter Hof (Old Court)

7) Alter Hof (Old Court)

The Alter Hof (Old Court) was for many years the royal residence of the Wittelsbach dynasty and housed the royal regalia in its St. Lorenz Chapel. After some dangerous uprisings, however, the Wittelsbach family and their royal regalia moved into the Residenz and since the 15th century this castle has been home to several governmental departments, but no royal families. The castle is split into 5 sections which are located in this general vicinity. The Gothic style Burgstock and Zwingerstock sections have been preserved while the Lorenzistock, Pfisterstock and Brunnenstock were turned into luxury apartments and offices in 2005 and 2006.
Image Courtesy of Robert Theml.
Hofbräuhaus am Platzl

8) Hofbräuhaus am Platzl

Hofbräuhaus am Platzl directly translates to “court-brewery at Platzl.” The word “court” comes from the fact that the brewery was once owned by the royal family, but is now owned by the state. The Hofbräuhaus building was built in 1607 by the Bavarian Duke Maximilian I, but was not open to the general public until 221 years later in 1828. The building has been remodeled twice since then, once in 1867 and then again after WWII when everything except the ground floor was ruined from bombs. While the building was used for some years by Hitler as a site for his publicity and propaganda events, today the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl has a lively atmosphere with traditional Bavarian music flooding through the great hall. There is only one size of Hofbräu beer available, called a maß, which is one liter. It’s a lot of beer, but certainly provides you with a great photo opportunity! The menu is full of hearty traditional Bavarian food such as roast pork, pork knuckle and sausages, but offers salads and lighter appetizers as well. For dessert I must recommend the Hofbräuhaus Kaiserschmarrn. It’s delicious, and unlike anything I ever had before.
Image Courtesy of Gryffindor.

Walking Tours in Munich, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Munich

Create Your Own Walk in Munich

Creating your own self-guided walk in Munich is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Palaces Walking Tour

Palaces Walking Tour

Among an array of attractions found in Munich, the city also boasts a conglomerate of palaces reflecting a variety of styles – Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo. The enormous palaces have a centuries long history over which some of them have been added to and rebuilt numerous times. While some were designed as royal residences, others were used as hunting lodges, temporary residences or castles. If...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Shopping Tour

Shopping Tour

It is fair to say that Munich is a shopper’s delight with no shortage of department stores, large international brands and local boutique shops jostling for space. The main shopping areas are the Neuhauserstrasse and Kaufingerstrasse. The best part about shopping in Munich is the bargains you can get. German-style competition ensures that the prices are always reasonable. Take this self-guided...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Kreuzviertel Walking Tour

Kreuzviertel Walking Tour

One of the four quarters of Munich Alstadt, Kreuzviertel is located in the northwestern part of it. Historically the center of local clergy, it once housed a high number of monasteries. Some of these buildings have withstood the test of time, either in their original capacity or converted to secular purposes. Take this self-guided tour to explore the beautiful historical locations in the area,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Old Town Souvenir Shops

Old Town Souvenir Shops

It would be a pity to leave Munich without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Munich, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. You find them in the shops located in Munich Altstadt, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

The Altstadt, Munich’s medieval Old Town, is the core of the Bavarian capital and is a listed historical monument in its own right. The area is known for its pedestrian streets lined with global flagship stores and boutiques, a prominent square, called Marienplatz, abuzz with crowds anxious to see the life-size figurines on the Neo-Gothic New Town Hall’s bell tower, the Viktualienmarkt with...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Top Religious Sites Walking Tour

Top Religious Sites Walking Tour

Religion has been an important part of Munich's life for a long time and this is reflected in the city's numerous churches, chapels and cathedrals. During the 18th and the 19th century, many of them were reconstructed into Baroque and Rococo styles to represent the wealth and greatness of the city. This self guided tour takes you to the magnificent religious edifices of Munich.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Top 10 Cafes and Restaurants in Munich

Top 10 Cafes and Restaurants in Munich

While there are many restaurants and cafes in downtown Munich for a visitor to choose from, by far not all of them are truly worth visiting. Here's the solid list of quality cafes and restaurants that will add greatly to your Munich experience. Each restaurant and cafe featured here offers...
12 German-Made Things to Buy in Munich

12 German-Made Things to Buy in Munich

The Bavarian capital Munich, much as the whole state of Bavaria, form an inseparable part of the German image, although a very unique part in its difference to the rest of the country, including the language. Bavarian beer occupies an important place in German heritage, from the infamous 1920s Beer...