You have your flight, you have your passport, and you have your lederhosen or dirndl. The only thing missing for your first trip to Munich is a place to stay!
If you talk to anyone who lives in Munich, they’ll tell you that Germany’s third-biggest city actually feels like a village. Which is why the locals have affectionately given the city the nickname “Millionendorf” or village of a million people (although it’s more like 1.5 million people).
Choosing where to stay in Munich is easy, and first-time visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to cool neighborhoods. Want to stroll down the charming cobblestone streets in the Altstadt? How about mingling with Germany’s trendy student community in Maxvorstadt? Perhaps you’d rather sample the exciting smells and flavors of the diverse Ludwigvorstadt area? No matter what you’re interested in, we’re here to help you find the best place to stay in Munich.
Table of Contents
Altstadt – Best for First Time Visitors
If you’re only in town for a few days, then Altstadt is the obvious choice for finding accommodation. Munich’s old town is a charming one – with century-old pubs, historic medieval buildings, and multitudes of shops and restaurants. It’s centrally located next to the city’s top attractions, while also being a short walking distance away from Hauptbahnhof (main station), the English garden, and the Isar River.
Keep in mind, this is the biggest tourist district in Munich. Although you’ll be near all the main attractions, you can expect to pay more for accommodation and restaurants.
What to do in Altstadt
- Admire the architecture of the Neues Rathaus (new city hall) at Marienplatz.
- Shop for fresh produce, meats, and spices at Viktualienmarkt.
- Enjoy traditional Bavarian food and music at the infamous Hofbräuhaus.
- Climb the oldest church in Germany, Peterskirche at Rindermarkt, for sweeping views of the city.
- Visit the iconic double-towered Frauenkirche.
- Shop down Munich’s busy pedestrianized shopping streets, Sendlinger Str and Kaufinger Str.
Where to Stay in Altstadt
Maxvorstadt – Best for Cultural Attractions
Located north of Altstadt is the bustling cultural hotspot of Maxvorstadt. Home to Munich’s top two universities and the famed Pinakothek museums (Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek, and Pinakothek der Moderne), Maxvordstadt is arguably the most lively neighborhood in the city with numerous cafes, restaurants, and a variety of nightclubs and bars sitting right outside your doorstep.
Due to the variety of accommodation options for every type of budget, Maxvorstadt is the best place to stay if you want to be close to the city center, but not completely immersed in the tourist crowds.
What to do in Maxvorstadt
- Spend the day boutique shopping down Schelling Str.
- Get your fix of classic, traditional, and contemporary art at the Pinakothek art museums.
- Indulge in Bavarian cuisine at Alter Simpl, a famous Bohemian spot frequented by artists and writers.
- Sunbathe on the manicured lawns at Königsplatz.
Where to Stay in Maxvorstadt
Ludwigsvorstadt – Best for Oktoberfest
If you’re in town for Oktoberfest, then you’ll want to stay in the vibrant neighborhood of Ludwigsvorstadt. Sandwiched between Hauptbahnhof (main station) and Theresienwiese, Ludwigsvorstadt is also known as “Little Istanbul” due to the multitudes of Turkish shops, restaurants, and cafes.
In normal times, accommodation here is some of the most affordable in the whole city. But during Oktoberfest, it becomes the most expensive – so make sure to book early if you want to stay close by!
What to do in Ludwigsvorstadt
- See what’s happening at Theresienwiese – home of Oktoberfest, Tollwood, Spring Festival, and many flea markets.
- Catch a musical performance at the popular Deutsches Theater.
- Grab a Turkish kebab and handmade baklava at one of the many shops along Landwehr Str.
- Climb to the top of the Bavaria Statue (you can go inside her head!)
Where to Stay in Ludwigsvorstadt
Haidhausen – Best for Residential Life
The quaint residential district of Haidhausen is tucked away across the Isar River, making it the best place to stay in Munich for families or anyone who wants to escape the tourist crowds. The lush landscape is dotted with quiet parks, historic 19th-century buildings, and charming outdoor beer gardens and cafes.
Although you’re located on the other side of the Altstadt, Haidhausen is just a five to ten-minute ride away on the U-Bahn or S-Bahn. If you’re wondering where to stay in Munich for a mix of authentic German life and natural beauty, then Haidhausen is the best place for you!
What to do in Haidhausen
- Go stargazing at the Bavarian Public Observatory Munich.
- Check out the impressive Art Nouveau collection at the stunning Villa Stuck gallery.
- Go shopping for Bavarian snacks and gifts at Wiener Markt.
- Catch a performance by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra at the Gasteig event center.
- Marvel at the charming 18th-century houses along the picturesque Preysing Str.
Where to Stay in Haidhausen
- Motel One München – Deutsches Museum
- Holiday Inn Munich City Centre
- Courtyard by Marriott Munich City East
Schwabing – Best for Laid Back Bohemian Vibes
The historic streets of Schwabing have centuries worth of history to tell. It was the original stomping ground for Lenin, Hitler, and Kandinsky (to name a few). Now, Schwabing is a trendy hot spot for all walks of life – young families, artists, and students (if they’re lucky enough to score a reasonably priced apartment here) who spill into the streets as they mingle in the restaurants and cafes.
The crown jewel of Schwabing is the breathtaking English Garden. As the streets lined with cafes and shops turn into residential villas, you know you’re just a few steps away from the lush, green surroundings of Munich’s most popular outdoor attraction.
What to do in Schwabing
- Walk around the spectacular English Garden or grab a drink in a beer garden.
- Hang out at an outdoor coffee shop along the popular Leopold Str.
- Watch the surfers (even in the winter!) at Eisbachwelle.
- Talk a stroll through Nordfriedhof, a beautiful cemetery for WWII victims.
- Photograph the 18th-century Siegestor gate at dusk.
Where to Stay in Schwabing
Isarvorstadt – Best for Nightlife
Isarvorstadt is incredibly close to the Altstadt, although it’s almost untouched by tourists. The streets are flooded with young Müncheners bopping between independent boutiques, colorful restaurants, and trendy coffee shops during the day. Most of the buzz is happening around the Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbach areas, two of Isarvorstadt’s biggest hits.
But at night, Isarvorstadt transforms to become the hottest area in Munich for nightlife. Live music venues, dance clubs, cocktail lounges, and gay bars are aplenty. You can easily come here every night of the week and still experience something different each time.
What to do in Isarvorstadt
- Grab a beer and hang out in the sun on the banks of the Isar River.
- Order fancy cocktails at Zephyr Bar, The High, or some of our other favorite cocktail bars.
- Catch. a live jazz show at Vogler’s Jazz Club.
- People watch in the flowery garden at Gärtnerplatz.
- Go for a stroll on Museum Island and stop by the Deutsches Museum.