Munich Winter Activities: 25 Things to do to Beat the Cold

By |2018-12-14T13:55:01+00:00February 24th, 2018|Christmas Markets, Germany, Most Popular, Munich, Recent Post|7 Comments

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Munich is the picture perfect European city in the Winter, especially after a snowfall. The snow dusts the churches and charming red roofs of the old city with a fairytale white. Not only is it picture perfect, but winter sees an increase in cultural events from fantastic concerts, spirit and beer events, and great outdoor activities. If you’ve come to Munich for their famous Christmas markets in December, you might find yourself marketed out or eager to explore more of what this city has to offer. Or maybe you’ve arrived in Munich after the cheerful holiday season and it just seems cold, dark and empty. No matter your reason for traveling here, there’s plenty of things to do in Munich in the winter including November, December and January. So, pack your warm gear and Los Gehts!

The best activities and things to do in Munich, Germany in the winter. Go ice skating, sledding, see concerts and explore Christmas markets.

Munich and the surrounding area of Bavaria are teaming with fun things to do in the winter. Whether you are an outdoor snow loving adventurer or enjoy a quiet day curled up in a cafe with a good book, Munich has a winter activity for everyone. Just find your ideal activity and click on it below!

This post contains affiliate links and by purchasing a tour through my link you help support this blog and my work!

Weather and What to Pack

Munich can be quite moody in the winter. Temperatures can range anywhere from 35 F down to 0 F. You’re likely to encounter both snow, sun and rain. I always recommend layers as the best option, especially for anyone without proper winter gear. Make sure you pack boots that are going to keep your feet dry and warm wool socks. Pack a winter coat or one you can layer underneath. Bring a hat, gloves and a scarf and you should be ready to beat the cold with these fun winter activities. For a full packing guide, read my German winter essentials packing guide.

1. Check out a Snowy View of Munich

Things to do in Munich in the Winter. Munich, Germany bird's eye view of the city in winter.

View from St. Peter’s Church.

Munich has to have one of the cutest bird’s eye views in all of Europe. With limitations on skyscrapers and a focus on old European architecture you really can’t beat it, especially when the red roofs are covered with a pristine dusting of snow. This view can be reached from Peterskirche or St. Peter’s Church right in the center of Munich at Marienplatz. 3 Euro will grant you access to the long and zigzagging staircase that leads up to the top. The best part about coming in winter (other than Christmas time) is that it is usually not as crowded, so you can take your time and get a good photo!

St. Peter’s Rindermarkt 1, 80331 München

2. Go Sledding in and Around Munich.

Things to do in Munich in the Winter. Sledding in Spitzingee near Munich in the German Alps

Sledding in Spitzingee near Munich.

I remember as a kid growing up in a small town in Alaska, we used to have miles of sledding hills at our doorstep. I would suit up and sled out for hours of fun. I never dreamed that I would be living in a European city with sledding in the central part of town! There are three main sledding hills in Munich. The first is in the Englischergarten at Monopteros – this is on Google maps. The other two are located at Olympiaberg, and Luitpoldhügel. Olympiaberg has a tube run as well, so you can race down in a tube. Sleds are not provided at these locations, but you can buy a cheap butt seat for sledding at any sporting goods store, just make sure to give it to a family on the hill if you’re only in town visiting and plan on throwing it away.

My favorite sledding area is actually a snow filled day trip from Munich for extreme sledding in the Alps. Here you hike up a small winding path and at the top, you can warm up with beer and food before beginning your descent down. You pay 2 Euro for a traditional wooden toboggan rental. You sled down the same path you hiked up and it is quite the ride, lasting about 7-10 minutes. Drop the sled off at the bottom and head home. Find out more about this winter day trip from Munich in my full detailed post.

3. Enjoy Ice Skating in Munich City Center

Things to do in Munich in the Winter. Ice Skating in Munich Stachus

Ice Skating in Munich

The city center of Munich transforms into a skating rink from November to January. Stop by and rent skates for an allotted session of ice skating. At night they turn on neon lights and it turns into an all-out party. The fun doesn’t stop there as the entire area of Stachus transforms into a cozy Alpine hut full of Glühwein and piping hot snacks.

Karlspl. 1, 80335 München

4. Experience Munich’s Christmas Markets

Things to do in Munich in the Winter. Munich's Christmas Markets Marienplatz, Germany

No trip to Munich in the winter is complete without experiencing the iconic Christmas markets, which are open from late November into January. Shop charming vendors, drink copious amounts of Glühwein and eat all the würst you can handle. Munich has dozens of Christmas markets from traditional markets, to hippy markets and even LBGTQI markets and Medieval markets. There is something for everyone.

Read my full detailed guide to plan your winter holiday around the Christmas markets. Find the best markets, food, drink, alternative markets and learn some Christmas phrases in German!

5. Ride the Christmas Tram

Things to do in Munich in the Winter. Munich's Christmas Tram

Small disclaimer: I rode this and it was crowded and so steamy you couldn’t really see out the windows. So, It’s not my top recommendation of things to do in Munich in the Winter, but it might be right up someone’s alley. This is a normal tram that has been decked out in Christmas trim. It runs around the city for about 20 minutes and they serve Glühwine on the tram for 6 Euro. The tram picks up from the Sendlinger Tor Tram stop and you can’t miss it with all the Christmas lights and decorations.

If you’re a geek who wants to stay inside this winter, check out my tips for geeky and nerdy travelers in Munich. Find the best museums, board game shops, book stores, libraries, and geeky stores. Read it here. 

6. See an English Movie

Sometimes it is just too cold to be outside exploring, and that means it is the perfect time to go see an English Movie. There is a charming theater in Munich that shows only English or (original language) movies in a historic theater. If Rocky Horror is your thing, it plays every Friday and Saturday at 11:00 pm. You often need tickets in advance, you can purchase them at the link below. The website is partially in German, but you should be able to manage, if not you can show up early and buy tickets there.

Buy tickets, here!
Lilienstraße 2, 81669 München

7. Take A Day Trip to Scenic Zugspitze

Things to do in Munich in the Winter. View from Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak in winter.

View from Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak in winter.

If you want a scenic view of the German Alps in Winter, but you’re not a skier or snowboarder, this trip is for you. This day trip will take all day, but it combines everything from a regional train, a cogwheel train up through the mountains, and a scenic tram. There is a great traditional Bavarian restaurant at the top for lunch and an area to walk around and explore on foot. Zugspitze is a glacier area, so you can return home and tell your friends you’ve walked on a glacier. Zugspitze is also the highest point in Germany and it borders with Austria. At the very top of the peak you can actually walk across the German Austrian border as many times as you want, how cool is that? Read a detailed post about how to get to Zugspitze, here.

Or book a guided tour, including transportation to and from Zugspitze, a cogwheel train, and a gondola ride!

8. Expand your Knowledge at a Museum

Things to do in Munich in the winter. Museum in Munich at Königsplatz.

Neoclassical Museum in Königsplatz.

Munich is a museum lover’s dream destination. Munich is host to everything from the Deutsches Museum, the world’s largest science and technology museum, that’s right I said largest in the WORLD, to neoclassic art and ancient civilization museums. If you happen to be in Munich on a Winter Sunday most museums are 1 Euro or half off! Munich has a museum quarter, which is the Maxvorstadt neighborhood surrounding Königsplatz, which makes it easy to check out several in one day. If you can only go to one museum though, I do recommend the Deutsches Museum.

If your peak hipster and visiting Munich this winter, check out my hipster guide to Munich, which includes farmers markets, brunch, coffee shops and street art.

9. Snowboard/ski the German (or Austrian) Alps

Skiing at Zugspitze glacier Germany's tallest peak in the Alps. Things to do in Munich in the winter.

Skiing on the Zugspitze glacier.

Munich is located just 45 minutes, by train or bus, from the Alps. If you have always wanted to ski or snowboard the Alps, Munich is the perfect launching point. You can have an independent day by train or book a ski trip on a bus that takes you to and from the Austrian Alps, includes breakfast, lunch, lift ticket and a beer. The bus driver also handles all your baggage and you have a host who is responsible for getting your lift ticket. I highly recommend this last option for anyone looking to make friends or is intimidated by independent travel. Your host will be speaking German, but if you ask, they usually speak English and can come give you some personal information in English based on your needs. Find out more information about several ways to get out and ski the Alps with my comprehensive guide, here.

10. Attend a Concert, Opera or The Theater

Attending Harry Potter in Concert in Munich, Germany. Things to do in Munich in the winter.

Harry Potter in Concert!

Attending a cultural event in a foreign country or language is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. You can check the Philharomnie for concerts. This is my favorite winter activity and I’ve been obsessively attending Harry Potter, Star Wars and Final Fantasy in Concert. The movie plays on a screen while a live orchestra plays the soundtrack. It’s such a fun event! The Munich Opera has regular operas that come through town. Most of them are in Italian and then translated into German for subtitles, so it’s really fascinating. Germans are a bit strange when it comes to art, so the classic operas tend to have a German twist. Think nudity on stage and abstract art that is so abstract you’re not sure if it is even art anymore. I highly recommend it.

Book tickets to some of Munich’s best classical concert events here. Some even include dinner or a wine tasting. Indulge in a fancy night out on the town!

11. Take a Walk Through Munich’s Graveyard

Things to do in Munich, Germany. See the Graveyard in Winter

Munich’s Graveyard in Winter

I love visiting the graveyard every season to see the changes. The historic graveyard has graves dating back to the late 1700s and is a large park-like area to walk around get some fresh air. It is so hauntingly breathtaking with a fresh coat of snow.

Thalkirchner Str. 17, 80337 München

12. Take the Hey Minga Winter Tour

Things to do in Munich in the Winter. Take the Hey Minga Winter Tour.

Hey Minga Winter Tour.

Hey Minga is a fantastic local German tour company, with roots in Hamburg and other German cities. Each tour is tailored to their host city, changes with the season and focuses on underground and alternative sights. I had the pleasure of taking the Hey Minga Christmas tour and it was well worth it. We bundled up and piled into a classic red VW bus and toured street art, sledding hills, Christmas markets and other oddities. At every stop, we were searched piping hot Glühwein and cookies to keep us fueled up for the tour. Our guide spoke great English and was happy to engage and answer questions. This is a great tour for a group or friends or a family. I realize their entire website is in German. So, email them at hey@heyminga-touren.com and ask to set up an English speaking tour!

See their tours, here!

13. Warm up in a Sauna or Thermal Bath

Stop by and take a dip at Müller’sches Volksbad. This is a gorgeous pool and sauna building inside and out, that bridges the Isar River. Or if you want to get to the airport early stop by Therma Erding for a posh modern spa experience. They have everything from luxury day beds, swimming pool, spa and fun water slides.

Müller’sches Volksbad Therma Erding
Rosenheimer Str. 1, 81667 München Thermenallee 1-5, 85435 Erding

14. Go Shopping

Things to do in Munich in the Winter, go shopping.

Munich’s shopping district.

Munich has a luxury shopping strip on a road called Maximilianstraße. You can also find some cheaper name brand and German brand stores around the Marienhof and Marienplatz. However, I like to shop locally, so I recommend skipping the over-crowded over-priced tourist areas and stopping by the neighborhoods of Gartnerplatz/Glockenbach or near Universität – start on Schellingstraße and meander the streets from around there for great local boutiques and gift shops.

15. Read at a Library or Bookstore

Things to do in Munich in the Winter, go to the Library

Munich has some amazing libraries. Most of them are free to go in, but you have to be a member to check out books. Be prepared to check your oversized bag into a locker and pass through security as many of the libraries are part of the universities or are of great historical value. Make sure to check out the State Library of Bavaria for great architecture and a bounty of books. If you prefer small bookstores take a peek at Hugendubel, Press and Books, or the Munich Readery. Most places have an English section.

16. Watch – or Try Curling

Head over to Nymphenburg Palace for outdoor curling. The curling areas is open most days from 9 am – 5 pm and it is only 4 Euro per person for 4 hours of fun. I’ve never been curling, but my dad used to play, so I thought it might be fun for you all to get outdoors and try something new!

17. Experience German Carnival or Fasching

Things to do in Winter, go to Carnival or Fasching.

Germans get really into Carnival or as it is called here, Fasching. Starting on the 7th of January this event continues until Faschingsdienstag or Fat Tuesday as it is commonly known. Typically the weekend before Fat Tuesday you’ll see events, but the entire downtown area turns into a party on this particular Tuesday. Stop by Viktualienmarkt for food, drinks, costumes and scheduled events on stage. Don’t forget your own costume or you’ll be out of place. You can swing by a drug store and get makeup for a simple cat face. Stop by any bakery and order a Krapfen, which is the German pastry to eat before Lent.

18. Attend a Paint and Wine Night

Things to do in Munich in the winter, Art night with paint and wine.

This whole class will be in German, but that’s ok. Just order all the wine you can drink, get drunk and try and match the painting sample. It helped my friends and I practice our German and we even made some new friends that were local and expats alike. It was great fun, even though I realized I am a terrible painter.

See their Munich schedule, here!

19. Sip Coffee at a Cafe

Things to do in Munich in the winter, go to a cafe.

There is no bettet way to beat the cold of winter than sipping hot coffee or hot chocolate at a cafe. Munich isn’t known for the cafe culture, I’ll be the first to admit, but I’ve done all the hard work and found the best cafes that are great for relaxing and enjoying a nice cup of coffee. Germans are weird about wifi, so it’s hard to find wifi, so whenever I find a cafe that serves good coffee and has wifi I basically move in.

My favorite place with wifi AND coffee is Coffee Mammas or Aroma Cafe Bar. Other great places to hang out and get good coffee without the wifi are Man vs Machine and Rösteri. For more details on coffee shops, check out my hipster guide to Munich.

20. Tour the BMW Factory

Things to do in Munich in the Winter, Tour the BMW factory.

Even if you’re not a car lover this experience is great for everyone. BMW does a great job keeping things interesting and engaging. There are three different experiences and areas to explore. The Experience Tour is free and it is like a fancy showroom of all the cool modern and classic BMW cars. The Museum is ticketed and you can go anytime during opening hours and it covers the history of BMW. The Factory Tour is also ticketed and you may need to book well in advance – though coming in the winter you have an advantage. This factory walks you through all the stages of making a car and you get to see a car made from beginning to end.

21. Hit up Munich’s Best Bars or Nightclub

Best bars in Munich

I have a whole post locked and loaded for your ultimate night out in Munich. It covers everything from how to order a drink in German, the best microbreweries, craft cocktail bars, dive bars, to the best nightclubs. This post also has all the winter beer and spirit events from a beer expo to Starkbierfest. You can read it here.

22. See a Disney Castle in the Snow!

Seeing Germany’s most famous castle dusted in snow is something truly magical. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Disney’s Frozen. Plan the trip yourself or book a guided tour. Please note that if you want a tour that includes entrance to the castle, you will need to book the Premium Tour.

23.  Go to Sea Life Munich

If you like aquariums then head over to Sea Life Munich. Munich’s aquarium specializes in turtles and sharks, see a variety of both in stunning exhibits. Get your tickets, here.

24. Hop on Hop Off Tour

If the weather is too dang cold to do anything than hop on a heated bus for a quick tour of Munich. Find the best option for you, here.

25. See The Krampus Run

Krampus Run Munich Germany

Krampus is St. Nikolas’ evil assistant. Created by German parents, the story goes he follows bad children around and terrorizes them into being good children. So, every year in December (December 9, 2018 3pm-5pm, and December 23rd 4pm-5pm) at Marienplatz 300-400 people dress up in elaborate costumes as Krampus and parade through the city. They will literally grab and scared children in the street and it is a sight to see.

Spread the Word

Munich is an amazing city to visit year round. There are plenty of things to do in Munich in Winter. Whether you’re in town in frosty February for a work trip, you need a break from the Christmas markets, or you just enjoy off-season travel there is something for everyone. Share this to let your friends know how awesome Munich is in the winter! What is your favorite thing to do in Munich in the winter?

Exciting things to do during the Winter in Munich, Germany. Enjoy thrilling outdoor winter activities like sledding and skiing, curl up with a good book at a library, experience rich culture at the theater or stay warm in a hot sauna.

Enjoy these delightful things to do during the winter in Munich, Germany. Adventure into the cold with outdoor winter activities like sledding and skiing, curl up with a good book at a library, sip the best coffee, see a snowy bird's eye view of Munich, experience rich culture at the theater, find the best Christmas markets, or stay warm in a hot sauna. There's a winter activity for everyone in Munich. #munich #germany #wintertravel #europe #germanalps

7 Comments

  1. Addie 2018-02-24 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    What a lovely list! It’s hard deciding what to do when it’s cold out so it’s nice to have so many options.

  2. Brianna 2018-02-24 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    I’ll be hitting up Munich later this summer! I won’t be able to do a lot of this winter-type activities but the concerts and museums are probably also a great way to escape the heat!

  3. ARI 2018-02-24 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Personally, that tour with a local searching for GLUWEIN and cookies sounds right up my alley. I’ve still never been to Munich, just Berlin time and again in every season twice over. maybe I have to get on over to a new part of Deutschland. But my Deutsch is Non-existent at the moment. :/

  4. Nicky 2018-02-24 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    Ohh I’ll be keeping this guide very close to hand!! Even though I’m hoping to visit in the spring, I love that this guide covers activities that aren’t winter-exclusive!

  5. Michelle Joy 2018-02-24 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    It looks so pretty in winter! I’d love to come for the Christmas markets someday!

  6. Phillip 2018-11-06 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the list. I’m going this Christmas and it has helped in planning what to see and make the most of our trip.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.