Munich is not just all things chic. When visiting the more “offbeat” corners of the city, you quickly realise: Munich can also be different. 12 places where you can experience this first hand. Text: Ornella Cosenza, Photos: Thomas Linkel
Munich Hip and Creative: 12 Tips
So much for Munich’s high society and its obsession with all things “chic”! Far away from the city’s well-known and much-visited sights is precisely where things really get exciting in Munich. Our author recommends 12 places where you can experience Bavaria's capital in a gritty, creative and colourful way. A bit like Berlin, only on the Isar river.
Ship Ahoy: Alte Utting
An old ship on a disused railway bridge, and in the middle of the city – something like that can only be found in Munich! The bridge & ship duo in the city’s Sendling district immediately catches the eye. In summer, you can sit on the deck with a cool drink and enjoy the sunset, while in winter, there’s mulled wine and a campfire. Pizza, crêpes, vegan and West African dishes are served all year round and, pandemics permitting, there is a varied cultural programme for young and old. The “MS Utting” was in operation on Lake Ammersee until the end of 2016. Transporting the 144-tonne steamer to Munich proved to be extremely costly, but the ship has now been enthroned in Sendling since July 2018
alte-utting.de (only in German)
Bahnwärter Thiel: Graffiti, Club and Ateliers
On the site of the former cattle yard, the motto is: techno by night, art and beer garden by day. The “Bahnwärter Thiel” has established itself as a meeting place for night owls and artists alike. The city’s creative people work in old shipping containers, while cool sprayers decorate the walls with graffiti. And when the sun is shining, it’s great to sit in the beer garden. If you fancy it, stay until dark and dance until the early hours of the morning. In summer, people dance to techno raves in the open air from noon onwards. If you prefer something a little quieter, you can take in readings, small concerts or exhibitions in an old Munich underground carriage, or drop by when there is another flea market being held.
bahnwaerterthiel.de (only in German)
“Gans am Wasser” or “Goose on the Waterfront”: Coffee and Cake at Lake Mollsee
Relax, drink coffee and eat cake while flocks of geese traverse the lake in their elegant beauty – that’s all possible at the “Gans am Wasser” construction trailer café. The name says it all. The café is located directly at Lake Mollsee in Westpark, making it ideal for a stopover during a walk through the park. Here, you’ll enjoy peace and quiet, even while in the heart of the city. You don’t have to freeze in winter – the cosy heated yurt invites you to while away the hours. In the summer months, there is outdoor seating under parasols. Lovingly decorated with colourful fairy lights to boot, the café is a real eye-catcher. A cultural programme with workshops, live music and readings provides variety and invites visitors to join in.
gansamwasser.de (only in German)
Giesinger Grünspitz: Relaxing under Chestnut Trees & Urban Gardening
Where once it was cars that used to be sold, there now stands a community garden project by Green City e.V.: the “Giesinger Grünspitz”. Concerts, planting beds, yoga or simply taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city – it’s all possible there. The Grünspitz has become a popular meeting place for the Giesing neighbourhood, but everyone else is welcome here too. It’s especially beautiful in the summer. If you are looking for shade and a bit of peace and quiet, you will find it here. The chestnut trees in the open space lend the place a pleasant freshness. And if you don’t feel like going to a traditional Munich beer garden, come to the Kiosk-Café at Grünspitz – you can also bring your own food.
greencity.de/project/giesinger-gruenspitz (only in German)
Nothing Short of a Fairytale: The “Gans Woanders” Witch’s Cottage
Are we still in Munich, or is it a fairy tale? You feel a bit like Hansel and Gretel in the witch’s cottage when visiting “Gans Woanders”, not far from the city’s Kolumbusplatz. The enchanted, winding wooden house – complete with outdoor seating areas – doesn’t fit in at all with its surroundings; it truly stands out. Open daily, including evenings, it serves everything from cakes to pizza, including vegetarian dishes. In addition, sustainability is a top priority. Guests may also bring their own cups for drinks. With hot pudding and mulled wine, the terraces are a great place to be, even in the cold season. Whether alone or in good company – everyone feels at home at “Hexenhäusl” in Giesing.
ganswoanders.de (only in German)
Container Collective: Nestled between Graffiti and Station Flair
The Container Collective in the city’s “Werksviertel” situated directly at the “Ostbahnhof” train station consists of 39 disused overseas containers. Of course, local graffiti artists have also let off some steam there. In the “Transit” rooftop bar, you sit with a view of the tracks running from the Ostbahnhof and the Werksviertel. Enjoy a sundowner with live DJ and big city flair, or artistic skill paired with great coffee – it won’t get boring here. Not even in winter. From November onwards, things get cosy in this little container town: organic mulled wine, warm treats, colourful lights and the art of curling make a visit there a real pleasure, even when the days get dark so quickly.
werksviertel-mitte.de (only in German)
Reichenbachkiosk: Enjoy a Late One in Munich
You won’t find “Spätis” like in Berlin in Munich. A unique find then in the city (and already something of a legend) is, without further ado, the “Reichenbachkiosk”. It is only closed for one hour: from 5 to 6 am. Otherwise, the kiosk is open around the clock. You can get everything there: drinks, snacks, postcards. The kiosk also offers over 300 different types of beer from all over the world. As the name suggests, it is located at the Reichenbach Bridge on the Isar River. Even before the pandemic, the queues were long, and this has remained unchanged. It’s not uncommon to meet friends and acquaintances while waiting, and you always strike up a conversation with someone anyway. And the most beautiful thing: people of all ages really do come together at this place.
kiosk-muenchen.de (only in German)
Lost Weekend: Workspace and Art in the City’s University Quarter
Where there used to be a university bookshop, there is now a café popular with students: known as the “Lost Weekend”. Behind the large window panes in Schellingstraße, there are usually many students taking notes or typing on their laptops. Some also just meet for a coffee break. Vegan snacks and cakes are served. The motto of the café is “Love kills capitalism”. Works by art students gets exhibited at the shop windows, and live sessions, readings, open stages and artist talks take place in the evenings – all at student-friendly admission prices.
Kebab and Falafel: Türkitch & Servus Habibi
Probably the most popular kebab shop in Munich is called “Türkitch” – which now has three branches in Untergiesing, Maxvorstadt and at the city’s main station. Halloumi and kebab and the large selection of sauces attract both young and old. As to whether the best kebab is in Munich or Berlin is a matter up for debate. Falafel is also available, of course, but if you want to try something new, stop by “Servus Habibi” in Schillerstraße near the main station – Lebanon meets Israel meets Bavaria! Falafel and beetroot? It only sounds funny until you try it.
servus-habibi.de, tuerkitch-koefte-kebap-muenchen.de (only in German)
Import Export: Room for Creativity
“Import Export” in the city’s “Kreativquartier” is located in Schwabing-West and is the address for Munich’s creative scene. But it also welcomes people to meet up and get involved. In addition to a workshop for children and young people and a canteen boasting dishes from all over the world, political and cultural education is also provided. Artists from a wide range of fields work on the grounds of the creative quarter. Almost every evening, there is something on the programme for you to enjoy – from visual arts and performances, to music and theatre.
import-export.cc (only in German)
Bellevue di Monaco: Commitment over Gentrification
The concept of Bellevue di Monaco is unique in Munich: It is a residential and cultural centre for refugees and Munich residents in the middle of the city’s “Glockenbachviertel”. Since 2018, the “Café Bellevue” has not only been a place to meet the neighbourhood and residents. Word quickly got around that this is a great place. Ethiopian, Syrian or Senegalese specialities are on the lunch menu, because the residents of Bellevue di Monaco work behind the counter. The café’s proceeds benefit charitable projects of the Bellevue di Monaco e. G. social cooperative. In financial terms, this supports, for example, the “Info Café” in Müllerstraße, where refugees and residents of Munich advise anyone who needs help free of charge.
Minna Thiel: Table Tennis and a Place to Share in front of the City’s Film School
The “Minna Thiel” is something akin to the little sister of the “Bahnwärter Thiel”, or to be more precise, it is a Berlin MAN rail bus from the 1950s that stands on the lawn in front of the University of Television and Film (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film) in the city’s “Kunstareal” in Maxvorstadt. It is most beautiful in the summer, when you can relax under a tent roof on beer benches and enjoy the evening. The “Minna Thiel” is a popular meeting place for students, and the university is in the immediate vicinity. In cooperation with Doris Dörrie and the University of Television and Film, there are workshops, live music and a table tennis table for tournaments held during the summer months. For second-hand fans: In the “Tauschzelle”, a telephone box has been converted into a set of shelves, where you can swap the craziest things instead of buying them.
minnathiel.de (only in German)