It’s been a while since I last published a guest post on this wonderful series “Toddler Friendly Cities”. Covid put a halt to most international travel and it didn’t feel right until now. So, we’re back with my favorite Munich and who better to write about it than Amanda, who’s been there twice, once when her daughter was 14 months old and again when she was 4 years old!
“Amanda here from Coaching Evie! My family and I (husband, Tommy and now 7 year old daughter, Evelyn) are from the Southeastern United States. Prior to welcoming Evelyn to our little family, my husband and I were avid travelers. When she arrived we were determined to continue our travels and simultaneously mold the next generation of a responsible global citizen. Over the years, we have discovered there is no greater gift than seeing all the amazing places the world has to offer than through
our child’s eyes.
The first international trip we took with our daughter was to Munich when she was 14 months old. The moment we stepped off the plane, Evelyn had her first bite of pretzel and caught “das fernweh” (German; an ache to explore far-flung places, missing places you’ve never been, craving for travel). We were able to return to the city when she was 4 years old and enjoyed reminiscing and doing much of the same activities.
Munich, and Germany as a whole, is very family friendly. German culture places high value on family and the outdoors. Children are encouraged to learn and explore in an outdoor environment as much as possible. Subsequently, exquisitely engineered playgrounds can be found throughout the city.
There are also several opportunities for outdoor dining. This gives children a little bit more of an opportunity to roam free during meal time. Contrary to prior belief, German parents aren’t necessarily strict as much as they place a high value on individual responsibility and independence. It is easy to observe this parenting style utilized throughout the city.
Must See in Munich with Toddlers/Kids
The Englischer Garten is a must for toddlers, kids and adults alike! It is our all time favorite city park of all the places we have traveled. During each visit to Munich we dedicate a good part of the day here. The park has miles of tree-covered walking paths as well as large sprawling lawns inviting you to picnic, sunbathe, or play tag. There are creeks and rivers winding throughout the park perfect for dipping your toes in or splashing around. Stronger swimmers can even jump in and flow down river or surf at
Eisbachwelle. Watching the surfers is entertaining in itself! No need to leave the park for a meal. There is a wonderful restaurant on the Kleinhesseloher See (a small lake in the park). You can also eat at one of the quick dining stalls in front of the Chinese Tower while listening to traditional German bands play. Next to the Chinese Tower there is also a large playground with both big and little kid sections where they can
play while you eat or enjoy a Mass.
Next up, a visit to Marienplatz, the main square, is a must. Here your little one can tot around while you take in some of Munich’s top points of interest (the New Rathaus, Altes Rathaus etc.). If you are there at the right time you may be lucky enough to see the Glockenspiel go off. Kids will have a hard time seeing the movement of the individual figures high above on the clock tower but they will love the bells and music!
The nearby Viktualienmarkt is always a great place for you and your toddler to freely wander around, get a snack, and look at all the colorful fruits, vegetables and souvenirs there is to offer.
Popping into the nearby Hofbrauhaus for a meal, snack, or just a photo-opt is well worth it. Although it is considered a beer hall it really is very family friendly. Germans are typically very responsible drinkers. Outdoor dining is available. Everyone in the family will enjoy the traditional German music and extra large pretzels! At one point they even had spaghetti ice cream on the menu!
We also enjoy strolling and shopping down the pedestrian-only Kaufinger Straße. Here you can watch street performers and buy all your souvenirs. We like to pop in one of the larger department stores to find a traditional Steiff stuffed animal. These stuffed animals have been handmade in Germany since 1880 and always make a wonderful and lasting souvenir or gift. Kaufinger Straße ends at Karlsplatz with
a huge fountain (that you can play in!) as its centerpiece.
A visit to Nymphenburg Palace and nearby Hirschgarten are worth the trek to the outskirts of the city. You can walk the beautiful grounds at the Nymphenburg Palace for free. I have never paid to go inside but have walked the ground several times. Hirschgarten or “deer park” has a playground and a fenced-in area with deer that kids can watch and feed. If you are hungry or thirsty you can dine at Königlicher Hirschgarten. It is the largest beer garten in Munich, if not the world.
Day Trips from Munich
Train travel is very efficient and easy in Germany. With the Munich train station being a central hub, your options for day trips are endless! When visiting Germany we prefer public transit to driving because it is so easy.
Here are a few easy day trips from Munich:
(1) Weihenstephan: Located out by the airport, in Freising. This is the world’s oldest brewery. They have a wonderful restaurant as well.
(2) Salzburg: This beautiful city, just over the border, in Austria is less than a 2 hour train ride from Munich. It is the birthplace of Mozart and where much of The Sound of Music was filmed. While this city deserves an overnight stay, the highlights can be taken in during a very full day’s visit.
(3) Andechs Monastery: Here you can enjoy beautiful views from top of the “holy mountain”. As well as, beer and food prepared by monks. We took a bus to the top of the mountain and hiked on the 3 mile nature trail back down into town.
(4) Füssen: Home of the famed Neuschwanstein Castle. Getting here on your own from Munich is a bit complicated so it may be worth finding a tour. This is a popular day trip from Munich, so there are several tour options available. The trek will take you about two and half hours one way on your own via public transit.
(5) Wendelstein Mountain: A 90 minute train ride outside the city, this is the easiest accessible alpine peak from Munich. You can take a cable car from Osterhofen or the rack railway from Brannenburg up to the summit. Once at the summit there are beautiful views of the Alps and Bavaria. As well as, a restaurant and inn.
Family Friendly Restaurants
All of Munich’s big beer halls (Hofbräuhaus, Löwenbräu, Augustinerbräu, Paulaner, Hacker- Pschorr and Spaten-Franziskaner) are family friendly and serve wonderful traditional Bavarian food. Our personal favorite is Schneider Weisse, located near Marienplatz, where they serve free kids meals. Kids will love german schnitzel (often available in pork, chicken, or veal). To get it without gravy or sauce order
the Wiener schnitzel. Kids also love spaetzle (a cross between a noodle and a dumpling) and it can even be ordered with cheese (kaiser spaetzle). Potato pancakes (like a hashbrown) with fresh apple sauce served on the side is also a hit!
Family Friendly Stay
When traveling with a toddler, we have found that it is not necessarily about “where” you stay but the type of accommodations you stay in. In Evelyn’s younger years, we almost exclusively stayed in rental apartments (i.e. through Airbnb/ VRBO) where we had access to a washer and a refrigerator. Not until Evelyn was fully potty trained and a more scheduled eater did we start staying in hotels. The washer was beyond helpful with the messes toddlers tend to make of their clothes (and sometimes yours). The
refrigerator is helpful to store healthy snacks and Evelyn’s favorite foods if we had to supplement her meals a little. I would recommend looking for a place within walking distance to a grocery store and public transit that is as close to the city center or the main train station as the travel budget will allow.”
Follow Amanda adventures with her family and ask her more about Munich with kids at: