Munich’s major sights are clustered around the Altstadt, with the main museum district near the Residenz. The Residenzmuseum is a collection of luxury apartments from the Wittelsbach dynasty, reflecting Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles, and also housing art collections and a 17th century court chapel. Behind the Residenz is a beautifully landscaped garden, the Hofgarten, which every Sunday is the site of free swing dancing lessons. The Englischer Garten (English Garden) is the largest metropolitan public park in the world and dwarfs both New York’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park. This park offers everything from nude sunbathing to soccer matches and bike paths. Finally, the Botanischer Garten is an immense space with rare flowers from around the world.
Munich is a superb city for museums. The Deutsches Museum is one of the world’s largest science and technology museums, and its highlight is the actual work bench on which Otto Hahn first split an atom. It also has a planetarium and an aviation display with full-size prop planes and Da Vinci flying machines. The breathtaking Schloss Nymphenburg is modeled after Versailles and is now a museum chronicling the lives of Munich’s rich and famous. And no visit to Munich would be complete without a visit to the BMW Museum, an enormous steel and glass structure housing state of the art interactive exhibits detailing the history and design of Germany’s most famous export.
Every fall from September to early October, millions of people flock to Munich for Oktoberfest, a merry festival where chugging beer and eating bratwurst are highly encouraged. Festivities include a parade, open air concerts, and international folkore displays.