What to buy in Munich, Germany
Maximilianstraße / Residenzstraße / Theatinerstraße — These streets around the Opera (Nationaltheater) in the city center are the place to go if you are looking for high end luxury goods. All of the usual international suspects and some local designers and clothiers are present. A few art galleries are left despite the high rents.
Kaufingerstraße / Neuhauserstraße — This pedestrian zone stretches from Karlsplatz/Stachus to Marienplatz and is the primary shopping zone for mid-priced goods. Numerous department stores, chain and a few remaining independent boutiques line the corridor. The side streets are less crowded and offer some less homogenized shopping. Plenty of restaurants, open air cafes and beer gardens offer the weary tourist a rest. Foot traffic is amongst of the highest of any shopping zone worldwide. Warning: during the summer and on Saturdays, this area will be jam packed with locals and tourists alike and can be unpleasantly crowded.
Shopping Centers — For a collection of shops under one roof, go to the shopping centres PEP (U-Bahn stop: Neuperlach Zentrum, U5), OEZ (U-Bahn stop Olympia-Einkaufszentrum, U1 and U3), Riem Arkaden (U-Bahn stop Messestadt Ost, U2) or the brand new and pleasantly uncrowded MIRA (U-bahn stop Dülferstrasse, U2)
Hohenzollernstraße — This street has a collection of clothes shops, such as: Mazel, Vero Moda and especially during the summer in the months approaching the Oktoberfest, numerous shops selling comparatively cheap traditional German clothing (Lederhos’n and Dirnd’l). You can reach it by getting out at the U2 stop Hohenzollernstr. and then walking in the direction of Münchner Freiheit (the locals will be able to tell you which direction that is,) or by going one stop on the 53 bus going towards Münchner Freiheit (that’s the final stop, displayed on the front of the bus). From then on continue going in that direction, until you start seeing the shops. You can walk down there in about 15 minutes, and that then brings you to the next shopping zone.
Leopoldstraße — This busy boulevard can be reached by the U-bahn U6 or U3 at the stops Münchner Freiheit, Giselastraße or Universität, and has chain stores such as The Body Shop, fast food joints, inexpensive restaurants, cinemas, sidewalk cafes and coffee shops, such as Starbucks. In the side streets you can find a wide selection of boutiques and lesser known local designers. On warm summer evenings along the sidewalks dozens of local artists will be showing and selling their works.
Gärtnerplatzviertel — The area around beautiful Gärtnerplatz (U-Bahn stop Marienplatz or Frauenhoferstraße, U2) is a haven for vintage lovers. You can find local designers and other quirky shops.
Schellingstraße — The neighbourhood around the main university campus (U-Bahn stop Universität, U3/U6) offers nice studenty clothes shops, small book stores, hip cafés and eats (e.g. the Pommes Boutique in Amalienstrasse with their fantastic Belgian fries).
Viktualienmarkt — Famous market in the city centre, where you will find any imaginable sort of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, spices, and so on. Also plenty of places to get a quick bite to eat as well as its own little biergarten when the weather’s warm enough.
Elisabethmarkt— A smaller and less touristy (i.e. cheaper) market, it has cute stalls, a good selection of fruits, vegetables and delicacies, a quaint beergarten seasonally and an original feel. It is located at the tram stop Elisabethplatz of the tram 27. This is a good starting point to explore the less commercial parts of Schwabing, there are quite a few interesting boutiques and designers on Elisabethstrasse between Elisabethplatz and Leopoldstrasse.
During Christmas time, there are many of these Christkindl Märkte, or Christmas Markets, including the large Tollwood, but also smaller markets, where you can buy Christmas biscuits (Lebkuchen), souvenirs, and the typical Glühwein. Although pronounced glue-vine, it is mainly hot red wine with spices and different (secret) flavouring.
Münchner Freiheit — There is an artisan market at the subway stop in Schwabing.
Marienplatz — A bigger market, very commercial, it stretches across the shopping street, so you can mix Christmas market shopping (and eating) with “normal” shopping. If you walk south towards Sendlinger Tor, you’ll reach more traditional woodcarvers’ stands.
Chinesischer Turm at Englischer Garten has a nice Christmas market in a pretty park surrounding. Highly recommended if there’s snow! It can conveniently be reached from U/Bus station Münchner Freiheit on the Bus 54, which has a stop Chinesischer Turm.
Wittelsbacher Platz — Close to Odeonsplatz, there is a medieval Christmas market where you can buy medieval clothes, food and drinks, swords / bows, and arrows and watch the performances of medieval dances and music.
Residence courtyard — A Christmas town with fairytale stories for kids.
Christkindltram — A Christmas tram that runs only during Advent through the city center every half an hour (departure is from Sendlingertor). The tram is nicely decorated, where people can enjoy Christmas songs and mulled wine (Glühwein).
Seasonal and Flea Markets
Throughout the city one finds occasional markets that are well worth the visit when they are taking place and a Saturday-morning must when the sun is shining!. The flea markets in Munich can be exceptional in that they are generally genuine private citizens selling their unwanted belongings with a minimum of commercial interest. In addition to the weekly offerings, you’ll find several neighborhood ‘courtyard fleamarkets’ events in the summer months.
Auer Dult are week-long market/fests that take place 3 times a year (Spring, Summer and Autumn) in Haidhausen primarily dealing in household goods and antiques but also offering beer and amusement rides. Definitely try to see this if you haven’t seen Oktoberfest!
Theresienwiese. This has to be the largest annual fleamarket in Europe, taking place on the first Saturday of the Frühlingsfest (Spring Festival – occurs in the middle of April) on the same site as the Oktoberfest, there are generally several thousand citizens offering up their second-hand goods while dealers of new wares are forbidden! A yearly highlight for flea market and antique lovers if the weather is reasonable.
Hofflohmärkte This is where particular Munich city quarters encourage their residents to open up their courtyards whereby entire sections of the city become a combination flea market and private courtyard sightseeing – very interesting for viewing corners of the city one usually would not see. Event dates are coordinated by the city; inquire at local information centers for dates.
Messegelände Riem. At the site of the former airport, where in recent years the new convention grounds and residential neighborhood has bloomed, one also finds the current longest running weekly fleamarket. Although it’s at the edge of town, the underground U2 will take you almost directly there. Saturdays 6AM-4PM (provided there is no convention fair taking place!)
Olympia park. Fine weekly flea market throughout the year, breaking only when there are Olympia Stadium events. Taking place in the nicely tree-shaded parking lot of the stadium on Fridays and Saturdays from 7AM to 4PM.
FLOHPALAST. Daily fleamarket in a store. Open Monday to Saturday. Here you can rent a space for the fleamarket articles you would like to sell. Over 200 shelves which are full of different things. Two locations in Munich.